"I have never been so humiliated in my life, all because I wanted a job,"
Like millions of Americans, Tateasa Adams pounded the pavement for a decent-paying job. When Six Flags Over Georgia called her back for a follow-up, she expected a face-to-face interview for a stage performer gig. She didn't expect to be led off in handcuffs.
When an outstanding warrant in Gwinnett County, GA popped up on a background check, Adams admitted to blowing off a traffic court date on account of being at her fiance's bedside as he underwent cancer treatment in Boston. When you're dealing with a loved one who's sick and ailing, you want to be by that person's side and in the process, you tend to blow off things that don't seem as important in comparison. For some, that includes a court date.
She didn't expect park officials to immediately call the police. While some businesses have a stated obligation to ring the alarm on scofflaws, the following is a profile in entrapment:
Six Flags sent Adams an email confirming her appointment on Feb. 29 for a "pre-appointment screen." She was instructed to return to the park "dressed in business attire -- this is an interview." Adams was also told to bring a valid photo identification.
"I arrived early," she said. "When I got there they sat me down in a room with a video camera, took my license, and had me fill out another application."
So park officials not only tricked Adams into showing up for her own arrest, they also stalled for time until the county police showed up. While most people are probably livid over park officials taking it upon themselves to see a scofflaw receive sweet, sweet justice, you'd have to wonder what the overall response would be if Tateasa Adams was Todd Adams, wanted for indecency with a child. I know, it's the "devil's advocate" angle, but you'd have to wonder.
On the other hand, it's still entrapment. Even the folks at the Cobb County P.D. say it's not the purview of some theme park to set up its own law enforcement sting:
“It seems to me a dangerous practice to engineer someone’s arrest,” Buckley told the AJC. “They run the risk of creating unnecessary claims for themselves. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Adams was taken to Gwinnett County where she made bail and was subsequently released. The kicker?
Adams said she's still looking for work but fears she's already lost out on opportunities due to her arrest record. Her mugshot appears on the first page returned when one does a web search of the name "Tateasa Adams."In the U.S., having a criminal record is a scarlet letter that precludes you from any occupation short of "temp worker" and "fry cook," and even I'm not so sure about the latter. I have to wonder if Ms. Adams happened to be of a different hue, would she had been given an opportunity to sort this out on her own. (i.e. seek an attorney, voluntarily turn herself in, etc.)
"This has been a total nightmare," she said. "I'm not making any excuses for missing the court date. I should've taken care of that. But it's not like I'm some dangerous criminal."
Thanks to a critical life decision, Tatesia Adams gets to have her literal mugshot at the top of Google's search rankings for her own name. If I were in her shoes, I'd hire these guys to help scrub my name clean, consider filing suit against Six Flags and burnish up that singing career while thinking about what it means to be "self-employed" for the foreseeable future.