Parking Illegally isn’t Illegal When You’re a Cop

If you park somewhere illegally you can get booted or towed. It sucks when it happens because you end up paying out a sizable chunk of change most of the time. Unless you’re a cop. When you have a shiny liability badge and you park illegal you can arrest the person who booted your undercover car:

The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, stems from a run-in that happened after the troopers, Sgt. Joseph Patout and Master Trooper Christopher Treadaway, parked a pickup with a Mississippi license plate in a lot across the street from Kyoto, a sushi bar on Prytania Street, and left it unattended for about 30 minutes.

The attendant, Brandon Hardeway, watched the troopers go into the Japanese restaurant, whose customers weren’t allowed to use the parking lot, and booted the pickup after allowing a grace period of several minutes, said Hardeway’s attorney, Isaac Soileau Jr.

“He felt pretty confident that he was doing the right thing when he booted it,” Soileau said of his client.

After leaving the restaurant, the troopers demanded that Hardeway remove the boot from their Dodge Ram pickup, saying they were undercover law enforcement officers, according to the lawsuit.

After checking with his employer, Premier Parking Enforcement, Hardeway told the troopers that the company “extended courtesy” to official vehicles used by New Orleans police as well as “other plainly marked emergency vehicles,” the lawsuit says. The company, also known as Boot Man Inc., did not make the same accommodation for unmarked State Police vehicles, “nor was it required to,” the lawsuit says.

After Hardeway told the troopers he wouldn’t remove the boot until they paid a $90 fee, the troopers told him he was “interfering with their official duties” and arrested him, the lawsuit says, handcuffing him and “forcing him into the back seat of a police vehicle.”

As they say, you can beat the charge but you can’t beat the ride. Even though state law doesn’t exempt undercover police cars from parking regulations the cops were able to kidnap the parking attendant, who was just doing his job I might add ironically, and are requiring him to suffer through the court system in order to get compensation.

Those shiny liability badges also ensure that the officers responsible for this mess will go unpunished. The lawsuit is against the Louisiana State Police, the two officers’ employer. Since the Louisiana State Patrol is tax payer funded the lawsuit, if successful, will do little more than return some of Premier Parking Enforcement’s stolen tax money. In all likelihood the two officers will go entirely unpunished. At most they may lose their jobs. But they certainly won’t be charged for unlawful kidnapping as they should be. Ignorance of the law isn’t an excuse — unless you have a badge.