From the NYT, Diplomat’s Arrest in Houston Spurs Complaint From China:
Three Houston police officers caused an international incident last weekend when they followed a Chinese diplomat into a parking garage at the Chinese Consulate and arrested him, injuring him in the process, the authorities said.
Mayor Annise Parker said late Thursday that the officers had been restricted to desk duty while the police and the State Department investigated the arrest. The officers have said they were unaware the building the diplomat had entered was a consulate and off limits to them.
The arrest took place Saturday night. The diplomat, Yu Boren, the deputy consul general, was treated at a hospital for minor injuries to his neck and head. His wife, who was riding with him and also has a position at the consulate, was not injured, a spokesman for the consulate, Wang Peijun, said. “They are both at work now,” Mr. Wang said Friday.
In Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry lodged a formal complaint with the United States over the arrest of Mr. Yu, noting that the police had violated international treaties by following Mr. Yu onto the consulate’s grounds.
The United States responded with a promise to investigate the episode quickly and fully. “The department takes this incident very seriously and has been in touch with the Chinese Embassy about what occurred,” a spokeswoman at the State Department, Nicole Thompson, said.
The police department declined to release any details about the arrest of Mr. Yu. The mayor’s office identified the officers as Timothy J. Riley II, Quang Tran and Victor Olivares. A local CBS television station, KTRK, reported on Thursday that the officers had followed Mr. Yu because his car was missing its rear license plate.
The officers' names were Riley, Tran, and Olivares? Houston is a more cosmopolitan place than I would have assumed. Add a Schwartz, a Vito, and a Jones, and you have the makings of a typical Army squad from a World War II movie.
But to return to Mr. Yu, police are not powerless when it comes to persons with diplomatic immunity, despite the impression created by countless movies. (Here's a handy summary of the Legal Aspects of Diplomatic Immunity and Privileges.) So the Deputy CG's privileges were not necessarily violated when Houston's multi-culti posse served a Habius Grabus on him after he scooted into a parking garage to avoid being pulled over for a traffic offense.
Deputy Consul-General Yu Boren could have simply stopped his car when the police signaled him to pull over, and avoided some trouble for himself, not to mention an international incident. Chris Rock once did a public service message that warned people to stop immediately when they see flashing red lights in the rear view mirror, because, if you make the police chase you, they're bringing an ass-kicking with them. That's good advice, however, it looks like no one ever explained that to Mr. Yu.
Since Mr. Yu was riding with his wife when he was arrested, it's also possible that he could have been violating another of Chris Rock's rules - Don't Ride With a Mad Woman. A mad woman might like nothing better than to see you get your ass kicked by the police.
I wonder if there was any dashboard video that recorded Mr. Yu as he played Do You Know Who I Am? with the local cops. I'm just guessing here, but what are the odds that an official from Communist China isn't a pompous jerk with an attitude?
I'll be interested in seeing what develops as this incident works its way through the process.