If you are passing by the 2nd District Police Headquarters in Cleveland this week, you may spot a 58-year-old man with long grey hair, mustache, and beard wearing a sign that reads, "I apologize to officer Simone, his family, all law enforcement and Ms. Adkins for threatening to kill them. I was being an idiot and it will never happen again." The sign was handmade by none other than the woman who sentenced Richard Dameron to wear it, Judge Pinkey Carr.
It's not the first time Carr has resorted to an unorthodox punishment. Last year, she made Sheena Hardin, 32, wear a similar sign after she was caught on camera swerving up onto a sidewalk to drive around a school bus.
Speaking with Fox 8 News Carr justified her humiliation tactics, saying, "It definitely sends a message because people won't forget. I remember with my last case people drove by and were like 'you are an idiot' -for me that's a deterrent. If you engage yourself in this behavior, you may subject yourself to this kind of sentence." She did not respond to Yahoo Shine's request for interview.
In early February, Dameron was arrested for threatening to kill police officers in multiple calls to 911. According to dispatch recordings, in one call he threatened a retired officer named Jim Simone and then said he would "kill two cops." In another call he said, "I want to kill three cops. Bye." He also said he would kill his son's girlfriend (identified as Ms. Adkins).
Judge Carr initially sentenced Dameron to 90 days in prison to be followed by a walk of shame-a week holding the sign in front of the police station from 7 AM to 10 AM starting Memorial Day Monday. When he didn't show up to pick up the sign, Carr sent her bailiff to find him. The judge told WYKC in an interview that Dameron said to the bailiff, "I did 90 days, I can do another 90 days, I'm not doing this sign."
At his second sentencing, courtroom footage showed the judge telling Dameron, "I don't have children, I don't play. When I ask you to do something, its not optional, its an order." She then slapped him with another 90 days for violating his probation, saying, "I'm like Burger King, you can have it your way." She also made clear that he was still required to stand in front of the police station beginning on September 2.
While Carr spoke, a subdued-looking Dameron gazed at her and nodded slightly. The tough-talking judge concluded, "The punishment fits the crime. He offended this community, he offended the police officers, and I think he needs to apologize. I think it's an appropriate sentence."
Outside the police station on Monday, Dameron told reporters how he felt wearing the sign. "Actually, I didn't want to do it," he said. "But the judge said to do it, so I am going to be the man and stand up." He also acknowledged that he was sorry and that he was drunk at the time of the incidents. Court records show that Dameron has a rap sheet of priors including for drug and alcohol related offenses going back decades.
While Carr's punishment may be unusual, it is not unique. Last spring, a Houston judge demanded Michael Giancoda, 39, wear a sign that read, "I killed Aaron Coy Pennywell while driving drunk" on four consecutive Saturdays as part of a DWI conviction at the site where his and 20-year-old Pennywell's cars collided. Prosecutors were not able to determine conclusively who caused the crash that killed Pennywell. Gianconda only had to complete one Saturday after complaining to the judge he received death threats while he was wearing the sign.
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