I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, or if it is a well known fact, but former Providence mayor “Buddy” Cianci has his own line of marinara sauce, which is sold around the city. (At the time I was regularly in Rhode Island, he also had his own line of coffee, but I’m not sure if he still does.)
Profits from the Mayor’s Marinara go to a scholarship fund for kids.
Is it possible they weren’t making money because former Mayor Cianci was kind of out of the public eye during this period? (He got out of prison in 2007, and had some radio and television gigs, but I don’t know what kind of public visibility those brought him. At least one of the shows he hosted was the “weekend public affairs program” Four Leather Chairs Against a Blue BackgroundOn the Record with Buddy Cianci. What kind of ratings do those get?)
This story, for some reason, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. To be fair, though, there’s a related story by the same author that’s a little more interesting. You know that scholarship fund mentioned earlier?
I hate to keep sounding like Buddy Cianci’s defender. But if this is a scam, it seems to be a very penny-ante scam. It sounds like something that started out as a PR opportunity and went a little off the rails.
I’ve mentioned previously that I watched COPS on a regular basis, at least until it left Fox for the wilderness of basic cable. I’ll still watch it if I catch it on somewhere.
I remember seeing some fairly shocking and disturbing things during that time; fatal highway accidents, one carload of police officers (with a camera crew on board) being broadsided during a high-speed chase by another cop car. But I never thought anything like this would happen.
A while back, I wrote about Busted, Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Lasker’s book about their coverage of corrupt cops in Philadelphia. At that time, I asked what they had accomplished, given that the bad cops were still on the street.
Last week, the Philadelphia Inquirer (the other daily newspaper, and the one that got soundly beat by Ruderman and Lasker on the story) ran a piece “Why an accused Phila. officer is still on the force” purporting to answer the question of why Thomas Tolstoy hadn’t been fired yet, even though he’d been accused of sexually assaulting three women. There are various reasons, but the Inquirer‘s key one:
Uh-huh. Ruderman and Lasker deny this, of course. Ruderman has posted a response on Facebook. And it’s worth pointing out that these accusations only involve one of the three women, and have nothing to do with the separate allegation that Tolstoy was one of the cops caught on tape stealing from bodegas.
Philadephia magazine has published their own piece about the problems of the Inquirer story. Points:
“Tolstoy was placed on desk duty and being investigated for allegedly attacking Naomi nearly a year before the Daily News printed her story.”
“Naomi wasn’t the only woman to make sex assault allegations against Tolstoy.”
And, of course, “Philadelphia Police don’t excel at making cases stick against fellow cops.” This probably bears some deeper examination:
I’ve lost track at this point, so I can’t tell you how many APD officers have been fired and reinstated. But I don’t think it’s near 90%. (This is the last breakdown I have, from 2011, and covers disciplinary cases short of firing as well as firings.)
I’m trying to keep an open mind here. But right now, the Inquirer story strikes me as a major daily newspaper carrying water for a bunch of dirty cops.
Bill James, in his book Popular Crime, devotes some space to Hansen and makes two good points:
Hansen’s criminal career was largely symptomatic of the way the criminal justice system worked at the time:
Robert Hansen was the end product of a criminal justice system that really didn’t want to convict people, a criminal justice system that had lost track of its responsibility to protect the public. But you know what? That was 30 years ago, when Hansen was running wild and nobody would step up to stop him. It was a long time ago. It isn’t that way anymore. The system has, to a large extent, healed itself.
Specifically, Hansen had a long career, mostly involving petty theft but including some serious crimes against women. Yet somehow he managed to make the charges against him mostly disappear, and minimized the severity of the ones that remained. He was convicted of rape in 1971 and sentenced to five years in prison; Hansen was paroled after three months. And as far as I can tell, that, and a year and half for setting a school bus barn on fire when he was young, are the only time he did until his arrest for the killings; he was at one point sentenced to five years for stealing a chainsaw, but that sentence was overturned on appeal and he ended up on parole again.
In short, the courts and the cops had plenty of opportunities to stop him before and while he was hunting women, and botched them all.
Hansen, unlike many serial killers, was publicity shy. So much so that, according to James, he used that as a negotiating tool; “I’ll answer your questions about what I did, as long as you keep the press and the people writing books away from me.” This would explain why he wasn’t as well known as Bundy or Gacy, even though his crimes were equally sensational.
Whipped Cream Difficulties is a production of Low Fat Heavy Industries, which is solely responsible for its contents. Whipped Cream Difficulties is proudly powered by
WordPress Entries (RSS)
and Comments (RSS).