Two Guys, A Cop, And A Pizza Place: How A Police Officer Threatened A Yelp Reviewer

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141 Responses

  1. Klover says:

    Interesting that in the youtube recording of the voicemails that both Paul and police officer left their contact phone numbers for follow up. Ken – is that how you got a hold of each for your additional questions?

  2. Phe0n1x says:

    Two ppehat signals in a row, this is turning out to be an interesting week.

  3. Klover says:

    Also interesting that Officer Miller claims to be on the side of the underdog for a news report. Not sure, but I'd think that Joe might be the underdog in this situation…

    "When Patrolman Hallie Miller was a kid, she was the one always on the side of the underdog.

    “I’d be the kid in the neighborhood standing up for them,” said Miller, 34, who has been a police officer for nearly 11 years, the last five in Lower Paxton Twp. :

  4. apauld says:

    typo — "Mr. Francis received a call from Officer Hallie Miller," should read "Mr. Grabko received a call from Officer Hallie Miller…"

  5. Ashera says:

    I am really impressed with the efforts that Mr Grabko has taken to protect himself. His documentation of all this is really superb. I would not be surprised to learn that it is the documentation that has all these other people in a tizzy. Things that hide under rocks don't like exposure to the light.

  6. Clark says:

    The thing I find amazing about cops is not that they don't understand the Constitution or the laws. The thing I find amazing about cops is that they THINK they know the laws.

    "a ferret trying to turn on the water faucet" indeed.

  7. Ken Mencher says:

    Is it a bad thing I still want to believe in the police, that they still can live up to the motto "Protect & Serve"??

    I keep running across things like this, and get discouraged…

  8. Tious says:

    What's funny is how I bet you will find most of the police department visiting this site today.

  9. AirSpencer says:

    How does the standard advice to not talk to the police work when the police call you on the phone? The question drilled into my head "Am I being detained or am I free to go?" seems moot.

  10. Kirk Taylor says:

    What I always wonder about when seeing this is how the good cops can sit by and be quiet while the bad cops trash their reputations. Makes you wonder how many good cops there really are.

  11. amess says:

    typo: Does the officer think she can tell Mr. Francis what to do because he's mildly autistic? (you mean Mr. Grabko)

  12. Ron Larson says:

    I'm guessing that officer Miller of a friend of, or related to, Mr. Francis. And she has agreed to abuse her power on his behalf.

    She should be fired. End of story.

  13. Jack B. says:

    In a short conversation, she told me angrily that she wasn't threatening Mr. Grabko, but only explaining possible things that could happen to him.

    "Nice First Amendment rights you've got there, Mr. Grabko; I'd hate to see something happen to them."

  14. neil says:

    Reminds me of a similar situation I read about. Guy gave his dog away to a family. A couple of months later he said he wanted the dog back, that he didn't intend for it to be a permanent transfer of ownership. Family said no, they'd already bonded with the dog.

    Then the police show up at family's house saying that they're going to be "arrested for theft" if they don't return the dog to the original owner. Unfortunately, they caved and let the guy take the dog back.

    But what business did that police office have intervening in a civil matter and threatening criminal charges?? None.

  15. ZarroTsu says:

    I have a question concerning the paragraph summarizing the phone call.

    Is it protected by law to tell a member of law, officer or lawyer, to shut the bloody fuck up when they start talking out their ass? Because that's my only real reaction to Miller's phone call.

    That paragraph infuriated me, and I'm glad I didn't attempt to listen to the actual conversation.

  16. Clark says:

    @Ken Mencher:

    Is it a bad thing I still want to believe in the police, that they still can live up to the motto "Protect & Serve"??

    That motto is 120% true.

    …but it leaves off the part about who it is that they're protecting and serving.

    The answer, of course, is themselves, their families, and their friends.

  17. STW says:

    It's also amusing to see the Streisand Effect work its magic.

  18. V says:

    I listened to the conversation with the cop, and it seemed to me it could genuinely come from concern that the restaurant owner would try to cause trouble for the former employee.

  19. Ancel De Lambert says:

    My first reaction upon receiving such a call would be to call her supervisor. Maybe wouldn't do anything, but it would be the sensible first step. Bosses don't like looking like idiots because their subordinates do something flagrantly stupid.

  20. En Passant says:

    The greatest danger to honest and decent citizens when police decide to intervene on one party's behalf in otherwise civil disputes, is that the offended party and the police proceed extrajudicially. Here they apparently already have.

    The First Amendment and a good lawyer may beat judicially whatever rap Officer Miller and similarly persuaded local constabulary may try to bring. But any extrajudicial ride they administer can only be contested after the fact through a civil action under 47 USC 1983.

    Were I in a situation like Mr. Grabko, my inclination would be to move to another jurisdiction with no political connections to Harrisburg and its police department, and continue the civil dispute from there. But Mr. Grabko does not appear to have the resources to do that.

    This case already reeks of personal ugly vindictiveness exercised under color of law, and appears to have potential to erupt into even worse official thuggery.

  21. Mark Jessup says:

    This is an excellent and infuriating article, with hats off to Popehat (as always).

    There was a very good column published in the Wall Street Journal this week about the "militarization of America's police", which talked about the creation of every sort of quasi-military unit within our local police departments, armed with tanks, battering rams, massive firepower rivaling some 3rd world nations, and I mention this because not only have our local police departments been militarized thanks to our federal fascists in Washington, the MENTALITY of the police have been (and continue to be) transformed into true totalitarian "taser 'em, pepper spray 'em, beat their effin skulls in" style bully boys. This is not to condemn EVERY police officer because I am certain that there are still many who do their best to uphold the Constitution and respect the Bill of Rights which protects every citizen.

    But there are others. WAY too many who (like their federal masters Herr Holder and Herr Obama) view the Constitution as an inconvenience, an obstacle to "effective law enforcement", and if it gets in the way, they do what they do in Washington, they p*ss and sh*t on it. Unfortunately, that mindset has become the prevailing perspective of those who were originally recruited to "protect and serve". But no more. 'Officer Friendly my ass'.

    In this instance, we have a citizen (Mr Grabko) seeking to exercise his First Amendment rights. On the other side, we have an outraged business owner (Mr Francis) who obviously 'knows' somebody in the police department (Officer Miller) and prevails upon them to open up a can of telephone whoop-ass on Mr. Grabko.

    To which I say "WHAT THE F**K ?!?!"

    FIRE Officer Miller, and if possible get the local prosecutor to get to the bottom of this obscene affair and who got it in their official mind to try and suppress the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of one Mr. Grabko.

    America is indeed a police state, and those Stasi-wannabes can KMMFA!!!

  22. Wolfwood says:

    I'm a criminal defense attorney with absolutely zero civil experience, and am occasionally interested in doing some First Amendment stuff pro bono. Can you recommend a good way of getting some basic training?

  23. Astra says:

    @V: Are you then arguing that the officer was placing the call as a private citizen? Or do you believe the police have the right and duty to warn others that they may be subject to civil lawsuits?

  24. UlrikeDG says:

    "like a YouTube video of a ferret trying to turn on the water faucet."

    Am I the only one who was sad that this phrase wasn't clickable?

  25. Clark says:

    @Mark Jessup:

    This is not to condemn EVERY police officer because I am certain that there are still many who do their best to uphold the Constitution and respect the Bill of Rights

    Asserted without evidence.

  26. Paul Ritter says:

    This officer's recorded statement leaves me wondering when it became mainstream and acceptable to talk about Constitutional protections as if they were public payphones. "Sure, we have the First Amendment, but who the hell uses that anymore?"

  27. JohnC says:

    Well, what do you expect from someone who's yet to be promoted after 11 years as a patrolman?

  28. Shane says:

    @Clark

    OK that's it Clark … you owe me a comment or if you like a post on what we will do to substitute for the po-po and how this might work.

    If you show me yours then I will be forced to actually think about this and I will show you mine.

  29. V says:

    Are you then arguing that the officer was placing the call as a private citizen?

    No, not really.

    Or do you believe the police have the right and duty to warn others that they may be subject to civil lawsuits?

    A right yes. Free speech and all that.
    A duty, no, unless taking "serve & protect" and running with it.

    I'm thinking it could have gone something like this: the restaurant owner calls or walks into the police station to try to file a complaint against Mr. G and, however that meeting went*, decides to follow up with Mr. G and get his side of the story.

    *) in this hypothetical scenario, maybe the topic of a civil suit even came up.

  30. Votre says:

    So…has officer Miller (or her police department) sent YouTube a takedown notice yet arguing that Mr. Grabko either didn't get Officer Miller's permission to use her voice – or that somehow taping the call was illegal under some obscure or totally made-up law?

  31. Ryan says:

    *facepalm* What the hell kind of mickey mouse operation is this police department running?

  32. Chad Miller says:

    Early in the call:

    Grabko: "I'm recording this conversation."
    Miller: "OK, that's fine."

  33. I wish I were qualified and capable of doing this sort of work. Many's been the time I would have liked to be able to say that I could step forward at the call of the Popehat Signal.

    Thanks for this!

  34. Joseph Grabko says:

    Whelp, they took down the Tripadvisor review. A bit surprised how quick that was, but oh well.

    For anyone looking for more information, I'll link their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Wild-Tomato-Pizzeria/173127606065644

    I tend to document everything just in case I need it later… quite thankful I did in this case.

    Yelp is also actively censoring all critical reviews and leaving only positive remarks up.

  35. wumpus says:

    One thing that bothers me is that the best possible light the cop could be seen is practicing law without a license. As mentioned (by Clark), the cop seems to think she knows the law, but garbles it intentionally or otherwise.

    Any cops out there want to mention how much of a cop's job (especially as a part of the non-speed trap time) is about dealing with people having issues with each other and convincing them to deal with it legally without using the courts (or using the courts instead of a duel or something). I suspect that someone decided to keep even cyberspace neat an orderly and didn't care what the laws said to make it happen.

  36. Vermin says:

    The police are goons. It's an inherently dishonest occupation for people too weak, stupid, and lazy to work for a living. And more people are finally starting to realize it.

  37. Extravaganza says:

    @Mark Jessup: why are you blaming Obama and Holder for actions taken by the local police forces of individual states and cities, none of which are governed from Washington?

    Obama's policies and police militarization may be symptoms of the same disease, but don't be fooled into mistaking one symptom for the root cause.

  38. Eric Holder says:

    I'm opening a special snitch line to gather accusations.

    What?

    No, just any accusations.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Jeremy Mishkin for answering the call !

  40. michael says:

    @Joseph Grabko: The Tripadvisor review is still available via Google Cache, but unfortunately, the review is truncated and the "more" button fails since the rest of the review isn't cached.

    If you weren't able to archive it before it went down let me know. I have PDF and JPEG.

  41. ChrisTS says:

    Unfortunately, the most average of ferrets can figure out how to turn on almost any faucet. Very unfortunately.

  42. JohnC says:

    Yikes! The law firm's photo looks more like some creepy, matching polo shirt-y, polygamous family portrait.

  43. Joseph Grabko says:

    Michael, most of it was a shortened version of what was on http://askshutterfly.tumblr.com/post/53899935654/wild-tomato-harrisburg-pa-violates-food-and-employee .

    Personally, it doesn't bother me so much what people put into their bodies, but I draw the line at risking safety to others. Leaving needles and other drugs around a workplace is not cool. The fact that Paul threatened me at work with violence if I didn't drop the issue was the final straw.

  44. You know who the real victim is here? The poor civil service worker who has to now try to find this idiot another job.

  45. Karl says:

    Thank you for sharing this story, and for helping this man.

  46. Mark - Lord of the Albino Squirrels says:

    I am now picturing a ferret fleeing the scene of a crime with the Popehat signal shining on the clouds above them; probably because of all the t-shirt talk in the previous thread.

    Naturally, the ferret is riding a pony.

  47. Michael says:

    @wumpus – I think you are likely right. The problem was likely a failure to realize the constitutional implications, because she viewed it as a matter of dispute resolution, which I assume is heavily emphasized in police training everywhere. It has long been apparent that sensitivity to possible First Amendment concerns is not emphasized enough. So I'm not convinced that she was being intentionally thuggish, though at the very least she tried to punch above her weight without understanding how it would come across, or why coming across that way is dangerous to fundamental rights.

    The chilling effect does not vary based on her intentions, of course, so it is not only fair but important to call her out. But it does affect my view of her as a person, and my view of whether she needs to be fired or just better trained.

  48. Michael says:

    The lawyer, on the other hand, ought to be drawn and quartered.

  49. A says:

    I listened to the conversation with the cop, and it seemed to me it could genuinely come from concern that the restaurant owner would try to cause trouble for the former employee.
    I fully agree…the officer sounded concerned of possible charges. I do not, however, agree that it is her place to do so as a police officer. Whoever received the phone call to request an officer talk to him should have said that there is nothing they can do until charges are filed and be done with it. I think she will have her name tarnished for more than what it should be, but such is life on the internet.

    You know who the real victim is here? The poor civil service worker who has to now try to find this idiot another job.
    As much as anyone else is victim to their job; I suppose you mistake a challenge to be something bad?

  50. D G says:

    The harassment statute is hilariously unconstitutional for a variety of reasons. It appears that a teacher who sent a series of notes to low-performing students warning them about their bad grades could fall victim to it.

  51. desconhecido says:

    "Is it protected by law to tell a member of law, officer or lawyer, to shut the bloody fuck up when they start talking out their ass? Because that's my only real reaction to Miller's phone call."

    Yes it is. There is no law against being rude to the police. For some interesting examples, look at Carlos Miller's site.

    For loads of fun, look at Daniel Sualman's youtube videos.

    Saulman is, in my opinion, pretty lucky to get away with what he does. I think the police in the several departments he deals with are familiar with him and what he does and know enough not to screw with him if they don't want to spend a lot of time in a court or under internal affairs review. In most places in the US if you were to try what he does you'd probably get arrested for disorderly conduct, interfering, assault on a police officer, resisting, and a bunch of other made up crimes. Also, they'd steal your camera and erase the evidence and you'd probably spend some time in the emergency room. Just look at Miller's website to see the sort of thing the police do all the time.

  52. Michael says:

    @D G – Which is the sort of thing a lawyer would and should know, but that a cop likely would not know. That is another reason to be cautious about being overly harsh on the police officer. Her conduct can be explained as a good faith mistake that a well-intentioned police officer might make unless trained specifically to avoid it.

  53. desconhecido says:

    Police should not interfere with strictly civil disputes but they do it all the time. Here's a story about an Italian tourist arrested over what is clearly a civil contract matter and not a matter for law enforcement. I can't recall if popehat covered this one at the time, but several relatively famous sites (maybe Althouse) did. If you can find a gas station that lets you pump before you pay, forget your wallet and promise to return with the money and see what happens. Clearly not a criminal matter, but I bet they'll call the cops and the cops will show up and probably arrest you.

  54. InnocentBystander says:

    I can't help but agree that the police officers action seemed well intentioned. Stupid, illegal, and insulting, but well intentioned. Kind of Like Sandra Bullock giving a tracheotomy to a choking man in the movie Heat.

  55. desconhecido says:

    "Her conduct can be explained as a good faith mistake that a well-intentioned police officer might make unless trained specifically to avoid it."

    Police officers are poorly trained in matters of civil law (if trained at all) and should just keep their pie-holes shut about such matters. I don't know why it is, but almost all police officers that I ever have contact with seem to think that they know a lot about the law in general, but they never do.

    Just recently, a neighbor that we're friends with called the police because of his crazy x-girlfriend and when the police showed up they spent about 30 minutes demonstrating that they didn't know much about anything to do with the law.

    The police should confine themselves to the very narrow areas of the law that they are trained in and then should conduct themselves in avery well-defined manner as dictated by the situation. If there's a question of legality they should do what they're trained to do and let the lawyers sort out the details.

  56. barry says:

    There is some black-kettlism going on here which demonstrates an attitude. The cop thinks it is appropriate to get involved in a civil dispute, while advising Mr. Grabko that talking to the health inspectors is the appropriate way for him to express his concerns.

  57. coregis says:

    I've worked around a number of the suburban Harrisburg Police Department, and Lower Paxton Township Police do have a good reputation in the area. I'm inclined to view this as an effort to diffuse problems, without realizing the First Amendment implications.

    No, I'm not a cop, but I've worked around the police in the area.

    Someone in the department needs a talking to…..

  58. Joseph Grabko says:

    I would like to personally add that the Lower Paxton PD tends to have an excellent track record. I did not feel it was an attempt at intimidation so much as informing me what the restaurant worker had threatened. I think the calls to fire her are out of line, but I don't fully know the legal issues with what she said. I just know that it seemed professional enough compared to other examples I've seen.

  59. Lucy says:

    The officer had plenty of unsolicited advice for Joe, was prying for his motives, and initiated the phone call to him. When this officer received the phone call from the restaurant owner, did she spend several minutes warning him about frivolous lawsuits, free speech, and inform him that the police cannot get involved in civil matters? Doubtful. She was out of line. Period. Incoming calls are usually recorded, and his lawyer can hopefully get a copy of the initial call from the restaurant owner to the police.

  60. jdgalt says:

    @desconhecido: "… If you can find a gas station that lets you pump before you pay, forget your wallet and promise to return with the money and see what happens. Clearly not a criminal matter, but I bet they'll call the cops and the cops will show up and probably arrest you."

    Restaurants and bars used to have that problem; then they got (I believe) every state to enact laws saying that if you didn't walk in with enough cash to pay your bill, the law shall presume fraud on your part (and therefore you can be arrested). I'd be surprised if gas stations have not similarly protected themselves.

  61. Michael says:

    @desconhecido – I agree completely, but the tendency is a natural human one. Plato complained about it. It's something that people will do unless the danger is explicitly spelled out to them.

  62. desconhecido says:

    "Restaurants and bars used to have that problem; then they got (I believe) every state to enact laws saying that if you didn't walk in with enough cash to pay your bill, the law shall presume fraud on your part (and therefore you can be arrested). I'd be surprised if gas stations have not similarly protected themselves."

    Can you provide an example of such a law? It would surprise me as intent is an essential element of fraud and I don't see how you can infer intent just from the fact that someone is unable to pay.

    There are laws, I think, which criminalize certain behavior which would otherwise be a civil matter. For example, I believe that in Texas (and probably most states) writing a check with insufficient funds is a crime. Not because it's necessarily fraud, but because there is a statute which specifically addresses check kiting with no reference to intent. I suppose it's possible that there are laws criminalizing eating a restaurant meal without being able to pay for it, regardless of intent or willingness to reimburse, but I've never heard of such a thing. But, IANAL and am just guessing.

  63. Fritz says:

    Thank you, Jeremy Mishkin.

  64. Clark says:

    @Shane:

    OK that's it Clark … you owe me a comment or if you like a post on what we will do to substitute for the po-po and how this might work.

    I'm thinking 21st century / Web 2.0 / distributed / emergent / crowd-funded.

    First, lots of people donate money to fund the police in return for T-shirts, signed truncheons, limited-edition broken broom handles covered with blood and feces – that kind of thing.

    Second, we wouldn't have a dedicated police force, but more of a rewards program. Anyone who kicked in a neighbor's door without a warrant would get $500, anyone who kicked in a neighbor's door and shot their dog would get $1k, anyone who did all that and planted fake drug evidence would get $2k, and so on. I'm not sure how much we'd reward people for beating mentally ill people to death then lying about it. $10k? $20k?

    There are a lot of details to work out.

  65. Clark says:

    @desconhecido:

    Police officers are poorly trained in matters of civil law

    Let me do some copy editing on that sentence:

    Police officers are poorly trained in matters of civil law

  66. John Beaty says:

    Actually, we don't need police. We just sue anyone who does something we don't like.

  67. Joe Pullen says:

    Try saying "I like cops" without your lips touching.

  68. orvis barfley says:

    cops are like anuses.  you have to have them, but you don't have any more to do with them than you have to.

  69. Shane says:

    @Clark

    What are you some sort of throwback CEO from the dot com era. And I don't condone "They busted down the door and killed my dog and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt" business.

    We can all throw tomatoes at the tards, but really how do we deal with them?

    By allowing 3rd party arbitration of force, we (as a society) necessitate the need for some other human being to enforce verdicts. Certain types of people gravitate to this type of work. If you could have your way how would that look Mr. Clark?

    You aren't going to weasel out of this one, unless of course Ken slaps my digital knuckles, then I will have to settle for the damn T-Shirt.

  70. James Pope says:

    Finally something to agree with Clark on! Yeah, the main problem with police isn't that they exist, it's that they've got such a bullshit job and so much power and little training. It's the same problem with Mall Cops and TSA workers, and it's probably where I diverge from Clark – I'd love for all such agents of the state to get more funding, but only for training. Not the sort of "dress up and play soldier" sort of training they'd like, but seriously boring "this is the law you stupid fat racist twit" training until if they stepped over a line no judge in the universe would give them a second look before throwing the book at them.

  71. Overt Operative says:

    naught_for_naught vomited:

    You know who the real victim is here? The poor civil service worker who has to now try to find this idiot another job.

    WTF is wrong with you?

  72. Trent says:

    @desconhecido

    I'm not going to bother to find relevant state statutes, you should do so for your state but I will make your seach far easier by giving you the key words typically used. The common name for the crime is "dine and dash" where wikipedia has a pretty good definition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dine_and_dash

    Some states have titled their laws "Theft of Services" but I think if you start with those two terms you will find plenty of evidence that such laws do exist and are routinely prosecuted.

    http://www.inquisitr.com/701172/three-years-in-jail-for-dine-and-dash-on-restaurant-bill/

  73. Joseph Grabko says:

    The only other thing I would add is the video showing trash in the walk-in… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vcni5nKw6ZA … and I sent Ken an audio file of the agency saying Paul was threatening to sue in 24 hours. Not sure why that's not here, but I can find hosting for it and link it here.

  74. Brian says:

    What I like about Francis' lawyer(s) is that in that photo, they are all wearing jeans and the guy in the front has no socks. I hope that's his "court day" clothes!

  75. Justin Kittredge says:

    The restaurant owner Paul Francis calls the police and makes a complaint or files a report about Joseph Grabko harassing him. So are you suggesting the police should have just ignored Paul Francis, maybe hung up on him, laughed at him? Is that their job then? I hear that they investigate harassment complaints or reports. The internet told me so. Listening to the call, Officer Miller points out that Yelp is taking down the reviews for being inappropriate, he should give his information to Health Code Inspectors, and that continued posts can be taken as harassment, especially if untrue. Should Officer Miller have kept this to herself? Is this not pertinent information? You call her stance ridiculous and say reposting on Yelp is not harassment. But your view assumes that all his posts are true and that Officer Miller should also immediately know whether Grabko's posts are true. If they are not true then Joseph Grabko can be seen as taking revenge on Paul Francis, trying to cause harm to his business. Maybe he got pictures of those drugs from the internet.

    At the stage when Officer Miller is calling she cannot know for certain. Are you giving her shit because she is trying to defuse a situation telling someone they should probably stop doing something? Yes, Joseph Grabko has first amendment rights, but you assuming that Officer Miller's warnings to Joseph Grabko about negative impacts of his actions are actually veiled threats, that she is a thug in cahoots with some fucker that owns a pizza place, is actually totally baseless bullshit. She does not know if Joseph Grabko's posts are true. If you continually write posts claiming a place has many problems but then they are cleared by health inspectors, yet you continue to post is not your information old and no longer accurate? Perhaps it is actually no longer true. These are things to be decided in the civil court, I guess, but then can no one point out flaws in your way of approaching a problem without being accused of thuggery?

    At the time Officer Miller is calling she does not know what is or is not true and says as much and says she cannot tell Joseph Grabko what to do. Any advice she is giving is strictly like any other person giving you advice. You say she is threatening and hijacking a conversation that is basically a civil suit, she should not intervene. But she is calling in the first place to investigate a complaint of harassment or report of harassment. That is what I argue. What else would they talk about? All your claims that she is calling on behalf of the pizza owner or for any other reasons are baseless. Any claim that spelling out what negative effects Joseph Grabko actions may lead to, that they are in fact threats, is again baseless talk out of your ass. You ask for a legitimate reason that Officer Miller can have to ask Joseph Grabko to stop posting after he has said "his piece." Fine, here is one. Because harassment is often described in part by its continuous nature. Its persistence. Regardless of attempts to have it cease. So her advice that he stop is not neccessarily a threat, it could be just advice. Harassment is a word that is fairly common, so imagining anyone needs to overly explain why you should "stop" doing something someone else has characterized as harassment is fairly odd.

    I don't think any harassment is going on here at all. Either from calls that go to answering machine and then the caller hangs up, LOL, or by posting on Yelp. That is just me. I am not a judge and neither is Officer Miller and neither was she trying to be one. She gave advice to contact health inspectors which could lead to trouble for Paul Francis and lead to the kind of change Joseph Grabko is looking for. She advised Jospeh stopped posting. But anyone can actually carry his story by repost or reblog once it exists at least in one place. As you have done here. Yelp is not the proper format for health violations reported by former employees, it a place for customers to review establishments, in my opinion. Behind the scenes realities of restaurants is information I and I'm sure others would like to know. I am glad Joseph Grabko posted his concerns about the restaurant for others to see. Yelp is a place lots of folks would see it and be informed. But apparently they don't want it there. So he post it elsewhere. Hell, if he gains new information ever, from other sources, maybe other employees, then he can probably safely write and post again on the same issue without consequence and strengthen his case, because any claim that his info is old and the restaurant has since changed will be in dispute.

    My problem with your article is you again turn police into thugs as though it is nearly impossible that there is any other side to it. Don't really have a problem with Joseph Grabko.

    Anyway I'd like to close on one question, for Joseph Grabko if he'd answer me, the drug items you found, specifically the needles, can you clarify where they were, was it all in the trash? How exactly was it disposed of? I am not sure how much sympathy you are gonna garner for your life being in danger if you need to rummage through garbage or randomly jam your hand into closed boxes to get your finger pricked.

  76. Joseph Grabko says:

    First instance of drugs and needles were a fast-food bag in the parking lot, left by an employee. One of my main duties was cleaning in the parking lot, and this was something that could have easily led to me or any random customer/kid picking it up and getting stuck. Second time was inside the building, in the back with cleaning supplies. Neither of these involved going through trash or having to explore at all. Both were plain sight.

    I also have State employees that witnessed the drug discovery and the threats Paul Francis made on my person when I attempted to bring them up the second time. I didn't take these threats lightly, and quit because of them.

    The photos can be easily verified as having come from the restaurant. The video of trash in the walk-in is undisputable.

    I have extra proof linking a specific employee to the needles and drugs via delivery receipts and time-clock slips, among other things. However I am hesitant to share that publicly for legal reasons.

  77. Joseph Grabko says:

    Also, it was the number of times Paul Francis's wife called and hung up that I considered harassment. At least six in one day. Combined with two from the law firm.

  78. Justin Kittredge says:

    Thank you for responding.

  79. Clark says:

    @Justin Kittredge:

    The restaurant owner Paul Francis calls the police and makes a complaint or files a report about Joseph Grabko harassing him. So are you suggesting the police should have just ignored Paul Francis, maybe hung up on him, laughed at him? Is that their job then?

    Police are charged with enforcing laws and ensuring public order.

    Is it their job to hang up when someone calls and complains that they got a B when they deserved an A? Is it their job to hang up when someone complains that his wife is sleeping with his best friend? Is it their job when Sally calls up and complains that her BFF Lisa texted Justin, even though Lisa totally knows that Sally likes Justin? What about if I've published a poem and now someone is quoting it, in full, on their web page? What if I purchased car insurance and now my insurance company is stating that the deductable is somether other than I said? What if I sell an article to a magazine with first serial rights and the magazines reprints it in an anthology with out further payments?

    All of these examples fit into those two categories.

    And yet our normal expectation is that municipal police limit themselves to:

    • stopping public nuisances ( as opposed to adjudicating arguments being held in private )
    • traffic crimes
    • property crimes
    • violent crimes

    If you disagree, please give a theory of police powers that let's police call up a citizen and lecture them about their Yelp review that does not also put a debate between an author and a movie studio about the terms of an options agreement within their purview.

  80. Clark says:

    @Joe Pullen:

    Try saying "I like cops"

    No.

  81. Clark says:

    @orvis barfley

    cops are like anuses. you have to have them, but you don't have any more to do with them than you have to.

    The very first police in what is now the US were in Philidelphia in 1751.

    Which is to say that Englishman had lived in North America for 200 years and reached a population of 3 million people with out one cop.

    I also note:

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/467289/police/36619/Early-police-in-the-United-States

    The United States inherited England’s Anglo-Saxon common law and its system of social obligation, sheriffs, constables, watchmen, and stipendiary justice. As both societies became less rural and agrarian and more urban and industrialized, crime, riots, and other public disturbances became more common. Yet Americans, like the English, were wary of creating standing police forces. Among the first public police forces established in colonial North America were the watchmen organized in Boston in 1631 and in New Amsterdam (later New York City) in 1647. Although watchmen were paid a fee in both Boston and New York, most officers in colonial America did not receive a salary but were paid by private citizens, as were their English counterparts.

  82. No Name Given says:

    Presuming the customer never intended to pay is presumption of guilt. On what basis is it presumed?
    I have entered some eating places and discovered after the meal that I didn't have enough cash. What I do when this happens is explain the situation to the employee/owner and ask their permission to go get cash from the nearest ATM (obviously, I hadn't forgotten my wallet entirely) while leaving my stuff (as a token of good faith). It hasn't happened often (though I'm forgetful), but I have never had any problems (though they were always places I'd already been to and returned to afterwards).

  83. Clark says:

    @No Name Given

    Presuming the customer never intended to pay is presumption of guilt. On what basis is it presumed?

    I recommend David Friedman's book Law's Order about the evolution of common law, the game theory behind setting punishments for crimes at certain levels, why differing incentives explain torts vs criminal law, etc.

    I do not defend the above referenced law on moral grounds, but pragmatically, I can certainly see the basis for it. It's good game theory, the same way that walking a dog in a city park with out carrying poop bags is a sane law.

    Let me ask a question: are you in favor of requiring auto insurance (i.e. proving ability to pay) before driving on a public way? If so, are you not agreeing with the presumption of guilt (i.e. that the driver is guilty until proven innocent of intending to get into an accident and not paying) ?

  84. piperTom says:

    @Shane, I think Clark is having fun with you. For a description of how it actually did work in ancient Eire, try this.

  85. Clark says:

    @piperTom

    @Shane, I think Clark is having fun with you.

    You think the idea of kickstarter that hands out limited-edition autographed truncheons is a joke?

    Hmmm.

    You might be right.

    For a description of how it actually did work in ancient Eire, try this.

    Exactly. See also

    The Machinery of Freedom ( Amazon $31 / PDF free).

  86. JWH says:

    Maybe this pizza place needs a reality TV show? Perhaps they could talk to a certain pizza and bistro in Arizona …

  87. jackn says:

    I hear that they investigate harassment complaints

    I wouldn't call the action taken by the police an investigation.

  88. Justin Kittredge says:

    @Clark
    Sure. I'm imagining I can't go back in time and read the Yelp review exactly as it appeared. Sadly. But let us paint a picture of a hypothetical review for which the police may call up a citizen. Hypothetically. I imagine a review is drawn up that mentions specific people or mentions them with poor disguises. For instance the post may contain things like; Paul Francis got me fired/I quit after I exposed drug use at his restaurant and then he threatened me with bodily harm, Paul Francis also overlooks or knowingly enacts health violations. He is a fat jerk of an asshole and I hate him. BTW, the pizza blows.

    This is partly reviewing a restaurant, but it is also inappropriate and not necessarily protected speech. Maybe instead of his name the Yelp review says "the Management." Maybe my hypothetical is a bit overboard. I don't know. But seeing as harassment is against the law, if another individual accuses you of it, then police should be allowed to call you. If they look at the item in question themselves and see the review contains something other then opinion, then perhaps they might say, "If this is untrue, Then it is wrong."

    Part of the definition of harassment is that there is no legitimate purpose for your actions. If when Officer Miller had asked Joseph Grabko if there was "any particular reason" he was doing as he was, he had said "No not really, I just hate the guy, hate the whole restaurant, I'm out of work now. Just revenge. I'm sorry, I won't do it again," then evidence against Joseph Grabko would have been obtained by that basic confession. Whether he is simply still warned off or not, calling the citizen would have at that moment yielded results in investigating the complaint of harassment. Also police should make it rather clear that part of harassment is defined by its repetitive nature. I might speculate police call in part to be an objective third party to point this out, and be a recordable point of reference for when someone has been told that another party sees their actions as harassment.

    Some civil cases might be more easily brought to a decision if police phone calls, involving both parties, are able to be referenced.

    I hear cyber-bullying is still a thing. If I posted a Yelp review where I claimed a waitress there had 3 STDs over and over again I should hope police would call me. If I told them I had no legitimate reason for doing this, and it was all false, I should hope they would forcefully tell me to fuck off and desist.

    My understanding of agreements/options between authors and movie folks is that the agreements do not happen over and over again or contain harmful or derogatory language about the individuals involved.

  89. Shane says:

    @piperTom

    I think Clark is having fun with you.

    Bah, Clark would NEVER do THAT. Thank you for the link.

    Thank you Clark, I knew if I pestered you enough I would get what I wanted.

  90. desconhecido says:

    @Justin Kittredge

    If someone makes disparaging remarks in a yelp review about a waitress, it's not a criminal matter that the police should investigate. In those cases where there may be a harassment issue (repeated hang-up phone calls, for example), it should not be up to a patrol officer to investigate.

    If you listen to the recording of Miller's phone call it should be pretty clear that she doesn't know anything about the law regarding the issue she is ostensibly investigating. She gets harassment confused with defamation and seems to have no idea as to what speech is and is not protected by the 1st Amendment. She should get back in her patrol car and go harass bicyclers for failing to stay close enough to the curb.

  91. Wondering says:

    JWH, I actually thought this article was going to be about that Arizona pizza place when I read the title. Perhaps pizza place ownership appeals to a particular type of Yelp-fearing personality.

  92. orvis barfley says:

    clark -

    don't get me wrong.  i would love to dispense with them.  they don't exist for the common good.  they are paid functionaries for the benefit of the businessmen who select the leaders and for the leadership itself.

    that said, the people of this nation are nothing like the people when i was a child.  nobody put razor blades in candy when i was young.  this is an era that has lost its mind, and anuses must be humored if avoided.

  93. Bear says:

    Since the topic has become 'what should cops do?' and 'what would do without cops?' let me suggest some more reading (apologies if someopne already linked this and I missed it).

    Are Cops Constitutional?, by Roger Roots
    http://www.constitution.org/lrev/roots/cops.htm

    One of my favorite parts about early police duties:

    "Police were a "kind of catchall or residual welfare agency," a lawful extension of actual state 'police powers.' In the Old West, police were a sanitation and repair workforce more than a corps of crime-fighting gun-slingers. Sheriff Wyatt Earp of OK Corral fame, for example, repaired boardwalks as part of his duties."

    And I'll have to disagree with Orvis' suggestion that people generally are so evil now (as opposed to the recent past) that dedicated gunslingers are now required. I don't booby trap candy. I don't know anyone who does. I don't recall even speaking to anyone who personally knew such a psychotic individual. I really don't think that 1) there are enough candy-tamperers out there to justify cops more heavily armed than a Vietnam War infantryman, or 2) that armies of occupation are the correct response to isolated nutcases.

  94. Joseph Grabko says:

    @Justin You CAN read the Yelp review, actually. Just view the filtered reviews.

  95. Vicki says:

    desconhecido–The "defrauding an innkeeper" laws that cover dine-and-dash are ancient. (Many hotel rooms have them posted on the inside of the door, with statute dates.) I suspect that, as a special category, they are due partly to the fact that the innkeeper was a local and the people who might stay, or buy dinner, and not pay their bill were usually travelers.

    Orvis–

    People still don't put razor blades in candy; the one documented case of poisoned Halloween candy turned out to be a father poisoning his own child. We have some of the same problems as we did half a century ago, and some different ones, and no longer have some of the old ones. (For example, I was inoculated against smallpox as an infant.)

  96. Stephen F. says:

    Wonder how long it will take for Google to pick this up. So far a "wild tomato harrisburg" search doesn't bring up this page.

    Hopefully the Streisand effect kicks in. Also, Yelp will remove any comments referencing drugs, health/food safety, this site… basically anything Joseph G seems to have mentioned. I would stick to reviews of the food quality if yo want them to remain online. The owner seems to watch the page like a hawk.

  97. Justin Kittredge says:

    @Joseph
    OK, I've read the filtered review now. I don't particularly see that as harassment, and am glad you put the information about the restaurant out there.

    My motives for posting originally were honestly more about the article's portrayal of police. I was also glad to read your take on Officer Miller's call to you.

    If they are trying to get you on harassment it occurs to me that if they had the inclination they may try to garner info from ISP folks to confirm that none of the other negative posts were secretly you, other then the three attributed to you. I don't think you actually did that, just a thought that occurred to me. Going to be heading out, won't be responding to any posts for some time, but I wanted to let you know I appreciated your response and info on reaching your original Yelp post.

  98. Ken White says:

    Justin:

    But let us paint a picture of a hypothetical review for which the police may call up a citizen. Hypothetically. I imagine a review is drawn up that mentions specific people or mentions them with poor disguises. For instance the post may contain things like; Paul Francis got me fired/I quit after I exposed drug use at his restaurant and then he threatened me with bodily harm, Paul Francis also overlooks or knowingly enacts health violations. He is a fat jerk of an asshole and I hate him. BTW, the pizza blows.

    This is partly reviewing a restaurant, but it is also inappropriate and not necessarily protected speech. Maybe instead of his name the Yelp review says "the Management." Maybe my hypothetical is a bit overboard. I don't know. But seeing as harassment is against the law, if another individual accuses you of it, then police should be allowed to call you. If they look at the item in question themselves and see the review contains something other then opinion, then perhaps they might say, "If this is untrue, Then it is wrong."

    It's not "harassment", unless you think "harassment" means "people saying mean things about me on the internet."

    To the extent it makes statements of fact (rather than opinion, or insult), and those statements of fact are false, and uttered with the necessary intent (malice, or negligence, depending on the circumstances), then they may not be protected by the First Amendment. But insults and invective and opinion are absolutely protected by the First Amendment, and cannot be constitutionally punished as "harassment" just for stating them — unless, for instance, you called someone repeatedly to utter them after they asked you to stop calling. Simply writing "Ken sucks" every day on your blog is not "harassment" in any way that matters under the First Amendment.

    The police should not be policing insult on the internet. Nothing here suggests a threat. Nothing here suggests repeated unwelcome direct contact — like harassing calls or emails or visits — except, perhaps, from the people hang-up-calling Mr. Grabko. Nothing suggests a valid basis for the police to be involved, unless they believe themselves fit to police civil disputes. Nothing, and I mean nothing, justifies a police officer – carrying the authority of office and the threat of violence — telling a citizen that they have "said their piece" and should therefore stop talking. That's thuggery, and I find your defense of it nauseating.

  99. Kevin says:

    It would be very interesting to see this matter get to discovery to determine if there any personal relationship between Officer Miller and Mr. Francis.

  100. jackn says:

    It would be very interesting to see this matter get to discovery to determine if there any personal relationship between Officer Miller and Mr. Francis.

    Yes, it almost has to be there (IMO). I tried finding it online, but I was not successful.

  101. Chris K. says:

    Ken,
    In your estimation what should Mr. Grabko have done when the cops called.

    I would suggest recording and not saying anything. Not answering any questions asked. etc. In general do not interact.

    Is this correct?

  102. AlphaCentauri says:

    @Joseph Grabko, why are you working at a pizza joint in the first place? With your talent for documentation, surely there are scientists who would want you in their lab or on their field expeditions. If they are faculty at universities, you might even be eligible for free tuition so you can eventually get a degree yourself. (You might need to volunteer first to let them know they'd better pay you before someone else's research lab steals you.)

  103. Johnny McEvil says:

    @Popehat Staff:

    Other than Clark's virulent "never interact with police" rhetoric, is there a sane and reliable reference you'd suggest ordinary citizens read to understand how to interact with police? I'm boring and unoffensive so my encounters have usually been professional and brief, but I'd like to know what to do the next time I'm frisked for a rolling stop (not exaggerating).

  104. Bill says:

    @Justin Kittredge – Police don't have a grasp of the law, they have less of a grasp of technology. Cyber bullying is nonsense. I wouldn't for instance, piss on any of the revenge porn guy is there were on fire, but cops sure aren't the answer. Yelp is part of life. People saying d***ish unfair things is part of life. There's nothing magic about something being online. Just b/c something is on Yelp or Google doesn't mean it's true or people start believing it. My name is tied to this account – go ahead and post that I have 3 STDs or whatever you like anywhere you want – I promise, I wont' call the cops. I won't like it, but it's a known risk.

    P.S. 'cyber' cops in most jurisdictions care about little more than online stings of pedophiles initiated by people that shield them from charges of entrapment. I loathe pedophilia as much as anyone but it's just one of many crimes on the internet and local police are now and probably always will be too ill-equiped to do anything about anything of significance other than online pedostings. – and if they ever get there, the world will suck so bad it won't be worth living in.

  105. Bill says:

    @Johnny McEvil – How about Radley Balko's never interact with the police advice? (hopefully I posted the link right so if you decide to buy it, Popehat gets the kickback). It's a great book and Radley is as passionate is Clark but less 'virulent' I personally love virulent Clark so just want to post an offsetting comment on general principle)

  106. Johnny McEvil says:

    Shutting up is good advice and I'll add Warrior Cops to my reading queue. I also recognize that hiring a lawyer to tell me what to do if I'm in trouble is the wisest course, while asking for legal advice on the internet is a fool's game. Still, I am asking on Popehat because your entertaining writing has educated me about legal issues (and PONIES!) so I think you're as sane and accurate a source as I can conveniently find without paying exorbitant lawyers fees merely to satisfy my curiosity. I'd hate to rely on premises like the "personal sovereignty" meme.

    That said, presuming I have no reason to expect I'm involved in an investigation, have done nothing wrong, and am minding my own business with my mouth FIRMLY shut, is there a checklist or flowchart somewhere telling me when to ask police to stop what they're doing, or to decline to cooperate when pulled over? Most Libertarian/ Anarchist/ Clark's advice I've seen pop up on the internet seems like it would lead to my unnecessary arrest when invoked, from memory, by a layman. I'd like to see it balanced by the less confrontational sort of advice which will prevent me from becoming a client in the first place – without passively acquiescing to thuggish overreach.

  107. naught_for_naught says:

    @Overt Operative offered:

    WTF is wrong with you?

    Not the right forum to go into all that, but I don't hate cops so much that I'm willing to ignore how unsympathetic this guy is.

    Plus not being a lawyer, I can think outside the lawyer's box. That is, when I read that this guy went outside the building into a public alley, fished some drug paraphernalia out of a dumpster that anyone had access to, brings it inside the business, confronts the business owner who gave him a job at the behest of a 3rd-party case worker, imposes his expectations on that business owner as to how the problem should be resolved, then quits because the world doesn't turn to meet his expectations, then attempts to ruin the business's reputation out of spite, I come to the obvious conclusion: this guy is a giant pain in the balls and mostly unemployable due to his own actions and the subsequent publicity this story has received, thus my comment.

    Plus I suppose I was just looking for a fight, so thank you for being my huckleberry.

  108. Stephen F. says:

    @naught_for_naught Did you actually read his statements? There was no alley, the drugs clearly belonged to an employee, and at one point drugs were inside the building. I also fail to see how he imposed expectations. By the account I read, he brought up his concerns multiple times and was threatened with bodily harm as a result. Most people wouldn't have the courage to say anything at all.

    I think there's a reason you're in the minority on this one.

  109. MCB says:

    Still no word from the Lieutenant eh?

  110. naught_for_naught says:

    @Stephen F.

    Did you actually read his statements?

    Yes, I read it. I am referencing the tumbr post that Ken linked to.

    There was no alley, the drugs clearly belonged to an employee, and at one point drugs were inside the building.

    Here is was he claimed,

    Shortly within the month, I discovered a bag near the outside trash dumpster that contained multiple empty bags that had contained synthetic marijuana, a multitude of hypodermic needles, and receipts for deliveries and time-clock slips, all with the same employee’s name listed. Again, I have photos.

    So, like I said, This fellow found them outside in "an alley" to which anyone had access. The drug cache conveniently had incriminating receipts connected with them. He then brought them inside.

    I also fail to see how he imposed expectations.

    Again quoting from this piece.

    Upon notifying Paul Francis, the owner, he threw away the receipts with the employee’s information and told me that it was “no longer my problem”. At the time, I assumed that this meant he would take corrective action on his own.

    However, the employee in question was never reprimanded and continues working at the shop….

    On informing I was led to believe that would support me if I decided to quit, and would inform Paul that his actions were wrong, and that he would not be getting any future support.

    I think there's a reason you're in the minority on this one.

    I may be in the minority, that doesn't really matter to me, but it's not because of a misreading.

  111. Stephen F. says:

    Looking at Google maps the dumpsters are clearly visible in the parking lot in plain sight… not "an alley". Shame the street view is outdated. I'm not sure where you're getting this alley nonsense from. Regardless, the second drugs were plainly inside the building. I'll try to check out the place later… I'm across the river but I can try to check out what's going on.

  112. desconhecido says:

    So, there is no alley and the stuff was not fished out of a dumpster. Perhaps 0/0 is a writer for TNR. More likely he's a lecturer in philosophy at a California junior college.

  113. naught_for_naught says:

    @Stephen F.

    I think it can be taken as a sign of capitulation that you are now focusing on my figurative use of the term "alley" to refer to what you call a parking lot. Fine it's a parking lot, not an alley, or an "alley." The essential point is that it's a publicly accessible site, and there's no way of knowing who put what where.

    Here's my problem with this whole thing. When all is said and done, and this issue holds no more interest for the blogosphere, this young man is going to have to live not only with the wreckage of his actions, but with the notoriety that publicizing the matter created. The irony is that everyone along the way has been trying to help him: the social worker who got him the job; the owner who hired him; Ken in coming to the defense of his rights; even the police officer who made such an ill-advised call, I believe, were all trying to help this guy.

    It takes a village, but there's only so much the villagers can do when their charge is actively trying to burn down the village. Like may people with Asperger Syndrome or other forms of autism, the afflicted can be extremely rigid in their thinking and take offense with little or no provocation. This kind of behavior is clearly evidenced in his making such a big deal about where the trash cans were stored and his persistent posting of Yelp reviews even as the company was removing them.

    The end of all of this is painfully predictable: this guy will be so toxic that no one will want to hire him. Using Ken's living room analogy, who wants a guest who is likely to attack you when he doesn't get his way about how the furniture should be arranged or how the other guests are managed?

    Maybe I'm wrong. You're in the area. Maybe you know someone who is looking for a new hire, as a charitable act, that will dig though their outdoor trash, report them to authorities and try to ruin their reputation online?

  114. Jeff Hall says:

    @Stephen F.

    I think it can be taken as a sign of capitulation that you are now focusing on my figurative use of the term "alley" to refer to what you call a parking lot.

    Wow, Stephen, you lucked out. He might have taken your figurative use of the word "alley" as a sign that you agreed to buy a handsome set of encyclopedias or marry his unlucky-in-love cousin Ermentrude.

  115. naught_for_naught says:

    Perhaps 0/0 is a writer for TNR. More likely he's a lecturer in philosophy at a California junior college.

    Not coming from privilege and having left high school to work in a machine shop in the 10th grade, I did attend a community college, and I loved my philosophy classes, especially Critical Thinking — studying logical fallacies and the like. It was great.

    I also debated in CEDA back before it went completely off the rails with post-modern thought. Went to Nationals doing Lincoln Douglas, made it to the final round and lost to some guy from Texas on a split decision. One judge disliked my aggressive style, go figure. It was a great time. Also I did later teach for three years at a community college in California — English though, not Philosophy. That was more than two decades ago.

    So that's a little about me. Now tell me something about yourself. What kind of elitist douche bag do you have to be to think it a slight to either write for TNR or teach philosophy at a "Junior" college?

  116. Stephen F. says:

    Again with the digging bit that never happened by any account. I for one am glad that he spoke up about basic health standards. I think any company looking for ethics would be happy to take this guy on. Most places don't threaten to kill employees when they report an issue. I don't know, maybe your relationship with your boss is different. It seems he went through all the proper channels, reporting directly to his boss no more then three times before realizing that the place was corrupt.

    Also, he never blamed or targeted the police. The video description even says that the officer was polite. He's said as much in comments on here.

    The issue is what kind of a boss threatens one of their own employees when they attempt to bring up safety concerns? You keep playing this weird victim-blaming game and to be honest it's kind of creepy.

  117. naught_for_naught says:

    @Stephen F.

    I just don't but the narrative that's being presented, and if he's a victim it's of his own doing and the publicity that this story has brought.

    Regarding the threats, are you referring to this quote:

    He told me he could not control what his workers put into their bodies, and asked me if I wanted him to drug test everyone. I mentioned the previous incident with the needles and how I could have gotten stuck by one, causing a liability. He responded “Well then you better stay home, you go outside you could get shot, you could get hit by a car, the real world’s dangerous.” He also stated that an empty container with a commercial label on it, advertised with drug images but “not for human consumption" could have had anything in it. He said “If I get a vial and put a label that says cocaine on it does that mean it had cocaine in it?".

    Even if I accepted that as a verbatim transcript of what was said, which I don't, I still don't see that as being a threat. I read that as a boss as losing patience with an employee once again demanding that his employer give his concerns the same weight he does, and deal with them in the way that he demands. The kid is complaining about how dangerous the situation is, and the boss is saying, "Look, kid, it's a dangerous world. What do you want me to do?" The boss is right, IMO. He can't control what his workers do on their off time, and it's not his responsibility to do so.

    But let's say that I see the worker's point and agree that his concerns are genuine and not exaggerated. Say drug use is rampant among the workers, and the workplace is unsafe. In that case, quitting is the right course of action. He should raise his concerns with the proper authorities and let them pursue the matter. Then move on, and find a better job in a safe place.

    But that's not what he did. He staid on, at least long enough to take some really bad pictures of some not so terrible conditions. He handled the "dangerous contraband," even after he realized what it was. Not only does he continue to handle, undercutting his claim of how risky it was, but he brings it inside, sets in on an eating service, which its his responsibility to keep clean, all so he can photograph it and build a case against his boss. Those are not the actions of someone whose afraid. Those are the actions of someone with an agenda. That's a vendetta.

    Again, I just don't see him as a victim. I say that because I don't think he suffered any real harm during his course of employment. By his and your admission, the female officer was polite and kind. From what I heard of the bosses message, his tone was polite and measured. So where is the beef? I think he's a guy who found himself in a bad environment, one that probably required some coping skills that he didn't have. I think he made some bad choices, the most important being launching a social media campaign to try to hurt this guy. With all that I'm siding with the business owner. That's just how I see it. If that creeps you out, I'll tell you what the owner was telling the kid. Life ain't perfect, and you're just going to have to get over it.

  118. Firehand says:

    Clark wrote "The thing I find amazing about cops is not that they don't understand the Constitution or the laws. The thing I find amazing about cops is that they THINK they know the laws."
    I used to work in law enforcement telecomm, and one of the ongoing battles was convincing officers that they could NOT use the system for whateverthehell reason they wanted.
    "No, you CANNOT run someone for a criminal record just because you want to."
    "Hey, I have the badge, whatever reason I need it is reason enough."
    Repeat ad nauseam. A lot of them truly think that way, on a lot of matters.

  119. desconhecido says:

    0/0 says:

    Blah, blah, blah, I grew up poor and underprivileged and am a world class debater and intellect. And you are an elitist douche bag. Blah, blah, blah.

    It ruins a good joke to have to explain it to a genius, but what can you do? Do you get it now? To put it bluntly: your willingness to disregard facts and make shit up to suit your prejudices suggests that you would fit right in with the writers at TNR.

    As for the junior college crack, it was not intended as a slam against junior college philosophy teachers; it was a slam against you, Huckleberry.

  120. Ken White says:

    I've had some wine and if I have to start applying the paste remedy it is not going to be pretty.

    Stop personal attacks. Now.

  121. desconhecido says:

    I apologize for being a paste eater. It's the diet.

  122. naught_for_naught says:

    it was a slam against you, Huckleberry.

    Ooooh.

    Seriously, I actually thought it was pretty good when I read it. I shared it with my wife over dinner. She thought it was funny too. I especially like the 0/0; that's really clever.

    I'm dealing with a family loss right now, and I always express my grief through general surliness. I'm much too old and fragile to be getting my ass kicked in bar in order to work out my deamons, so I guess I picked the fight here to help me exorcise some of my emotions that way.

    If I was unfair to this young man, I apologize to him.

    If I have misused Popehat, I apologize to its editors.

    If I was unreasonable, I apologize to my junior college logic teacher, Mr. Kim, most of all.

    As far as your comments go, Mr. Stranger, bravo sir, the field is yours — tap tap tap.

    Peace be with you all.

  123. desconhecido says:

    " I'm much too old and fragile to be getting my ass kicked in bar in order to work out my deamons"

    Yeah, I've been playing with Arch Linux recently, so have had some daemon issues as well.

    Oh. Nevermind.

  124. Anony Mouse says:

    Huh.

    A group of select people (landowners) meet regularly (yearly) to decide laws (common polices), a presiding officer/militia general ("kings"), and declare war.

    And this counts as anarchy? Sounds more like "1,000 years of Irish Direct Democracy" to me.

  125. Shell says:

    Response to Clark's at 9:46 AM on the 24th – In my experience the greatest number of people are those who *think* they know, rather than actually *know*. The problem arises when they don't bother to make sure of what they "know" before acting on it.

  126. Valhawk says:

    So, what do you think the odds are that the cop is on the take? The whole intimidation thing is just one of the services you get when you buy a cop.

  127. Justin Kittredge says:

    People are saying laughable things, so here. These links show that the NEXT step after a crime has been committed and the police are notified is to Investigate. After the police are notified the first thing they do is investigate. This is for Any and All crimes. Not just harassment.

    Investigation happens BEFORE it is decided whether the crime merits a complaint filed with the District Attorney or if an arrest needs to be made. In this particular case I am sure it was decided no complaint need be filed, however this decision would have happened in STEP 4. AFTER STEP 3, INVESTIGATE.

    Investigation includes interviewing the victim and accused (among other things in other situations, but in this case interviewing both parties is all we are concerned with) I would think Officer Miller would know almost NO REAL DETAILS of the harassment complaint until the beginning of STEP 3, when she talks with the accuser Paul Francis. The Fourth step, which happens AFTER the Investigation is to decide if the "crime" merits having a complaint filed or arrest made. So Officer Miller would have found out almost nothing about what this complaint actually was until she was halfway through with Step 3, that is after talking to Paul Francis on the phone.

    Unless you think the police are psychic they can't know if this complaint has any merit until they discover the details. Before knowing the details the police may have no more info then that it is a harassment complaint, and the contact info of the accuser. Thus phone calls. Investigation as I said above is talking to the Accuser, And the Accused. After talking with Paul Francis, regardless of her opinion at that point, SHE IS ONLY HALFWAY DONE WITH STEP 3, AND NEED ONLY CALL THE ACCUSED BEFORE SHE DECIDES IF THIS IS WORTHY OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM'S TIME OR FALLS WITHIN IT'S PURVIEW. Surely placing one more phone call is not the end of the world. You would all say I am wrong, that second phone call after she was appraised of the situation of this particular complaint is actually the greatest crime ever committed. Whatever. She called the accused regardless of her opinion. I am sure after she did so she killed the complaint in Step 4, leaving only documentation of what had transpired so far for future developments.

    http://www.da.allegheny.pa.us/CriminalProcedure/Default.aspx

    If You Would Like, Also Read the First Paragraph of this Link Carefully:
    http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-involved-in-a-harassment-investigation.htm

    Thanks for your time. Wanted to make sure even children could follow along.

    P.S. It is my opinion her question of "any particular reason" to Joseph Grabko, about why he posted, was asked because of part (a)(3) of harassment "engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which serve no legitimate purpose"
    She was asking if he had a legitimate purpose behind his actions. This was one of her first questions and probably her main question. If he had answered, "No" She might've followed up with "So this is all false?"

  128. Ken White says:

    Justin:

    So, if I filed a criminal complaint saying your comments constituted criminal harassment, you'd expect the police to call you and tell you that maybe you shouldn't comment any more because you'd had your say, because they couldn't make a decision on my complaint until they talked to you? And you'd expect them to tell you that I might sue you for libel, because it's the police's role in an investigation to convey civil complaints?

    Thanks for your time. Wanted to make sure even children could follow along.

    It's funny that you think you have such a grasp of the criminal justice system that you have a basis to be snide about it.

  129. Clark says:

    Ken:

    It's funny that you think you have such a grasp of the criminal justice system that you have a basis to be snide about it.

    Surely you've noticed this correlation before?

  130. Clark says:

    @Shell

    Response to Clark's at 9:46 AM on the 24th – In my experience the greatest number of people are those who *think* they know, rather than actually *know*. The problem arises when they don't bother to make sure of what they "know" before acting on it.

    Indeed. See my previous comment. It was intended as a piling on of Ken's mockery of Justin, but it holds for cops too.

  131. Shane says:

    @Clark

    Surely you've noticed this correlation before?

    OMG I have that, is there a pill I can take to cure it. Just something simple that I don't have to work too hard to deal with.

  132. newliminted says:

    They don't seem to be trying to turn on the faucet, but they ARE cute:

    http://www.elmazzika.com/video.php?clip=my-ferrets-play-in-the-sink

    As always, Popehat makes me rethink the value of lawyers.

  133. Justin Kittredge says:

    I would expect her to ask me questions and to let me know that in part harassment is defined by its repetitive nature. She does not NEED to tell me how close she believes my actions border on harassment. She does not NEED to tell me what possible punishments and suits I may face. She does make it clear information she is giving in this regard is just that, information, not direct orders. She makes this clear to any *reasonable person* when she says "I'm just letting you know" "you can do what you want with that" "I can't tell you what to do" "probably suggesting probably it is not a bad idea" Whoa slow down on the intimidation sister! She is practically threatening his life!

    The fact that you imply through the flow of your article and the rhetorical questions you ask that she is in fact a thug working on behalf of Paul Francis, and that people are actually buying this and running with it is why I post. Kirk Taylor • Jul 24, 2013 @10:07 am; Ron Larson • Jul 24, 2013 @10:15 am; En Passant • Jul 24, 2013 @11:31 am; Mark Jessup • Jul 24, 2013 @11:32 am; Vermin • Jul 24, 2013 @1:43 pm; Kevin • Jul 25, 2013 @12:29 pm; Valhawk • Jul 27, 2013 @2:27 pm

    You *think* appraising someone of possible consequences is equal to threats or to taking sides, however you do not *know* this. You *think* talking to someone is equal to thuggery, however you do not *know* this. Nothing stops you from *acting* and passing off your opinions as crimes and facts.

  134. Ken White says:

    You can minimize and spin it any way you like, Justin, but ultimately the call is the call, and we have a recording of it.

    So: did you really just answer me that you would expect the cop in my hypothetical to contact you?

    You are right about one thing, though: I do think she is a thug.

  135. Luis says:

    I really like popehat, i don’t comment often, but here I felt compelled.

    I believe this article drips yellow paint.

    I usually read the article first then go through the links, after reading the article I was expecting the recording to be nothing short of : “Cease and desist or I will Guantanamo you”

    But all I got was a pretty nice if misguided cop politely giving unasked for advice. I listened again trying to find the “threatening” part.

    Don’t get me wrong, the call was wrong. It was neither her place nor her duty to make such a call; but I found that the call was well intentioned (remember the saying that states that “the road to hell is paved with well intentions”).

    On the originating matter… I read the complaint and it does seem there is a personality issue at work here.

    The hang up calls are obviously wrong, but besides that I don’t fault the owner´s take on the matter.

    An employee comes with a complaint; you evaluate the complaint and decide what comes next. That is your job, not the employee´s .

    My bet is that the owner got pissed off, went to the police; they informed him that they could do nothing and officer miller took upon herself (and I think this come from her as a person more than from her as a police officer) to try to defuse the situation.

    She never said this guy lied or that the restaurant had passed the inspections (just that the owner said they had) she, misguidedly, tried to put the matter at rest and it backfired (In Mexico we have a saying that roughly translates to “those who wants to be redemptors end up crucified)

    So… thumbs down for the tone of the article, it could have been a piece about how good intentions can have bad results but instead it equates a very polite, very well mannered woman to a guy that shoots a kid.

    Tsk tsk.

  136. Luis says:

    last line shout read "shoots a kid with a taser"

    sorry about that

  137. desconhecido says:

    Justin Kittredge

    I believe you are missing a few key points.

    First, it is impossible to commit a harassment crime against anyone but Yelp by submitting Yelp reviews. For there to be criminal harassment, the harasser must contact the harassee, not some other party and not by general, non-directed commentary . You can harass somebody by repeatedly calling them on the phone, by following them around and shouting at them, by emailing them, by writing on the sidewalk in front of their house (maybe), by sending them tweets (maybe), and by other means which entail contacting them. You can't commit a harassment crime by posting to other parties' websites, by writing online reviews, by commenting on Popehat about a third person, or any other method of general non-directed comment. Calling everyone in the phone book but Ken and telling them that he doesn't know anything about the law, for example, is not harassment of Ken. It may be civilly actionable as some sort of defamation, but it's not criminal harassment. Probably it's not a crime at all.

    Second, the truth of someone's commentary has nothing at all to do with whether or not a course of action is harassment. If you call Danny DeVito on the phone repeatedly and tell him that he's short, you may be guilty of harassment regardless of his shortness. If you post comments to every blog in the universe claiming that DeVito is not funny, you aren't harassing him, even if you are factually wrong.

    Third, when someone makes a complaint to the police about a person and it's clear to anyone who understands the issue that no crime is being committed, you don't need a police investigation to dispose of the matter. When someone complains to the police that another person is guilty of criminal harassment for repeatedly publishing nasty Yelp reviews, the police don't need to investigate the reviews, whether or not the substance of the reviews is true, how many reviews have been posted, or anything else about the reviews because no crime has been alleged. It's like complaining to the police that someone has been trying to kill somebody else by sticking pins in a doll (actually, that may be a crime but I'll leave it for a 1st year law student to explain why).

    Fourth, this whole thing is out of the area of expertise for a patrol officer, even though a patrol officer might, under certain limited circumstances, need to do some investigating of something.

    Fifth, if in the unlikely event that Officer Miller had been tasked with investigating a complaint and needed to interview the alleged criminal, the phone call, as recorded, would have been an incompetent attempt. It's obvious that her goal in making the call was to induce Grabko into changing his behavior, not trying to figure out whether he was guilty of harassment. And, police don't investigate complaints by giving advice and making suggestions and the like. They ask questions in order to determine as much as possible what the facts are. Learning whether or not Grabko believed he had a legitimate purpose in writing the Yelp reviews doesn't gain any useful information because even malicious and repeated posting of nasty and false Yelp reviews is not criminal. And if Miller were assigned the task of investigating the complaint against Grabko and doing a phone interview with him, she was grossly unqualified as show doesn't know anything about the law involved, and doesn't know what questions to ask in order to elicit useful information. She doesn't know how to conduct an investigative interview with a criminal suspect either substantively ore procedurally.

    A couple people here have been lining up against Grabko because they don't look favorably on what he's done. Some think he may be socially awkward, or worse. Some suggest that he is insufficiently grateful for efforts that people have made to help him better fit in and to overcome impediments. But complaining about the nature of Grablo's behavior and whether he is always telling the truth or being overly concerned with petty detail, or anything else to do with the coarse grit of his behavior totally misses the issues that Ken posted. Even people with far fewer redeeming qualities have rights just like everybody else and deserve to have those rights protected just like everybody else.

  138. SKT says:

    @ Mark Jessup, your comment:

    "This is not to condemn EVERY police officer because I am certain that there are still many who do their best to uphold the Constitution and respect the Bill of Rights which protects every citizen."

    ruined a nice cup of coffee as I:
    a) expelled a half a mouthful all over my new LG monitor,
    b) made me literally almost choke to death on the other half, and
    c) caused me to seriously burn myself with what was left in the cup as it fell into my lap after reading this absurd, twisted, and delusional assertion.

    Thanks a lot!

  139. WhangoTango says:

    "I believe this article drips yellow paint."

    You're a regular reader and you're only now figuring out how Popehat rolls?