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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In Partial Defense of the Man Shot by Police at the Denny's on Hampton Avenue

Posted By on Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Trip Powers: great name, great beard, allegedly terrible decisions.
  • Trip Powers: great name, great beard, allegedly terrible decisions.

Yesterday, Daily RFT told the tale of the awesomely named and magnificently bearded -- or, if you like, magnificently named and awesomely bearded -- Trip Powers and his early-morning visit to the Denny's at 1515 Hampton Avenue. My colleague Chad Garrison narrates from the police report:

When informed by restaurant employees that the diner was closed, Powers then allegedly began banging on the window with his elbows and feet demanding to be let inside. By the time police arrived, Powers had broken through the glass and was halfway into the restaurant.

Powers allegedly made verbal threats to the officer and was approaching the cop with his hands inside his coat when he was shot once in the thigh.

Now, Gut Check doesn't condone breaking into a closed restaurant -- and it certainly doesn't condone threatening an armed police officer. But if we back up the tape to the moment before Powers allegedly tried to break into the restaurant, to when he arrived there at 3 a.m., with an hankerin' for a "Grand Slam" breakfast or maybe a nosh of mozzarella sticks, we can't help but empathize.

We know from personal experience: That particular Denny's sucks.

In May of last year, Riverfront Times embarked on a special investigation, spending 24 hours at various 24-hour restaurants in St. Louis. Though we focused mainly on local joints, of course we scheduled a shift at Denny's.

Denny's (Hampton), 3:57 a.m. The windows are dark, but there's one car in the parking lot, which means there's still hope. Maybe the late-shift cook and server carpooled? There's no way Denny's -- of all places -- would foil the plans of countless drunks and insomniacs by closing.

"Oh, for fuck's sake."
Should we have checked this Denny's hours before penciling it into the 4 a.m. slot? In hindsight, yes. But come on! It's Denny's. Death. Taxes. Runny eggs and flabby bacon whenever you want it. Of course, Powers was (allegedly) enraged. You might as well have wrapped Mom's apple pie in an American flag and set it on fire on the Fourth of July.

The saddest aspect of this whole case? Powers was within reasonable walking distance of the Courtesy Diner.

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