On November 14th at approximately 10:20 am, Matt and Michelle Burke fell victim to theft and extortion when their car was disabled on a roadway in Norman. Michelle managed to avoid an accident when the ball joint went out on her car as she was driving. Given she was traveling a four lane road with no shoulder, she moved the car to the far right lane against the curb, which was the safest place given the circumstances, and engaged her hazard lights. She called Matt to tell him about the car and then her father picked her up to take her to an appointment 1/2 mile away. Matt called a tow truck right away. Michelle left her keys in the car and her business card on the windshield.
While an inconvenient and costly mishap, the situation was remedied quickly and their car would be off the road and headed home for repair.
All was well, that is, until Officer Gribaudo of the Norman Police Department interjected with some “service and protection.” Matt received a phone call from the tow company’s dispatcher that the tow driver was with their car and about to hook it up. A Norman police officer, Officer Gribaudo, was also on the scene. Officer Gribaudo instructed the tow driver to not tow the car. Matt then called the Norman Police Department who put him through to Officer Gribaudo on the scene. When Matt asked Gribaudo why he would not allow the tow driver to take his car, the officer said because he had already called it in. However, the only tow truck on the scene at that time was the one Matt had called.
So rather than have the car removed from the roadway as soon as possible the officer decided a better option was to prevent the car from being removed right away thus allowing the vehicle to sit even longer, then be impounded, the owner ticketed, and everyone inconvenienced.
Makes perfect sense.
Aside from the revenue generated for the city of Norman and the impound company, no one benefited from this scenario.
Perhaps a better solution would have been for Officer Gibraudo to call off his tow truck and remain on the scene to provide some extra safety (protect and serve) while Matt’s tow service hooked up his car and removed it which would seem to be the main objective.
Matt was informed that once the $50 ticket for “negligent parking” plus a $20 administration fee was paid, then he would receive a release for their car. Michelle missed a planned trip out of town in order to sort out the unnecessary mess that Officer Gibraudo created.
Matt says he was told by an employee in records at NPD that his first call should have been to 911 to report the breakdown and the mess could have been avoided.
“Not so fast citizen. Did you check in with the state before exercising some common sense and responsibility?”
How does not making a call to emergency 911, clogging up the emergency lines, for a disabled vehicle suddenly give a guy with a badge the right to steal property, extort money, and create a hardship? And how is a disabled vehicle on the road “negligent parking”? What is the objective when a car is disabled on the road? I would think it would be to remove it as soon as possible which the responsible owner was attempting to do. Obviously this was an off the cuff remark made by an employee of the police department and does not reflect an official statement by the department. However, it is a sad display of the indoctrination that one should turn to the nanny state for guidance and permission rather than taking responsibility for one’s own actions.
Meanwhile, their property is being held for ransom until the ticket is paid.
Special privilege, not afforded to you and I, under the protection of the state, allowed a single man with a badge and gun to defy common sense by preventing the car to be removed at the owner’s will and expense. He then immorally stole property from peaceful people. If the job description is to “serve” then he did the opposite of that since the owner of the car exercised personal responsibility to remedy the situation and did it much more efficiently than “authority” did.
I would like to emphasize that these are the actions of an individual, Officer Gibraudo. The Burkes have contacted the chief of police and hope to have a resolution soon. An update will be posted.