Police reimburse man for cannonball

In the news

Posted: Tuesday, September 13, 2005

ANCHORAGE (AP) — The Anchorage Police Department has agreed to pay a local attorney $58 so he can replace an antique cannonball they destroyed.

Yale Metzger is buying a similar ordnance off the online auction site eBay for $50. The $8 is for shipping costs from Hawaii, he said.

Metzger brought the a cannonball to Anchorage last year after finding it on his property in Cordova. He said he called police hoping they would X-ray the ball to find out whether it contained black powder.

In response, police took the cannonball to the city dump and blew it up. They feared the munition was still live and could send shrapnel flying for blocks.

This week, police offered to reimburse Metzger and have apologized for an officer who called him ''an idiot'' for challenging the decision to destroy the device.

''The police did the right thing by apologizing and paying for what they destroyed,'' said Metzger, a 45-year-old local attorney.

Police would not speak about the deal Wednesday.

Glenn Smith, the city's risk manager, whose office handles complaints against the city, confirmed the deal but did not know the details. The city was not admitting wrongdoing, he said.

Metzger regrets the loss of the original cannonball. Local archaeologists posit that the 4-inch iron ball may have come from 18th-century Russian or European fur traders.

Metzger doesn't know much about the new cannonball other than that it was salvaged from a shipwreck. It's also solid, meaning there is no possibility it contains potentially explosive black powder.

He plans on using the new cannonball as a doorstop.


Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com

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