Princess: Cops and priests, oh my | AspenTimes.com
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Princess: Cops and priests, oh my

Ali Margo
The Aspen Princess

“There are two types of people in this world you should stay away from,” my mom, a psychotherapist who was in private practice for more than 30 years, once told me. “Cops and priests.”

She said priests are child molesters and cops are wife beaters. That was her clinical, expert opinion. Oh, calm down. She said it, not me! But before I get to the point, let me tell you a little story.

When I was in college, I had a stalker. I was actually kind of flattered that I was cool enough to warrant one. It all started when my phone rang one night and the cute-sounding guy on the other end said, “Who is this?”

“Who is this?” I bantered back. “You’re the one who called me.”

He sounded like someone I knew who might be playing a trick on me. I was a horny college kid with bad judgment who coveted any attention I got from men (which is something I never grew out of and why I could easily be thrown into the same category of cops and priests, but we’ll save that topic for another day).

“I dropped my cordless phone on the ground, and it rang,” he said.

He suckered me into talking to him for quite some time, asking me all kinds of questions about myself. I chatted with him, happily entertained, until he started getting perverted and inappropriate and weird.

“Call the police,” my friend Sarah said when I told her the story, panic rising in her voice. I’d told her about it not because I was concerned, but because it was the most interesting thing that happened to me that day.

So I did, and it turned out this guy was harassing lots of college girls, finding our phone numbers in the University of Colorado student directory (which stupidly included our photos), calling women and then, worse, stalking them and even breaking into their homes.

Sarah was right to panic: I came home a few nights later and found my bathtub filled with water and my underwear floating on the surface.

The cops came to my house and tapped my phone and had me call the guy. I was able to get him to say enough so that the recording was eventually used as evidence against him in court.

A few years later, after I had graduated and moved to Southern California, the Witness Protection people called my parents. They wanted to know where I was so they could warn me about the release of the criminal I’d helped them arrest, just in case he came after me.

“If you don’t know where she is, I’m sure as hell not going to tell you,” my mom told them. Then she told me (I kid you not), “You should be more afraid of the police than of this silly stalker.”

You know where I’m going with this, right?

This video that freaked everyone out is something that’s been going on, according to my mother, since always. This is what police do; this is what they are trained to do. In Aspen, they (thankfully) have very few opportunities to put their training to use. I agree that possession of a joint hardly warrants such drastic measures (love Meredith Carroll’s comment, “Was Loudon wanting to protect him from taking a nap?”), but the only thing that’s clear in this whole brouhaha is that this video doesn’t tell the whole story.

When I first moved here, the Aspen police were a bunch of hot guys in jeans that sat around Cafe Ink drinking lattes all day and then hung out outside the bars so they could drive hot drunk girls home late at night. It was better than the Tipsy Taxi, only you didn’t even have to call anyone — they were just there, waiting. Despite my whole bad-cop fantasy (despite or perhaps because of my mother’s advice), I never had the guts to act on it. See, I was innocent.

I do yoga with Sheriff Joe, and he is the sweetest guy on the planet who cares about this community more than anyone I know. The tradition of so-called law enforcement in this town, set by his predecessor Sheriff Bob, has always been fairly liberal. These were cool guys who were looking out for us in a good way, not a bad way. They were humanists.

The Aspen police, not so much. When a friend of mine got blind drunk and resisted arrest several years ago, he got hit with the billy club, shoved to the ground and thrown in the clink. That was before smartphones. His photo landed on the front page of the paper instead, making him look like the criminal. Go figure.

Now that every idiot and their teenage son has a handheld video camera in their pocket and the ability to distribute the footage, we’re going to see things we don’t want to see. Just because you’re seeing something for the first time doesn’t mean it hasn’t been happening all along. Then again, my mom would also say that from a clinical standpoint, people don’t get in trouble with the police for no reason — it’s usually an indication of a bigger problem.

The video we’ve seen doesn’t tell the whole story: There are cuts in the posted video where it has been edited. The question is, by whom? The Aspen Police Department told the Aspen Daily News it won’t release the additional video footage because it’s a juvenile case. But the video has already been seen, so it begs the question: Is the department protecting the juvenile, or is it protecting itself? Why were bystanders, not in uniform, involved in the arrest? My friend who’d been arrested said when three guys pin your arms behind your back and your face is about to hit the pavement, it’s impossible not to resist — a survival instinct kicks in.

Maybe if this kid had talked to my mother, he wouldn’t have needed a smack-down from the cops to teach him a lesson.

The Princess is just lucky she never got caught with her pants down. Email your love to alisonmargo@gmail.com.


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