A man tried to kill a possum in his back yard. He tried to hit it with a shovel. When he failed, he called the police.
They responded. They arrested him. They locked him up. The judge put a bail of $20,000 on him.
No criminal charges were made. There was a reason for this. It was not against the law to kill a possum with a shovel in his city or state. It still isn’t. He lives in California.
He sued the city. A district judge dismissed the case. But a 3-judge U.S. district appeals court has said it is not illegal to kill a possum in California.
“The police had no evidence that plaintiffs did anything more than try to kill the opossum, which they are entitled to do,” said the appellate jurists, led by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. “A reasonable officer could not have believed that the arrests…were lawful.”
The police reported the “crime” to the media, and the family began getting death threats.
The city’s agent killed the possum. No arrest followed. The media did not find out. No death threats followed.
Conclusion: the city wants to maintain a monopoly on killing possums.
Anaheim police officials have decided to stonewall. “No comment.” This is standard operating procedure by every bureaucracy when one of its employees does a bonehead thing, and the media create bad publicity. The bureaucrats know it will all blow over. The public has a short attention span. A bureaucracy goes on forever.
Bureaucrats are rather like possums. They play dead until the threat goes away. It doesn’t take long.