According to the Boston Globe, Wellesley Massachusetts native Margaret Greer’s simple task of picking her husband up at Logan Airport turned ugly when she refused to move her Mercedes Benz from the bus lane. The Globe reported that Greer was told to move along as she waited for her husband at Logan Airport. Police say that she did not go quietly and ended up in East Boston District Court charged with assault and battery on a police officer, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and failing to stop for a police officer.
Sergeant Danial Wildgrube approached Greer’s car and told her she would have to move because she was obstructing traffic in a bus lane. According to Wildgrube after he made that request, Greer ignored him. A confrontation ensued where the police claim that Greer gunned her engine and sped off, clipping him with her side mirror and forcing him to leap out of the way.
Greer’s account of the events is at odds with that of the police. At her arraignment, her attorney entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf. A preliminary hearing is set for May 13th. Greer’s attorney maintained that she is, “. . . a highly respected member of the community and has pled not guilty to all allegations,” The attorney maintained that, “There are two sides to every story, and we strongly contest the facts as presented by the Commonwealth and look forward to presenting our side of the story. It’s very upsetting and traumatizing to her. . . . Anyone who has picked up or dropped off anyone at the airport may understand there’s two sides to the story.” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said: “If a trooper asks you to move your car from a bus lane, you do it. . . . The trooper gave her every opportunity to do the right thing and she blew it. Now she’s looking at a felony charge.”
The Boston Globe also reports that following this incident, an individual identifying herself as “Matron” appeared on Craigslist and described herself as “a middle aged lady driving a silver van” and explained that she had, “an altercation with a Mass State Cop outside terminal B around 8:15 pm. According to the Globe, she gave a description of events seeking witnesses to what she described as State Troopers trying to get through her door and banging on her car.
There is no definitive evidence that Greer used the alias Matron on Craigslist seeking witnesses.
This incident exemplifies the old adage that there are two sides to every story. In this type of situation, it appears that Greer may have a viable defense of necessity and possibly, self-defense. The defense of necessity is also known as the “competing harms” defense. Asserting the necessity defense, “exonerates one who commits a crime under the ‘pressure of circumstances’ if the harm that would have resulted from compliance with the law … exceeds the harm actually resulting from the defendant’s violation of the law. At its root is an appreciation that there may be circumstances where the value protected by the law is, as a matter of public policy, eclipsed by a superseding value….” The Massachusetts Courts only allow this defense in limited situations. In those instances where the evidence is sufficient to raise the defense of necessity, the burden is on the Commonwealth to prove the absence of necessity beyond a reasonable doubt. Here, Greer may be able to argue that she was placed in fear by the Trooper’s behavior, which she viewed as unreasonably aggressive, and her only option was to leave the area.