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home : opinion : opinion April 29, 2016

5/19/2013 6:00:00 AM
Column: City traveling on a very slippery slope

Alan Choate
News Editor

Melissa Summerson, who was dismissed from her job with the city of Kingman because her husband belongs to the Desert Road Riders Motorcycle Club, has sued the city on constitutional grounds. From what we've seen so far, it looks like a knockout lawsuit. She has a documented history of good work performance, was promoted and even had an offer to head a department at one point.

There's no evidence that the city's concern - that as a human resources employee, Summerson could leak personal information about police and court employees to her husband's motorcycle buddies - has any grounding in reality. The only links are tenuous. The Desert Road Riders reportedly have an affiliation with the Hell's Angels, and there was a bar fight involving DRR members in 2002 that resulted in one Hell's Angel pleading guilty.

Perhaps something will emerge in the court case to strengthen the city's position. In the meantime, we're left to ponder a world in which people are punished because someone thinks they could do something bad. In that world, there's no end to the predeterminations that can be handed down.

• Those who drink alcohol might at some point drink and drive. So, if you drink, you'd better go ahead and surrender your driver's license right now. And if you don't drink, but you have friends who do, turn in your license as well. Peer pressure - you're obviously going to have a drink at some point, which makes you a risk. License canceled. Here's your bicycle. Ride away, citizen. Ride away.

• Make a list of your media consumption. Those who listen to conservative talk radio, read Ayn Rand or follow columnists such as Cal Thomas or Michael Barone shall have their ballots permanently marked for Republicans for the rest of their lives; NPR listeners, Paul Krugman devotees or anyone owning a copy of "A People's History of the United States" shall be voting Democrat from now on. Those who get their information from a variety of sources shall have their votes divided among third-party candidates.

• Sarcastic and witty people must pay a $5,000 pre-fine into the Forgiveness and Reconciliation Enterprise Endeavor in Speech Fund, commonly known as the FREE Speech Fund. Sarcasm and wit are bound to offend someone. The claim against you is now paid in advance. Thank you for your cooperation.

• Are you a straight, married male? Have you ever watched "Glee" or "Dancing With the Stars"? Did you enjoy the program? Yes? You're saying yes? In that case, it's clearly possible that you're gay. Your marriage is hereby annulled. Move out of your house immediately and, if you have children, submit a visitation and parenting plan to the court of relevant authority. Of course, we know you could be a good parent, but you might also be living a lie. For the sake of the children, we just can't take a chance.

I'm being ridiculous, of course, but as Al Franken used to say, I'm "kidding on the square." You don't have to look far to see examples of profiling gone wrong, with sometimes life-destroying results.

When people start making decisions based on what someone might-possibly-could do, and there's no evidence that something untoward is in the works or even likely, the slope becomes slippery indeed.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, May 31, 2013
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Finding someone guilty before they commit a crime seems a bit un American to me. Many people have friends or relatives that have problems or have broken the law. Do we fire them all because of it. This will cost the taxpayers of Kingman money that could be spent on something of value

Posted: Friday, May 31, 2013
Article comment by: Vincent Vega

If someone really wanted to know an officers home address, they can just follow him/her home after his/her shift. If it's a group, then you use 3-4 cars to not attract attention....pretty simple.

The grounds the City used to terminate her will come back to bite them (and cost them some money in the long run). They could have just said: "This is a right to work State and you have an at will position......clean out your desk".

The whole thing is just silly.

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Article comment by: Jim Knox

I some what agree with this article. Yes you can drive down some streets and see patrol vehicles parked in driveways, but lets say an "OMG" wanted a specific address of a specific law enforcement officer. They are not going to go door to door to see who answers the door. They will "coerce" the members wife to get the information. It may not be a member of the DDR MC that is requesting the information it could be an HA member requesting information through the DDR MC wife. I think it is more of the families security then the officers security they they were trying to protect.

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“I held executive positions in private industry and was never taken to task for my off-the-job affiliations.”

Although I am disturbed by the actions of the city I must question your logic per the above. Were you in a position where you could expose the names and addresses of police officers, thereby putting their families at risk?

This one is a mess and will most likely be decided in Ms Summerson’s favor – but I am still uncomfortable with her being in a position where she has access to such information.

Posted: Monday, May 20, 2013
Article comment by: pl .....

the things you don't know about what has happened in Kingman - or is it deliberate coverup here? And did you think they could commit the crimes they have committed and people like yours truly would just go away with tail between legs? (Normally, the town's web forum might be considered a tool of redress in such situations, but it's nothing more than a swamp in which the most cowardly, hypocritical, and blind creatures frolick).

Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2013
Article comment by: mr. parker

I agree with your column.

Is the DRR really an outlaw gang?
Since she is suing the city, would she undergo a polygraph exam, I know that's not admissible as evidence, but it might give a clue as whether or not she's being truthful.

Where I lived before there was a situation where the Outlaws, a real criminal motorcycle gang had a members girlfriend as a police records clerk and she did leak confidential information to the gang.

Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2013
Article comment by: Kingman Resident

Sooo...let's see. If I work for the NSA and my wife is a known member of The Muslim Brotherhood, or Hamas, or some other terrorist group, should I be allowed to keep my job? Common sense says" Of course not!"
Ms. Summerson could easily be "coerced" into giving up info. by some of the other, less savory, members of DRR. And there are a few.
I say, "She is a Public Employee and held to a higher standard".

Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2013
Article comment by: R H

...or maybe assuming that people who carry guns for lawful self-defense will use them against the innocent ?. You're guilty of making THAT assumption more than a few times in your support for the various 'gun free/assailant protection' zones.

Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2013
Article comment by: joker wilde

Good column! I rode with a few outlaw outfits back in the day but never actually patched in. I held executive positions in private industry and was never taken to task for my off-the-job affiliations.

Posted: Sunday, May 19, 2013
Article comment by: Patriot WES

How is it possible for you to call what the City did to Melissa "profiling"? It was somebodys opinion that had the power fire her!
To call this action profiling is absurd. This nation needs to get over all of this politically correct stuff, and start profiling when it comes to security, especially at airports, etc. When you understand the true meaning of profiling, it might make sense to you!

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