The Roux House on Third Street has been a supporter of Mayor Holden’s Bond Proposal and has displayed a “Vote Yes” banner for quite some time. Apparently this exercise of free speech by the owners of the Roux House offended the sensibilities of off-duty BRPD officer Robert Moruzzi. He finally had to take action…
While the investigation into Officer Moruzzi’s antics is still on-going, the facts as currently reported are as follows:
1) While off-duty, Moruzzi decided that the “Vote Yes” banner at the Roux House presented a political opinion different than his own and must be stopped. He promptly began to tear it down.
2. An unidentified manager of the Roux House told Officer Moruzzi to cease and desist. Apparently, Moruzzi is used to giving orders rather than taking them and ignored the request.
3. Seeking to protect the restaurant’s property from damage, the manager forced Moruzzi away from the sign, causing the badly-behaving Law Enforcement Officer to fall to the ground.
4. Officer Moruzzi regained his feet and promptly started punching the manager in the face and threatening to kill him. After about five blows, the manager struck back.
5. At this affront to his perceived authority, Moruzzi drew a concealed firearm from his waistband and identified himself as a police officer.
6. After realizing the game of political vandalism, intimidation, and battery had just gone to the next level, one of Moruzzi’s more level-headed companions quickly disarmed him. The weapon was retrieved by a bystander and on-duty BRPD officers arrived at the scene to defuse the situation.
By my estimation, Moruzzi engaged in simple criminal damage to property, simple battery, aggravated assault, and likely violated a slew of BRPD internal regulations. According to news reports, the incident was caught on a BRPD crime camera, so these facts should be fairly easy to confirm. Once determined, I hope the full force of the law is applied against Moruzzi. Police officers are among our most trusted public servants; most citizens willingly defer to their instruction without question. It is absolutely unacceptable for a police officer to behave this poorly, even while off duty.
Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that this kind of violent abuse of power and authority was perpetrated by an individual apparently aligned with or sympathetic to the anti-bond crowd. Before everyone gets up and arms and takes my words out of context, I’m not saying that everyone who votes against the bond proposal is a violent neanderthal incapable of participating at a mature level in the US political process.
What I am saying is that an undue reliance on outrage and anger, while fantastically effective in motivating a disaffected base, has very real consequences. They’ve manifested here. Really, there’s only so much promotion and acceptance of fear and intimidation that can be done before the pot boils over. Our local newspaper even has an editorial devoted to this issue today.
It’s long past time for the leadership and figureheads of these organizations and movements to accept responsibility for the actions of their followers. Many will attempt to avoid responsibility and wave inconvenient actions away as “the will of the people”. I think we all know that this supposed “will” is often controlled by what these troubled individuals see and hear. It certainly was in the case of Jim David Adkisson, convicted murderer of members of a Unitarian Universalist Church, a denomination largely noted for its devotion to non-violence, in Tennesse in 2008. According to his post-arrest interrogation, he murdered these people because of his hatred of Democrats, liberals, African Americans, and homosexuals. His personal library contained such noted luminairies as Mike Savage, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly.