Frightening encounter with Italy police officer
I am writing to make you aware of a very disturbing encounter I had with officer Tierra Mooney, badge 513 of the Italy Police Department. The incident occurred at approximately 3:00 pm on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2009, in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart on 1228 N. Highway 377 in Roanoke, Texas. Officer Mooney was off-duty, in plain clothes and driving a black BMW at the time of the incident.
I was searching for a parking spot in the crowded lot, and noticed a woman motioning to me that she was about to leave, and I could have her spot, which was very close to the entrance.
However, in order to let the woman back out of her spot I would need to reverse my vehicle a few feet.
This should not have been a problem, but the car idling behind me (Ms. Mooney) refused to reverse her car at all, despite the fact that no other cars were behind hers.
She also refused to go around me, despite the fact that their was ample room for her to do so. As I wondered when or if the woman behind me would move, Ms. Mooney aggressively slammed her badge against the interior glass of her windshield, pointed forward and very clearly mouthed "Move!"
As she was not in a marked police vehicle, and since I was doing nothing wrong, I simply waited for her to either move or exit her vehicle and let me know what law I had broken.
While I waited, she again pointed forward and slammed her badge against her windshield. From my position, I could not tell if she was displaying a real police badge or not, and her aggressive behavior in such a benign situation worried me, so I remained in my car.
Since I was simply expecting Ms. Mooney to respond by being a courteous driver and reversing her vehicle a bit, I did not move. The woman exiting the parking space reversed, albeit awkwardly since I was still somewhat in her way, and I then parked my car in the now vacant spot.
After exiting my car, I walked towards Ms. Mooney’s black BMW to write down the plate number in case her road rage escalated.
When she exited her vehicle, along with two female minors, I remained about six feet behind her car and asked to see her badge and what agency she worked for.
She then walked up to me, and screamed in my face that she was a police officer and I was not "going to make her break the law by going the wrong way in a parking lot!"
I was not aware that reversing your vehicle to let others park was against the law, as I do this and have seen other drivers do this everyday as a sign of courtesy.
She again screamed that she was a police officer and that "reversing in a parking lot is breaking the law."
I calmly asked for her name and badge number again, and she responded by pulling out her cell phone and calling the local police.
While she made this call, she paced back and forth out of range so I could not hear her name, badge number, or what department she was employed by.
The Roanoke police arrived and spoke to us both. You can contact Officer J. Morris at the Roanoke Police Department to verify. His phone number is 817-491-6052 and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. After talking to us, they finally gave me Ms. Mooney’s name, badge number and employer name.
Ms. Mooney made no attempt to apologize or explain her irrational behavior. I resumed my shopping, but was left very shaken by this bizarre interaction with your officer (Mooney).
Is she allowed to bully people like this in Italy? She had her badge with her, did she also have her gun?
Does she have a history of unprovoked outbursts/bullying/bizarre behavior?
At the time, the incident was just very surreal, but looking back now it is truly frightening.
Why is such an angry and possibly unbalanced person allowed to carry a gun and badge in your city?
She was off-duty, outside of her jurisdiction and completely out of line. She is a liability to your department and a danger to others. Per the AELE Law Enforcement Legal Center: "... sometimes even a display of police credentials will not alter the fact that an off-duty officer is engaged solely in a private fight at the time.
In one such case, an off-duty officer was found not to have acted under "color of state law" as required for federal civil rights liability when he shot and killed another man outside a bar where they began to argue.
The fact that officer displayed police dentification and used a department service revolver did not alter result when incident was essentially a "private brawl," the court concluded. Parrilla-Burgos v. Hernandez- Rivera, 108 F.3d 445 (1st Cir. 1997).
I feel it is only a matter of time before another innocent citizen becomes the unfortunate victim to Ms. Mooney’s rage and her badge and her title will not be able to protect her career or the reputation of your department.