After the public outcry over his tort claim (see my Sunday night post here), I assumed that Councilman Barry Goode would either step down from the council or drop the suit. It was not only a clear conflict of interest, but a political nightmare for Goode, Mayor Mapp, and the local Democratic machine. Early Monday afternoon, Goode decided to drop his claim in a rambling mess of a letter of the editor (link here).
In his textbook piece of amateur political jargon, Goode name drops John F. Kennedy, the US Constitution, and the Supreme Court in his first 100 words. Unfortunately, throughout the rest of his essay, he takes zero responsibility for anything he did on the night of December 9, 2017.
According to Barry Goode, his rights were violated “in the most egregious manner” when police entered his residence. In his home, Goode expected to find “sanctity and privacy” from the damaged car parked on his lawn and the neighbors who witnessed him drunkenly stumble through the front door he left open. But of course, Goode doesn’t mention those minor details. He doesn’t explain why he refused a breathalyzer – which he can certainly discuss, especially with the suit dropped.
Goode speaks about the “serious toll this violation has taken on my life” – the police’s violation, not his own. In fact, his only moment of reflection was whether to sue or not. “After considerable reflection,” wrote Goode, “I did what any citizen who suffered damages by the inappropriate actions of another would do.”
Barry Goode even tries to convince us that his $5 million suit was only to start a discussion about police misconduct – not a money grab. “It was my hope,” says Goode, “that my action would place this critical issue of protecting the constitutional rights of our citizens as a priority in our community discussions.”
That would be more believable if he didn’t file the claim with no fanfare, and if he hadn’t spent two years totally silent on the alleged abuse of his rights. It took an OPRA request by Tap Into Plainfield to find out that Goode’s rights were supposedly violated. This is how you bring attention to something? If he’s a bad councilman, he’s a worse activist.
But in the biggest insult to our collective intelligence, Barry Goode claims that he is dropping his suit because of COVID-19. We know that Goode’s tort claim is dated April 2, smack in the middle of the coronavirus crisis and lockdown. The City of Plainfield was making several robocalls per day, and we all knew the worst was yet to come. Only two days earlier, Mayor Adrian Mapp created a stir when he suggested that the city might only collect 70% of property taxes this year. A week later, Mapp walked back his own alarmism. Either way, Barry Goode knew the scope of the COVID-19 health and financial crisis at the moment he filed his ridiculous tort claim, and he didn’t pull it until public anger reached a fever pitch.
Barry Goode, we are not stupid. We are going to need more than this letter from you. Unfortunately, it will probably be another 28 months before we hear from you again. Between now and then, you’ll have ample time to vote to raise our taxes (and your salary) a few more times – or even bring us more Wawa gas stations, or another costly, ill-fated pedestrian mall.