When police were trying to get fingerprints, police say [Jose] Cruz moved closer to the officer and passed gas on him. The investigating officer remarked in the criminal complaint that the odor was very strong.The moral of the story seems to be: "Don't pass gas on a police officer who's booking you for DUI."
Cruz is now charged with battery on a police officer, as well as DUI and obstruction.
Take a look of the photo. It doesn't look anything like the baseball player, Jose Cruz, Jr., and I'm positive it wasn't. That is, I'm not endorsing the subversive theory that it was; as Andrew Sullivan would say, I'm just airing it. And it has a strong odor.
Now that that labored joke is finished, my lawyers advise me to repeat that it really wasn't the ballplayer.
If you follow the link to the original news story, you'll find a video. The local TV station interviewed a bunch of locals about flatulence and whether it should be a crime. The key phrase was "law and odor." That's their joke, not mine.
You'll also find a copy of the criminal complaint sworn out against Mr. Cruz. Here is the relevant allegation:
PTLM. PARSONS WAS IN A CHAIR APPROX 4-5 FEET AWAY FROM THE FINGERPRINTING STATION. THE DEFENDANT SCOOTED THE 4 FEET TO PTLM PARSONS, AWAY FROM OFFICER COOK, AND LIFTED HIS LEG AND PASSED GAS LOUDLY ON PTLM. PARSONS. THE DEFENDANT THEN FANNED THE AIR WITH HIS HAND IN FRONT OF HIS REAR ONTO PTLM. PAR[S]ONS[.] THE GAS WAS VERY ODOROUS AND CREATED A CONTACT OF AN INSULTING OR PROVOKING NATURE WITH PTLM. PARSONS.I'm not authorized to practice law in West Virginia, but I have to wonder whether contact from gas can be a battery without a physical touching. If it could, you would think Cruz could have been charged if he had stayed four feet way when he passed gas, rather than doing so next to the officer. Gas, after all, diffuses throughout its container (here, the room).
I also wonder whether this could be an illegal search and seizure, unless you accept the "plain smell" exception to the search warrant requirement. (Note for any lawyers reading this: It's a joke, son.)
Finally, according to the video I mentioned, local lawyers think this case stinks. That's my joke, not theirs. So we'll just have to see.