Can’t Buy the Law (Unless You Can)

Max Ellas, Scarlet Staff

Late one autumn night, State Trooper Ryan Sceviour pulled over Alli Bibaud on I-190 after she crashed her car while drunk. Bibaud protested vehemently and tried to get around any form of punishment,  most notably by offering Sceviour sex.

This is obviously against the code of law, and so Sceviour declined, but Bibaud continued ranting regardless. None of this moved Sceviour, except to make it into his police report, in which he noted that she tried to offer him sex, as well as that her car contained a ‘heroin kit’—needles and a spoon. Once none of her sexual advances proved fruitful, Bibaud mentioned that her father was a judge.

That’s where the situation starts to get convoluted. It was never explicitly stated who, but SOMEONE [italics] caused Sceviour to be disciplined for the contents of his report. Sceviour was told to edit his account of the incident and remove the attempt at trading sex for a pardon from the report.

Judge Timothy Bibaud is first justice of Dudley District Court and he presides over its drug court. The order itself came from Colonel Richard McKeon of the State Police, but the reason listed was to avoid embarrassing the judge’s family.

The judge declined to comment, although he did say that he acknowledged that his daughter was ‘sick,’ which is a good catch-all way to avoid specifics.

The idea of powerful people being able to obscure truth and curtail justice because of an elevated stature is repugnant and against the ideals this country is supposed to have.

Responses from others affiliated with the State Police reflect this view: president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts Dana Pullman spoke out against the judge and Colonel’s treatment of Sceviour. It was characterized as a breach of ethics.

Breach of ethics puts it mildly—although unfortunately this is a trend we are discovering more and more, and not only in the field of law enforcement. Famous men in entertainment are able to rewrite history by means of high-priced lawyers and influence within their circles—such as Louis C.K, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Bill Cosby.

This type of thing happens in politics as well, with President Donald Trump being a flagrant example of this. During his candidacy his history of sexual harassment was brought to bear, which he had always been able to hide under his influence and money.

The concept of wealth cloaking or excusing transgressions is distressing enough, but in the case of Sceviour it takes on an extra abhorrence. The job of a police force or officer (in theory) is to enforce equally and uncompromisingly the law, no matter who is breaking it.

The law is supposed to be the facet of life that people are all equal under regardless of socioeconomic status. If certain people are allowed to place themselves above that, then change for the better can never be possible.

The day that reputation becomes more important than accountability, and when such reputation can be protected with wealth or threats (whether implied or explicit), is the day that the pretense of equality must finally be abandoned in America. The reprimands Sceviour received suggests that this day is closer than would be ideal. It is imperative that this day be forestalled as much as it can be, and to do that law enforcement needs to be able to resist the lure of bribery and persist in spite of fear of retribution.