26 September 2008

Assaulting an officer: flatulence as battery?

You have to read this and even then you will not believe it:

A man arrested for driving under the influence in West Virginia got himself into a lot more trouble later at the police station.
Happens all the time, but this time with a new angle:
During fingerprinting, Cruz then allegedly moved closer to one of the officers and passed gas, the station reported. In the complaint, the investigating officer wrote that police noticed a "very strong" odor. The alleged stunt led Cruz to be charged with another offense — battery on an officer — in addition to DUI and obstruction, WSAZ reported.
I have checked a dictionary, trying to find out how the (more or less) innocuous act of passing gas got classified as battery. Admittedly I am neither a lawyer nor a policeman, still the case is of some interest.
n. pl. bat·ter·ies
a. The act of beating or pounding. No way this one will fit. There was no touching.
b. Law The unlawful and unwanted touching or striking of one person by another, with the intention of bringing about a harmful or offensive contact. Same as above.
a. An emplacement for one or more pieces of artillery. With some effort, Mr Cruz could be considered to be a single artillery piece, but it's reaching, isn't it?
b. A set of guns or other heavy artillery, as on a warship. Same as above.
c. An army artillery unit, corresponding to a company in the infantry. Same as above.
a. An array of similar things intended for use together: took a battery of achievement tests. Nope.
b. An impressive body or group: a battery of political supporters. The body as such wasn't mentioned and probably wasn't relevant.
4. Baseball The pitcher and catcher. OK, with some effort - Mr Cruz kind of pitched, and the police officer kind of caught it. Nah - too far-fetched.
5. Music The percussion section of an orchestra. Sound wasn't mentioned and either wasn't produced or wasn't offensive enough.
6. Electricity. Immaterial to the case.
a. Two or more connected cells that produce a direct current by converting chemical energy to electrical energy. Same as above.
b. A single cell, such as a dry cell, that produces an electric current. Same as above.
So, as you can see, the closest (oh well...) possibility to define Mr Cruz' flatulence as battery is to reclassify him as a single artillery piece. Again, I am not a lawyer, but such attempt would look extremely fishy to me.

And then - let's say that the definition of Mr Cruz as an artillery piece is accepted - shouldn't he had been transferred to the Army for investigation of the discharge?

Case closed, ladies and gentlemen.

A battery charge has been dropped against a West Virginia man who had been accused of passing gas and fanning it toward a South Charleston patrolman.
See? Logic works anytime.