Otis Mayberry and Mount Airy town drunk impersonator guilty of blocking sidewalk, Otis handcuffed taken to jail and fined, Andy Griffith show world gone
“Now here at the Rock we have two rules. Memorize them until you can say them in your sleep. Rule number one: obey all rules. Rule number two: no writing on the walls.”…Barney Fife
“When a man carries a gun all the time, the respect he thinks he’s getting might really be fear. So I don’t carry a gun because I don’t want the people of Mayberry to fear a gun. I’d rather they respect me.”…Sheriff Andy Taylor
In the old days of the Andy Griffith Show, of growing up in NC and the days long gone by of common sense and smaller government, Otis, or anyone else violating a minor infraction of the law which didn’t really hurt anybody, would have been mildly chastised and left alone. You know, since no harm was done.
It all started with Andy Griffith endorsing Obamacare. Well not really, but symbolically yes. Barn, Barney Fife would have issued a warning ticket or worst case arrested Otis and brought him before Andy. Andy would have applied common sense, small government reasoning and let Otis go.
Not anymore. Welcome to the age of big government and big brother.
From the Greensboro News & Record February 18, 2012.
“‘Otis’ town drunk impersonator guilty of blocking sidewalk”
“A man known for portraying Otis the town drunk in downtown Mount Airy was found guilty Friday of obstructing a city sidewalk.
James E. Slate, 64, was fined $50 for the ordinance violation by Judge Chuck Neaves after a hearing in Surry District Court.
However, Slate filed a notice of appeal through his attorney, Erik R. Ashman, which paves the way for the case to be tried in front of a jury in Superior Court.
Slate’s arrest last April by Mount Airy police has brought widespread attention, given its tie-in to Mayberry and his frequent appearances as Otis. This usually includes wearing a seersucker suit and hat and carrying props such as a moonshine jug and set of jail keys.
The Otis impersonator was handcuffed and taken to the Surry County Jail in Dobson after what police have described as repeat violations of a nearly 50-year-old municipal ordinance that prohibits placing items on walkways in front of downtown stores.
They specifically cited the presence of a checkerboard, table and chairs on the sidewalk in front of Slate’s son’s store, where Slate — himself a former city policeman and a disabled veteran — often plays checkers with tourists. But police have said he wasn’t playing the game or dressed as Otis at the time of his arrest and that Slate ignored multiple warnings to remove the items.
The table was against the building and stuck out less than a foot.
In District Court Friday, Ashman argued vigorously that defined distances of where walkways end in relation to a building are unclear and the city ordinance is too broad. He produced a tax map showing that the property line of the Slate store stretches 10 feet from the building. The attorney said Slate didn’t obstruct anyone, and asked that the case be dismissed.
However, the judge — in finding Slate guilty — indicated the ordinance was clear-cut on the matter of items placed on public sidewalks, according to Slate. And Neaves said he had no choice but to render that verdict although he considered the violation to be minor.
Slate said he pondered whether to appeal the case, since the $50 fine represents a “cheap” way to end the matter that had come to court six times previously and been continued on each occasion for varying reasons. The man who portrays Otis said his reasoning in having a notice of appeal filed was that the case is not about money, but principle.”
Perhaps we need to yell “Citizens arrest citizens arrest” at Obama.