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FARE PLAY: How order was restored on a summer's night

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"Summertime, and the living is easy," so the Gershwin song goes. That's not always true, particularly for town police.

Consider the case of James Richards, 64, of Mill Street, charged with disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.

"Routine," you think. An Arlington police report tells the story from the officers' viewpoints about the Monday, July 16, case:

At 11:40 p.m., an officer was responding to the area of Mass. Ave. and Tufts Street to assist with a police cruiser involved motor vehicle crash. A taxi cab pulled up, and two parties got out of the back of the vehicle.

Dispute with cabbie

The first male was later known to be James Richards. The name of second male was redacted, because he was not charged.

The two had been picked up at the Hong Kong restaurant in Harvard Square in Cambridge. The unnamed male wanted to be dropped off at the YMCA in Cambridge, and Richards wanted to be dropped off at a Mill Street address in Arlington.

They two were upset that the unnamed male was not driven to the YMCA first. A dispute with the cab driver ensued, and both refused to pay their fare.

The driver said the two men were being unruly the entire cab ride, and he just wanted to be paid for taking them as far as he had. After a brief discussion, Richards agreed to pay the fare. The driver refused to take Richards and his friend farther and left.

'Obviously drinking'

"Richards and his friend had obviously been drinking," the report says. Richards began to call the four officers present "spic and nigger lovers." A sergeant told the men to find their own way home. Cursing, Richards demanded police get him a ride home.

At this point, a section of the report is redacted.

Richards tried running into traffic again, and he was advised to remain on the sidewalk. He was told that if he ran into traffic again, he would placed under arrest. Richards continued to curse and began to run into Mass. Ave. traffic again. He was arrested on a charge of disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct.

Another section of the report is blacked out.

The report does not say this, but the brief tale reflects how drinking too much can make things tough for all concerned. 

This news summary was published Saturday, July 27, 2019.

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