Civil Liberties Blog: ‘Don’t Tase Me, Bro!’

I may be the last to know of it, but Don't Tase Me, Bro! is a nifty web site with lots of depressing anecdotes about regular folks having their civil liberties trampled.

Today's is 7 Year Old Boy Removed from Father and Placed in State Custody Over mistaken Order of Hard Lemondade.

If you watch much television, you've probably heard of a product called Mike's Hard Lemonade.

And if you ask Christopher Ratte and his wife how they lost custody of their 7-year-old son, the short version is that nobody in the Ratte family watches much television.

The way police and child protection workers figure it, Ratte should have known that what a Comerica Park vendor handed over when Ratte ordered a lemonade for his boy three Saturdays ago contained alcohol, and Ratte's ignorance justified placing young Leo in foster care …
The 47-year-old academic says he wasn't even aware alcoholic lemonade existed when he and Leo stopped at a concession stand on the way to their seats in Section 114.

“I'd never drunk it, never purchased it, never heard of it,” Ratte of Ann Arbor told me sheepishly last week. “And it's certainly not what I expected when I ordered a lemonade for my 7-year-old.”

But it wasn't until the top of the ninth inning that a Comerica Park security guard noticed the bottle in young Leo's hand.

“You know this is an alcoholic beverage?” the guard asked the professor.

“You've got to be kidding,” Ratte replied. He asked for the bottle, but the security guard snatched it before Ratte could examine the label. …

But it would be two days before the state of Michigan allowed Ratte's wife, U-M architecture professor Claire Zimmerman, to take their son home, and nearly a week before Ratte was permitted to move back into his own house.

As an academic (at a different UM), a parent, and non-TV person, I sympathize. That said, I was not only aware of hard lemonade, I've even tried it once. It's not very nice.

If I'm going to have hard fruit juice, I very much prefer dry cider. But the kids are sticking to Izzes for now.

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One Response to Civil Liberties Blog: ‘Don’t Tase Me, Bro!’

  1. me says:

    Izze is evil. The name is, er, remarkably similar to that of Fizzy Lizzy (, an independent New York-based producer of all-natural beverages. Izze started in 2003; Fizzy Lizzy started in 2001. Do the math. (And compare the ingredients while you’re at it….)

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