Unequal Justice System Allows Dunn to Skate [OPINION]
The much-anticipated police report on Ward 3 City Councilor Hugh Dunn's car crash is in, and it raises more questions than it answers. Quite frankly, I think it stinks.
Dunn whacked two vehicles in a parking lot off South Water Street at 1:23 a.m. Saturday morning before hitting a curb and disabling his own vehicle. A police dispatcher advised responding officers that, according to witnesses, Dunn was attempting to flee the scene. Dunn was located by the officers but away from the point of impact.
The reporting officer said Dunn “seemed confused, shaken and disoriented.” When Dunn was asked his name, he was “unable to answer right away but eventually stated his name was Hugh Dunn.”
The officer stated that Dunn was not rude and did not appear to stagger or fumble as he got out of his vehicle. He said Dunn was “shaken, confused about the incident, incoherent and was disoriented and complained of head and back injuries.”
The report states that Dunn did not appear to be intoxicated. The officer decided not to administer a field sobriety test and delayed interviewing Dunn for several days.
Dunn told the officer on Tuesday that he had taken Benadryl at some point before getting in the car. He said that he had had a late dinner in the downtown area prior to the accident after what he described as a "long day." There was very little other information contained in an official report of that interview. There were a number of key questions that were either omitted from the report or simply never asked:
- Had you been drinking prior to the crash?
- Where did you eat?
- Who were you with that can corroborate your story?
- How long before you got behind the wheel did you take the Benadryl?
- Had you taken any other drugs?
- Why were you in the parking lot anyway?
- Do you know anyone who lives in the apartment complex?
- Were you on the cell phone at the time of the crash?
- Was your lost cell phone ever located?
These are questions that you and I would have been asked as we would be, at the very least, charged with reckless driving. But not all of us are connected. Do you think a kid from the West End would have been treated the same way? Or your kid?
For much of the past year, we have debated whether there are different justice systems for different people. I guess that question has been answered.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.