Dear Editor,

I’d like to express my complete disgust with the way the local RCMP have been hassling my friend (I’ll call him Ben) over and over. The other night they pulled him over for no other reason than him being Ben.

First, let me explain that Ben and I come from very different backgrounds and although Ben may not, at times, be the most upstanding Merritonian, he’s still a good person all-around, and the cops in this town had better stop harassing him because they’re going to end up getting sued.

Ben is one of those people who will do what it takes to survive a trying life at the best of times, but he’s also the type of person who goes around town collecting food items for the under-privileged. I’ve seen him take food packages to those who were starving on the street and too sick to fend for themselves. He also lets his hair grow very long (some folks look down their noses at people with long hair) and when it’s at its longest, Ben will have it cut and donate it to the cancer society, which to me says a lot about his character. That’s one of the reasons why he and I will always be friends no matter what he does. These are just a couple of examples of out of hundreds. I could get a line of people so long that it would circle the perimeter of Merritt who will all tell you that Ben has, at one time or another, seriously stepped up to the plate to help a friend, a stranger, and even an enemy or two.

Anyways, for a good few years, the cops in this town have been harassing Ben at every turn, at times costing him thousands in fines from constantly pulling him over for no reason.The other night was no exception. They pulled him over and after all was said and done, Ben had his car impounded (a $300 fine – which is impossible for Ben to pay as he is on disability) as well as a fine for driving under the influence of his medication, which I happen to know is false. They also gave him seven days to fix a small blemish on his windshield way over on the passenger side of the car.

I’ve seen and heard first hand from Ben how the cops have been doing this for years now because I’m usually the one who gets the call for a ride home. Ben’s rights are being violated and I’m pretty sure none of us would take it laying down either.

Tim Martin