This lovely story comes to us from Minnesota:

A Belleville man accused of trying to kidnap a former girlfriend in Minneapolis laid out his plan in a notebook and a flow chart, outlining his goal to stun, Mace and “club her hard,” according to court documents. . .

According to the plan, Pentaleri was going to make contact with an ex-girlfriend with the initials of JML. Internet directions to the woman’s home were also inside the vehicle, according to the documents. Also found was a handwritten flow chart outlining his plan to “club her hard.”

The plan also listed two alternative plans on how to deal with her if she wasn’t alone, including a “lethal” option, the documents said.

Pentaleri, an Army officer, showed up at the airport wearing a long-haired wig, a fake mustache and beard when he was stopped and questioned near an airport carousel, according to police. . .

The duffel bag contained six condoms, a pillow case cut into strips, a camera, a turkey baster, KY oil, a bag of plastic gloves, two bags of zip ties, a package of Bic lighters, two-sided tape, shoe polish, a pair of nylon socks and Clorox disinfectant wipes.

Okay, so basically what we have here is your typical stalker freakjob. Bonus points that he’s an active Army officer. But this isn’t really what concerns me about this article. The part where I started getting confused was here:

Pentaleri was found carrying a stun gun, three chemical aerosol Mace cans, a folding pocket knife, a set of SUV keys and an expandable baton. He was issued a trespass notice and dropped off at an area hotel.

Wait, what?

This guy showed up at an airport wearing a disguise, carrying a stun gun, Mace, a knife, and a collapsible baton, and all they did was cite him for trespassing and take him to a hotel?

We’re talking about a US airport, right? The same place where they make me take off my shoes, my jacket, put my “3 oz. or less” shampoo and toothpaste in a Ziploc bag, confiscate my hair styling cream because it’s 5 oz., and forbid the presence of aerosol hairspray or deodorant? The same kind of airport where people waiting for arriving loved ones are not allowed past the security checkpoint anymore because they are not ticketed passengers? Where I have to show my damn ID about fifty times before getting on a plane and no one is allowed to bring a farking bottle of water on board unless it was bought inside the “sterile area”?

I note from the picture with the article that the man in question is white, not to mention active Army. Did either of those play a role in the decision to send him on his way rather than arresting him? Would this situation have played out differently if the man were of Middle-Eastern descent and was named Samir?

My cynical side says that if the guy had looked Middle-Eastern, we would still have sent him on his way, except we would have also given him a fruit basket and an apology for racial discrimination.

If it was because he was Army, why would that be a factor? Do we give a free pass to anyone in the military who acts like a kook or a murderer? Obviously not since we are prosecuting some Marines right now for killing unarmed prisoners, and sent the Abu Graib folks to prison.

I want to know who was responsible for that decision in Minnesota. That person or people need to be disciplined and retrained, or possibly criminally charged depending on the level of negligence involved. It’s outrageous that anyone could get away with being a genuine threat to an airport when ordinary folks are having their scissors confiscated.

One Response to “Disguise, Mace, Baton, Stun Gun…Okay You're Free To Go”
  1. Sigivald says:

    He hadn’t tried to enter the Secure Area yet, so he hadn’t committed a crime by having the weaponry *, just as you can have all the scissors you want outside of the security area.

    It’s not illegal to have weapons like that “in an airport”*; it’s illegal to try and bring them in to the secure area. (It’s not forbidden to check any of them in baggage, either, except the mace, as it’s pressurized.)

    (* Most airports; some localities might have additional laws, and airports often have signs saying such things are prohibited; but that makes it non-criminal trespass, which he was cited for.)

    It also ain’t illegal to be a complete freak in public and wear a wig or fake moustache – even if you’re armed.

    Note that they did the right thing after that; watching him, as he was obviously Up To Something (just not guilty of a crime, yet, that they knew about).

    They looked in his car, saw enough suspicious stuff to get probable cause, combined with the rest of the circumstances, searched, and arrested him.

    That sounds like textbook policing; doing everything they can, correctly, not endangering the case by doing anything that might not be held valid. Acting on reasonable (and them some!) suspicion to the maximum defensible extent.

    Good on them.

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