This week's road to Roguedom stretches all the way from Oregon to our nation's capital, where the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund has sent out a gut-wrenching plea for contributions that doesn't pass the sniff test.
The unmistakable scent of skulduggery emanates from a 10-page LELDF letter signed by Mrs. Alice Mohr, the mother of a suburban Washington, D.C., cop.
According to the letter, which recently surfaced in Oregon, former Prince George's County police officer Stephanie Mohr faces 10 years in federal prison on bogus charges stemming from a "textbook" 1995 arrest using a police dog. "She lost her savings. She lost her career," writes Stephanie's mom. "And now she could lose her...beautiful 2-year-old son, Adam."
We'll ignore the fact that Alice Mohr's account of events leaves out a few key details, including testimony from a fellow officer that Stephanie Mohr released the dog on two homeless men at the urging of a colleague who wanted the dog to "take a bite" out of the burglary suspects, who were not resisting the officers.
We'll ignore the fact that during the 1990s the Prince George's police dogs bit, on average, 100 people a year, prompting a federal investigation.
What really makes this sales pitch roguish is that even if you believe that Stephanie Mohr deserves some cash, the LELDF is not the way to get it to her. According to tax records filed with the Oregon attorney general's office, the D.C.-based nonprofit received $2.42 million in contributions in 2000 and spent only $182,353 defending cops. That means if you sent them a $10 check for Stephanie, she and other cops could expect to get about 75 cents.
Victoria Cox, who monitors charities for the AG's office, says she has received an inquiry about the solicitation but can't do anything because the LELDF (which doesn't have a listed phone number) does give away some money. So, it seems, the only way to stop the group is to cut off their cash supply and ignore Ma Mohr's plaintive come-on.