Who needs eharmony? Evangelina Paredes found a match in a handwritten note on her windshield. It was from Stickney police officer Chris Collins who used the information that he recorded on a $132 speeding ticket to track her down and ask her out. Collins pointed out “I did cost you $132 — least I can do is buy you dinner.” It is a police version of the slogan “fall in love for the right reasons.”
The note stated “It’s Chris … that ugly bald Stickney cop who gave you that ticket. I know this may seem crazy and you’re probably right, but truth is I have not stopped thinking about you since. I don’t expect a girl as attractive as you to … even go for a guy like me, but I’m taking a shot anyways. . . . But hey, I did cost you $132 — least I can do is buy you dinner.”
Collins, 27, is now being accused of violating Paredes’ privacy and is being sued for causing “plaintiff to suffer great fear and anxiety.” While I am not sure of how much fear and anxiety is reasonably caused by such a note, he clearly did use his position as a police officer to violate her privacy. He is in far better a legal position than if he had made the date a quid pro quo for the ticket — which would have led to a criminal charge. There remains the threat of criminal charge if there is any allegation of the withholding the ticket or unauthorized access to other areas of police records — which I have not seen in the articles covering the case.
The lawsuit also names Stickney Police Chief Joseph Kretch and the village of Stickney.
The village is likely to argue that this is a rogue officer who acted in violation of city protocol and rules. It is also likely to argue that the note was not left under the claim or appearance of official authority. To perfect such a defense, however, it would be necessary to discipline and likely terminate the officer for the breach. Even then, it may not protect the city from liability. The question is how serious the damages would be in such a case. What do you think?