The "war on police" has come ashore on the SouthCoast.

New Bedford Detective David Brown was forbidden to use the bathroom by a city business on Friday, January 25.

I heard about this refusal of service on Friday shortly after my radio show ended. I immediately drove over to the location to speak with the officer and see the situation for myself.

Det. Brown was working a traffic detail at a road construction site at the intersection of Rockdale Avenue and Allen Street outside of the 7-Eleven convenience store. This intersection has extremely heavy traffic flow. The convenience store and a bank are the only businesses located close to the road construction site that the New Bedford Police were covering that day.

Det. Brown normally wears plain clothes in his current assignment as an investigator of sexual crimes involving children. However, he was directing traffic on this day and was dressed in a fluorescent yellow police-issued jacket, police-issued cold weather cap with "NPBD" emblazoned across it and a gun clearly displayed on his hip. The only thing brighter than his jacket was his police badge that was prominently displayed on his chest.

I mention all this uniform detail so there can be no misunderstanding about whether or not the staff at the 7-Eleven convenience store, located at 489 Rockdale Avenue, knew that Det. David Brown was a police officer on duty. And he was standing outside of their business for hours directing traffic, including assisting the customers driving in and out of their parking lot. He was dressed in a manner that would allow drivers of cars to clearly understand he was a police officer. So obviously, a clerk standing face-to-face with him would recognize him as an on-duty police officer.

After a few hours of directing traffic, the detective felt the call of nature and walked into the 7-Eleven and asked if he could use their bathroom. He tells me the clerk went into the doorway behind the counter and then returned and told him no. The clerk and her supervisor decided they would refuse to allow a uniformed police officer, who was actually assisting their business to function that day, the common courtesy of using their bathroom.

To his credit, Det. Brown wasn't upset or rattled by the experience. He has seen far worse. He saw his partner nearly stabbed to death when he was assigned as a detective in the city's gang unit. He currently works to put the local sexual predators who rape and abuse local children in prison. He lives in the grim world that most of us thankfully only see on TV episodes of Law and Order, and his cases don't wrap up in 60 minutes.

"It isn't going to ruin my day, but it is a sign of the times we are living in," Det. Brown told me. I told him the last time I saw him working a traffic detail he was downtown and he was walking an elderly lady arm in arm across the street.

The times are changing in America for the men and women who put on a badge and a gun and then put their lives on the line for us. Refusing to serve police officers, spitting in their food, and assaulting them is now a regular event. This is the result of a long-standing campaign to destroy the traditional American value of respecting the police. If you call police officers "pigs" long enough, eventually some people will start thinking and acting as if the police are less than human. Animals go to the bathroom outside.

I myself went into the store Friday after talking with the detective and purchased a bottle of water. The female clerk told me it was $1.99, and I handed her two one dollar bills. Then I asked if I could use the bathroom. She said no; she didn't ask her supervisor. She also tried to keep my change.

This was the first time in my life that I really wanted the penny back.

Editor's Note: One of our editors went into the store on Saturday afternoon to follow up on what may have happened. There, he spoke with Sidra, the clerk on duty. She said she was not there on Friday and was unaware that a police officer had been denied a request to use the restroom, but she did say that anyone that asks, no matter who they are, would not be allowed to use it. She said the person would have to go behind the counter and into the private office area in the back, where all of the sensitive business documents are kept, and that is something the store manager just will not allow. The store's policy is that there is no public restroom.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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