Bayonne, NJ — Road rage is a very real and very dangerous issue in America today. All too often a simple honk of the horn can end in a wreck, violence, or worse. However, when the person who rages carries a badge and a gun, they can claim legal authority to ticket, kidnap, cage, or kill you. Kieran Walsh, a 59-year-old Marine veteran, and partial amputee learned the hard way what a cop’s road rage looks like when he was left stranded on the side of the road last month.
Walsh, who suffers from diabetes was on his way to pick up medication on November 27 when he noticed a car barrelling dangerously toward him. Walsh then briefly honked his horn as the car came “flying down” the street. It was an unmarked police car, occupied by Officer Stephen Salot.
Because Salot claims the authority to detain people for victimless crimes, he moved to pull the person over who would dare to honk at him. “Evidently he didn’t like that,” Walsh said of the brief horn beeping.
Since he can’t exactly tell Walsh that he pulled him over in a fit of road rage, Salot told Walsh that he pulled him over because his handicap placard was hanging from his rearview mirror while he was driving and this allegedly obstructed his view.
After Salot had him pulled over for the non-crime of a hanging handicap tag, he then noticed that the sticker on Walsh’s license plate had expired—music to the ears of this would-be tyrant.
Because Walsh’s registration was expired, the cop claimed the authority to steal his car. Salot then informed Walsh that his vehicle would now be towed and he would be left stranded on the roadside.
“I’m thinking ‘Where the hell am I going to go? Am I going to have to walk five blocks home? I’ll never make it,” said Walsh who recently had a portion of his foot amputated because of complications with his diabetes.
Walsh told the officer about the surgical procedure he had two weeks ago but the seeming road raging cop couldn’t have cared less.
“The pain was unbelievable like it is right now,” said Walsh who added that by the time he arrived back home his foot was bleeding and he was forced to go back into the hospital as it became infected.
While the cop was waiting for the tow truck Walsh called his wife Melba out of desperation and asked her to plead with the officer not to leave him stranded on the side of the road. Not only was this would-be tyrant unsympathetic to the fact that he was stranding an amputee on the roadside but he threatened Walsh’s wife too.
“When I talked to him I said ‘I understand you have to take the car, but my husband just had his foot amputated, he doesn’t have a walker, he has no way of getting home, can you at least please stay with him or get him home safely,” she said. “And he said to me ‘Look, I’ve got paperwork to do and if you continue to waste my time I can find other things to give him a ticket for.’”
As NJ.com reports, Walsh was issued tickets for the obstructed windshield and for the expired registration. He then spent the next 45 minutes walking home on Avenue C. He said he took breaks on porches and got assistance from fellow pedestrians while crossing intersections.
“(The police officer) just left him there, he didn’t care about his health or his well-being, he had no concern for any issues that he had,” Melba said. “I couldn’t believe this police officer had no concern for him and just left him there.”
Melba, who was at work in another town at the time, said she rushed home as fast as should could, picked up the car from the impound, and went straight to the department to file a complaint.
While they have yet to hear any response from the department on the status of their complaint, the chances of anything happening to this officer are slim to none.
The Bayonne Police Department did not respond to a request for comment on Walsh’s allegations, as well as a request to make the officer available for comment, reports NJ.com.
“To see a man standing in the street — all right, take the car if you have to, I understand that’s the procedure — but my God, have a little compassion, the guy is standing there with his foot amputated,” Melba said. “I have no intentions of suing, I just don’t want to see this ever happen to somebody else again.
“It could have turned out a lot more seriously.”
Just in case you think that it may be an isolated incident of cops abusing the power when someone honks at them, consider the following similar case in Missouri.
Last month, computer programmer Scott Smith was sitting at a red light. When it turned green, the person in front of him refused to move forward. Doing what anyone in his situation would’ve done—given a reasonable amount of time to move—Smith politely honked his horn to alert the man in front of him that the light was green.
Because the person he honked at had a badge and a gun, Smith was detained, berated and extorted as the cop deliberately held him on the side of the road for over an hour while he called in back up to help carry out his act of road rage.