Just when the furor surrounding Henry Louis Gates’s arrest at his home has finally died down, the police are again being accused of overzealous thuggery. Ten-year-old Clementine Lee was given a ticket for selling cookies and lemonade at a stand near Central Park this past weekend. Lemonade! In a park! Her father, Richard, who was present, recalled the harrowing experience.
When Richard admitted he didn’t have the right to sell on Parks property, the agents immediately slapped the dad and daughter with a summons for selling food without a license, which carries a maximum fine of $200.
A judge later waived the ticket and lambasted the officers in court, saying they “used extremely poor judgment.” He then ordered that they be retrained and reassigned.
But is this really fair? The officers were just doing their job, after all — protecting parkgoers from purchasing possibly underbaked and/or snot-flecked cookies that probably violate health-code violations and protecting nearby merchants from having their businesses undercut by a sweet-faced violin-playing tween. And frankly, that dad sounds like he was acting pretty darn uppity. We think this issue needs to be re-examined, perhaps at the federal level, culminating in a sit-down in the Rose Garden with the relevant parties. We can see it now: Minute Maid for Clementine, Snapple for the Parks officer, Jack’s Hard for Biden.