Police Double Down

When they have been proved in the wrong, police, much like normal folk, instead of correcting their error, double down as if to prove they were not in the wrong. Citizens found innocent via the judicial process are not immune from harassment, as evidenced by the scenario described in the following communication from a citizen to the Chief of Durham, New Hampshire’s Police.

Dear Chief Kurz,

I would appreciate it if you would have a talk to patrolman Castricone and his on duty sergeant over his actions last evening around 7 pm for the following reasons.

I noticed a Durham police car drive by heading south on 108 as I was getting in my vehicle, as I approached the end of my driveway he drove by heading north, after he past me about 200 yards. , he preformed a u-turn in the middle of the road drove by me again heading south as I was sitting in my vehicle, by the time I got out of my vehicle to get my mail and back in, he drove by me once again, each time well below speed limit. As I pulled out of my driveway I had seen him once again just down the road perform another u-turn in which he followed me south on 108, he then began to tailgate me at a dangerous distance, not just in Durham but continued right into Newmarket until I turned into a gas station. Upon leaving to head back home he was pulled over on the side of the road, when I approached my driveway I got out of my vehicle as I saw him driving towards me. I waved him down to stop, he did but because of traffic he told me to hold on, drove north and once again did another u-turn drove by me did another u-turn and pulled over. I asked him why he was tailgating me all the way into Newmarket, he said he was just doing patrol I was doing nothing wrong. I asked him again why he felt the need to make all those u-turns and tailgate me into Newmarket, he did say he was sorry, I did nothing wrong. But refused to state why he was tailgating me.

I do have this on video as once again I am threatened by your officers and their actions. I am only asking you to once again talk to your department about harassment. Specifically sergeant Dalton as I believe he was in charge and on duty along with the departments new young patrolman Castricone. As he stated I was doing nothing wrong so there was no reason for his actions. I am asking you to take action and speak to him about the dangers of tailgating, and harassment.

Thank you,
Steve Harriman

This continuing saga was first outlined in this presentation to the Durham Town Council in 2010.

In the culture of obedience, our agents of law enforcement do not tolerate being proven wrong. Since the gentleman from Dover, who now lives in Durham, has an artificial leg, one has to wonder if being somewhat handicapped makes him an easy target for harassment by the cops.

The chief’s response.
Why issue warnings instead of speeding tickets? Because the town receives no revenue from traffic tickets. All the money goes to the state and, if the drivers appeal, there’s a lot of time wasted in court.

Mr. Harriman….I would have responded to you earlier but I did not want to make any assumptions with my response. Now that I have spoken to officer Castricone about your observations, he indicated that he was performing a directed speed patrol in the area of your home, essentially monitoring traffic traversing Route 108, and every one of the U-turns were the result of a speeding vehicle approaching him and being detected by the radar unit in his police vehicle. While he was issuing warnings to the vehicle operators, and these routinely do not consume much time, he does indicate that he did spend some time in the area of your driveway only because every time he started to leave to patrol another area of Route 108, another speeding vehicle approached him causing yet another U-turn and traffic stop. As for the tailgating he stated that he did not believe that he was close to you but that he apologized to you for causing you anxiety.

I will affirm that Officer Castricone is a newer officer and he indicated to me that he did not know you and/or your history with the Durham Police. Additionally, Sgt. Dalton was not the supervisor of Officer Castricone that evening.

And then the Town Administrator responds:

Dear Steve,

I read with concern on Friday your email about your perception that you were being threatened, targeted, and harassed by the Durham Police Department. Subsequently, I raised the issue with Chief Kurz.

I am informed that Durham Officer Max Castricone to whom you refer in your email had no idea who you were until you engaged him as he was conducting routine traffic stops and issuing warnings for speed along Route 108 in the proximity of your family’s property. Your email gives the appearance that there must have been something seriously wrong with Officer Castricone as your observations are that Officer Castricone drives in one direction and then makes a U-turn repeatedly. What you unfortunately fail to mention is that each of the U-turns was resulting in a traffic stop for a vehicle that Officer Castricone’s vehicle radar detected as it approached him and that he was performing a U-turn and stopping the vehicle. In fact, I am informed that the radio log and the paperwork that Officer Castricone turned in demonstrates that he issued 6 warning cards to vehicle operators during his 1Ž2 hour stint in the proximity of your family’s home along a busy stretch of Route 108/Newmarket Road. While Officer Castricone was emphatic to Chief Kurz that he was not tailgating you, as he stated you kept slowing down when he was behind you, he readily apologized to you if that was the impression he was conveying.

While you have been very upset with the department’s interactions with you in recent months, the County Attorney’s office has clearly affirmed that the department’s treatment of your case was valid and proper as the result of your license suspension resulting from your guilty plea for Driving Under the Influence.

Once again, Chief Kurz confirms that Officer Castricone is a newer officer and indicated to him that he did not know you and/or your history with the Durham Police Department. Additionally, as Chief Kurz has written to you directly, Sergeant Dalton was not the supervisor of Officer Castricone that evening.

Unfortunately, your email from Friday morning left out facts, skewed others, and would leave one with a distorted assumption of what actually occurred.


Which prompted this response from me, at length:

Mr. Selig:
It really isn’t possible for a citizen to have all the facts. Which is why Mr. Harriman asked that the Chief look into the matter.
I did not formulate any conclusions from his observations of the patrolman’s performance. However, I did conclude from Chief Kurz’ response that I disagree with the strategy of issuing warnings to speeders. While I realize that the revenue from tickets does not come into Town coffers, it’s all our money and it’s all our safety that’s at risk when people drive recklessly. Even when an individual manages to simply wind himself around a telephone pole or tree and injures no-one else immediately, whatever public resources were expended on his rearing and education and accoutrement are wasted when he does himself in in the prime of life. We continue to see nearly forty thousand people killed prematurely on our roads and highways most probably because many humans do not possess the necessary awareness to maneuver an automotive vehicle without running into things. It is not their fault that we have stinted on making public transportation available on a wholesale basis, but this community is favored with alternatives for poor drivers. We just need to bring it to their attention that they should get off the road. Police doing U-turns and issuing warnings for a couple of hours does not accomplish that.
So you can see where I am coming from, let me explain that in 56 years of driving in the U.S. I have been stopped exactly twice by a police officer. The first time was during a driving lesson in Manhattan when I inadvertently got on the Queensboro bridge and the instructor put his hand on the steering wheel to steady it. That was observed by an officer on patrol who pulled me over to make sure there wasn’t an abduction under way. That sort of set my expectation of what the police should be about. The second time was after dark in Newmarket when I was driving home on Packers Falls road from a political meeting. After I turned onto Packers Falls a police car turned on his lights and ordered me to pull over. When I did and I asked him why he had stopped me, he claimed I hadn’t turned on my turn signal for a right turn. I asked if he was sure, since I couldn’t, at that point when the wheels had straightened prove I had done what I always do. This question cause the officer to become huffy, demand to know where I’d been and where I was going (from the P.O. parking lot to home) and to issue me a $35 ticket, which he invited me to contest with the judge. After he returned to his vehicle, I waited for him to drive off. He didn’t. Instead, he returned to demand why I hadn’t left and to threaten to arrest me, if I didn’t drive off. I was tempted, but resisted since I had left Julian at home with my 96 year old mother and my going to jail was not on the agenda.
The next day I wrote a letter to the Newmarket chief of police to complain that, whatever the officer was expecting, he’d been rude to a female driver after dark when he should have been cognizant of the fact that there are people impersonating police officers out and about. The Newmarket Chief never bothered to respond.
I’m glad officer Castricone was polite. I’m glad Chief Kurz responded. I question the policy of issuing warnings for speeding.

Monica Smith

Then Steve Harriman had his own take:

Todd, I do not really care what cover up srories you are told, officer Castricoe did not pull over any vehicle after his u-turns to issue warnings within the time frame i am referring. I am not the only person who witnessed his actions or slowed down speed each time he passed in front of property and myself, along with several people that were at the gas station in Newmarket who witnessed his tailgating me. I can assure you i would not be slowing down to provoke an officer who is tailgating. All I ever asked is for Chief Kurz to look into officers actions. Why was I tailgated or even followed into the next town if I was doing nothing wrong? Todd I would also like to bring to your attention my driving under the influence or under revocation has nothing to do with the police departments current actions. The county attorney’s office did issue an “undated” letter for the police department, the county attorney also dropped any charges your police department had handed over to them as soon as the same reinstatement letter was shown. of is also very clear your police department can make up stuff like “holding my truck at smitty’s for safe keeping” and then when paperwork is requested I’m told it never happened and stuff was taken out of report. I’m sorry your police department is not perfect or completely honest nor do they need to as long as they just do what they want as stated, adding things to reports that never even happened. I really do not care what you want to believe, I have made nothing up at all. I am just asking to be left alone especially when I am doing nothing wrong at all. My conversation with officer castricone was recorded and would prove the stories you were told to be different. I will apologize for thinking sergeant Dalton was the officer in charge, I have had problems with him in the past and even been told by another officer that he was to stay away from me. Steve