l told you not to use my damn name. Can't you even try to keep from forgettin' that?
Not even your code name?
Oh, yeah, yeah. My code name.
Y'all hear that? We're usin' code names.
-- from the film "Raising Arizona"
Nashville Scene reporter, Jonathan Meador, tells the full story of his unjustifiable arrest during Bill Haslam's red-state crackdown on Occupy Nashville's constitutional rights. The section on Tennessee Highway Patrol officers not identifying themselves or wearing their badges (to show their badge numbers) is particularly troubling for those of us concerned about police abuse and transparency:
No one offered to look at my credentials, no one gave me an opportunity to put them in contact with my editor. Nor did they listen to a colleague, who kept shouting I was a member of the press. He later said a trooper told him, “You want to be next?”
The combined weight of heavily equipped Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers was too much. My knees buckled, and I was slowly, firmly introduced face-first to the freezing marble of the plaza. They dug their knees into my back and tightly affixed a pair of zip-tie handcuffs, the plastic gouging my wrists. From all directions, I could hear screaming.
“Remember to charge this one with resisting arrest,” said a trooper.
“Yessir,” said another.
“Go ahead and take him, Mo,” said one of the officers as I was pulled to my feet and marched forward in plastic handcuffs.
Ahead stood a line of detainees gathering before a massive Tennessee Department of Correction bus. While waiting in line, I asked the trooper his name, hoping friendliness would make things easier. I even added an unironic “sir.” His only reply was, “I can’t tell you that.”
“Is your name ‘Mo,’ by any chance? I overheard one of the troopers calling you by that name.”
No response. There were no badges visible on the trooper, nor even the name tag they’re required to wear. He only looked ahead.
I find the lack of faith in people within Bill Haslam's administration to be troubling, to say the least.