Sunday, July 25, 2004

They bugged the wrong guy

Harry Zirlin, a naturalist with a thing for beetles, moved from Queens to Scarsdale where the field is more fertile. On a routine trip to the woods in Dec. 2002, he was taken at gunpoint by the police, thrown to the ground and handcuffed. Do you have a knife? he was asked. "Absolutely, I have a knife. . . . I use it for prying bark off dead logs."

Zirlin is also a lawyer. With help from the ACLU and others, he filed a federal suit for unlawful arrest and illegal search and seizure. He awaits his day in court. "He figures if the Fourth Amendment doesn't mean much for him, it probably doesn't mean much for anyone."

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