Prayer Support

Read this featured blog post by Pastor Tony Rea

Prayer Support


I Can (series)

On routine patrol one afternoon in the south end of the precinct, more specifically at Cass and Selden (the infamous Cass Corridor), a young woman flagged us down, waving her arms frantically and yelling for us to stop. We pulled over and when this gal approached our scout car, I recognized her to be one of the women who regularly worked the streets as a prostitute. This gal was out of breath, obviously shaken, and told us she just witnessed a man point a shiny gun at one of the other women, another street prostitute. She said as soon as they saw the gun everyone started running and screaming. 

When prompted, this woman gave us a pretty good description of both the man with the gun and the vehicle he was driving: a late-model, light-colored Cadillac with rear body damage. The vehicle was last seen at Second and Selden, just one block over from where we first came in contact with the witness. 

A short time later, while patrolling the area, we observed what appeared to be the exact same Cadillac parked on the street. We radioed the dispatcher with the location and license plate of the vehicle and told him we were going to keep the car under surveillance. About 30 minutes later, a man fitting the description we were given walked out of the bar and got behind the wheel. Before he had a chance to drive away, my partner and I pulled up behind him and, using the loud speaker, instructed him to step out of the car. 

My partner then looked inside the vehicle and found a gun under the driver’s seat, a .38 caliber, Smith and Wesson, nickel-plated revolver (the nickel is what gave the gun it’s shiny appearance) loaded with six live rounds. We asked the man to produce his license to carry a pistol; and when he was unable to do so, we placed him under arrest. 

At the 13th Precinct Station, the man was fingerprinted, processed, and charged with CCW-MV (carrying a concealed weapon in a motor vehicle). We were unable to attach the felonious assault charge (pointing the gun) because, for obvious reasons, neither of the two gals involved were willing to testify. 

After processing, what typically happens is the case is immediately assigned to one of the 13th Precinct detectives. Whoever is in charge of the case assesses the arrest and then prepares a criminal complaint warrant that needs to be signed by a judge. The case then goes to court for prosecution. Unfortunately, this particular arrest never made it that far. 

It was determined by the detective in charge that my partner and I did not have sufficient, probable cause to search the suspect’s car. Out on the street, once we secured the scene and our lives were not in danger, the detective said, we should have requested a search warrant for the car. Searching the car without the warrant was a violation of the suspect’s rights, and since the search was illegal, so was the evidence. It’s called “fruit of the poisonous tree.” The reasoning is, if the source of the evidence is tainted, then anything gained from it is tainted as well. Since there was no probable cause to look in the car (the tree), there was no illegal gun evidence (the fruit) to substantiate a crime. Therefore, the detective in charge decided not to process the CCW-MV arrest warrant, so the man was discharged and set free. 

Now, hearing me tell this story, how do you feel about it personally? Without a doubt there are some of you (especially you lawyer types) who wholeheartedly agree with the legal technicality. You might say, “Hey, the police (forget for a moment it was me, LOL) violated this man’s rights; they had no justification in stopping him in the first place. They didn’t know for sure this was the same car and this was the same man. They didn’t have a search warrant—it was a clear violation of his rights, and the only proper and lawful thing to do is throw the arrest out.” 

Some others would probably disagree and describe this whole scenario as nothing short of complete craziness. “I mean, come on, the bad guy brandished the gun, the police had a witness, he matched the description, and he was in the getaway car. It was his gun, and he didn’t have a permit to carry. No matter what the police did or didn’t do, the suspect broke the law and should be charged. Next time he just may end up killing one of those women!” 

Can you see how confusing it can get out there? The bottom line is law enforcement officers desperately need prayer. Prayer for protection, prayer for wisdom and discretion, prayer for patience, self-control, and impartiality. 

The law enforcement code of ethics begins this way: As a law enforcement officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality, and justice. 

Thankfully, the majority of police officers take this pledge to heart. I know I did. Say a short prayer for them today. 

1 Timothy 2:1-2

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.