Police arrest of Bank Mgr for destroying left behind ATM card seems insane. Any more to this story?

This story seems utterly cuckoo for cocoa puffs. The entire scenario is one big “WTF?”. The original incident happened in February 2016 and the false arrest suit was initiated in November 2106. Does anyone have more information or some local back story on this?

Members of Johnstown Police Department being sued by bank manager

Some more details here

Johnstown police sued over bank incident

Seems like a bad cop who is just a bully with a badge and other officers sticking to the blue wall of silence by supporting officer Luft.

The answer in nearly all such news reports is, “Yes, there’s more to the story (but it made a better headline this way.”)

Stories that are WTF are also often Written To Fool.

Just so I’m sure I have this straight:

[li]Customer uses card in ATM.[/li][li]Customer forgets card in ATM.[/li][li]ATM captures the card and bank employees destroy it, per official policy.[/li][li]Customer complains to her police friends.[/li][li]Police go to bank and harass employees.[/li][li]Bank manager explains policy to officers.[/li][li]Officers return several weeks later and arrest the bank manager on 4th-degree grand larceny.[/li][li]DA dismisses case against bank manager as “baseless.”[/li][li]Bank manager sues police and customer.[/li][/ul]

Does that about sum it up?

Did you read the articles? They seem to matches the headlines quite closely.

The OP said it was WTF. Was addressing that perception.

You left out one piece of the timeline, which I feel is the critical piece:
It should read:
[li]Bank manager explains policy to officers.[/li]**[li]Davis contacted police to file a complaint against Luft based on his conduct inside the bank.She also contacted the police chief and mayor to discuss her situation. **[/li][li]Officers return several weeks later and arrest the bank manager on 4th-degree grand larceny.[/li][/ul]
I don’t see how anyone can reasonably interpret the arrest as anything other than retaliation for the complaint.

I don’t get how any cop in his right mind thought this was larceny. It says right on the back of everyone’s card “property of the bank”.

In this case she did not have an account at the bank but was simply using her American Express credit card to withdraw funds using the bank’s ATM network. She was not a regular customer of the bank.

I’ve had a Bank Visa Debit card eaten before after driving away (after regular hours) and when I contacted the bank the next day was told it had been destroyed. I was annoyed but called and got another one. The “WTF” part I don’t quite get here is how the police involved thought this was going to go their way. The whole premise that a crime had been committed is batshit insane.

“Sure the case will go nowhere but we will have shown her we can make her life hard if we want to so she should know who’s boss. It’s not going to upset us to lose the case or even get sued ('cause it won’t come out of our pocket) one thousandth as much as it will upset her to now have an arrest record.” Simple know-your-place, respect-mah-authoratah prickery.

That sounds like retaliation to me.

No, you also said

yet didn’t actually check if that was the case here.

I’m amazed it took the prosecutor two months to drop the charges.

My comments were about the generality of such cases, as reported secondhand, and I’ll stand by them. Sorry you think I should have replied only in the specific here.

I think the point isn’t that the article didn’t match the headline, rather that there was a crucial detail left out of the article that makes a sensational story out of mundane facts.

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Even if she filed a complaint about the officer’s behavior (which sounds like the appropriate thing to have done) the decision to charge and arrest her for destroying a bank card per company policy is not “mundane” it’s way, way out there.

This is not some street junkie they are going to rough up and threaten. This is a bank manager who they are going after with a charge so fucking insane it boggles the imagination. There does not seem to be a single thought by them as to what is going to happen after they perform this little charade.

You regard this story, with the additional detail, as describing mundane facts?


I understand the customer being upset, and calling the police, because people are stupid, and do silly things. People have called the police on McDonalds because they were out of Chicken Nuggets.

I do not understand the police’s reaction to this, though. They really should have said, “Well, you need to call your bank, and get them to issue a new card. Next time, don’t leave it in the ATM.”

If there is a charge to get a new card (I don’t know, but with american express being the ases that they are sometimes, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did) then that is her responsibility to cover. Key Bank could be really nice, and offer to cover that charge for her, but they are under absolutely no obligation to do so, legal or moral, and would be more a “squeaky wheel” reason than one based on policy.

I don’t understand what satisfaction the customer was trying to get, nor what the police thought they could offer. The card is destroyed, arresting the whole bank and executing the lot of them wouldn’t bring the card back. I could kind of see if the bank were holding it, and not releasing it to her that she could have some claim, but over a card that was destroyed because of her own actions? Not so much.

I have to assume that the bank manager was not “respectful” enough of the cops that came into her bank to try to intimidate her into… something, and that upset their sense of self-righteousness. If they had encountered this attitude elsewhere, they would have let their feelings toward disrespecting their authority known in a much more immediate fashion.

I doubt that there will be many to defend the police’s actions in this case, but I have to say, if police are this brazen to try to intimidate bank managers, why do we really think that they will be any more professional around people who have less power?

^ This.

Spoiler Alert: account holders do not own their own ATM cards. Their bank does. Banks sign an agreement that lets banks destroy cards where PINS have been entered too many times wrong or have been retained for any reason… or in this case lost/forgotten.

Banks know this, lawyers/prosecutors are supposed to know this & most cops should know this (they use banks too). On the bright side, the sooner we root out bad cops when they are found, the sooner good cops stop getting smeared by the things bad cops do.