Free Nels: I consider myself a big fan of Nashville’s finest, but something is amiss in the Department, I fear. With another display of the ineptitude that led one of their ranks to use Keystone Cops procedures in busting an NFL Player of the Year for DUI — a case that was thrown out on the grounds of officer wackiness, Nashville Police have arrested a 29-year-old ad salesman for the weekly alternative newspaper, Nashville Scene (owned by the company that publishes the Village Voice and several other alt-weeklies).
Nels Noseworthy (perhaps they should arrest his parents) was arrested on charges that he accepted payment for escort service advertisements in the Scene that police say were purchased to promote prostitution. Huh?
Here’s a quote from the Scene’s website’s “response”
A 29-year-old Nashville Scene employee, Nels Noseworthy, was handcuffed, arrested and hastily escorted without notice from his job at this alt-weekly newspaper today on charges that he accepted payment for advertisements in the Scene that police say were purchased to promote prostitution.
The Scene promptly sent an attorney to bail out Noseworthy, who’s been a loyal employee at the Scene since Nov. 12, 2001. And Scene publisher Albie Del Favero quickly responded to the six-count indictment by saying Noseworthy should not have been targeted.
“Instead of coming after me or another manager, [the police] went after an innocent employee trying to do his job,” says publisher Albie Del Favero (rex disclosure: my friend). “Rest assured we will vigorously defend our advertising policies.”
Del Favero points out that Scene advertising employees are explicitly instructed to ensure that their clients have business licenses and are legitimate operations. Copies of those business licenses are kept on file at the Scene offices.
On the surface this sounds like a ridiculous waste of police resources and tax payer’s money. What possibly can happen from this but another embarassing loss in court…if it makes it that far?
Update: According to a report by Nashville’s News Channel 5, the bust came after a “year-long investigation,” police said. (A year long investigation? Man, that is scary: having the leadership of ones hometown law enforcement agency decide to burn the resources necessary for a year-long investigation of escort service adverrtising sales practices.) According the TV news report, “During the investigation undercover police officers placed adult ads in the Nashville Scene. The undercover officers made it clear the ads ‘were intended to solicit business for illegal prostitution,’ a police statement said. Undercover officers placed more than 30 ads in all, police said. (30? Why 30? Why not bust him after one?) The police department tried to meet with Nashville Scene managers to discuss the ads but the paper’s management declined to meet, police said.
Update II: WKRN-TV report.