Sunday, November 08, 2009

Pastor Paul Stoot Sr. arrested

paulstoot I was going to pass on this story, but then it got weird. Pastor Paul Stoot Sr. was arrested for Obstruction of Justice, although after reading the news reports, I think his arrest my be for the convenient, “annoying a police officer”.

A police officer may arrest someone if the officer believes he or she is being prevented from doing his or her job, Urquhart said.  “A lot of obstruction charges don’t get filed,” he said.

Obstruction is similar to disorderly conduct, the charge Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. faced after his controversial July arrest in Cambridge, Mass. That case spurred a national debate about racial profiling and drew the attention of President Barack Obama. The charges were dropped.

I would have let this pass, but Stoot presented his case to the press as if it were a civil rights violation. But not because he is African American, but because he is a pastor. Jesse Jackson and the National Action Network, which is associated with the despicable Al Sharpton are involved.

“If these allegations are true, we are very disturbed by the manner in which a member of the Clergy may have been mistreated,” the Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote in an Oct. 16 letter to Sheriff John Lovick.

Once I saw the Jackson’s assertion that a “member of the clergy” should receive special treatment, I looked deeper. Nobody deserves special treatment under the law, especially pastors.

Pastor Stoot made a public written statement about his arrest. Apparently he is completely without fault and may even be able to walk on water.

As I moved toward [my church member’s] apartment, a Snohomish County Sheriff Deputy told to me to move the truck. I informed him that it was being moved and that I was going to check on a member of my church. He then yelled again that I was going to have to move my truck. I again informed him that it was being moved as we spoke. By this time, [church member #2] was in the driver’s seat and preparing to move the truck. The officer again yelled that he had told me to move the truck and to go back and do it. I again told him that the truck was already being moved and that I needed to go and see about [my church member] because I had received a 911 call for his aid as I am his emergency contact. As we finished this exchange, [church member #2] was moving my truck.

At no time in this initial exchange did I raise my voice, lose my temper at all, or act in a confrontational or disrespectful manner toward this officer.

Pastor Stoot’s account seems reasonable. And the arresting officer confirmed that the truck was moved.  But later, Stoot confronts the officer rather than fulfilling his self stated duty to seek care for the victim of the fire.

I went out to inform the fire commander that I had found him and ask if someone could take a look at him to make sure he was okay….

…I wanted to get a card from the officer that I had had the initial encounter with, so I approached the two officers that had been behind [church member #2]. The officer was very confrontational and informed me that I had been yelling at him when I’d first arrived and he had told me to move my truck. I told the other officer, again in a very calm voice, that I hadn’t raised my voice or yelled at him at all, nor was I trying to be at all confrontational

Stoot goes on to describe his arrest and eventually makes the charge that the officers caused him to bump his head upon entering the car, and that somebody stool $200 dollars from his wallet, which seems odd.

Stoot claims the arrest was retaliation for a civil lawsuit, which was dismissed in 2007, but apparently is still under appeal. Unfortunately, the lawsuit is against a different law enforcement agency, so I don’t really see the link. The suit itself is interesting, Paul Stoot Jr., then 13, was questioned for two hours without his parents being notified. He eventually confessed to molesting a young girl. Thankfully, a judge threw out the confession.

Stoot said Everett police "coerced" his son to admit guilt, a confession the judge threw out. He said his son and many other children aren't mature enough to understand what police are asking them and can't be legally required to behave as adults.

I happen to agree with Stoot here. Children should never be question about a crime without parental consent.

I am not in a position to know what happened hin this case. I can say that reacting to an obstruction arrest  by claiming a civil rights violation seems way out of proportion to the actual event. I can also say that to me,  Stoot’s story does not ring true. Also, asserting that a pastor should receive special treatment is simply wrong.

Something tells me that no charges will be filed in this case and that a fresh lawsuits will start rolling it’s ways through our legal system, after all Stoot missed his first shot at a five million dollar payday, I’m sure a second attempt looks appealing. It’s a shame really, all Stoot has to do was park his truck legally and nobody would have even noticed he was there. I guess that feeling of a “pastor on a mission” got the better of him.

Stoot is the pastor for Greater Trinity Missionary Baptist Church.