This is the story of Timothy David Lee aged 30 living in rural Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, USA. He lives in a mobile home at the Country Manor Mobile Home Park.
The timeline is important.
Tuesday Sept 24. The police receive a report of a dead cat attached to the grill of a vehicle outside a mobile home at Country Manor Mobile Home Park. The police attended and removed the cat. They were unable to speak with the home owner.
Wednesday Sept 25. A local news reporter – believed by me to be Rose Itzcovitz of Valley News Live – attended the mobile home with the intention of speaking to the home owner. She met him. There was a confrontation. She then called the sheriff’s office.
On Valley News Live the reporter complains that the police failed to arrest Mr Lee on Wednesday after Lee threatened to repeat his actions in front of the reporter.
“I said I’m gonna slit that cat’s throat, put it upside down on the grill of that truck.”
“Please do not do this.”
“Well then, please record me some more.”
(It implies that the reporter was recording her interview)
I take from this account that Lee, in his encounter with the reporter, threatened to repeat his actions of slitting the throat of one of his cats and hanging the body from the grill of his truck.
The reporter felt that there was enough evidence for the police to arrest Lee there are then as there was probable cause which must come from specific facts and circumstances as opposed to a hunch. On the face of it the evidence was sufficient to arrest on Wednesday.
Thursday Sept 26. The police returned to Lee’s mobile home and Lee handed over the three cats that he had. The police arrested Lee for animal cruelty.
The police’s reluctance to arrest Lee earlier is explained by the sheriff thus:
“We are bound by rules and regulations and policy and procedure. Laws. And we have to make sure that we do the right thing and we can’t give all the information when it’s part of an investigation, part of a case.”
I take it that they mean they have to be cautious. A spokesperson for the Human Society of the Lakes said that the evidence was insufficient to arrest on Wednesday. She said that someone had to have seen the crime. I think she is wrong.
There was sufficient evidence to arrest on Wednesday. For the police to arrest a person they do not need the same evidence as they do to charge that person with a crime. They need reasonable suspicion that the person committed a crime and that threshold had been met by the statement of the reporter to the police on Wednesday in my view.
In waiting one day the three cats at Lee’s home were in danger. That’s the point it seems to me.