Thursday, September 17, 2009

True Story

The original email was sent to Sheriff Glenn Boyer on Thursday, August 27. Below is the citizen's email followed by Sheriff Boyer's response.


I tried to call you earlier this morning, but was unable to obtain your extension from the voice mail system as I was not sure of your first name or correct spelling of your last.

I was inadvertently in this procession as I was leaving work on 270 from Creve Coeur and proceeding on Hwy. 30 West. I have some issues and complaints. I called the Sheriff's office last night, but the officer in charge would not speak with me. His name was Corp. Curtis. I am in no way complaining about your officers. I, however, was not treated very fairly when I called last evening because I wanted a ticket/complaint/or at least a slap on wrist for the people involved. Let me explain:

1) This procession should never have been held during rush hour traffic! Hwy. 270 is dangerous and people drive way too fast and there is too much traffic. This soldier's certainly would not have want his family hurt on the interstate taking him to Cedar Hill. People were dead-stopping on the interstate even though the procession was in the far right lane, the other three lanes just stopped. There were many near accidents and possibly were after I drove through. I was in the 2nd to left lane, no way obstructing the funeral procession.

2) I exited off on Gravois (30 W), far right lane. Your police officers went in the left lane to stop any additional on-coming traffic so the procession could exit off 270 into the LEFT lane of 30. Again, I was in the right lane. The St. Louis County officer stopped and turned around at Weber Hill to return on 270 after the procession passed.

3) The road was not closed. (Only for president as far as I know.) Again, the road was not closed. Your officers only had the left lane blocked/closed for the funeral. All other traffic by MO law can proceed as long as they do not interfere (weave in and out )with funeral procession.
Let me say, that I did not know what was happening. I knew the did not have Kennedy coming to STL, at least not yesterday. I was at work all day. No news. Nothing reported on the traffic on the radio driving home.
Anyway, two of these dirty, nasty, renegade, who knows what motorcycle men that were escorting the procession proceeded to stop in front of me in the right lane on Gravois. I had to stop in the middle of an intersection. They proceeded to scream and yell at me about respecting this soldier, etc. One of them climbed off his motorcycle and came over to me and stuck his head in my car continuing to scream at me. I asked him what this was for and he told me I needed to stop as the officers had the road blocked and show some dang respect. #1, the road was not blocked, the funeral was in the other lane. #2, I am proud of our country and sorry for the family, but they had no idea where I was going or anything else. I could have a child at day-care, I could have been sick and racing to the bathroom, I could have a sick parent waiting for me, etc., etc.

#3, They are not law enforcement and had no right to stop in the lane on Gravois and they had no right to scream at me and intimidate and threaten me. If I would have had my pepper spray, I would have used it on this nasty man! He is just a big hoo ha that is not even related to this soldier. The other man did not get off his scooter, but was along side of my passenger window screaming.
I left an abusive husband 1 1/2 years ago and I did not need this intimidation. I was livid and shaking!!

My son is a deputy sheriff in another MO county. I respect police officers. It was not their fault as they were busy with traffic, but I called to make them aware of what was going on during this thing. The St. Louis County officer saw it but of course he was out of jurisdiction.

However, I called last night and your office asked me if I knew about this soldier. Again, I am sorry about him, but I am a taxpayer. I got a speeding ticket a few months ago and paid the fine. I do not deserve to be treated like this. I wanted to let the officer know how these men were acting. Also, they were driving into the turnarounds on Hwy. 30 and then back onto the road. the funeral was much further ahead. One of them nearly got hit by me and other people almost hit him and another as well. I wanted to lodge a complaint about them why they were still there, but no one in your office would take any information or do anything.
This was not a military funeral, even though it was a soldier. There were not military vehicles. It was a funeral and the road was not closed, the lane was closed, I was in the other lane and again, these nasty men had no right to do this and I would have liked them to get a ticket!
I am sorry for the soldier and his family but you cannot let these motorcycle renegades do this. They could have caused several accidents and I really wanted them arrested. If they had any respect for the soldier they would have dressed better and not looked and acted so scuzzy.

Thank you.

From:
Glenn Boyer/JEFFCO
Date: 08/31/2009 02:05 PM

Subject: Re: Fw: Re: Funeral Procession - Yesterday p.m.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear XXXXX:

Yes, you do deserve a response and I am willing to give you one.

I would like to say that I am sorry for the inconvenience we caused you during the funeral procession of Sergeant 1st Class William B. Woods, but I cannot do so. I would ask instead that you take a moment of your time to take into consideration the scope of the event. Your very right to complain was the reason Sgt. Woods fought for his country and ultimately gave his life; thus making the ultimate sacrifice for you and your family.

Let me introduce you to him. After high school, Sergeant Woods entered the Marine Corps. After his contract was up, he joined the Army, where he became a Green Beret. He comes from a long line of military members in his family. His Uncle is a Vietnam Veteran and two of his grandfathers were World War II Veterans. His job in the Army was one of the most dangerous jobs - he was a sniper looking for the bad guys to stop before they killed or injured one of our soldiers. He has numerous decorations to include the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

He grew up in Catawissa and was best known by his middle name, Brian. He enjoyed the outdoors, playing sports, and skydiving. He had a wife, Elizabeth, and two daughters, whom he loved dearly. He was a soft-spoken, level-headed young man who was proud to serve his country no matter what the risk. Now, I did not know him, but I wish I did. I am quoting from newspaper articles written about him.

At the young age of 31, he was shot during an engagement with Taliban forces in Ghanzi , Afghanistan . He died of his wounds in Germany on August 16, with his family by his side. He did not choose the time of his death, nor did he choose the time his remains would be brought back to his home in Catawissa. He just did his duty. He was quite a young man.

While you were being inconvenienced in your car on your way home, there were soldiers just like Sergeant Woods carrying 100+ pounds of equipment in 120 degree heat, up some mountain or in the middle of some desert. They will shower out of a helmet liner if they get the chance. They will eat a cold meal of MRE's; something most people would consider garbage. They cannot text their family or friends, or go to McDonalds, or watch TV. They can only continue the mission and look out after the guy to the left and right of them. They don't complain because they know they volunteered. The only thing they ask is that we do not forget the sacrifices they have made.

One of the dirty "big hoo ha" bikers, as you call them, was Brian's uncle, a Vietnam Veteran, like myself. We were not treated with a homecoming. We were spit on and called baby killers by a misguided public. Brian's uncle was giving him the respect that he, himself, never received when he came back and I, for one, am proud of him for doing so.

You say that your brother is a deputy in another Missouri county. I am sure he would be proud to escort the casket of a fallen solder, the same as he would that of a fallen officer. I am also sure he would not agree with your complaint about being inconvenienced.

My mother recently passed away. She was a World War II Veteran, serving the U.S. Army. She would say, maybe you should pick up Sergeant Woods' ruck sack and carry on where he left off. Then you could see first hand what it really is to be inconvenienced.

Per your request, I will forward your complaint to the Prosecuting Attorney's Office for his review. It is my personal opinion that your complaint is self-serving and without merit.

Sheriff Oliver "Glenn" Boyer





33 comments:

Albert A Rasch said...

Damn straight. Kudus to Sheriff Boyer.

Albert Rasch
Why I Carry a Gun
Real Men Hunt

Steve said...

Right on. Any way we can get the complainnt's e-mail / address to discuss with him his opinions?

Steve

Man with no Name said...

2 posts in one week! SCORE.

BigWillieLL66 said...

Excellent response. I'm sure she felt very slighted by that response. I live in the St Louis area and remember the day the procession went through. One of our local radio personalities, Dave Glover, is very involved in veterans affairs in the area and he was very furious that day because people were calling in and complaining about the procession. Very disheartening, makes me sick. Of course this is almost typical behavior in some towns around here.

I'm trying to get into the local Police Academy here, hopefully I can work under Sheriff Boyer.

GunRights4US said...

Well some people are complete jackasses. The sheriff's response probably did not make the slightest dent in that selfish soul.

Byron said...

You all seem to have missed the point. She was not complaining about the funeral. She was complaining about how it was handled and the abuse she received. This sort of thing is what gives law enforcement a black eye. They don't need another one.

Byron

S/Sgt. Schroeder, USMC ret. said...

Byron-How inconsiderate of this soldier to die! I'm sure if his family had their wist, they would rather not have had a need to block traffic for his funeral. Next time, I'm sure they will consult with you to make certain that the sacrifices of this soldier and his family don't interfere with your life.

Axeanda45 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Axeanda45 said...

She was in the right, and the cops and bikers were wrong. She was NOT disrespecting that soldier. I am a veteran and so is my wife. There was nothing she did that was disrespectful or out of order. I dont care if the soldier was a Medal of Honor winner, the other lanes BY LAW are/were still open. He died for ALL of our rights, which include freedom of movement. Just because you on your high horse expect everyone else to show respect in the exact same way you would does not make your way of doing so the only correct way. This land is founded on the principal of freedom, to degrade someone for practicing that freedom is shameful. Now, if she was cutting into/across the procession, (which nothing in the email suggests) then by all means, flame on.

Anonymous said...

would all of you feel differently about it had the complainant said she had just received a call from the veterans memorial hospital at jefferson barracks,which is at the eastern most edge of the missouri/illinois border and directly affected by the funeral procession,...where her father or brother or son or daughter was a hospice patient, suffering from injuries or disease, received from military duties in a foreign country, fighting for our freedom...had just taken a turn for the worse and was dying and the priest was giving last rites...would that make a difference? granted that it is an act of respect for anyone burying their dead to be shown courtesy by pulling to the side of the roadway and stopping or at least slowing down..but it is not law. to all of those commenting...how would you feel if this were your situation? i personally know veterans from the wwII era as well as vietnam and the current conflicts we are in, as well as police officers and others that we would consider heros,
that say the grand circumstances that they give one man should be given to all that die in the name of their country, be it directly or as a result of conflict or as a show of respect for the older veterans that die off... i wonder how much it cost the taxpayers of the great state of missouri to supply the law enforcement, man hours, fuel and all related aspects of such a public show of support? i wonder...

Dave said...

i wonder how much it cost the taxpayers of the great state of missouri to supply the law enforcement, man hours, fuel and all related aspects of such a public show of support?

Of all the programs which waste tax money, this is the one you are going to choose to question?????

Anonymous said...

Dave, I wholeheartedly agree that its probably trivial compared to many programs that our elected officials tout and throw money at but nonetheless...since this wasn't a senator or congressman or head of state...just a simple man from smalltown USA, that gave his life for our great country...did we really need to use most of the st.louis county mobile unit, hiway patrol and motorcycle unit and God knows whoelse...to escort this good soldiers war torn body to its final resting place? I wonder if they donated their time to do this because they were retired military, iraqi veterans, family of veterans...hell no they didnt...they were all on payroll...at your our expense. So, I guess my point is...simplicity and respect would have sufficed.

Matthew said...

We should cherish the day that we still as a country over all value the sacrifice of one common man.We are a nation of individuals who for some of us still cling to the value of the soldier.

Having served along side more than my fair share of ex-special operations guys I can say this. That their actual dollar value according to the training the military puts into them far far out weighs what a Senator or Congressman brings to the table.

I believe in the individual person I truly do. Including this woman's right to rant to her local law enforcement chief.

My concern for our country as whole is when we willingly divide when we seek out a chasm of one woman's practical use of the road and no longer choose to honor our dead who have sacrificed so much.

To bring home our fallen is the most sacred of honors. Something that use to matter to more and now less and less.

If this is the way of progress you can keep it.

Sara said...

Damn Matthew you really do write beautifully. What graceful words that place it in perspective.

Rick in NY said...

Very well put, Matthew. Thank you.

To the lady who was "inconvenienced":

Too bad.

That young soldier was inconvenienced a whole lot more than you. His family has been inconvenienced a whole lot more than you. He died protecting you from terrorists, and you haven't got the slightest clue what to do about it.

Perhaps someone else would have the words to make you understand. I do not.

But the rest of us appreciate his sacrifice, as apparently you do not.

outoforder2day said...

The lady was respectful in her email and wanted to raise a safety concern with the Sheriff. She had a valid point: having a procession in rush hour traffic is dangerous. Further, the bikers were definitely in the wrong here (unless she was being a jerk honking, etc). They verbally abused the lady for getting too close? What the heck? I'm sorry, I support our troops more than most folks (especially here in NYC), but the Sheriff seemed out of line in his response.
RIP Sergeant 1st Class William B. Woods.

Anonymous said...

Why do you naturally assume that the woman's description is accurate or rather honest?

Honestly her "side" of the story has some fishiness to it. As a biker of 30 years and have escorted military funerals in St. Louis,I have my doubts that he jump off his bike in such a fashion. Let alone left it to confront this "lady" who by her take did nothing to provoke this.

I think she's just some loon who can't handle any change in her micro world. Hope she didn't spill any of her mocha latte in her electric car.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments of "outforder2day"..and to matthew, it is, a most sacred event to welcome home the fallen..but when local policing agencies take it upon themselves to make a grand show of presence..its just not fair. the woman complaining showed respect for the soldier but questioned the actions of the police and had her comments and concerns dismissed simply because the sheriff was a vet...so that makes it almost personal..in boyers mind. how many of you that comment here, fly your flag proudly on veterans day, independence day, flag day and on 9/11? How many of you write your senators, congressional leaders and heads of state in agreement or opposition to laws and rules? Thanks for this blog Matt and it is an enjoyment to read and to be able to comment..

Thomas said...

Yall know what? If there were 10-100 similar complaints I'd say there was merit. What I think we have here is what I see all too often. The single..sourgrapes...selfish..I PAY YOUR SALARY..complainer who wants SOMETHING DONE! because she was the only person offended.

I have done all too many of these escorts and you know how they were paid for? All time off is canceled...detectives are put back in uniform and shift supervisors stand a post ALL ON STRAIGHT TIME. Was that the way it was handled here? IDK. But jumping to the conclusion that the greedy, selfish cops ONLY/ALWAYS do this for the OT is a load of opinionated crap!

PeterT said...

There is no evidence that the police handled this poorly. We only have this selfish twits complaints. I have seen the Riders in question in action. I would bet a decent amount on money that she is prevaricating, and at the least exaggerating quite a bit. Her story reeks of self centered outrage. Screw her.

Anonymous said...

Next time a soldier comes home, I'm going to go block traffic and scream at women trapped in cars, because that's what the solider died for.

Wuulf said...

Now who am I to question the honesty of someone I have never met, but having been around those "Nasty renegade bikers" in times of grief, I can tell you that if there is one time in a biker's life that he is going to be respectful, its a funeral. And if that biker happens to be related to the deceased, and share military ties? IF said biker yelled at her, that lady omitted something pretty unladylike on her part to piss him off enough.

Its a pity that People feel so inconvenienced by funeral processions anymore. I agree with Matthew. If this is progress, you can have it back.

Byron said...

My previous comment was addressed to the law enforcement community. I can see that it was not clear enough.
I have the utmost respect for the members of our military. I have had a friend killed in Iraq and several wounded in both gulf wars. The real issue that bothered me was the fact that she reported an assult to a law enforcement agency and it was ignored. After moving up the chain, the best she got was "It is my personal opinion that your complaint is self-serving and without merit."
This comment was made without any attempt to collect the pertinent information.
It does not matter how big a jerk she appears to be. She deserves the full protection of the law.

Byron

Anonymous said...

Byron,

If she was "assaulted" as only you are claiming why didn't she dial 9-1-1??? Instead of writing a letter?

Her story stinketh to me.

Mechelle said...

Byron,

You did explain yourself clear enough in your first comment. It just that most don't agree with you. But thanks for dumbing it down so we can understand you better ;)

Joanna said...

It's not the "traffic was snarled up" part of the complaint that's the problem. It's they "How dare they treat ME this way!" part of the complaint. In other words:

Right: "Traffic was snarled up. You may want to plan differently next time."

Wrong: "I was inconvenienced! I demand redress!"

tgace said...

Calling getting yelled at an "assault" only goes to illustrate the disconnect between the average persons grasp of law enforcement and the legal reality.

Like when I hear people say they were "robbed" when someone steals something from their car overnight.

Anonymous said...

im patiently waiting for the next post....

Anonymous said...

I fully respect our armed forces, but if a stranger sticks his head in my window, there is a chance they might need to scrape his brains off the roof of my car.

Byron said...

"Assult: At Common Law, an intentional act by one person that creates an apprehension in another of an imminent harmful or offensive contact. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in either criminal or civil liability. Generally, the common law definition is the same in criminal and Tort Law. There is, however, an additional Criminal Law category of assault consisting of an attempted but unsuccessful Battery.

Statutory definitions of assault in the various jurisdictions throughout the United States are not substantially different from the common-law definition."

Byron

tgace said...

Try again. Even under common law an assault can only be carried out by a threat of bodily harm coupled with an apparent, present ability to cause the harm. A guy "sticking his head in your car" telling you to respect the funeral escort can hardly be argued to be an assault unless he is yelling that he is going to "kick your ass", grab you, wave a fist at you or something similar.

First, lets not muddy the waters with "common law" definitions. If a cop showed up he wouldn't be dealing with an "assault" in this case. Someone in that situation telling a cop they were "assaulted" would be told otherwise. Second, I doubt anybody's head was actually "in" anybodies car in this situation. Third, "Blowing the guys head off" would be a quick trip to prison.

In almost all states, the person would have to inflict some level of bodily harm to be criminally charged with assault. Most states would term something like that as a form of harassment or simple battery.

Anonymous said...

"tgrace" what I got out of the story was that the woman was stuck in her vehicle and some angry guy comes up yelling, screaming and waving his arms. Where I live, we have the castle doctrine, where your car is considered an extension of your home. If I'm trapped in my car with a child in the back and a guy approached as I'm imagining from the story, I'd be at code orange. If we sticks an appendage in my car, I'm going code red and reacting accordingly!

ch.trapp said...

Yelling at poeple to make them respect you is a bit like constraining poeple to make them love you. It does not work most of the time. So I think getting her to show respect to the fallen soldier (who beyond any doubt deverves it) should have been attempted by politely asking her.
And if she exaggerated her story, this should be sorted out in a proper investigation by the authorities and not by be ignoring her because the representative of the law does not agree with her.