/ Letters / Backfiring in the backwoods

Backfiring in the backwoods

June 26, 2020

To the Editor:

As an old jalopy, whose headlights are stuck on the low beams, carburetor and fuel lines rebuilt, tire treads well worn, upholstery weathered as well, and a tendency to backfire from time to time, my engine still roars and the horn as well. Therefore, I am now sounding off.

Watching the protests on RV, I am sympathetic to the cause, yet really viewed it as a faraway big city problem. All that changed for me last Friday, here in Minocqua. Around 7:30 I was summoned from my basement workshop and asked by my wife to come to the front door. Upon doing so, I was immediately confronted by an armed officer, pointing at me and directly stating, “Do you know why I am here?” I had no clue and like any reasonable person, his comment put the situation on edge. At this very moment, it suddenly occurred to me how a young black man must feel. All I could think was that something was terribly wrong and I got pegged for it.  

My anxiety escalated further when he asked if I knew this certain person, who he said would not pursue charges if I remained quiet. He then went on to use terms like defamation and harassment. When I asked if he had collected any evidence to this effect, he said no and noted he was just a middle man on bequest of this complainant.

I knew the individual he was referring to. The man was a local real estate agent who two days before, had sent me a blistering hateful email that began “You are an idiot and must be short, fat, and ugly.” He then went on a further tirade to describe me as the neighbor from hell. Later he admitted in writing to unprofessional misconduct. However, he then had the Corporate Vice President email me, claiming I had “goaded” him into insulting me. And to carry out even more, what I considered intimidation, licensed agent bequested the Minocqua Police Department join in.    

This agent had listed properties to which I shared ownership. As such, I forwarded to this agent a series of emails with full disclosures on Issues related to these listings. As a shared property owner, I felt a moral and legal obligation to do so. Our condo association wants transparency on all transactions involving our condo complex and I was acting on this behalf. As a result of these emails, some issues got resolved, while several more remain. However, nothing related to this situation merited confrontation from an armed officer. There was no emergency and time was available to determine whether evidence existed, requiring police intervention.  Instead of ambushing a law abiding citizen and scaring the beejeegers out of him, a courteous phone call, asking to come over and discuss issues, would have been more professional and productive,  

The state licensing board has been notified of the real estate agents conduct. The officer is being investigated as well by his department. No matter the outcomes however, we are again reminded that police reform is a real issue and needed nationwide. I remain rattled from last week’s encounter, so I guess you could say “mission accomplished” by our local PD. Then again, this old jalopy is still on a roll. 


D. J. Sullivan

Minocqua



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