Man Who Offered Lift To Teen Girls Says He’s Victim Of ‘Good Deed Gone Wrong’

BARRINGTON, Ill. (CBS) – Two 13-year-old suburban girls are being credited with helping police catch a man who offered them a ride home.

Barrington police say the teens were alarmed and disturbed by the offer and took down the man’s license plate. But as CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, the man says he was only trying to help the girls, not harm them.

“This is a good deed gone wrong,” Rodney Peterson says.

During a March 2 snowstorm, he saw two teen girls leave a Shell station while he was pumping gas.

“I just noticed these girls, that they had no umbrella, no coats or hood or something of that nature and I just felt like I should help,” Peterson says.

When he drove off, he saw them a short distance away on Prospect Avenue near Waverly.

“I just pulled up and said ‘How far do you have to walk?’ And one of the girls just replied, ‘We’re OK,’ and waved me on.”

Peterson says he drove off and thought nothing of it until Barrington police showed up at his home three days later.

The married father of three, who has a fourth child due in June, listened in disbelief as police told him the girls reported the encounter and he was being charged with disorderly conduct.

His explanation did not assuage the police. Peterson’s wife of nearly 12 years can’t believe it.

“It really was a good deed, just misinterpreted,” she says.

Despite his being charged, the Petersons don’t blame the girls, their families or even police for following up.

“The question comes into why I was charged,” Rodney Peterson says.

Peterson is due in court on Monday. He’s facing a maximum $750 fine.


Barrington’s police chief said the girls in this case were “alarmed and disturbed” by Peterson’s actions. He said the right thing to do in a situation like that is to call police and tell them that the teens need a ride.

More from Mai Martinez
  • German Leprechaun

    I don’t know what to make of this. Did he say/do something when he stopped to “offer them a ride” that we’re not being told about? Did the girls find him creepy-looking (which he is — slightly, but not extremely)? Odd story.

    • Jiminauburn

      Call the police if someone might need a ride? Really? Sure they would love that

    • Gilbert from Arizona

      Now I’ve heard everything. It’s soon against the law because some idiot thinks someone else is “creepy” or doesn’t fit into their perfect societal figure.

      • james

        it’s the police unions, and the entitled society we live in. Pretty soon, it will be simple assault to disagree with someone on the L-Train……Chicago is enable capital of the world…. in my opinion ..


    • Joseph

      Seriously.. Did the girls have a different story? This sounds ridiculous. Even if he were some perverted creepy old man, if everything went down the way he said that it did, then what’s the problem? He hasn’t done anything wrong; yet.. He didn’t touch them, he didn’t harass them, he didn’t use obscenities, etc.. He simply asked a question and moved on.. Next thing you know we will be getting thrown in jail for asking for the time or for asking for directions.. I’d be throwing a fit, that man is way too understanding.

  • Aly

    There is no more room for the “Good Samaritan” in our country. How utterly sad that we have become so quick to judge and condemn. The girls said, “No!” He honored it. I believe that Rodney was just trying to be kind.

    And as far as the comment that the police should have been told that the girls needed a ride, forget it. They DO NOT act as taxi cabs. Why didn’t the girls use their cell phones (every child has one these days) to call their parents.
    Why did the parents allow the girls to be out at night, in a snow storm in the first place?

    I think the parents should re-evaluate their connection to their children.

    • Gilbert from Arizona

      The term “good Samaritan is biblical that comes from scripture where Jesus describes the good deed of a Samaritan. The Samaritans were living with the Jews when Israel was split in two and governed by separate kings. As our society rejects Christ and Judea and pursues their worldly ways, the concept of a Good Samaitan will die off as you can see from this article. This all stems from a Christ rejecting sinful world. It will only get worse.

      • jc

        My goodness, I never thought I would see someone write about the good samaritan story…It has nothing to do with that BUT it is a life lesson isn’t it? all the priests who just came from worship walked down the hill and saw the man laying there all hurt up and bruised up and walked right past him every last one of them but ONE person stops to help this man and puts him in a room and tells the Inkeeper to keep him for as long as he needs and pays a deposit then says whatever else extra you charge I got the tab and he took off. In this backwards day and age I guess it’s best to be the priests who walked down the hill after worship because if you even look at them or “give off a weird vibe” apparently that’s enough for the police to come in and slap you upside the head. Now, kids will be kids, no one is mad at them for that and that’s good but the police of all people should know better…then again…we’re talking about THE MOST CORRUPT STATE IN THIS COUNTRY bar none. It has at least always been in the top 10 list I tell you that much, when you have police threating to bust you out of your night club that you own unless you “pay them protection” money as Aaron Russo so eloquently put it back in the 80’s or 70’s god only knows what they are up to these days. The good surely are punished in that god forsaken place, no wonder why this happened.

      • Ian

        Oh wait, you’re serious? Let me laugh even harder.

      • damier

        lol pretty sure jesus has nothing do with this =)

      • Selena

        I’m not Christian … and every day I try to do something kind for someone. Even if it’s just showing concern. It always bites me in the butt one way or the other, or when I need someone to help me no one’s around.

        Life is cruel to the kind.

    • Wastrel

      Possibly… the parents should be charged with child abuse? If you didn’t mean to suggest that, then I do.

      Anything is illegal if the police say so. That’s where we are headed, I think. If anything is out of the ordinary, someone must be responsible and there’s a criminal statue that covers it, or, some do-gooder will insist that such a law be passed.

  • The Mom

    Wow !!! as the mother of the creep ( so you call him ) or his last name being Peterson, which was given to him ( did you get a choice ) I’m appalled at your comments & his wife is only 1 yr his jr just to clear things up !!
    I have to say since I live very far away & have been sick to my stomach over all of this ( just like I’m sure these girls mom’s were but at least nothing bad happened to them & never would have with my son) I am very proud of my son for sticking up for himself !! I can’t believe how this all has been handled !!! and no he didn’t do anything but see them without coats & umbrellas & then ask them for a ride & they said no & he drove away … I’ve read the police reports so I’m not going on heresay… I think people should think before they press charges & ruin someone life !!! I know he will never do this again, it’s just not worth it !! and yes there are a lot of bad christian’s out there that make a bad name for the good ones & no one said anything about excusing him just because he is a Christian !!! Right ??!! They were just commenting because his character was been smeared falsely through the lovely media … I do however want to Thank CBS for doing this for him & letting him give his side of the story :-)

    • Samantha

      You did your best to raise your son to be an upstanding citizen, it’s shameful that he’s being slung through the mud for trying to do the right thing. You did a good job, Mom, you have every right to be proud of your son.

    • StopJudging

      I feel for you Mom, as well as for your sone and his family. People nowadays ARE so quick to condemn and judge people and that is being shown here with these comments. All we know is what we read here and people are quick to hang him out to dry without knowing all the details. Had it been a woman trying to do the same good deed, would she have been reported? And to call your son a creep is just plan stupid. You can not determine if someone is a creep from a picture. Truly amazing how everyone wants to assume the worst in people. As for the girls, I think they should be ashamed of themselves. He did not seem to press them, didn’t harrass them, didn’t stalk them, he was only trying to help them and trying to do a good deed. Your son does not deserve this. I pray this turns around for him.

      • Bob Jones

        Stop proselytizing on public spaces.

        This has nothing to do with any religion or belief. A good person has been punished for trying to do the right thing. That’s it, that’s all.

        Keep your personal religious beliefs out of it.

      • Gilbert from Arizona

        This condemnation against the Good Samaritan is not because of judgement of another person. This happens because our society is not becoming Godless and political correctness is replacing the commandments of God. We all judge. If people didn’t judge others there would be no morals. We judge others when kids are born out of wedlock, tatoos, piercings, language, clothing, etc… There is nothing wrong with judging others. Christ said” Judge not, unless thee be judged” This scripture is used widely by the liberals in the world and our schools. Even the youngest children in our Country are blurting out this scripture taught to them by the liberals. Jesus was not speaking to the multitudes on the Sermon on the Mount, but talking to his disciples. The judgement He speaks of is the Judgement for God. Not our interpersonal judgements. The liberals would love it if the world quit judging others. There would be no morals, and thus no Sin. They would have a green light to do whatever they want to. No we have to judge in order to have morality.

    • G

      No, I’m not related to nor do I know anyone involved. Why do I keep this going you ask? Because I’ve been relentlessly attacked. “I’m whats wrong with the world”? Really?

      My opinion that a grown man in his 30’s should never ask 13 year old girls if they want a ride and, even scared them enough to take his plate # down….Was somehow IMPOSSIBLE to fathom in peoples minds…. I knew there was more to the story, and sure enough I WAS RIGHT all along.
      I mean we all know Barrington is a pretty well-to-do suburb. I can’t see anyone having no less than the latest and greatest cell phone to call someone for help if the needed it, let alone asking the gas station attendant for help/use the phone.

      He lied. The girls WERE properly dressed (video proof from nearby businesses and police dashcam video from another police stop in the area show that the girls were wearing coats) there was no “snowstorm” , I provided a link in several spots already to pictures of that day and he followed them down an alley. How was that a misunderstanding? You seem to have missed the update.

      The girls should be apologized to by all of these people who automatically dismissed their claim because Mr. Peterson went on the news and said he was a God loving family man who was doing a good deed. Shame on them!

      Where are they all now I wonder?

      But IM the a@@hole, man-hating, paranoid, bigoted, idiot, moron, everything wrong with the world, etc, etc to ever walk the planet.

      I do have to say though, I feel bad for his wife. She stood by him and he lied to her too.

      • BarryC

        Why is the information that G has seen, not in this story? I would think it would be relevant and stop a lot of back and forth comments. I am the father of two girls and have mixed feelings about this article. If there is more info, it should be in this story, and no, I did not surf around to try to find it.

    • G

      Yeah…..Now what??????

      He followed them down an alley, and he lied about the girls not wearing coats, etc. there’s video proof from the gas station.

      All of you bleeding hearts need to be slapped upside the head with a reality check.


      • G

        Barry, the updated link is in the story itself

      • The Mom

        G… I’ll be praying for you !!!
        I do have to say people have been making mean comments & vice versa to you … but really why are you so into this ??? I have to ask as I think 2 others have are you one of the girls Moms or are you the arresting female officer ??? as for my son ( the creep as you call him ) He did nothing wrong except offer a ride to 2 girls, they declined & he left, end of story !!! I’m totally amazed & disgusted with this outcome that he was forced into pleading guilty today just because he scared them … which is a term you used ( interesting ) … I’ve been being silent & praying that the REAL truth would come out but it obviously didn’t …I know my son, I know his intentions were for good not evil and you can believe me or not !! He is a Good God Fearing Family Man !! He only pleaded guilty today because he wants his life back & doesn’t want to be consumed with all this anymore !! He would have to go back again and hash it all out the end of April … He does have a family to be responsible for & 3 little kids after all ..It’s a shame to hear all the stories people have commented about the police doing things like this !! My Father is retired but was a Police Officer & Detective and we are blown away on how this has all been handled … I have always had great respect for the police but in this case I really wonder who & what the adults were thinking when making a decision to report this or to press charges ??!!! I guess you better be careful not to spit on the sidewalk in Barrington ??!! LOL !! Someone had commented about that !! My son went so far as calling the Police & asking for a lie detector test to be done per his Grandpa’s request & they told him they don;t do that ( I thought this town had $$ ) and that he could go & pay for one !! The police tricked him & his wife into separating them that day & did things that I won’t comment on for now to be safe … as for the following in an alley that’s the way the girls went & God had put it on his heart to see if they were ok … this was around 3 in the afternoon broad daylight not nighttime … and they weren’t in an alley when he asked them for the ride he was at 2 cross streets ( Totally public arae ) so there obviously was some time there ( think about it ) and as for coats … He has witnesses that were willing to testify that they were soaking wet … He is not a LIAR, He did not commit any CRIME, the only thing he is GUILTY of … is offering them a ride, being a caring Christian, a concerned parent …and here we are commenting about all of this why because it scared these girls !!!??? as I stated originally I’m glad he was able to tell his side of the story :-)

    • Joel

      Hey Mom

      Look up the law, it is my humble lay opinion it don’t fit. Secondly better late than never get the records and file a child neglect report.

    • Bob Jones

      @The Mom,

      Thank you for posting. Please give your son our warmest wishes, there isn’t enough kind people in this world, it needs more.

      It’s an unfortunate truth that this world is getting more and more self-entitled.

      The cops should know better, but they just want to push your son through the injustice system and be done with it. It’s truly a shame.

    • ranman

      I think it is so unfair & wrong that your son has gotten charged with anything. Yes, since the girls called police, they had to follow up, but upon interviewing your son they should have left it at that. Your son did nothing wrong/illegal, this is an injustice to him & his family and a WASTE of court time. Sorry for your (and his) pain.

      • Jackb12

        I have no problem with police followup, but the prosecutor needs to use his discretion and drop this case.

    • Lisa

      I feel for you mom, its so sad in this world when you have to be afraid to help someone, for your own protection, or that you maybe falsly accused, know as a fellow christian my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family

  • ChgoChef

    What is going on these days. This man offers two kids a ride in a snow storm and he accused of being a molester. I find it more disgusting that he was arrested and now his life is going to be destroyed because of it. When he goes to apply for a job and they run his background he won’t get it.

    I have cancer and I don’t have too much time left in this world. What I see going off around me is beyond belief.

    • Twinkie

      He can not be charged with molesting the girls… they didnt even get in the car…

      I feel for your situation but that should not conflict with your ability to comprehend the situation above…
      > He is being charged with disorderly conduct, which is a charge the police use when they do have anything on you to make they offended party happy…

  • E. Smith

    Funny how you can divine the gender of the posters solely on the hysterical,and stupid tenor of their replies. Women have to fear something or life just isn’t interesting I guess….It’s real important to believe we live in a dangerous world where every mean old man out there is just looking for an excuse to violate some innocent..

    A grown man should be able to offer kindness to anyone he please without the cowardly attacks of those too weak or fearful to help anyone but themselves. I find it hilarious that the cop suggested he call the police to schedule a ride for the kids. Typical, the morons can’t keep the peace but they’re available to ferry our wayward teens when the weather gets rough….Moron.

  • Just Axin

    Is there nothing else going on in Barrington? How about catching someone texting while driving? Who was the stupid cop that used poor discretion in charging him (or the idiot supervisor who approved it)? Couldn’t they have consulted with a SA to see if this made sense? Now time is going to be wasted in court where the judge will laugh and dismiss this and the cop will get overtime. Oh yeah, the parents of those girls are also idiots for calling the police in the first place.

  • Steve

    go back and charge the parents of the kids child endangerment that is what I would ask for, they let there kids out with no coats hoods, umbrella or gloves

  • Colette

    Well, after reading the story, I will not be a “good samaritan” for any reason. All of the so called do-gooders, that is, like the stranger danger thing, has made our society afraid of anyone trying to actually help. I guess the only solution is to go around with blinders and avoid getting caught up in innocent acts that could put you through “h e l l”.

    • Damon F.

      So your response is to embrace the fear by giving up good deeds? Submitting to fear is a greater hell than than the hell you fear and is just the sort of attitude that has allowed us to reach this point.

      • jojo

        Like crella, I also disagree.

        What I wonder is, if this person had been “attractive”, would the girls had taken the offer for the ride and would the person be investigated or the girls tell their parents, “yeah, a nice guy gave us a ride home.”

        Back on topic, why risk my livelihood with multiple charges of disorderly conduct or any charges?

        If I lose my job and when I apply and the application asks for any arrests/charges, do I want to risk the chance of not being able to explain my side of the situation?
        Employers now search for applicants on social networks and also probably see what hits comes up with a name search.

        My name comes up, multiple times, it’s possible that the employer will think “This person doesn’t learn…”
        With a family of 4 children, even more so.
        No thanks.
        I’m not going to risk my or my family’s livelihood.

        I don’t even know if I would call the police. They may decide to question me,
        :What were you doing when you saw the girls…”

        Nope, going to keep on driving/moving along and pretend I saw nothing.

      • crella

        I disagree. How many times do you have to put your hand in a fire before you admit it burns? Yes, the answer is to avoid unknown women and do not offer help. It’s not ‘submitting to fear’ but reacting to a threat. While I agree in part with your sentiment, it means damn-all if you’re the one being arrested. Platitudes won’t keep you from being falsely accused.

  • yard ape 2

    Does this mean if I hold a door open for a woman that I’m acting depraved because what possible reason could I have except to watch her ass as she walks…It’s a sad commentary when a man cannot be a gentleman and act with chivalry toward woman, be they young or old.

    • Samantha

      I’ve seen women who see it as an insult for someone to be polite and hold a door open for them. I just shake my head. If someone does something nice like that, I smile and say thank you. I hold doors open for guys (and other women) all the time, it’s just manners.

    • Jim Stevens

      That’s hilarious! I do that door opening thing all the time. Sometimes the best view is from behind! HaHaHaHa

    • jojo

      Exactly, stop putting yourself in situations that may get your arrested because
      you’re doing a nice thing and mind your own business.

  • ect

    Why not just lend the girls his cell phone to call home.

    • Ron

      He didnt even get that far, he simply asked if they had far to go and the girls said they were fine.

      • Bob Jones

        Right, and like any good person he moved on when his offer was declined.

        I really don’t see the disorderly conduct here. If anything, I see the exact opposite.
        *shakes head*
        Is it just me or is the median intelligence of police officers dropping faster than a lead balloon across the board?

  • yea ok

    Man o man, What have we allowed to happen in this country? A grown man and father cant offer a couple of kids a ride home in a storm without getting arrested. Unless they are not telling us a big piece of this story it has to be a joke.Were in trouble. Maybe i need to turn the tv off for a while!

  • becareful

    the girls should go to court and tell the judge SORRY for mistaking him for a thug, charged should be dismissed.
    I am happy i learnt a lesson from this. I WILL NEVER EVER AGAIN OFFER ANY GIRLS/LADIES/WOMEN ANY HELP who i dont know. there is a saying, tell truth and humans don’t like it, show a stick at a dog and the dog won’t like it.
    once, my sister called me in the night saying someone is repeatedly buzzing her door bell, i drove there saw the men, warned him to get out of there, he didn’t, hit him with a club , there were 2 ladies walking down the street threatening to call cops on me even though i told them this guy looks like a thief or something.

    • jojo

      it’s the police’s reaction to the situation that bothers me.
      The girls called the cops, fine, maybe they felt threaten, but the police did not have to charge/arrest the man JUST to please the girls’ parents.

  • zatso

    Stupidity is what stupidity is.

    Barrington police department deserves the “STUPIDO”” award of the year.

    Why?, they lack common sense and thought that leveling a simple charge would result in letting the court settle the situation. What do you think would have happened if some relative of a police department member had done the same thing that this gentleman had done?

    I know the answer, DO YOU?


  • Verite

    I honestly believe he was trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately, today’s society is ridden with “real” criminals and pedophiles who do truly do wish to inflict harm on our children. We relentlessly teach our children not to talk to strangers and, most certainly, not to accept rides from them!

    That said, the girls are not at fault for being alarmed and alerting the police. And this man, despite what appear to be good intentions, should have known better than to offer a ride to girls he had never met. It’s simply a case of poor judgment. I guarantee he would not want his children to accept a ride from a stranger! No good parent would want his or her child to take that chance.

    The police acted in good faith and should not be faulted. Ignoring a report of an unknown male offering rides to girls must be followed up on by law enforcement, at the very least. Who knows when it could be a real perp seeking his next victim? They had to make the comment about calling the police, because they’re not going to be advising that you ignore someone who may be in danger, either.

    The only thing this guy should be charged with is poor judgment. I think he meant well, but come on! In this day and age, he should have known better.

    • jojo

      Did the police have to charge him with disorderly conduct?

  • Al Jackson

    This is exactly why people nowadays’s turn their head when ppl are in need of help.

    • Samantha

      Agreed. People get all upset when these videos surface of people getting hit by cars and left in the street as people walk by. These days if someone tried to help the person they’d get sued left and right. People are scared of the consequences of doing a good deed. This story just reinforces that.

    • John

      Absolutly right.

  • kennith

    A hole

  • Dan

    As an adult, I don’t say anything to children, when we pass in the walk way. If they say hi, I say hi back and that’s it.

    • Damon F.

      And what a fine society that results in when the children grow up.

  • ranman

    From the story given, Rodney did NOTHING wrong. He asked a question of the girls, got an answer, and did NOTHING wrong. He drove on. This is a waste of court time and a misdeed to Rodney. Good luck in court – It SHOULD be dismissed
    and to all you people who ASSume you know the mans’ motives, I hope you get to experience something similar in your life…

    • G


  • John

    Thats unreal. I hereby take a vow to NEVER help ANYONE whom is stranded/looks injured/appears to be in need—of anything.

  • Oh Man.

    There have been times that I’m driving down the street on the freezing wet winter day and see a kid walking down the street sometimes alone sometimes with their mother and I feel like offering them a ride cuz I feel sorry for them. But I never do because I worry of something like this happening.

  • Tells

    As a grown man he should know better. You don’t offer any girls (minors) a ride home. He said that he SAW the girls at the gas station and after they left somehow he ended up on the same road…..SURE. And as for him being christian, thats bs. People they say they are christians, they are the biggest hypocrites. Just remember people, there’s an expression: “Going to church doesn’t make you a better person, just like going into a garage doesn’t make you a mechanic”.

    • Eric

      So he’s instantly a predator for driving home and seeing them and offering a ride?
      Wow, no surprise to see another man hater on here.

      So a woman can offer them a ride then and not be charged? Better yet, can a full grown woman offer two teen boys a ride home and not be charged? Without being assumed to be a predator?

      Oh that’s right, yeah she can. Because only men are the bad guys in your world.

      • Bob Jones

        Thank you for illuminating the problem so well, Eric.

        I like to be kind to people because I like to see someone who would otherwise be in a bad mood, smile. That and it makes me feel better too. Am I a predator because I’m male?


        A grown man is even MORE likely to offer a kindness because a grown man knows the value of kindness and humility.

        @ Tells, If that’s the world you live in, you can live in it alone. I will continue to do positive things for other people if for no other reason than I like how it feels.
        You can rot, for all I care, in that sad and pathetic world that you live in.

      • G


  • John

    I won’t even stop to tell someone their house is on fire, They would probably accuse me of setting the fire. & if I see someone getting abducted or shot/stabbed———-NOT MY PROBLEM, Your responsible for YOURSELF so be careful.

    • disgusted with morons

      By the way – this actually happened in our town. Young man saw house on fire, calls the fire department and waits for them. He was charged with arson.

      Perfect record, married, steady employment (one of the hardest best workers in the area of this small town), police insist he did it based on absolute zero evidence, they just wanted to pin it on someone so they pick the guy who tried to help.

      They threatened him verballly that he had to confess, he had to go get a lawyer, who instantly shut down these corrupt cops and their bogus charges as they had zero evidence, zero proof, etc. They then followed him around town constantly and his wife, hoping to find something. It got so bad they moved away.

      But I personally know this man, would trust him with my life, he’s a very good upstanding kid, has children now. The cops are stupid, corrupt and incompetent. I will NEVER call them for anything. I do not care if I witness a murder or any sort of crime, they will NEVER be called for ‘help’ because they are nothing more then a bunch of idiotic thugs who only care about creating prisoners and revenue — they have ZERO interest in the truth.

    • Reggie

      I once reported a theft only to be accused of being the culprit. Real detective work there.. Theft would have gone unnoticed had I not called the police and I went to the station to give all the details only to be told I was now the prime suspect. It gets better. I was out of town for over a week and the theft happened in the middle of the time I was gone. Still the prime suspect.

  • Really?

    What Peterson did was the right thing. Whether, in the context of today’s paranoid society, it was the smart thing, is debatable. But there is no question that his arrest and the charges are outrageously the wrong thing.

    He made a reasonable offer under the conditions. The girls said no, and he left. No crime there; no apparent attempt at a crime, and nothing to indicate that a crime was contemplated.

    So what happened next? The girls apparently told an adult, the adult apparently called the police, and Peterson was arrested!! He was ASSUMED to be guilty of, or at least suspect enough to warrant arrest for – what? Being nice?

    Its hard to count the number of ways in which this scenario is wrong.

    The news story implies that Peterson’s actions were exemplary – he offered a ride, was refused and left. There’s no indication he was coercive or abusive.

    Are the girls really so stupid, or so lacking in judgment, or have they been so thoroughly brainwashed, or so overcome with “self worth”, that they found his actions dangerous or threatening enough to warrant reporting him? Or were they just reflexively fearful, without taking the time or trouble to actually think about what they were doing, and its consequences?

    And what about the adult? The same questions apply.

    But the real disaster occurred with the police. Given the constant bombardment with propaganda, it is (marginally) excusable that the adult(s) acted like idiots. But the police should have known better. For them to have acted as they did, assuming the report they received is anything like what was reported on TV, is egregiously wrong.

    Often, in situations lie this, the arresting officer claims s/he was just “doing her job.” And that is certainly true. The question is whether the arresting officer had any discretion in how she did the job. Was the officer ordered simply to “pick up” the suspect? Was s/he order to “go investigate?” It matters, because Mr. Peterson clearly broke no law, and someone should be disciplined for the police’s indiscretion.

    The police always claim that they acted “out of an abundance of caution”, or something similar. Whether they did, or whether they decided to “go get the perv”, Mr. Peterson’s life was violated in either case. To have to deal with 18 months of having his life suspended, of facing the threat of jail and ruination, and of the inevitable casting of aspersions about him among his neighbors and friends, is a serious, unwarranted and inexcusable act perpetrated by an enforcement system gone amok. The officers involved should receive letters of reprimand. The leadership involvement – someone wrote a policy for this scenario, or made a decision for the police to act – should be punished more severely. But ultimately, there is one person responsible for this – it could be the arresting officer, or it could be the Chief of Police or an even higher authority – and that one person needs to be rooted out and eliminated.

    Such an action will certainly engender howls of protest, and it should. Police officers should be protesting against stupid inflexible policies. Police leadership should, as well. And more senior authority, such as the mayor, or the local D.A., should be acting to insure this type of transgression doesn’t occur again.

    These abuses of power are not driven by criminals – they’re driven by our “justice” system. We have a tort bar which takes disproportionate action at every opportunity, painting terrible pictures of tragedy which are often simply outrageous embellishments of the truth. We have sympathetic juries who award staggering figures, as much in the hope of a reciprocal victory in their future as of any sense of true justice. And we have a judiciary which allows the farce to continue. The entire system is rotten to its core. Winning has replaced justice, drama has replaced truth, and Mr. Peterson’s life has been inalterably damaged. What a tragedy.

    The world is filled with danger, from nature and from man, and it cannot be ameliorated, The human animal evolved in this environment, and is capable of dealing with it. But American society, encouraged by the bar, by the media and by selfish interests at many levels, seems to have adopted the notion that we are somehow entitled to a risk-free existence. It is a dangerously delusional idea, and we are driving ourselves to the edge of the cliff in its pursuit. Mr. Peterson is thus a tragedy within a tragedy. This play must not go on.

    • G

      Say what again? LOLOLOL

    • Blessed

      Well said.

    • zatso

      I hope some of these people take the time to read your wonderful comment.

      The Barney Fifes of Barrington need a wake-up call.


  • Joe Dutra

    And had the girls died of hypothermia what charges would be brought against him? ‘Wrongful Death’ for not offering assistance?

    • Tells

      They girls didn’t ask for help. So I guess they weren’t too cold.

    • G

      No, they wouldn’t know him from Adam and he wouldn’t be in the news at all.

      • Old Crew

        No..he wouldn’t. But your God would have seen him drive by those girls. What then?

      • crella

        They’d look at the security tapes to see where the girls came from, damned tootin’ there’d be questions about why no one helped them.

  • Vivian

    Strange, strange tale.

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