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Boardman writes: "It looks idyllic and innocent, but some see it as a crime scene."

Montgomery County Police car. (photo: Bethesda Now)
Montgomery County Police car. (photo: Bethesda Now)


Building a Police State One Child at a Time

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

18 April 15

 

It looks idyllic and innocent, but some see it as a crime scene.

unday, April 12, was a gorgeous, mostly sunny spring day in Silver Spring, Maryland, a relatively safe suburb of Washington DC. The temperature was in the upper 60s. The family had spent most of the day driving home from Ithaca, New York. The children were getting restless. Around 4 pm, the parents, Alexander (Sasha) and Danielle Meitiv dropped their two children, Rafi and Dvora, off at Ellsworth Park, a familiar neighborhood play area. The parents told Rafi, 10, and Dvora, 6, to be home by 6 pm. The park is about four blocks away from where they live with their parents. Shortly before 5, the children started to walk home together. They were following a familiar route, going past a library they went to frequently.  

Sunday, approximately 4:55 pm.The Montgomery County Emergency Call Center logged “a call to check the welfare of two children in the area of Fenton and Easley Streets” [according to a Montgomery County Police Department press release the next day]. What kind of idiot would call the police to check the welfare of two children walking home with no sign of distress? 

The idiot in this case appears to have been a single, anonymous male, reportedly “a Navy corpsman out walking his dog,” who called the non-emergency number, not 911. In this edited transcript of the recording of his call carried by local television, the Navy corpsman said:

“I am walking my dog…. Two kids that are unaccompanied. And they have been walking around for probably about 20 minutes by themselves….”  

[Operator: how old do they look?]  

“Maybe 7 – ­ little boy he’s about seven, eight – little girl, maybe about six.” 


[Operator: OK, and you don’t see any parents around them?]

“No, ma’am.”

[Operator: OK, have you talked to them? So you know why they’re just walking around by themselves?] 

“No, no, they came up and asked to pet my dog, and I let them, and – uh – that was it … ”

[Operator: Are they still with you or have they already left?] 

“No, I’m walking behind them, I don’t want to scare them.”

[Operator: OK, where are they right now?]

“We are on Fenton Street, past Easley … (unintelligible) going toward Montgomery College….”

[Operator: Did you want to stop somewhere to be seen by a police officer, or no?]

“No, I’m just following the kids, to make sure….”   

[Operator: Did you ask them their name or did they tell you their name?]

“No, they just came to say, ‘Can I pet the dog,’ and I said yeah, then they petted it and started walking.… I first saw them at the Ellsworth dog park.”

[Operator: Are they black or Hispanic or Asian?]

“Caucasian….”    [They discuss description and clothing]  

[Operator: Are they under the influence of anything at all?]

“Nope. (unintelligible) … dirty clothes …”

[Operator: Their clothes look dirty?]

“Yeah…” 

[Operator: And have you ever seen them before in your neighborhood?]

“No, ma’am, not at all.”

[Operator: I’m going to get the call started, since you’re going to be following them. [at 2:46]]…. 

“On Silver Spring Avenue… and now they’re going to the parking lot, the Fenton Street Village parking lot #3…. I don’t know of any residence or apartment building in this area…. They’re still walking….”

[Operator: Do you see any police officers around?]

“No, not yet….”

[Operator: You should be seeing them soon.]

 “They’re now going toward Georgia Avenue…. Ok, they saw me now and they’re probably getting really scared.”

[Operator: Are they running?]

“No, no, they’re still walking… Now they’re on Silver Spring Avenue, going back toward Fenton…. ” 

[Operator: OK, so they’re still in your sight?]

“They stopped at the S.T.Kim company…. I see the officer…. I’ll stay right here. They went behind that building…. Oh, yeah, they’re still there….”

At this point the police arrive and stop the children. The call ends at 7:20, roughly four minutes after the operator called the police.

Clearly the idiot who called emergency services was a Bad Samaritan. First, he stalked the Meitiv kids for 20 minutes, even though he had no idea who they were, even though they had lived in the neighborhood for several years. Then he let the kids pet his dog, but didn’t talk to them, even though he’d been stalking them. Then he called the emergency services non-emergency number. Why? He knew they weren’t afraid because they’d asked to pet the dog. There’s no indication he thought they were lost or in danger of any kind. He called the cops because they were unattended and, maybe, had “dirty clothes.”

If this idiot had just enough humanity to ask the kids petting his dog if they lived around there, he probably wouldn’t have – and certainly shouldn’t have – called the cops. But this is the behavior police states depend on, the impulse to report something to authority. The caller idiot exercised no personal responsibility, he made a judgment based on insufficient evidence, and he unleashed a domino-effect of abuses to the personal freedom of each of the four Meitivs. For this he deserves the police state medal for mindless servitude. 

Sunday, approximately 5:03 pm.One or more police officers arrive on the scene and engage Rafi and Dvora Meitiv, ages 10 and 6, who live nearby. The police proceed to behave as though they worked for a police state and make matters significantly worse for all the Meitivs. The police press release doesn’t say what the idiot caller told police, but based on his phone call, he had nothing helpful to offer. Neither, as it turned out, did the police. 

The police quickly determined who the children were and where they lived, a few blocks away. Then, as the police press release put it, adding a totally subjective, implicitly lurid detail without a shred of relevance:

“The officer observed a homeless subject who he was familiar with, eyeing the children. This male subject remained in the area during the time that the officer was there with the children.”

What the police press release does not say is whether the police recognized the children from a similar event several months earlier. Police behavior is consistent with both recognition of the children and harassment of the family: the police do not take the children home, the police do not call the parents.

Sunday, 5:16 pm. After taking almost 15 minutes to decide not to take the children home, the police decide to call Child Protective Services for no stated reason. After mentioning the homeless man “eyeing the children,” according to the press release:

“The officer began by identifying the victim children and notifying his supervisors. At 5:16 p.m., he contacted Child Protective Services (CPS), per established protocol. Under Maryland law, police officers who become aware of circumstances involving possible child abuse or neglect are mandated to contact representatives of Child Protective Services.”

Notifying his supervisors of what? Why didn’t his supervisors tell him to take the children home? Unless Maryland law is corrupt beyond belief (always a possibility), there nothing here, absolutely nothing to trigger any “awareness” of abuse or neglect. Maybe the irrelevant homeless man “eyeing the children” is supposed to justify an awareness of a possibility of abuse, but possibility is outside the law and only a credulous fool or a person of ill will would buy it.  What’s not here in the police press release, even though it’s well known to the police, is the previous encounter with a family that believes in letting its children have space and freedom, and are willing to defy the state over that principle. That defiance of authority is just the kind of thing that makes petty bureaucrats crazy and vindictive.

That independence of spirit is more than enough to explain why the cop first lied to the kids, and then proceeded to abuse them beyond any justification. Late that night, talking to reporters after being released from custody of Child Protective Services, ten-year-old Rafi described what happened to him in policy custody:

“Well the policeman said, ‘We’ll give you a ride home,’ but we were like two blocks away, so we got in the car – and then, about two and a half hours later, instead he brang us here [to Child Protective Services in Rockville].” 

The police held the children in a police car, without food or relief breaks, for two and a half hours. During this time the police told the children nothing about why they couldn’t go home. During this time the police told the parents nothing. The next day, in defense of police behavior, in a low-affect, canned response, Capt. Paul Starks of the Montgomery County police said on camera:

“Under Maryland law, if an officer believes that there’s circumstances or some indication that involves child abuse or neglect, we are mandated as police officers in Maryland to contact Child Protective Services.” 

He refused to say what basis had for believing the Meitiv children were being abused by anyone but the police.

Sunday, approximately 6:10 pm. Having effectively “disappeared” the Meitiv children in good police-state style, the police held them incommunicado, trying to figure out what to do next. For unexplained reasons, Child Protective Services was failing to make a timely decision, letting the Meitiv children rot in ignorance and fear. According to the police press release:

“At approximately 6:10 p.m., the officer contacted another CPS [Child Protective Services] employee for guidance. At 6:41 p.m., the original CPS worker contacted the officer and stated that a decision was still forthcoming [sic – actually NOT forthcoming] from within CPS.”

Sunday, 7:18 pm. After another hour of holding the children in seclusion in a patrol car and keeping the parents in ignorance (the parents had begun a frantic search for their children shortly after 6, when the children hadn’t come home), someone unnamed made a decision that seems to be based on the previous episode months earlier with the Meitovs. As the police press release put it:

“At 7:18 p.m., a decision was made to transport the children to the CPS offices located at 1301 Piccard Drive in Rockville. The officer was also advised that CPS would notify the parents. The officer followed the direction of the CPS worker as procedures dictate – due to the serious nature of a Child Protective Services investigation and concern for the welfare of the children, they cannot be returned home until their safety can be assured.

“Prior to being transported to the CPS offices, one of the children asked to use the bathroom…. ”

The child’s request was denied and transport begun.   

Sunday, approximately 7:43 pm.The police, still not communicating with the parents, transferred the Meitov children into the custody of Child Protective Services, according to the police press release:

“After an approximate 20 minute ride to CPS [Child Protective Services], the officer and children arrived at CPS at approximately 7:43 p.m. A bathroom was made available at that time.”

Although that marks the end of direct police involvement in the case that day, the next paragraph is the longest in the release. It’s a curiously irrelevant passage that seems to be trying to be exculpatory, an attempt to justify unjustifiable official behavior, or at least to shift the blame for abusing the children away from the police, suggesting they had only the best interests of the children in mind but they were merely the helpless pawns of Child Protective Services:  

“While the children were with the officer, they told the officer that they were hungry and thirsty, stating that they had last eaten hamburgers between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. that afternoon. The officer related these facts to the CPS employee and advised that he had provided his own bottles of water to them. The officer had his personal lunch with him as well and was giving it to the children when the older child advised that he and his sister had food allergies – at that point the officer did not want to provide any food item that might cause an adverse reaction to the children so he did not give them his lunch as planned.”

The police press release does not say whether the children were fed later, but closes by noting that the investigation is continuing. 

Child Protective Services help the Meitiv children as bargaining chips for almost three more hours. The agency won’t discuss the case because of privacy, blah blah blah, which in this case, like so many others, means what’s really going on is the agency is trying mightily to evade any meaningful accountability. Child Protective Services finally called the parents, who came to Rockville to get their children. 

But Child Protective Services was angry about previous dealings with the Meitivs, so they held the children hostage till the parents bent to the agency’s will, at least for the moment. The problem between these parties is a classic police state dilemma: the parents think they can raise their own children and Child Protective Services says, no, you can’t, unless you do it the state’s way, and if you don’t, the state will take your children away from you. 

This fight apparently began on October 27, 2014, when another anonymous bystander-turned-state-informer called police to report the Meitiv kids were at a park near their home with no adult supervision. Child Protective Services got involved and threatened the Meitivs with a $500 fine and/or 30 days in jail, based on a law that, read literally, does not apply. Child Protective Services assured the Meitivs that judges had applied the law to conform to the agency’s view. The Meitivs could consider themselves warned. 

On December 20, 2014, the children had walked about half way home from a local park and again some a citizen-snitch called the county police. This time the police picked up and children and took them home. That night, a Child Protective Services representative came to the Meitivs’ home and spoke with the children’s father, Alexander (Danielle was out of town). The Child Protective Services person asked Alexander to sign a prepared agreement. When Alexander declined, the Child Protective Services person threatened to call the police and have the children removed immediately. He signed. 

On February 20, 2015, Child Protective Services completed its investigation into the Meitivs’ raising of their children. The agency could have made a finding of neglect, or a finding of no neglect. With Orwellian logic, the agency made a finding of “unsubstantiated child neglect,” which is tantamount to saying that they didn’t have the evidence but they still think the Meitivs are guilty. And with a Kafkaesque touch, this non-finding finding gives Child Protection Services the right to keep a file on the Meitivs for five years, till 2020.

The Meitivs are challenging the agency’s decision in court. 

That was the history that county police and Child Protection Services were surely aware of when the idiot caller of April 12, set off another round of state-sponsored terrorism of children. The wonderland quality of the episode is perfect: having abused the Meitiv children for more than five hours, Child Protective Services could say, smugly: see, we told you if your children went unsupervised something bad would happen to them. 

In a police state, the police state makes whatever rules it likes and enforces them as it chooses and the citizen has every right to obey. Some people are framing this case as a dispute over “free range parenting,” which is another way of saying: let the parents set appropriate limits for their children. A Washington Post columnist frames the Meitovs’ case as between “Free-range kids and our parenting police state,” and that frame is good, but too narrow. The police state urge is America is more serious than that.

This case is based on a Maryland law that requires that children under age 8 must be supervised by someone 13 or older. Rafi Meitiv is 10 and Dvora is six. Clearly a violation of a law as written, but the law as written is itself a violation of human decency, reason, and logic, as well as any sort of traditional notion of freedom. The law itself is a police state law, intruding into human behavior in a way that is stupid, controlling, and damaging, a way that serves no higher purpose than state control. In this way it is no different, except in scope, from laws like the Patriot Act. The police state impulse in both cases is the same, and the Maryland law that teaches children to obey arbitrary and unreasoned authority is a natural precursor to raising a nation that passively submits to secret, unquestionable authority at every level. 

How many legislators with a police state mindset does it take to pass a child protection act that abuses children or a national security act that destroys personal security? Clearly the United States has had more than enough of them for more than a generation. 

Three citizen-snitches who call the police rather than take any personal responsibility for the children they purport to “help” may not be a trend, but in this case it’s without exception. Even the idiot caller of April 12 has apparently learned nothing. After the story was all over the local news, he was still telling people he’d done the right thing.

But the Meitiv parents have not quit and they have support. Their lawyers are defending them pro bono. And who are the parents? They are scientists. He is a physicist, she is a climate scientist. They are the only people in this entire sordid episode who have either the training or the inclination to deal with the world through reality rather than arbitrary rules and prejudice. This persecution of the ideologically impure by the rabid zealots, while ordinary people let it happen, is all too apt a paradigm for early 21st century America.



William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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+41 # economagic 2015-04-18 13:24
I like the punch line. Unfortunately, it is the very dis-education of the American public, including specifically the anti-science worldview that has been allowed to dictate curricula since the early 1960s (when the Bell Science Series, along with the "Space Race," actually educated millions of adults and children including me) that has been largely responsible for this dangerous situation.
 
 
+26 # WestWinds 2015-04-18 14:42
Quoting economagic:
I like the punch line. Unfortunately, it is the very dis-education of the American public, including specifically the anti-science worldview that has been allowed to dictate curricula since the early 1960s (when the Bell Science Series, along with the "Space Race," actually educated millions of adults and children including me) that has been largely responsible for this dangerous situation.


--- It wasn't just the small children who were targeted, us high schoolers were being indoctrinated as well; "You don't owe your allegiance to your country, your family or anyone but yourself." (How very Ayn Rand.) But the colleges had been infiltrated, too. I was living in the greater Boston area at the time and the saying used to be, "If you want to be a success, you go down to Harvard and turn Left." By the early 1960's the saying changed to "...go down to Harvard and turn Right." I clearly remember the hub-bub and the furor over this. Soon afterwards Jack and Bobby were slaughtered. This (blank) has been with us a long time and it always amazes me how many people are on board with it. Frankly, it turns my stomach.
 
 
+5 # Billsy 2015-04-20 13:06
I ascribe responsibility for this loathsome occurrence more to a reaction to fear mongering TV news than anything else. The Meitivs are devotees of the "Free Range Kids" movement, initiated by responsible parents that wish to educate their children to behave independently. They have developed appropriate effective responses to deal with inept buttinskies such as described in the above article. Here's a link to the "New Yorker" article that inspired it: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/23/mother-may
 
 
+2 # WBoardman 2015-04-21 11:11
What are people afraid of?

Is that fear reasonably reality-based?

http://www.freerangekids.com/crime-statistics/

It is perfectly rational to be afraid of an asteroid hitting earth,
and it is equally pointless.

That much is easy.

It's almost as pointless to worry about terrorists hitting US
(unless you think of law enforcement as terrorists).

How many people manage to understand that,
much less believe it?
 
 
+73 # JoanF 2015-04-18 13:32
In the meantime, children in truly abusive situations, generally poor children, are ignored by the Children's Protective Services that are supposed to be watching out for them. In nearly every case that finally makes the news, usually because the child has died, there have been many signs that have been ignored.
 
 
+31 # Rain17 2015-04-18 15:36
You can generally fault state governments, especially those in Republican states, which have steadily eroded funding for social services. In some states one caseworker literally probably has 50 children at a time to manage. Even the hardest working social worker probably can't effectively handle such a caseload like that.
 
 
+21 # NAVYVET 2015-04-18 19:09
50? Are you kidding? I worked as a social worker (untrained) for the Bureau of Children's Services in Newark, NJ, for the LOWEST wage I ever earned. This was in 1969-1971, right after the burnout. My case load, which included autistic children, teenage drug abusers, mentally deficient children and 2 cases of battered children still living at home with psycho fathers, was 144! Let me repeat: 144. We were expected to visit them all every month.

After I was nearly mugged in a high rise project elevator my husband persuaded me to quit. I am still grateful, however, for the experience, which showed me how terrific most of the mothers were. The majority kept their apartments spotless, and all the (rare) food was in the refrigerator, away from roaches that infested some of the buildings. Since age 13, disgusted with learning nothing at all about Africa in my all-white schools, I began saving clippings of African art, architecture, costumes and culture from magazines like TIME and made up a scrapbook in high school that I kept adding to. I brought this to the homes of black kids, let them borrow it for a week, and made a special visit to pick it up so I could pass it along. About 30 kids got it and brought it to school, all African American. It always came back clean and neat, never a page torn. So I came away with a really high opinion of black Americans.
 
 
+10 # Rain17 2015-04-18 20:55
That's amazing. How did you handle all 144 cases without going crazy?
 
 
+41 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-04-18 14:01
The "land of the free" has become a "police state". WAKE UP AMERICA. Take back "our" government.
Those who control the media, control the dialogue.
Pump up fear to justify a militarized police state
Constant cycle of problems
Prevents us from seeing corporate control of government
Corporate control of resources.
 
 
+15 # WestWinds 2015-04-18 14:49
Quoting PABLO DIABLO:
The "land of the free" has become a "police state". WAKE UP AMERICA. Take back "our" government.
Those who control the media, control the dialogue.
Pump up fear to justify a militarized police state
Constant cycle of problems
Prevents us from seeing corporate control of government
Corporate control of resources.


--- Yes, and mass media outlets like MSN and others have banned myself from posting. If I post, the whole post disappears never to be seen again. They are the gatekeepers of information (or disinformation, as the case may be). This is why they have created "privatization" which is weasel speak for "free zone"; free from accountability to anyone but themselves.

We really do need to go to DC and demand that they all resign and then start fining the life out of any MSM that doesn't present "fair and balanced" programming or reading material. There have been ways of getting at these people in the past. We need to get at them again and either they comply or we revoke their rights to publish propaganda and make them PROVE everything they put out there for public consumption. I'm also for throwing a bunch of them in jail for crimes against humanity since the extrapolation of their rubbish is effecting everyone everywhere.
 
 
+8 # Henry 2015-04-18 16:49
Just one question: HOW
 
 
-22 # Rain17 2015-04-18 15:12
To be fair, if MD law states that a child under eight must have a child 13 years or older supervising him/her, then the cops and Child Protective Services (CPS) were just doing their job. You can't expect them not to follow the law because you don't agree with it.

On the one hand I do sympathize with the parents because I do think a ten year old is capable of taking care of a six year old and walking in the neighborhood. Do I think it merited that level of involvement with CPS once it became clear that the children were not being endangered? No I don't.

On the other hand I don't fault CPS and the police for investigating either. Especially, when it comes to children, they don't have the luxury of not investigating, lest one of these children end up being abused or physically harmed. They had to do do their due diligence.

We live in a world today where child molesters, killers, and other people with very ill intent can snatch children very quickly. If these were my kids, given the threats that exist today, I'd probably wait until they were a little bit older before letting them walk home alone.

Frankly, if the parents don't agree with the law, they should lobby the MD Legislature to change those policies. Until then, even if they don't agree with it, they are bound to obey the law. If they don't they need to be prepared to suffer the consequences.

These children are probably not at risk, but I don't fault the authorities for investigating the matter either.
 
 
+22 # Texas Aggie 2015-04-18 17:53
So why aren't they investigating EVERY little kid??? You can find something in every kid's background worse than walking home from the playground that can be construed into abuse. Why are they picking on these kids? And where does your paranoia about child molesters come from? To think that these kids are actually at risk when no such thing exists is the difference that was pointed out in the article between reality based living and arbitrary rules and prejudice based living.
 
 
-5 # Rain17 2015-04-18 21:14
Texas Aggie, maybe they aren't getting reports about every child. I don't know.

Do I think they took it too far? Yes I do.

But do I fault them for investigating it? No I don't.

As I said in the first post, if that is the MD state law, that eight year olds must be accompanied by children 13 years or older, then they were just doing their job. And, as others have written here, they probably investigated because, God Forbid, should something bad have happened, everyone would be up in arms "asking why CPS didn't do anything."

The real argument here is that, because people don't agree with this law, this set of parents shouldn't face prosecution. The law doesn't work like that, especially after the authorities warned these parents once before.

Again, if these parents had issues with the law, they should lobby the MD Legislature and Governor to change it. But until then, if they insist on breaking the law, even if it is a law you and others consider stupid, the police and CPS aren't going to ignore it.

As for child molesters the fear is rear. There are people out there who do want to harm children. And it only takes a second for kids to be snatched or hurt--even in broad daylight.
 
 
+13 # pbbrodie 2015-04-19 12:15
Rain17
The problem isn't that the police investigated. The problem is the way they investigated. When it was obvious that the children were in no distress at all, they should have simply taken them home, not terrorized them by keeping them incommunicado for hours and even lying to them. Also, you fail to address the moron who didn't even bother to talk to the kids when they approached him to ask if they could pet his dog. Instead of calling the police, why didn't he simply ask who they were and where they lived and escort them home, if he was so concerned that he felt it necessary to call the police?
As for your fear of child molesters, sure they are out there but they aren't lurking around every corner, as you appear to believe.
 
 
-4 # Rain17 2015-04-19 23:30
Pbbrodie, I am sure there are procedures they are legally required to follow. Again, based on reading the article, they were just doing their job.

The real issue seems to be that people here think this law is unfair; and that, even though the parents disregarded what the cops and CPS warned them not to do, they shouldn't face any legal consequences. So, if we apply that principle, does that mean that we can disregard laws we don't like without consequences?

The real issue is that, if these parents think these lawas are unfair, they should lobby the MD Legislature to change it. Until then, if they do insist on breaking the law, they are going to suffer the consequences.
 
 
+5 # WBoardman 2015-04-20 12:31
Rain!7's three posts seem to illustrate,
apparently unintentionally , how people of goodwill
can still accept the basic premises of the police state.

Rain omits the 3 – not just one, but 3 Bad Samaritans
who turn innocent neighborhood walking
into state control of a family under threat of
taking the children and jailing the parents.

This strikes me as totally unreasonable and unacceptable.

Anonymous snitches get to make life hell
for a family that has done nothing morally wrong,
and the snitches will never face accountability
for their meanness that led to others' chaos.

Rain17 relies on the letter of the law, which is an altogether
too obedienta response to a human construct that is
demonstrably hideous in all too many ways.
As Dickens wrote: "the law is an ass"

Discretion and discernment are required to judge the law,
like anything else. This tale even gives an example of real discretion at work – in both police policy and behavior –
a police officer is required to call Child Protective Services
ONLY if he believes there is evidence of neglect or abuse.

That's why, in one happy instance,an officer took the
children home. There is NO evidence in any of this that there was actual neglect or abuse of these children who, at all
relevant times, were walking close to home, knowing where they were and knowing how to get home, and in no distress
at all – UNTIL the helpers started helping.

CPS went all fascistic.
 
 
0 # dandevries 2015-04-21 16:55
WB, I hadn't got far enough through the chain to see you quote the exquisite Mr. Bumble as well. Thanks as always for your literate and humane commentary!
 
 
+4 # Thinking 2015-04-18 21:37
I wonder what the police would have done to Jesus' parents when he was a child (12?) and they traveled across country presuming Jesus was with other relatives on the trip and eventually 3 days later they found him back at the city they had been visiting (in the temple).
 
 
+20 # SusanT136 2015-04-19 06:22
These kids were walking home. By the same standard, children can't walk home from school or the bus stop by themselves (unless a 13 year old is accompanying a younger child).

Really? This is beyond ridiculous. If a parent doesn't want their kid to walk home from school alone or feels their neighborhood is too dangerous, that's their call. But it's beyond ridiculous that these kids were 2 blocks from their home and ended up being "detained" for over three hours. I call that child abuse. Neither the police nor CPS acted in the kids best interests.

Laws are enforced inconsistently every day. Cops are supposed to use common sense to solve problems, not to overreact or take unnecessary, overly intrusive or abusive actions. Yes the law should be changed. But that's no excuse for subjecting these kids to abuse. I'm guessing they felt scared and dehumanized by this experience,
 
 
+13 # wrknight 2015-04-19 15:03
So you are saying that the police were just doing their job by not calling the parents, not letting the children go home, not taking them home, holding them all that time without food and not even telling them why they couldn't go home??

All I can say is, in the eyes of Big Brother, you are the ideal citizen. 1984 is late in arriving, but it's just around the corner.
 
 
+2 # ritawalpoleague 2015-04-20 10:18
FYI, Rain17, good and just police/sheriff investigation could and very commonly does and should prevail over Child Protective and/or Adult Protective Services. This is what justice based police protection of the populace is based upon, vs. today's anything but democracy based POLICE STATE AIN'T GREAT method of operating, with heads of law enforcement agencies being ordered by fusion center based govt. operatives on how to put and keep under control any and all U.S. citizens, most certainly including children, such as the young kids who, along with their parents, were tear gassed twelve years ago, as parents and kids marched peacefully and lawfully, in protest of the U.S. entry into the 'lied into' war in Iraq.

My prediction: hard to imagine, greater than great numbers of law enforcement officials and workers, jurists, U.S. military (both active and retirees), et. al., are going to lead in the revolt/implosio n that is coming, here in this now so corrupt, rule of law in the toilet country of ours, the U.S. of (greed and need for power over all) A. (ddiction).

DEMOCRACY? NO! CORRUPTCRACY? YES!
 
 
0 # dandevries 2015-04-21 16:49
"To be fair, if MD law states that a child under eight must have a child 13 years or older supervising him/her . . ."

To quote Dickens' immortal Mr. Bumble (In OT): "If the law supposes that, then the law is a ass, a idiot!"

As far as that literature goes, I happen to be reading (for the first time, although it is referenced constantly) Kafka's The Trial. Boardman's characterizatio n of this affair as Kafkaesque is preternaturally appropriate.
 
 
+6 # arquebus 2015-04-18 15:25
Amen
 
 
-16 # reiverpacific 2015-04-18 15:41
Quoting arquebus:
Amen


A-fuck; there you go again.
Bet you're a closet "Citizen Snitch", or Fink-at-large!
 
 
-2 # arquebus 2015-04-18 19:42
No....I'm just someone that has raised three kids to adulthood, who understands the dangers to small children from pedofiles, etc. I also know that a 10 year old is too young to be left in charge of an 8 year old.

What I don't understand is why parents would leave their kids in a park by themselves with no adult supervision. If my thinking that looking out for the welfare of small children in an urban area offends you, so be it. Maybe you should check with the parents of the hundreds of kids in LA County who have been victims of hit and run drivers...ask their parents, some of who were escorting the victims, how they feel about adult supervision of small children.
 
 
-2 # keenon the truth 2015-04-19 09:04
For once, I agree with you, arquebus. I think the police acted disgustingly, and the children must have been very frightened, but the caller was right to do something about it. It is not safe for young children to be walking alone like that, and he had their best interests at heart. He was very aware that he shouldn't frighten them. If he had asked them where they lived, that might have scared them.
 
 
+5 # reiverpacific 2015-04-19 09:42
Quoting arquebus:
No....I'm just someone that has raised three kids to adulthood, who understands the dangers to small children from pedofiles, etc. I also know that a 10 year old is too young to be left in charge of an 8 year old.

What I don't understand is why parents would leave their kids in a park by themselves with no adult supervision. If my thinking that looking out for the welfare of small children in an urban area offends you, so be it. Maybe you should check with the parents of the hundreds of kids in LA County who have been victims of hit and run drivers...ask their parents, some of who were escorting the victims, how they feel about adult supervision of small children.


Sorry; I was a bit sharp there.
My daughter was raised in several countries, only a couple of cities but thankfully, mostly in medium sized towns of 15,000-30,000 pop.
In a way I had to fight my late ex-wife tooth and nail for a measure of freedom for her when she reached a certain age so she could (for example) do a paper route with a friend, ride her bike around town as she liked and go on school trips or with friends, work a bit part time so she could have her own money. Had it been up to her mom, she'd have been closeted and supervised everywhere and would have ended up hating us, maybe even running away.
But the cops were never an issue and I still think they handled this case like CIA agents.
A large city is a whole other thing and thanks for pointing that out.
 
 
+7 # jsluka 2015-04-18 17:58
Sorry, I accidentally thumbed arquebus up instead of down. The whole point of this article was how dumb the authorities handled this, so how can you conclude that you "don't fault the authorities" here? I can only presume that Rain and arquebus didn't actually read the article.
 
 
+6 # ericlipps 2015-04-18 15:30
I know a little something about CPS, having worked with NYC Administration or Children's Services for twelve years.

Unfortunately, such agencies tend to be gun-shy. If a mandated reporter such as a police officer calls in a report, no matter how vague, they're likely to rush in and grab the kids out of fear that if they don't and something bad happens, it'll turn into a huge scandal complete with media ballyhoo, lawsuits and a wave of firings designed to make it appear that the agency has punished the guilty--even if, in fact, there are no "guilty."

As for the charge of "unsubstantiate d child neglect," more often than you'd think it turns out that a family with one or more unsubstantiated reports eventually has a substantiated one--sometimes a serious one, even a child fatality. And once again, CPS is in a bind: if it receives a report which ultimately is closed out as unsubstantiated and then something bad happens to the child or children in that home the s**t will hit the fan. Therefore, they play it safe by keeping a file, which says they are paying attention.
 
 
+3 # Rain17 2015-04-18 15:39
And I don't blame them for that for that reason. Given that it's children they don't want to not take a report seriously and then have it blow up in their faces as you described.

That being said I do have a friend who is a social worker who told me, that once children enter the system, CPS tends to hold the parents to very high standards. That is, something that wouldn't count against a parent not in the system often carries significant repercussions against parents who are in the system.
 
 
-4 # arquebus 2015-04-18 22:09
No such thing exists? Are you really that misinformed? http://www.safehorizon.org/page/child-abuse-facts-56.html
 
 
+38 # jcdav 2015-04-18 16:32
Would it have been too difficult to either call the parents or take the kids home and speak with the parents?
 
 
+38 # Henry 2015-04-18 16:51
Quoting jcdav:
Would it have been too difficult to either call the parents or take the kids home and speak with the parents?


Fabulous – a simple, reasonable idea that would occur to ANY NORMAL HUMAN.
 
 
-8 # arquebus 2015-04-18 22:10
Most child abusers are the parents. And, pray tell what is the problem with holding parents to a high standard. I think we should be held to the highest standard possible.
 
 
+5 # MJnevetS 2015-04-19 03:15
Quoting arquebus:
Most child abusers are the parents. And, pray tell what is the problem with holding parents to a high standard. I think we should be held to the highest standard possible.

Since you indicated earlier that you're a parent...I need your name and address, so that I can report you as an unsubstantiated child abuser. Don't worry, the intrusive investigation into your life will verify whether or not this claim should be substantiated, but either way, they'll keep their eyes on you.
 
 
+6 # wrknight 2015-04-19 15:50
Quoting jcdav:
Would it have been too difficult to either call the parents or take the kids home and speak with the parents?

Yes, that would be far too intelligent or sane to expect from today's police. Also it's inconsistent with the concept of maintaining a police state. You have to instil fear in the public. You can't do that by acting wisely.
 
 
+12 # Vardoz 2015-04-18 17:27
Somehow the police in our nation have the idea that it's open season on not only people of color but of all people and this has got to stop! We are appalled that Obama isn't standing his ground and letting our law enforcement agencies know that this is not how our citizens are going to be treated. A strong, authoritative statement that is backed up with teeth. Something like LBJ would do or FDR. Things have gone too far and Obama, our president needs to stand for something more important then the TPP and so do we. We the people will no longer be treated like animals during hunting season. Are we a nation that lives by the rule of law, we have rights and freedoms and we will not be subject to random terrorism and tyranny by hateful and unqualified people who think that abuse is their right or that we are we like the Jews in the ghetto? As for family services, we rescued two boys who were placed in foster homes and were being drugged and rapped. We found a great place in NH called New England Salem Trust a very nurturing, open loving place and it was free. One boy survived but the younger brother became schizophrenic. Too many of these social service agencies lack resources are under funded and the staff are poorly trained.
 
 
+4 # wrknight 2015-04-19 15:58
It won't stop unless and until we take back our country. The police are simply the tools of the power elite. They hire thugs to maintain the order they want which has little or no connection with the order that you and I want. And we'll never take back our country so long as fools condone and apologize for police abuse (i.e., "they're just doing their jobs").
 
 
0 # RCW 2015-04-18 17:32
Once again, this time twice, RSN failed to register up/down votes.
 
 
+12 # Texas Aggie 2015-04-18 17:43
If the CPS thinks that two kids walking in their own neighborhood are being neglected and abused, why aren't they going after parents who don't vaccinate their kids? Those kids are a lot more at risk of harm or death.

If it is ok for parents to let their kids die because of religious belief (prayer, not doctors), then why isn't it ok to let parents allow their kids to walk home from the playground in their own neighborhood? The CPS doesn't have any problems with the former. Why are they bent out of shape by the latter?
 
 
+2 # Rain17 2015-04-18 21:05
Well, actually, I don't think it's ok for kids to die due to religious beliefs. It looks like courts have ruled against the Christian Scientists, for example, when they've claimed "religious freedom" as a justification for their children not to get treatment:

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/01/23/us/supreme-court-roundup-christian-scientists-rebuffed-in-ruling-by-supreme-court.html

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/11/us/court-decides-christian-scientist-can-be-tried-in-her-child-s-death.html

I am not a lawyer, but a quick Google search revealed those cases above. So I don't think parents can claim "religious exemptions" when it comes to denying their children healthcare to save their lives.
 
 
+2 # lfeuille 2015-04-18 23:36
Quoting Rain17:
Well, actually, I don't think it's ok for kids to die due to religious beliefs. It looks like courts have ruled against the Christian Scientists, for example, when they've claimed "religious freedom" as a justification for their children not to get treatment:

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/01/23/us/supreme-court-roundup-christian-scientists-rebuffed-in-ruling-by-supreme-court.html

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/11/us/court-decides-christian-scientist-can-be-tried-in-her-child-s-death.html

I am not a lawyer, but a quick Google search revealed those cases above. So I don't think parents can claim "religious exemptions" when it comes to denying their children healthcare to save their lives.


In most states they can claim a religious exemption from vaccination.
 
 
+19 # Texas Aggie 2015-04-18 17:47
And why isn't the CPS going after the cops? The only people who have been molesting these kids are the cops who took them away, wouldn't let them go home or call their parents, and wouldn't let them eat or go to the bathroom.

And of course their clothes were dirty. They'd just spent two hours at the playground.
 
 
+7 # socrates2 2015-04-18 17:51
It's all contextual, isn't it? I was raised in a leafy, middle-class neighborhood with two undiscovered child molesters, just a few years older than the dozen or more children in the neighborhood. And most kids in those days were "free rangers." Yep, most got molested by these sons of religious, devout, church-going parents...
I have relatives (granted) abroad whose high school son was nearly kidnapped for ransom. He escaped his would-be captors because he was quick on his feet.
With those experiences I made sure I was within hearing or viewing distance of my "free-ranging" children. It's a messed up world and, sadly, whether we choose to believe it or not it brings its share of precocious deviants. Not to mention the occasional bully--even in the "best neighborhoods."
I would ask children such as the Meitivs where their parents were and whether they were on their way home and wish them well. Children, lacking in guile and experience, are way too precious to leave unattended. Trust but verify. Thank you, very much.
Be well.
 
 
-4 # arquebus 2015-04-18 19:56
I read the entire article. Maybe folks ought to read newspapers once in a while or watch the news and see how many young kids are beaten to death, run over by cars, assaulted, raped. I wonder what you anarchists would be saying if the cop had just driven on and the kids got mowed down by a car a block from home.You would be screaming for the cops head.

Read this...all the kids who died even under CPS care. http://www.theawl.com/2014/02/meet-some-of-the-children-who-died-in-los-angeles-because-the-citys-child-protection-system-is-broken
 
 
+4 # Rain17 2015-04-18 21:16
One of the worst cases here in DC was the Relisha Rudd case. She was at a homeless shelter, went off with a strange man, and was never seen or heard from again.
 
 
+1 # WBoardman 2015-04-20 12:58
arquebus uses the logical fallacy of setting up
a false choice as if it were the only choice.
(Also the logical fallacy of ad hominem attack)

Other, more reasonable police behavior choices
appeared in the article, some chosen and some not chosen,
on different occasions.

But seeing things simplistically (either/or – false choice)
makes it easier to live in a police state,
and makes it much easier for the police state itself.

And then there's the argument in the Washington Post that
"There's never been a safer time to be a kid in America"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/04/14/theres-never-been-a-safer-time-to-be-a-kid-in-america/

Not saying that's true, blanket statements don't cover
all circumstances – but the culture of fear-mongering
we've suffered for for roughly 50 years is much worse.

With the Meitivs, there were no actual problems until
they were subjected to OTHER PEOPLE'S FEARS –
starting with the fear-driven legislators who passed
a law that requires to obey a procrustean standard
regardless of the reality of their circumstances.

In an actually free country, you are free to be
as fearful as you like,and behave accordingly –
but you are NOT free to impose
your fears on others.

We don't live in that country.
 
 
-8 # arquebus 2015-04-18 22:12
Ah....according to others here, nothing wrong with that.
 
 
+11 # Malcolm 2015-04-19 08:10
"This case is based on a Maryland law that requires that children under age 8 must be supervised by someone 13 or older."

Hmm. Supervised, presumably, when they are away from home. So is it ok for, say, six year olds to play ball in their front yards? How about in the street in front of their house? How about in their next door neighbors' front yard? I'm surprised these control freak police-staters haven't written bureaucratic tomes defining exactly how far from their front doors kids can go playing Hide and Seek!

Hell, I was allowed to ride the bus into downtown Dallas, Tx (at the time the murder capital of the usa) alone, when I was six. Maybe that was irresponsible on my parents' part, but "everybody" had this freedom back in those days. Somehow we all survived. Somehow, parents were able to judge where it was safe for their own kids to go.

Maybe we're all living in a culture of fear.
 
 
+9 # barbaratodish 2015-04-19 10:16
Kids hardly ever play outside anymore and it is getting so bad that they probably hardly even play inside,too! The police state has invaded inside of homes! Parents are so fearful of doing the wrong thing in directing their children that they have let technology raise their obese children! This also applies to the childlike "adults" that we all are, too. Orwell's 1984 "r US"!
 
 
+3 # djnova50 2015-04-20 13:47
This story kind of reminds me of something that happened some years ago. I have three sons and the incident involved my two younger sons. My youngest son has autism; and, at the time, he was not understanding what boundaries meant. He had taken something out of his older brother's hands. Right now, I don't recall what it way. In his mind, whatever his older brother had was his and he had every right to take it.

This led to a squabble between the two boys. My middle son called me and told me that I needed to get home right away since his younger brother was "freaking out."

As I was about to turn on the street where we live, I noticed a police officer standing at the corner with my son. I parked my car and got out. I asked the officer what was going on. I certainly didn't think the police needed to be involved in this situation.

The officer explained that a call had come in from somebody who had seen a child who appeared to be wandering aimlessly and improperly dressed. I explained about the call I got from my other son; and agreed that my youngest son probably should have put his shoes on; but, he did the right thing by removing himself from the situation before it escalated and somebody got hurt. At the time, my youngest son was 13. He and his brothers have known their contact info from a young age.
 
 
0 # Malcolm 2015-04-20 15:41
Omidog! Your neighbor has become a self appointed arbiter of dress! When I was your boy's age, I went barefoot virtually all the time I wasn't in school. Shame on me!
 
 
0 # keenon the truth 2015-04-20 18:07
Malcolm's remark above is not fair. He assumes that the person who reported the incident was making some kind of judgement about the child. More likely the person was genuinely worried and acting from a sense of responsibility.
 
 
+1 # Malcolm 2015-04-20 20:24
Seems to me the cops should not have been called. I wasn't judging the kid, but the caller. Why didn't the caller simply ask this 13 year old if everything was ok?
 
 
0 # keenon the truth 2015-04-20 18:05
This thread has amazed me. I do understand that the US police were out of line in the above case in the way they responded after picking up the children, and I find that unforgiveable, but what I don't get is most people's adamant response that it is OK to allow young children to wander around outside without an adult nearby. I have two sons and I would have been grateful if someone had looked out for them if they had seen them, for example, wandering around aimlessly without shoes, or just hanging around. For me that is being a good neighbour, not a bogeyman. When I was a child it was not dangerous to play outside, but times have changed.
 
 
+1 # Malcolm 2015-04-20 20:28
I repeat-why not ask the kid if he's ok?

I guess I'm lucky. We have no crimes against kids where I live. My kids-back when they were kids-their biggest danger was Cougars, bears and coyotes. And they hiked all over the valley once they were 10-11 years old. So far, no human has been attacked by a cougar in this state, and you've gotta work on it to anger black bears. And as far as I know, nobody's been attacked by coyotes except kitty cats.

Sorry you live in some kind of danger zone. Sounds really unpleasant. Can you relocate? My wife moved out of Los Angeles area when she had a kid, because she thought it was too dangerous in that area. Glad she did :)
 
 
0 # keenon the truth 2015-04-20 20:59
Some people moved to Newtown, Connecticut because it was safe.

My point is that anything can happen anywhere.
 
 
+1 # WBoardman 2015-04-21 11:02
keenon the truth first comment is telling –
"I would have been grateful if someone had
looked out for them if they had seen them...."

The problem in this case is that NO ONE actually
"looked out" for the children, who didn't actually need
looking out for.

But that simple truth was too complicated for
the snitch, the police, or "protective" services
to determine before intervening in a situation that
didn't exist until they created it.

keenan t.t. was comfortable with one set of dangers that
might terrify others. That doesn't make anyone "right."

So far no one has described what the Meitiv parents did
to prepare their kids to feel safe and comfortable
wandering their own neighborhood.
One might infer, from the demeanor of the children,
that the parents did a good job preparing their children
to cope with adverse circumstances, but that remains
a known unknown.
 

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