CBS' Mike Wallace Cited for Disorderly Conduct

Posted on August 18, 2004 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

NEW YORK – CBS News veteran Mike Wallace, 86, was arrested Aug. 10 outside a New York City restaurant and issued a summons for disorderly conduct. According to Alan Fromberg, deputy commissioner for public affairs at the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), Wallace allegedly lunged at a TLC inspector.

Two TLC inspectors saw that Wallace's limousine, registered with the commission, was double-parked so they approached the driver. According to Fromberg, while the two inspectors were questioning the driver and checking the vehicle, Wallace came out of Luke's Bar and Grill on Manhattan's Upper East side carrying a take-out order.

Wallace then approached the two inspectors, Fromberg said, in an "overtly assertive and disrespectful manner." Wallace was asked to step away three times by the inspectors. Wallace did not comply.

After the third request to step aside, Wallace "[lunged] at one of the inspectors," Fromberg said.

The second inspector handcuffed Wallace and placed him in an unmarked TLC vehicle. Wallace was then escorted to the 19th precinct and "issued a summons for disorderly conduct," Fromberg said.

He was released soon afterward.

Here’s what one columnist from www.newsobserver.com in North Carolina is saying about the Wallace situation.

Old man Wallace still ticks

By DENNIS ROGERS, Staff Writer

Mike Wallace, Stud Geezer. At an age – he's 86, you know – when most men consider it a good day if they can find the glass where they left their teeth, Mike has become a role model for the Viagra set.

You may have heard that Mike, who has been the star of "60 Minutes" since the invention of the clock, was arrested. Not for forgetting to zip his fly. Not for shoplifting Geritol. Not for boring people until their heads explode with stories about walking to school in the snow after milking the cows and how it was uphill both ways and then came the Depression and ... Arrrggg!

No sir. Mike got busted for disturbing the peace, an offense normally associated with frat house parties and boom boxes.

In New York City, no less, where you have to work hard to be heard over the din of the city, much less create such a ruckus that you disturb the peace.

Seems Mike had his limo driver double-park outside a restaurant while he picked up a takeout order of meatloaf. How "real man" is that? Let the fancy pants news anchors dine on sushi and sprouts – our man Mike is chowing down on manly meatloaf. I'll bet it had mashed potatoes and gravy, too.

Two inspectors from the city taxi and limousine office happened by and were shocked to see a double-parked limo on a New York street. Imagine that.

Rather than just write a routine parking ticket, the inspectors started getting pushy when Mike's limo driver did not move fast enough for them.

Mike came out of the restaurant with his meatloaf and apparently got in the inspectors' faces with his trademark tact and charm. OK, so maybe he was acting like a jerk. Hey, it's Mike Wallace, an old man who made his bones by getting in the face of officious government employees trying to throw their weight around.

That is when these public servants lost it. The two of them were apparently so intimidated by the 86-year-old meatloaf- wielding man that they slapped the cuffs on him. They said it was because he moved toward them in an aggressive manner.

Hey, he's 86. What did they think he was going to do, gum them? Dump meatloaf on their heads? All they had to do was take three steps backward and wait for him to forget where he was going and what he planned to do when he got there. Happens to me all the time. I head to the kitchen and find myself standing there thinking about the hereafter, as in, "What am I here after?"

Mike did more than scare these Barney Fifes. He was disrespectful to them, too.

Oh no, not that.

It may be rude, but since when is it a crime to be disrespectful to the government? We have to follow the rules, but we don't have to be polite about it. If being disrespectful is a crime, I know a lot of people – like me – who should be locked up when the legislature is in town. Half of the country is being disrespectful to the president at this very minute, and the other half is just as disrespectful to his opponent. It's called freedom. If I'm ever lucky enough to be arrested for disturbing the peace and dissing some pushy tax-paid employee when I'm 86, I plan to throw myself on the mercy of the court. If someone will just point me toward the judge.

Columnist Dennis Rogers can be reached at drogers@newsobserver.com.

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