Lies, damn lies and the Blue Ridge Parkway

We are told this sign will not appear on the Blue Ridge Parkway near FloydFest this year (this photo is from last year's event) but the information comes from the Blue Ridge Parkway superintendent's office and the office of the Chief Ranger and both have proven themselves serial liars in the past.

Park Superintendent Phil Francis says the Criminal Interdiction Team, the Gestapo-like Park Rangers who harassed festival goers last year, has been "disbanded."

Reports The Roanoke Times:

A Jan. 18 letter from parkway Superintendent Philip Francis to Boucher said that FloydFest will be treated the same as any other event of its size along the parkway.

Francis also wrote that the parkway would disband its Criminal Interdiction Team, which had been assigned to patrol around FloydFest. The unit had realized its goals of increasing apprehensions for impaired driving and drug and weapons violations, and of cutting down on collisions, Francis wrote.

But what Francis says is different from the double speak from Chief Ranger John Garrison, who told WSLS Channel 10:

The National Park Service demobilized its criminal interdiction team for this year’s Floyd Fest, according to Blue Ridge Parkway chief ranger John Garrison.

The interdiction team caused controversy at last year’s event after a number of attendees claimed rangers were too quick to pull people over, and perhaps profiled some festival goers. Garrison said last year’s concerns were one of the factors which parked the team for this year’s event, which begins Thursday. 

There's a big difference between "disbanding" and "demobilizing." Garrison says the CIT team has been parked.

In a meeting last year, Francis first told Boucher the CIT was not operating at FloydFest last year but later "clarified" his story to the Congressman. Garrison said the team had not been recalled because of the controversy but later Francis said they had. Francis also claimed a highly-publicized incident between a Park Ranger and Floyd County Sheriff Shannon Zeman "never happened" even though the county's chief investigator was in the car with Zeman and confirmed the encounter.

A warning to everyone this weekend: The people who run the Parkway and the Parkway police are lying -- and usual -- and you probably couldn't force the truth out of them with waterboarding.

We are told this sign will not appear on the Blue Ridge Parkway near FloydFest this year (this photo is from last year’s event) but the information comes from the Blue Ridge Parkway superintendent’s office and the office of the Chief Ranger and both have proven themselves serial liars in the past.

Park Superintendent Phil Francis says the Criminal Interdiction Team, the Gestapo-like Park Rangers who harassed festival goers last year, has been "disbanded."

Reports The Roanoke Times:

A Jan. 18 letter from parkway Superintendent Philip Francis to Boucher said that FloydFest will be treated the same as any other event of its size along the parkway.

Francis also wrote that the parkway would disband its Criminal Interdiction Team, which had been assigned to patrol around FloydFest. The unit had realized its goals of increasing apprehensions for impaired driving and drug and weapons violations, and of cutting down on collisions, Francis wrote.

But what Francis says is different from the double speak from Chief Ranger John Garrison, who told WSLS Channel 10:

The National Park Service demobilized its criminal interdiction team for this year’s Floyd Fest, according to Blue Ridge Parkway chief ranger John Garrison.

The interdiction team caused controversy at last year’s event after a number of attendees claimed rangers were too quick to pull people over, and perhaps profiled some festival goers. Garrison said last year’s concerns were one of the factors which parked the team for this year’s event, which begins Thursday. 

There’s a big difference between "disbanding" and "demobilizing." Garrison says the CIT team has been parked.

In a meeting last year, Francis first told Boucher the CIT was not operating at FloydFest last year but later "clarified" his story to the Congressman. Garrison said the team had not been recalled because of the controversy but later Francis said they had. Francis also claimed a highly-publicized incident between a Park Ranger and Floyd County Sheriff Shannon Zeman "never happened" even though the county’s chief investigator was in the car with Zeman and confirmed the encounter.

A warning to everyone this weekend: The people who run the Parkway and the Parkway police are lying — and usual — and you probably couldn’t force the truth out of them with waterboarding.

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

20 Responses

  1. I can understand how it may be frustrating on a law abiding citizen to be checked for drugs or alcohol, but would you rather they didn’t check things? I know I would personally rather have them around making sure that me and my family are safe riding on the parkway. I thought Floyd Fest was supposed to be family oriented in the first place. I don’t think having alcohol or drugs there classify it as family friendly. How can this be harassment? Road checks are set up through out the county on several other occasions, not just during Floyd Fest.

  2. There are fewer law enforcement people and many of them are Virginia State Troopers. I have been up every day and haven’t seen or heard about any signs of intimidation or traffic stops for no reason.

  3. Monica, you said “Road checks are set up through out the county on several other occasions, not just during Floyd Fest”. With all due respect, there are those of us who consider that to be a problem too. Ultimately, using one abuse of power to justify another doesn’t fly, IMHO. As far as I can tell from reading Doug’s account of the matter, the searces were random. Where was the probable cause for the searches? Think about it Monica – free people are NOT subjected to random searches by the government. Our Constitutional rights are slowly being whittled away, and Doug’s description of the deplorable manner in which he was treated by a representative of our federal govenment is the most vivid reminder I’ve seen in a long time.

    Jim

  4. As said, the law enforcement was not an issue this year. We made several trips in & out over the weekend and never saw one vehicle pulled over. In fact, I think the officers gave more directions to lost drivers than anything else. The officers inside were all friendly. It was a wonderful year, the music this year will be hard to beat but I’m sure ATW will find us some more great music. For those who have never been, you really are missing something great!

    Doug, we really enjoyed the photos that you took last year, any idea if the photographer who was there this year will have them online?

  5. Jim, sadly I’m not there to see first hand so we will need to hear from others who attended FloydFest this year to see if there was any harassment.

  6. It appears that the situation is normal on the Parkway, as if FF wasn’t even happening. I took the Parkway back and forth to FF the past couple of days and didn’t see a single Park Police. There have been a couple of State Troopers parked at the entrance and exit to FF day and night, but they looked bored. And word in general is that there has been no harassment. We can take full stock when it’s over.

    And it’s shocking, just shocking, but there were neither reports of accidents piling upon accidents up and down the parkway, nor drug dealers setting up stands with for-sale signs at the parkway pull-offs.

    Or whatever the Park Police were so irrationally worried about in past years.

    Thank you Rick Boucher.

  7. From all reports, this was a banner year for FloydFest. Glad to hear it. The lack of overzealous law enforcement was a plus. Congrats to the folks at Across the Way Productions.

  8. ….just a quick address on “random” checks/ This is just my take on it. If you are a nice white family, with a couple of kids in the back, pulling up in a 2007 SUV you probably wouldn’t be stopped and searched. On the other hand, if you were a guy with long hair, black, or someone in a beat up old car (like mine)…the chances are much better of that search. This is discrimination.

    I am a 55 yr. old woman who does not ever drink …and I am on the staff of Across the Way Productions. Last year I was stopped 3 times….2 at Wine Down the Music Trail and once at FloydFest. The first time I was told I couldn’t have the short little bracelet of pearls hanging from my rearview mirror. The second time I was told I was driving erratically, the third that I ran a stopsign. Was it my utter blinding beauty or my long hair and old car that drew them to me?

    I never got a ticket as I never did anything wrong…I didn’t run the stopsign. But I did find it extremely irritating that I was being harassed for nothing.

  9. As to the ongoing debate…It is a good one. As with most things there needs to be a balance. Most of us can agree that we value order and safety. However, it does not have to be acheived at the expense of individual rights. Abuse of power is a dangerous thing.

    The police officers I saw this year were friendly and professional.

    I overheard one conversation that made me chuckle. The two officers were debating whether they would rather be tazed or sprayed. The opinion that I overheard in passing was that he would rather be tazed because he doesn’t recover well from the spray.lol

    Hopefully they enjoyed the show.

Comments are closed.

On Key
Related Posts
Keeping time around the world

Keeping time around the world

In a period of my adult, professional, life, I spent many days (and nights) on planes flying around the world. For many of those years,