Police Who Jailed EV Owner For ‘Electricity Theft’ Say He Was Being A Jerk

It’s a well-known but unwritten rule: don’t make the person holding the gun cross. Be a jerk and you might end up dead or, if the person with the gun is a policeman, in Jail.  As the latest twisty in the story of EV driver Kaveh Kamooneh shows, not everyone chooses to play by those rules.

Screen-grab from local television reports

Mr. Kamooneh, who was reported by police to be uncooperative (Photo via 11Alive’s new report)

Yesterday, Transport Evolved reported that Kamooneh from Atlanta Georgia, spent fifteen hours in jail after charging his Nissan LEAF electric car for twenty minutes from a 110-volt electrical outlet at Chamblee Middle School while he waited for his son to complete Tennis practice. Since it was early in the morning, with no-one around Kamooneh decided to throw caution to the wind and ‘warcharged,’ using the school’s electrical power without permission to charge his car.

Talking to various news outlets this week, Kammoneh has been portrayed as a well-meaning citizen trying to make the world a better place by driving an electric car, while the officers who attended on scene were cast as petty jobsworths who were unable to differentiate between a tiny misdemeanour theft charge and grand theft auto.

As a statement released yesterday by the local police department shows however, there’s always two sides to any story. And the one being told by the Police is completely different.

The statement, which we’ve included in full at the bottom of the story, says that not only was Mr. Kammoneh uncooperative with the attending officer, but accused him of causing damage to his plug-in car — damage which had already been sustained before the police officer already arrived on the scene.

Moreover, Kammoneh’s son wasn’t the one playing tennis: it was Kammoneh himself, who had previously had a run-in with the school’s resource officer for ‘interfering with the use of the tennis courts’ during school hours. It was this previous conflict with the middle schools’ administrative staff which we think caused the police to be called in the first place — although that isn’t clear from the police statement below.

“We received a 911 call advising that someone was plugged into the power outlet behind the middle school. The responding officer located the vehicle in the rear of the building at the kitchen loading dock up against the wall with a cord run to an outlet. The officer spent some time trying to determine whose vehicle it was. It was unlocked and he eventually began looking through the interior after verifying it did not belong to the school system.

The officer, his marked patrol vehicle and the electric vehicle were all in clear view of the tennis courts. Eventually, a man on the courts told the officer that the man playing tennis with him owned the vehicle. The officer went to the courts and interviewed the vehicle owner. The officer’s initial incident report gives a good indication of how difficult and argumentative the individual was to deal with. He made no attempt to apologize or simply say oops and he wouldn’t do it again. Instead he continued being argumentative, acknowledged he did not have permission and then accused the officer of having damaged his car door. The officer told him that was not true and that the vehicle and existing damage was already on his vehicles video camera from when he drove up.

Given the uncooperative attitude and accusations of damage to his vehicle, the officer chose to document the incident on an incident report. The report was listed as misdemeanor theft by taking. The officer had no way of knowing how much power had been consumed, how much it cost nor how long it had been charging.

The report made its way to Sgt Ford’s desk for a follow up investigation. He contacted the middle school and inquired of several administrative personnel whether the individual had permission to use power. He was advised no. Sgt. Ford showed a photo to the school resource officer who recognized Mr. Kamooneh. Sgt Ford was further advised that Mr. Kamooneh had previously been advised he was not allowed on the school tennis courts without permission from the school . This was apparently due to his interfering with the use of the tennis courts previously during school hours.

Based upon the totality of these circumstances and without any expert advice on the amount of electricity that may have been used, Sgt Ford signed a theft warrant. The warrant was turned over to the DeKalb Sheriffs Dept for service because the individual lived in Decatur, not Chamblee. This is why he was arrested at a later time.

I am sure that Sgt. Ford was feeling defensive when he said a theft is a theft and he would do it again. Ultimately, Sgt. Ford did make the decision to pursue the theft charges, but the decision was based on Mr. Kamooneh having been advised that he was not allowed on the property without permission. Had he complied with that notice none of this would have occurred. Mr. Kamooneh’s son is not a student at the middle school and he was not the one playing tennis. Mr. Kamooneh was taking lessons himself.”

Unless you're at a designated EV charging spot, check before plugging in.

Unless you’re at a designated EV charging spot, check before plugging in.

Yesterday, we carefully cautioned that you should never plug in your electric car to an electrical outlet without asking for permission to do so first. Not only is it technically theft, but as some of our readers noted, it could even damage your car if the domestic outlet you’ve plugged into isn’t correctly wired.

Today? The only conclusion we can draw from the latest twist in the five cent electricity theft saga is that, just like everyone else, electric car drivers can sometimes be total jerks.

Would you have acted the same way if you were the arresting officer? Do you think the police department were fair? Has Kamooneh been punished in an appropriate way for disrespecting a police officer and causing a nuisance of himself — or do you think the punishment still outweighs the crime?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.




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