About Those Eight METRO Felony Arrests

 Posted on April 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Friday's operation occurred from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eight felony arrests were made in one shift, compared to five last month.

(METRO blog.)

Here's a PDF of an Excel file METRO produced in response to a request for a list of arrests made in the course of "Operation Bus Safe" 13 April 2012. (NB it's METRO, and not I, that abbreviated "Bus Safe" to BS in the file name. Not that I disagree.)

What does the list of arrests show? If you don't take METRO's word for it, and instead research the arrests in public records, it shows:

  1. Two arrests for new felonies: prostitution (after two prostitution convictions, prostitution is a state jail felony, the lowest degree of felony) and delivery of less than a gram of a controlled substance in penalty group 1 (probably cocaine);

  2. Ten arrests for jailable misdemeanors: five prostitution cases, two possession of marijuana cases, one delivery of marijuana case, one DWI case, and one driving-with-license-invalid case;

  3. One arrest for a fine-only municipal code violation: loitering with intent to commit prostitution; and

  4. One arrest for an out-of-state felony warrant.

METRO claims, "all prostitution cases are soliciting but enhanced to felony due to previous convictions." This is obviously untrue, but if you called the five misdemeanor prostitution cases felonies you would have seven felony arrests.

The eighth purported felony arrest was of a guy who was charged with possession of marijuana. Bail was set at $500. He didn't bail out, but pleaded guilty on Monday the 16th to time served-four days in jail-and is not listed on the Sheriff's website as being in the Harris County Jail. There is no record on of a felony conviction in his (distinctive) name. None of these facts are consistent with METRO's claim that he had a parole warrant. METRO's claim is conceivable, but-especially in light of the other falsehoods in METRO's blog)-it's unlikely.

So: possibly four felony arrests, if the last guy really had a parole warrant; I would bet on the number being three. In either case, substantially fewer than METRO claims. (I asked Mary Sit on the Metro blog how her readers could believe anything she says, given that she now claims that there were no bag searches, and there were not eight felony arrests; she has not approved my comment. These METRO social-media folks sometimes don't respond well to criticism.)

All but five of the arrestees are out of jail. The two with new felony charges are doing state-jail time, two of the prostitution misdemeanants are doing 10-day jail stretches, and the lady with the Florida warrant is awaiting extradition. Otherwise they pled to short jail sentences or (in the case of the DWI and DWLI defendants) made bail.

The people who pleaded guilty at their first court appearances, whether to time served or to nine months in state jail, were represented by appointed lawyers. The Harris County Public Defender was not involved in any of these cases.

At least eleven of the fourteen arrestees are black. Two are white. There is no online record on the fourteenth, arrested for the municipal code violation.

All of the new charges involved consensual crimes-possession or sale of drugs, or sale of sex. None have anything to do with terrorism.

METRO had 81 officers working on this operation, which lasted eight hours last Friday. That's 648 cop-hours, for an average of more than 46 cop-hours per arrest. Plus dogs. I'm no cop, but forty-six hours doesn't seem like a reasonable investment of police time in a misdemeanor POM arrest, even if it includes donut breaks.

METRO says they went where the crime is, but if they had spent eight hours running drug dogs through Park-and-Ride buses they probably would have made as many weed cases, more cocaine cases, and some gun cases for good measure.

But affluent white folk ride Park-and-Ride buses. Affluent white folk don't do their prostitution business on the bus, affluent white folk don't plead guilty at the first court appearance, and affluent white folk have politicians who listen to them.

Much easier to go fishing where the fish don't bite back.

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