by Chris Haire
Yeah, it's pretty funny that under current state law Monopoly and Yahtzee might be illegal, but it's even funnier that the Charleston Sheriff's Office has a crew of ninjas at it disposal. OK. Not really. But it's not too far from it. The Post and Courier has a new report on the recent poker party bust:
While the law might not change, the case already has brought about some retooling of the Sheriff's Office policies concerning the use of ski masks to protect the identities of officers during raids and other operations.
Cannon first expressed concern about the practice after a December raid at a Hanahan restaurant to seize video gambling machines. Some customers said they were frightened because they mistook the officers for robbers. Some card players at Reyes' house had similar complaints.
The Sheriff's Office also took some jabs on talk radio for having masked investigators who resembled ninjas on hand to process poker suspects who surrendered at the county jail on Monday. One attorney dubbed it a "costume party."
Sheriff's Maj. John Clark said undercover officers have real concerns about protecting their identities, particularly if that might compromise ongoing cases. But in poker raids and similar vice operations, the Sheriff's Office will try to substitute uniformed deputies for those officers to avoid using the masks and creating confusion, he said.
ABC News 4 also has a report on the activities of Al Cannon's Foot Clan. And the discussion of wholesome card games continues, this time courtesy of attorney Andy Savage and Sheriff Cannon himself:
"I don't think you can go home and play go fish with your children tonight if this is how it's gonna be interpreted," said Savage.
Sheriff Al Cannon responded to a similar comment Monday, defending the law as being reasonably enforced.
"That's not my interpretation of the law and I don't think any police officer out here is going to charge a grandma for playing UNO," said Cannon.
At least not unless she has $40,000 stuffed in her mattress.
The Nancy Cook gaffe continues. And this time, the NAACP chimes in. The P&C reports:
The NAACP became involved in this issue because it's one of equity, said the Rev. Joe Darby, vice president of the Charleston branch. People sometimes erroneously think that the NAACP is involved in matters tied only to black people, he said.
This just in: AAA will now offer roadside assistance to skateboarders.
Former 9th Circuit Deputy Solicitor Blair Jennings is back in the news again, and once again, none of it is, on the surface, related to his campaign for the 9th Circuit Solicitor office. For a brief period of time, he was popping up in the press as the public information officer for the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office; other times it was as the legal counsel for the Berkeley County Sheriff’s office. (Funny, I feel like I've written this exact same thing before. It's fitting, I guess. Mostly it's just lazy. But, shh, don't let anybody else know.)
In the latest sighting, the Blair Witch discusses the recent Berkeley County meth lab bust in a Live 5 report. His title this time: Berkeley County Legal Advisor. Watch the campaign commercial, er, I mean, news report here.
Will Folks at FITSNews has report that claims to show off Sen. Glenn McConnell puny sense of humor.
The P&C reports that Charleston City Council has reduced the penalties for smoking in a bar:
Also Tuesday, City Council revised Charleston's smoking ordinance in response to a recent court decision, making violations of the smoking ban a civil fine of no more than $25, rather than a criminal offense with the potential for up to 30 days in jail.
Want to know what happens to toothless smoking bans? Well, in the case of Honolulu the result was widespread civil disobedience. Dean Carrico of Honolulu Weekly reports:
Cliff is one of the few people involved in the fracas with a personal stake in the outcome, and he claims his business dropped by at least 75 percent. ‘After that, I begged the owner to let my customers smoke,’ he says. ‘I even offered to pay for any fine we might get out of my own pocket.’
Eventually the owner capitulated. Cliff brought the ashtrays out for the first time in February. ‘It wasn’t an immediate change,’ he says, ‘but it did start picking up. After two weeks I was up–not back up to original levels–but I was the first person to break one thousand [dollars] in the till since the ban passed.’
It wasn’t long before other bartenders followed his example.
‘Even now, it’s voluntary,’ Cliff says. ‘If a bartender is worried, or doesn’t want to deal with it, they can put the ashtrays away and make people go outside. Our customers know we’re taking a risk.’