Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Police chopper donut runs and juror cats?
Sometimes, the things I cover can be quite dark and disturbing. It’s the nature of the territory.
However, I have to say a lot of the people I come into contact with are amazingly resilient and buoyantly cheerful.
And which is why I had to share two different stories that have made me laugh recently.
I’m confident we won’t see WPS Chief Keith McCaskill sending out a memo instructing officers not to take the city’s impending police chopper on a donut-run.
Still didn’t stop this tale from making me laugh out loud, though.
So, Chief, this one is for you, courtesy of Sarnia mayor Mike Bradley, who forwarded the 2001 story on until it hit me:
"ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A police officer and helicopter pilot who used a police chopper to make a doughnut run last month drew support, not condemnation, from some people in the city.
One man went so far as to tell the Albuquerque Journal he's willing to pay for the cost of the late-night flight.
Bruce Robinson told the journal he didn't think the police were wasting taxpayers' money, noting that the helicopter probably just was returning to base after finishing a shift.
"People have to be looking hard for something to get upset about that," Robinson was quoted as saying. A police sergeant also told the journal that most calls police received about the incident were supportive. The two men in the helicopter face disciplinary action for making an unauthorized landing in an empty lot next to a Krispy Kreme outlet to pick up the box of doughnuts."
Also amusing? The cat turned juror.
The mix-up happened recently after an East Boston family listed their pet cat on a Census form.
According to an NBC affiliate:
"A Boston family is trying to figure out how their pet cat was summonsed for jury duty.
"I said, Sal, what's this? You know, I don't believe it I was shocked," said Guy Esposito, Sal's owner.
Sal's owners, Guy and Anna Esposito, think they may know the source of the mix up: Sal really is a member of the family, so on the last Census form, Anna Esposito listed him under "pets".
"I just wrote 'Sal Esposito', scratched out the 'dog,' and wrote, 'cat,'" said Anna.
Anna filed for Sal's disqualification of service.
However, the jury commissioner was unmoved and denied the request.
Sal's service date at Suffolk Superior Court is set for March 23.
Anna said that if the issue isn't cleared up by then, she will simply have to bring the cat to court."
But really, folks, juries are one of the unsung heroes of our society – sitting through exhausting testimony for hours on end each day.
Their reward? Well, during deliberations, local jury members are put into hotel rooms with no phones, no TV, no socializing with each other and no escape.
(They’re not even allowed out to exercise!) Hats off to you, even you of the feline variety.
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About Gabrielle Giroday
Gabrielle has handled the police and crime beat for the Winnipeg Free Press since 2009, meaning she’s seen the best and worst humanity has to offer.
Covering the crime beat in a city known for its homicide rate and violent crime can be challenging, but Gabrielle tries to look at the more complex factors that drive violent events. She began the beat after originally joining the Free Press in June 2005.
Her previous experience contributing to the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business magazine, the National Post, Maisonneuve magazine and NOW Magazine. She was also a member of the editorial board of the Queen’s University Feminist Review, and completed a degree there in politics and English. Some of the Toronto native’s favourite adventures include hitchhiking in the Cuban countryside during a stint studying in Havana, and hanging off the back of a jeep climbing the Kanchenjunga mountain in Nepal.
Gabrielle also felt privileged to write about the first-time elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the summer of 2006, and received a grant from the Canadian Association of Journalists and Canadian International Development Agency to write about sexual violence there.
She recently went to Cameroon in fall 2010 as part of an expert election monitoring team, on behalf of the Commonwealth.
When she’s not chasing a story, Gabrielle can be found jogging every morning by the Legislature and down Portage Avenue.
She’s always enthusiastic about stories that involve investigating the road less travelled or the opinion less broadcast.
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