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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tank Johnson: The Real

We are all acutely aware of the Tank Johnson saga, from his trials and tribulations leading up to the Super Bowl to his rehabilitative course in holding. And, of course, the recent traffic stop that led to his release from the Bears. The traffic stop that led to his being charged with a DUI which was later dropped because his BAC was below the alcohol level.

All we heard from the media was that the state of Arizona's law is a bit discretionary, in that even if you are below the legal limit, if the harassing arresting officers deem your condition to indicate that you are impaired; you can be charged regardless of BAC.

Johnson was not charged. Indicating that, apparently, the police did not deem his condition to be at a level of impairment that would constitute their invoking the discretionary application of the DUI law.

Now, we aren't going to get into the Bears cutting Johnson before waiting to see if he would be charged. Quite honestly, this was the straw that broke the camel's back. The Bears heard of the incident and decided to wash their hands of Mr. Johnson.

While the Bears certainly can't be blamed for taking the action they took, the police certainly can be held accountable for exasperating the situation and possibly instigating the Bears into action.

More information about the events the night (early morning) of the stop have come out. And the situation certainly is shining a light on how the police handled a cooperative, concerned and repentant Tank Johnson.

He told police several times that he hadn't had any alcohol, though the blood test suggested otherwise. He said that within 24 hours of being pulled over, he had taken two Valium to help him sleep on a flight to Arizona.

So, from the moment the stop took place, Jones made it clear that he was not drunk. That alcohol was not a factor. That the reason he may have been driving erratically was due to some residual tiredness from him self medicating to get some sleep.

Tank told Bates he was a football player and tried several times to get the officer to let him go. Johnson went from stalling, to panicking, to this: ''Terry was very concerned about the effect of his arrest on his career,'' Bates said in the report. ''After the fingerprinting, Terry asked for an opportunity to meet with Police Chief Tim Dorn to discuss the case. ''I provided him with contact information and advised that the Chief typically worked regular business hours. Terry pointed to the blood sample and requested, 'Don't do anything with that until I talk with the Chief.'''

Again, Johnson proves to be coherent, cooperative and conscientious. Even identifying who he was. And further acknowledging that if the stop was not handled properly and with appropriate attention to detail, it might have an adverse effect on his future.

So far, Johnson seems to have handled the situation with class, dignity and surprising calm.

Here's what the report says happened just before 3:32 a.m., after Bates told Johnson he was failing the field sobriety tests: ''He requested I follow him while he drove to his mother's home.''

Again, Johnson, despite his relaxed state due to his flight, had the good sense to make a reasonable request to ensure that he was able to get home safely. Certainly, it would be foolish of the police to let him drive unsupervised in his current state.

At 3:46: ''Terry stated he did not want to have any problems and requested I release him without completing the investigation.''

Johnson had been forthright and honest with the situation thus far. What was there left to investigate?

Don't feel sorry for Johnson unless you want to blame a culture that gives special breaks to athletes, fostering more bad behavior.

We wonder: When did the police following drowsy drivers to their mama's house become a "special break"?

It just seems like the right thing to do.

17 comments:

Dave the Wave said...

the police should have followed him to his mother's house.

only, they should have made him walk, not drive.

fat fucker.

Nick said...

I agree with your take on this. I don't get any hint from the quotes you provided that he was intoxicated. It appears, though, that the Arizona law that gives police discretion with DUI also requires them to pull over anyone driving on their highways after midnight. For whatever reason.

I thought his desire to be Man of the Year in the NFL were sincere. I believe he'll be picked up by another team soon enough.

nation_of_islam_sportsblog said...

"I agree with your take on this."

Sir, nick, you are finally making sense.

the butler said...

Mmmmmm.....Valium.

Fornelli said...

I can agree with you on the fact he seemed coherent, but I've seemed coherent when talking to cops when I was anything but before.

Also, the fact that he couldn't even complete the finger-to-nose test when the officer asked him to do it (couldn't touch his nose or stand with his feet together) was cause enough to issue the blood test.

Then there's the fact he admitted to taking valium, which last I checked will not give you a .072 BAC. So he not only lied about the drinking, but he was on Valium to top it all off.

It appears that you and I cannot, in fact, agree on everything. I know. I was shocked too.

nation_of_islam_sportsblog said...

"It appears that you and I cannot, in fact, agree on everything. I know. I was shocked too"

Sir, all Tank wanted was for the police to safely escort him home.

Is that too much to ask?

Protect and Serve

Malcom Hex said...

"but I've seemed coherent when talking to cops when I was anything but before"

and YOU are gonna judge Tank?

nice!

Dirty Sanchez said...

Terry pointed to the blood sample and requested, 'Don't do anything with that until I talk with the Chief.''

He sounded very mannerly when telling the cops how to handle his sample of supposed alcohol-free blood. Somehow I think Tank had other words than "I request that you release me prior to completing your investigation".

Little did Terry realize that the Bears would take him up on that offer.

Fornelli said...

"Sir, all Tank wanted was for the police to safely escort him home.

Is that too much to ask?"


No, I completely agree with you on that, but I don't think that it changes anything about what Johnson did.

"but I've seemed coherent when talking to cops when I was anything but before"

and YOU are gonna judge Tank?

nice!


I wasn't driving. Though I'm sure I'm the only person here who's been drunk before 21.

Tripod said...

"but I don't think that it changes anything about what Johnson did."


what did he do? he was under the legal limit.

SET TANK FREE!!

or at least give him a roster spot!

Malcom Hex said...

"I wasn't driving. Though I'm sure I'm the only person here who's been drunk before 21."

Well, you broke the law.

What law did Tank break here? He was under the limit, and they decided he wasn't showing signs of being drunk enough to use that discretion clause in the law?

No harm, no foul.

Except, you get to laugh about a mispent youth breaking the law. And the non-charged Johnson is out of a job.

No justice no piece!

Fornelli said...

Except, you get to laugh about a mispent youth breaking the law. And the non-charged Johnson is out of a job.

Yes, Tank's being out of a job has everything to do with his being pulled over that night and nothing to do with the fact he spent six months in prison for keeping guns and drugs in his household while on probation.

Whether he was drunk or not, is it still the smartest thing in the world to drive around after having a few drinks late at night? Especially considering your recent legal discretions, and when your employer informed you that anything else of this nature would result in you being terminated?

Everything that has happened to Tank Johnson is a direct result of the decisions Tank Johnson made in his life. It's not the Arizona Police Department's fault. It's not the Chicago Bears fault. It's not our American society's fault.

It's Tank Johnson's fault.

Malcom Hex said...

"Yes, Tank's being out of a job has everything to do with his being pulled over that night and nothing to do with the fact he spent six months in prison for keeping guns and drugs in his household while on probation."

Then y didn't they cut him then if it had everything to with that?

"Whether he was drunk or not, is it still the smartest thing in the world to drive around after having a few drinks late at night?"

Agreed. But it's not illegal.

"when your employer informed you that anything else of this nature would result in you being terminated?"

But, it turned out he wasn't charged with anything. So, in retrospect, what did he do wrong?

"Everything that has happened to Tank Johnson is a direct result of the decisions Tank Johnson made in his life. It's not the Arizona Police Department's fault. "

True on decisions made by Johnson.

False on the AZ pd. They chose not to charge him based on the fact that he was under the BAC limit AND that his behavior did not lead them to believe that he was intoxicated.

They should have never brought him in.

They should have escorted him home as he requested.

King Perkins said...

is this blog real? are you really part of the nation or mocking it. i don't get it?

Johnny Cockring said...

Sir, Your Excellency, King Perkies, I believe the answers to all of your questions are within the reading materials provided here.

Come in with an open mind and You shall leave with a righteous one.

OysterHouse said...

My question is, what was he doing at 3 in the morning driving around when he knew he had vallium in his system?

nation_of_islam_sportsblog said...

"My question is, what was he doing at 3 in the morning driving around when he knew he had vallium in his system? "

Sir, trying to get to his mama's house. Did you read it?