Did you ever hear the expression “going to hell in a handbag”? I’m not sure how it came about to describe something but that’s what thought occurred to me when I read this Boston Globe story.
I know, I know, it was to be expected that after the Globe did a Spotlight Series the US Attorney’s office in Boston, led by the Globe’s Bostonian of the Year, would be required to follow-up on the article. As much as the night follows the day, the feds follow the Globe.
The owner of the Boston Cab Company, Edward J. Tutunjian, was the subject of that Spotlight report in which the Globe put an undercover Globe employee in as a driver for the company. The Spotlight Team came up with the astounding information that the cab dispatchers were taking kickbacks of up to $20.00 from the cab drivers for giving some cab drivers preferential treatment. It inferred some of these dispatchers may not be paying taxes on this haul. Tutunjian was not connected to that scheme.
Worse, we learn that Tutunjian had started from scratch and by working hard in the cab business had made a lot of money and accumulated many cab medallions but he is sort of stingy guy when it came to paying his cab drivers. He tries to nickel and dime them at every opportunity. We’re told these drivers have a tough job as people coming to America unable to find other type of employment elsewhere.
Naïve as he is, Tutunjian responded to all the allegations. He should have known it would make no difference. The orders had been cut.
What the Spotlight Team gave us was pretty much the age-old story that has been repeated over and over again in America as wave after wave of new immigrants arrive and end up struggling to survive. In the past that was accepted as a part of life; now somehow it has turned into something that should not happen. The idea of having a mean boss who demands you work hard for your daily bread apparently is now somehow anti-American. Welcome to Fatland where everyone is supposed to start at the top.
Well to my way of thinking it was a lame series filled with the usual complaints of few guys who were lucky to have jobs thinking they were somehow not being treated properly. Of course, it was only a handful who had complaints, the rest went about their lousy job making the most out of the situation confident that they’d get screwed but perhaps their kids would have a better chance, which they will if they do what the generations of children who came before them did, which is to take the opportunity of the things that America offers, like free education.
So if what happened should have happened, the Spotlight series followed by the US Attorney getting involved, the Bostonian of the Year doing the bidding of the Globe, why am I writing about it?
It’s not to show the one hand washes the other relationship of the Globe with the U.S. Attorney’s office. It’s to talk about the raid that happened when the search warrant was being executed. If you don’t think the country is turning into some type of police state then explain this.
The search warrant I assume was to obtain the financial records of Boston Cab which is located at 72 Kilmarnock St, Boston, MA 02215 which is located about half way between Fenway Park and the Garner Museum (another story) squarely in the City of Boston. This is not a Mafia headquarters but a place from which taxi cabs emanate and otherwise hard-working guys or maybe gals go in and out intent on getting a day’s pay.
So how is the warrant executed. A Boston Globe video has an unidentified woman saying: “we’re here at this location with special agents from IRS criminal investigation, special agents from the Secret Service, special agents from Hud-OIG and officers from the Cambridge Police Department, Boston Police Department and Massachusetts State Police. . . .” With that force I’m surprised the Back Bay wasn’t told to “Shelter In.”
My first reaction is what has this record search to do with Secret Service, Cambridge Police, the state police and HUD-OIG, whatever that is? Secondly, why are all these cops involved just to pick up some financial records. What’s the threat? In my experience financial records usually go along without too much of a struggle.
But that isn’t the worst of it.
The IRS special agents arrived with guns drawn. They told the cabbies and workers to put their hands up (and not move?). They treated these people who presented no danger to them like Mafia gangsters.
Why are these IRS agents who are supposed to collect taxes armed in the first place, and next, why are they taking guns out and pointing them at and terrorizing civilians who present no threat to anyone? Believe me, it’s not fun to be on the wrong side of a gun. This is police power out of control. What was the danger that required weapons to be drawn? Who is in charge of these people?
When asked what was going on the IRS spokesperson referred the matter to, well you might have guessed it, the Boston U.S. Attorney, Carmen Ortiz. She’s at it again with this unwarranted show of police power. It’s another case of POOF. Is this the type of America we want to live in where cops from six different departments raid a place with weapons drawn and put the people in fear because they want to seize some financial records? Six departments, four of whom have no skin in the game.
I’ve been part of investigations where we seized records working with the state police and others. We’d send in two detectives with the warrant who’d keep their weapons holstered. They’d tell the owner of the business we had warrants to search and seize his records and arrange with him to keep them undisturbed while we arranged to take them, sometimes using a civilian moving company. We did this in a civil and respectful manner without traumatizing innocent employees.
I guess times have changed and this is the new America where we have so many cops they are tripping over each other looking for something to do and when given an assignment act like cowboys in Wild West shows twirling their six shooters. How any prosecutor could allow such an outrageous raid to take place is totally beyond my comprehension?
As I said when I wrote about the Caswell Motel case, it seems the cops are running the U.S Attorneys office in Boston. This means everything has been turned upside down. Lady Justice blushes with shame.