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By Nelson Sigelman

Scores of passengers aboard the Steamship Authority (SSA) ferry Islander ran into an unexpected travel delay Friday evening, when the 8:45 pm Vineyard-bound vessel suddenly turned around and returned to Woods Hole shortly after leaving her slip. The ferry returned to her Woods Hole berth to allow a state police officer to confront four Vineyard youths who allegedly pelted his state police cruiser with chunks of ice and shouted an obscenity at him as the Islander departed.

The state police officer was working a paid security detail at the Woods Hole terminal. The boatline began employing state police for added security following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

The four up-Island boys, all 17, are scheduled to appear before a clerk magistrate behind closed doors in a Falmouth court on Feb. 9 for a private show cause hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to warrant an arraignment on a misdemeanor charge of being disorderly on a public conveyance. The court does not make the names public unless a decision is made to go forward with the complaint.

According to Sgt. Richard White, state police prosecutor for Falmouth District Court, penalties could include court costs and fines.
Against a backdrop of heightened national security over the holiday period, the sudden return of the boat caused some passengers concern. Later, they raised questions about whether the circumstances justified the vessel's return.

Fred Raskin, SSA chief executive officer, said this week that he was aware of the incident. Asked about reports that passengers were not clearly informed about why the vessel was turning around and returning to port, Mr. Raskin said he understands why people may have become apprehensive. "Everyone is a little on edge," he said.

Mr. Raskin said that as a general rule the boatline wants to keep passengers informed, and he said the line's procedures for recalling a boat are under review. "It is our call to bring a boat back," said Mr. Raskin. "In this case it was deemed appropriate to do so."

The Islander was scheduled to depart at 8:45 from Woods Hole and arrive in Vineyard Haven at 9:30 pm. By the time the boat arrived, some 30 minutes late, differing versions of what actually led to the delay had already begun to circulate.

According to the police version, the boys' version, and passengers' versions, one or more of the boys threw frozen objects - whether chunks of ice, ice cubes, or snowballs, deliberately aimed at the police cruiser or not - which struck the car parked next to the dock, just prior to the 8:45 pm departure.

As the boat pulled out of the slip, at least one of three or four boys standing on the Islander deck directed an obscene gesture at the police officer, or at Wood's Hole in general, and shouted an obscenity at the police officer standing next to his cruiser, or at the world in general.

Sean O'Donnell, SSA port agent on duty Friday night, said the vessel had just pulled away from the dock when he called Capt. David Dandridge, at the helm of the Islander with 103 passengers and 20 vehicles on board, and requested that the boat return. The boat left Woods Hole in order to turn around.

Paula Peters, SSA public affairs spokesperson, said there is no protocol "etched in stone" for bringing back a boat. She said in this case Captain Dandridge was asked if the boat could come back, and he thought the incident was serious enough that the officer should be allowed to identify the boys.

Mr. O'Donnell said the boys drove onto the boat in a car with snowboards on top. The ice thrown at the police vehicle was carried from the car up to the weather deck, he said, adding to the seriousness of the incident.

State police trooper Kevin Roberts, out of the Norwell state police barracks, said the boys began picking up pieces of ice from the deck of the ship and hurling them at the cruiser. Two struck the car. The trooper said the port agent requested that the ferry return.

Trooper Roberts said the decision was made to bring the vessel back rather than contact state police on Martha's Vineyard because he could positively identify all four individuals.

Trooper Roberts said that while it was within his authority to arrest the boys, that would have meant towing their vehicle and a night in jail. Instead, he decided to avoid any further inconvenience to the public and informed the boys they would receive a summons.

Trooper Roberts identified the boys as Colin Britt, Jamie Greene, William Simon, and Casey Elliston.

He dismissed any notion that what had occurred was simply a prank, noting that the target was a state police cruiser and "what that represents."

Reached by The Times, each of the four boys said they were returning from a skiing trip in Vermont. The frozen object thrown by one of their members was described as nothing more than a small ice cube from a drink.

Casey Elliston said he was cleaning out the car and not on deck at the time with the other boys.

Colin Britt, who allegedly threw the ice, said none of the actions were directed at the trooper, but he just "took it the wrong way."

Jamie Greene said he made an obscene gesture, but was only joking around and could not explain what prompted his action. He said the police officer came on board to speak loudly and harshly to the four for at least 10 minutes and refused to allow them to say anything, or ask any questions.

William Simon said he was on deck, but said he threw nothing.

Parents of all four boys, contacted by The Times expressed concern and dismay over the incident.

The reaction of passengers to the reason for their delay varied. One Vineyard woman who asked not to be identified said she was sitting in her car after returning from a long one-day trip off-Island when she heard from someone standing nearby that a boy standing on deck had thrown something at the cruiser and damaged it and the boat was returning.

Despite the delay and the inconvenience, she said was glad the boat turned around. "It is important for these kids to get it," she said. "The world is so different now. Kids need to smarten up before they go out in the world."

Ann Canning, visiting the Vineyard for the weekend, said that after 10 or 15 minutes, Steamship Authority personnel announced that the boat would be returning, but there was no explanation why. She said everyone was very curious about what was happening.

She said the four teenagers were sitting nearby when the state police officer came on board. She said that in her view the state trooper let his anger get the better of him, yelling at the boys and telling them to shut up.

She said that she and her friend had struggled to make the boat. She said it seemed like a waste of time to inconvenience the people on board and those waiting for their arrival over such an incident.

But one Island craftsman, who was also sitting nearby and asked not to be identified, disagreed. He said the police officer acted appropriately. "I don't think he was out of line, I think he was trying to get their attention," he said.

Told that one passenger described his approach to the four youths as "bullying," trooper Roberts said that was not true. He said it was necessary to talk over the drone of the boat and "they were not listening."

"Put it this way, if they treat a police officer like that, how do they treat the general public, that is my position," he said.

I understand that in the real world (Off-island) that this would only take up about a paragraph in the newspaper, but here it's big news. Here's the island peoples' responses from the next week's "Letters to the Editor:"

"Merely Ego Damage"

To the Editor:
I was amazed to read the article about the state trooper and the four teenagers (Ferry Called Back After Ice Hurled at Police Cruiser, MVTimes, Jan. 8). At a time of heightened security, while murders occur regularly like sunrise and sunset, drugs flow freely, drunk drivers (young an old) cause serious accidents, in the dead of the winter at 8:45 pm, the SSA brought back a ferry to accommodate the bruised ego of a state trooper on a paid detail.

After reading the article, I tried to put myself in the trooper's shoes. I hear something hitting my car as I am waiting between the two docks at Woods Hole. I get out to discover that some kids from the departing ferry, had thrown ice cubes at my car.

I look at them, and they tell me to go do something to myself. I get mad. I run to the state trooper who is doing his detail at the dock, hired to make sure that no terrorist boards the ferries and disrupts the most important trade route in the Northern Hemisphere (that is WH-VH, in case you did not figure it out). I tell everyone what happened, and I look at the trooper for his help. He asks me if there was any damage, and I explain to them that my ego has been brutally bruised. So, next....

Well, what happens next depends on whether you are realistic or you live in a fantasy world. What are the chances that the trooper will demand that, and the SSA and the ferry's captain will return, the ferry back to Woods Hole, so that I can yell at the teenagers? None. Zero. No Way.

What makes matters worse is that the trooper was not there in an official capacity. He was hired as paid detail. A rent-a-cop. A paid detail that enhances trooper Roberts's income, using a state funded cruiser, filled up with state funded gasoline. What exactly was the crime of the boys seems to be up for debate. All these teenagers did was to express (in a primitive way) their dismay towards authority. They did not cause any property damage, and did not hurt anyone, other than our poor trooper's ego. Big deal.

If the trooper cannot take that, perhaps he is in the wrong job. As far back as there are history books, the young have always questioned and frequently expressed their dismay towards authority, and law enforcement in particular. That is the primary force behind social and political evolution.

I am wondering what the final costs of repairing trooper Roberts's ego are going to be. Well, there are going to be tangible and intangible costs. The tangible costs are going to involve the cost of litigation for the families and for the state, the time of the court, the overtime that trooper Roberts will most probably be paid to appear in court (or the overtime another trooper will be paid, so that trooper Roberts can appear in court), etc. The costs that cannot be measured include the stress the teens will experience. To that you add the loss of school time, the antipathy of their peers towards the law enforcement mechanism that brought their friends to court, and the increased dismay of the accused towards authority.

I certainly hope that the clerk magistrate will look at the case on Feb. 9 and throw it out, saving taxpayers some serious money.

Andréas Thanos
Edgartown, MA

"Police Presence No Comfort"

To the Editor:
In reading your paper last week I came across an article, "Ferry Called Back After Ice Hurled at Police Cruiser." I was left with so many questions, but one in particular kept nagging, and prompted me to write. Why do we have police officers sitting at ferry terminals? Certainly, they're not there as targets for frozen projectiles thrown by irresponsible young men.

The article did mention that the police were placed at the steamship after Sept. 11, as a deterrent to terrorists. Then how come I don't feel any safer? Is it because all they can do is sit there? What are the police supposedly looking for: men in turbans or blond-haired, blue-eyed types like half of Edgartown, and Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber?

I tried to imagine how a police officer might thwart an attack, but quickly stopped fantasizing when it occurred to me that, if a police officer can't stop a couple of juvenile delinquents from pelting his (our) car with ice, how can we expect him to stop an international terrorist group determined to take an entire steamship down?

Now I read that homeland security is coming to our steamship, which leads me to more questions. Who's going to guard the homeland security people? Sunburn is always a factor, and wealthy tourists are a formidable adversary. Don't let the shorts fool you, each golf club can be used as a weapon.

The whole thing reminds me of a cartoon I saw in New Yorker magazine: two desolate old men with long scruffy beards and torn clothes are sitting on the porch of a dilapidated old cabin in the middle of nowhere surrounded by a dozen or so huge concrete road barriers. The caption below reads, "The barriers seem to be working."

Questions, I have so many. I wonder who ultimately ends up paying for this pointless and ineffective police presence? Who's guarding the North Pole? How come I don't feel any safer?

I suppose I could go on questioning like this, but as I look out my window I notice the duct tape is starting to flake off the house and is in need of repair.

Steve Carey

I know it's long, hope you find it interesting though.

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882 Posts
I would've tried to sink the ferry if I was the trooper...that way you not only eliminate the punks, you also save the earth from having to be infested with such stuck up pieces of trash......It amazes me what these island dwellers complain about...if they are so unhappy maybe they should just leave. There are thousands of men and women currently deployed in a much more undesirable location defending the freedom of all of us(including the island dwellers) you ever hear the soldiers complain like that....nope. Shut up people and go about your island business, just do it civilized and teach your snot nose scumbag kids to respect law enforcement......better yet.....How about we all go to the island and hurl ice at these kids houses...maybe the parents won't mind....sorry about the venting.....It just irks me that with all the things that we have to deal with in life, you have people complaining about their boat being held up for a few minutes.

· Registered
151 Posts
"All these teenagers did was to express (in a primitive way) their dismay towards authority."
From Webster
Main Entry: 1dis·may
Pronunciation: dis-'mA, diz-
Function: transitive verb
to deprive of courage, resolution, and initiative through the pressure of sudden fear or anxiety or great perplexity

DISMAY implies that one is disconcerted and at a loss as to how to deal with something

How can we even expect kids to have respect for authority when the so called adults make statements like this?? :shock:

I am thankful my dad taught me this very simple precept; "You may not respect the man, but you must respect the uniform."

God help us!


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Things like this make me question parents in this day and age. "Adults" (and I use that term loosely) like this driving around in their BMW’s or Hummers would be screaming bloody F*&#ing murder if a kid was “expressing his view" on their car! Those people exemplify the “me at all costs” attitude that is rampant now a days.

· Retired Fed, Active Special
8,899 Posts
Take it from someone with experience; These "children" have neither respect or responsibility. Oh boo-hoo the Trooper had to raise his voice at them. I'll bet these "kids" never had a voice or hand raised at them enough prior to this.

In keeping with the nautical theme they should have been keel-hauled back to the Island, made to walk the plank, or had a MK 48 ADCap shot up their asses!

In addition, I love the support from the public. Bunch of cynical, critical, subjective shitbirds. Thank God in the aftermath of a major off-shore siesmic event, these sand-piper-loving liberal excrement-eaters would be the first to be cleansed by a Tsunami!!!
:FM: :2up:

· Chapter 90 Enforcer
3,249 Posts
shawnr76 said:
I would've tried to sink the ferry if I was the trooper...that way you not only eliminate the punks, you also save the earth from having to be infested with such stuck up pieces of trash......It amazes me what these island dwellers complain about...if they are so unhappy maybe they should just leave.
I agree, remember a while back there was a thread about how a Vineyard town (West Tisbury??) refused to buy new Cruisers for the PD? They only had 1 running cruiser out of 4 or 5. MV towns have more $$$ than most MA towns and they wouldn't give in to buy or fix their cruisers? That's BS, and they'll be the first to blame the PD for not responding...

Or better yet.. "Oh, you have a Domestic in progress?.. well our only car is tied up doing CPR on a 4 year old who drowned... tell you what, since we only have one car, swing by the station and pick-up one of our Officers and bring him back to the domestic. We'll send a cab to pick him up later."

I love how the passengers were all ticked off about being delayed. "Oh NO, they'll miss the art gallery opening... damn it! I hate when that happens."

As far as the kids. They are the Poster children of piss poor parenting.

· Subscribing Member
4,410 Posts
Damn in MPD61, where the hell were you with that fast attack 688 or Seawolf. What a bunch of weirdos, I wonder if Mrs.Andreas has any children and what kind of education she is teaching them. What's next with these kids, going on a website that teaches them to lie in order to avoid a speeding ticket?

Right on H50!

These kids probably have a page of history already. Probably Juvenile BOP too! I think MPD61 needs to spend a little time on dry land though!
Hope he didn't have his hand on the nukes, he seems a little angry
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