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The Bath Salts Banker

To the cop, there are few human foibles that come as a great surprise. This one did.

by
Jack Dunphy

Bio

November 2, 2012 - 8:31 pm
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Ah, but here is where the tale gets even more interesting, for along comes a witness who speaks of Mr. Mulligan’s use of bath salts and the psychological consequences that frequently accompany such use.  And that witness is none other than Mr. Mulligan himself.

On May 13, two days before his encounter with the LAPD, Mr. Mulligan was in Glendale, a city adjacent to the LAPD patrol division where the incident occurred.  He was in front of the Glendale police station when he spoke to an officer who, inconveniently for Mr. Mulligan, recorded the conversation, which can be heard here, on the Los Angeles Times website.

In that conversation Mr. Mulligan said that had used “white lightning” about 20 times and that he believed people were following him, possibly in a helicopter.  The officer demonstrated some familiarity with bath salts and their harmful effects, and he cautioned Mr. Mulligan against further use, the effect of which advice on Mr. Mulligan was evidently short-lived.

Naturally, Mr. Mulligan’s lawyers are crying foul about the release of the Glendale officer’s tape.  In a letter sent to the chiefs of police of Los Angeles and Glendale, attorney Skip Miller demanded an investigation into how the media obtained the tape, claiming it was leaked “out of context” so as to discredit Mr. Mulligan and his allegations of police abuse.

No doubt there was some intrigue that saw the tape land in the hands of reporters, but “out of context”?  Here we have a man claiming he was beaten by police for no reason, and the officers counter that the man was under the influence of bath salts, a drug known to make people act bizarrely and sometimes violently. And then, in the purported victim’s own voice, we hear him describe his use of that very substance to a police officer who wisely counsels him against its further use, this occurring only two days before his run-in with the LAPD. Out of context?  It’s hard to imagine a circumstance where the context could be more apt.

All of this is not to say the force used on Mr. Mulligan was necessarily justified.  Even drug-addled maniacs have a constitutional right to be arrested by means of reasonable force.  Mr. Mulligan surely took a beating, but it will be up to him to prove the now dubious proposition that the force used against him was unreasonable.  And the tape wholly discredits any claim Mr. Mulligan might make that he was not a drug user and could not have posed a threat to the officers who found him acting strangely on the street last May 15.

Sure, Mr. Mulligan will press his case in court and lay out lots and lots of money to the platoon of attorneys now busying themselves in salvaging whatever might remain of his reputation. But in the end, the most damning witness against Mr. Mulligan will be Mr. Mulligan himself.

“I guarantee you,” said the Glendale officer to Mulligan two days before his encounter with the LAPD, “that if you continue using that stuff it will change who you are and it will destroy your family. I absolutely guarantee, ‘cause you will stop being who you are and you will become something totally different.”

“I’ve already felt that,” said Mulligan,

“And it’s gonna happen quickly,” continued the officer.  “You will reach a point very quickly when those things will become permanent and there will be no fixing them.”

Little did Mr. Mulligan or the officer know just how prophetic those words would soon prove to be.  Mr. Mulligan’s injuries will heal but his reputation very likely will not, no matter how many indignant lawyers he engages in the cause.

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Jack Dunphy is the pseudonym of a police officer in Southern California.
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