10

Cops and Traffic Stops

Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts explains to Mark Shea why my advice on traffic stops to clients is almost always the best procedure to follow:  be polite, be business-like and do not argue with the cop.  If there is something wrong  with the stop we can fight it in court.  Cops are like the rest of us, good, bad and indifferent, and most of them, in my experience, respond well to simple politeness.  Actually politeness works well in most areas of life, and should never be confused with weakness.   It costs nothing to be courteous, even in an adversarial situation, and usually pays a dividend. If 35 years of litigation has taught me anything, it has taught me that.

 

 

Yes, Mark, he was likely concerned, even if he didn’t feel threatened.

Mark Shea, in typical form, grabbed onto this story:

Here is the story.  Now, I won’t get into the case itself.  I have no clue what happened.  I’m still old-fashioned enough to believe that we hear from all sides, and seek evidence, before rendering a verdict.  If they investigate and find out he was in the wrong, he should be disciplined.  I’m OK with that.  If he feels he was wrongly suspended, let’s see what happens.  I’m OK with that.  Call me silly and stupid and a white racist Nazi sexist, but I still find comfort in a society that values presumption of innocence, due process, the need for evidence, hearing all sides of a story, and basic justice for all.

No, I’ll touch on Mark’s quips based on something I’ve learned as one of my sons trains for work as a police officer (instead of going to school to be an accountant).  I didn’t know this, but according to the officers who are training him, traffic stops are the most unnerving thing you do.

Why?  Because you have no clue what you’re getting into, that’s why.  Unlike anything else, it is a blank slate.  As the officers training him explained, when you get called to do almost anything else you have an idea what you’re getting into.  Bank robbery?  Domestic troubles?  Guarding the stadium on game day?  Entertaining a birthday party? Terrorist attack?  You know what you’re up against and you prepare accordingly.

But traffic stops are the worst of all worlds.  Often you are on your own, alone, and away from backup.  You have no clue who is in the car or what is happening.  It could be a woman in labor, a teenager with a new license, an elderly man, a drug smuggler, an arms dealer, a fugitive, a serial murderer, or someone looking for pancakes house. It could be a 65 old grandmother with diabetes.  Or it could be a 65 year old grandmother with diabetes who has her 24 year old armed fugitive son in the back seat.  You don’t know.  And you have no way of knowing until you arrive at the side of the car.  That, apparently, is the most unnerving moment of any cop’s day: That point right before you arrive at the side of the car during a traffic stop.  Which is why they have exact procedures for how the cops are to approach the car, all aimed at their safety.  Ultimately, you have only the driver’s cooperation and good will to hope for.

Even then you don’t know, since anything can happen.  Just because a person seems normal, calm, rational, or harmless, doesn’t mean they don’t have a .45 sitting under the seat.  It doesn’t mean that they’re not up to something.  Criminals come in all shapes and sizes and behaviors.  Sometimes they’re not criminals.  Sometimes they’re just people who lose control, just as cops can lose control.  You don’t know.

But guess what?  A funny thing about those cops?  They’re actually human beings.  I realize the Left has done a bang up job with the whole ‘Sanctity of life stops dead when it no longer benefits the Left’ shtick.  But a consistent life ethic means consistency.  It doesn’t just mean ‘Life is beautiful … whenever the Left says so’.  People should, you know, listen to the police officer, and do what he says.  Duh. And that includes not assuming he’s a psychoNazi racist murderer who deserves no respect, who can be ignored in kind, and had best let Greedo shoot first before he responds.

In a sane world of morals, principles, values, truth, common sense, justice, and civility founded on the Judeo-Christian ethic, the person does what my Dad did when he was mistaken for a fugitive years ago: comply with the cops.  Even though they swarmed his car, guns out, yelling for him to keep his hands visible, he decided to go crazy and … do what they said.  Know what happened then?  They checked, found out he was the wrong person, apologized, my Dad said they were just doing their job, he drove on to work, they continued their search, and that was it!  Wow.  It’s like crazy decent and sensible.  Heck, it’s almost respectful!  Thank goodness we’re done with that era.  Can’t have any of that in a Leftist paradise.

So Mark, the answer to your question is yes.  If that officer had any brains, he was worried.  Perhaps he felt threatened.  Perhaps he overreacted.  Real people in the real world get it.  I fear we’ve created a generation of armchair messiahs who can’t help but ponder how others can be so weak and flawed and imperfect.

Oh, and I get why a demographic told daily that their country hates them and wants them dead would be nervous, too.  None of this is to ignore the travesty of the Left’s manipulation and exploitation of the African American community that has no doubt left many blacks in America quite shaken.  It’s just a perspective from a parent who can’t help but wish accounting was in his son’s future, rather than police work in the age of:

 

 

Of even:
Go here to comment.  Now some sage advice as to traffic stops from Chris Rock:  (strong, strong language advisory as to the below video)

8

White Privilege, the Police and Good Manners

There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved…. After all we have been through. Just to think we can’t walk down our own streets, how humiliating.

Jesse Jackson, November 27, 1993

Very, very strong content warning as to the Chris Rock video above.  Dave Griffey at Daffey Thoughts has a post on the concept of white privilege:

Courtesy of National Review.  I notice that most who beat the drum of white privilege are, in fact, white.  A common trend today.  Of course the most popular criticism of those questioning the dogma is to call them racists.  An oldie but a goodie.  Still, since I know many people who have missed the good ship White Privilege, and furthermore dismiss the idea that a white person starved to death is better off than a non-white person starved to death, it’s worth the read for a dissenting view. Continue Reading

27

Don’t Insult Their Sacrifice

New York City cops turn their backs on Mayor de Blasio, a far left loon, as he came to speak at a press conference after two cops, Wenjian Liu, a newlywed, and Raphael Ramos, a family man with a wife and teenage son, were murdered in revenge for Eric Garner:

 

“They were, quite simply, assassinated, targeted for their uniform and the responsibility they embraced,” an obviously shaken New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said at an evening press conference. “Both were ambushed and murdered.”

 

 

De Blasio and police officers have clashed in recent weeks over what officers see as the mayor’s lack of support for their work. Many officers took offense when de Blasio said it was a “very painful day” for many New Yorkers when a grand jury declined to indict the officer who put Eric Garner into a fatal chokehold, and when the mayor also said racial profiling is a problem among officers.

The New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association has been distributing a letter for members who want DiBlasio to stay away from their funeral if they’re killed. The association says many politicians have engaged in “police bashing” and failed to properly support officers.

On Twitter, the NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association said “the blood of 2 executed police officers is on the hands of Mayor de Blasio. May God bless their families and may they rest in peace.” Continue Reading

7

Police or Blue Army?

A retired Marine Colonel speaks truth to power, in the trite Leftist phrase.  The militarization of the police in this country is a dangerous trend.  Law enforcement is not warfare, and to treat it as such is to open the door to domestic tyranny.  Swat teams were initially for emergency situations.  Now the swat team mentality seems to be the first resort for law enforcement.  The police are becoming a well-armed military force and that is perilously close to the fear of standing armies that would be used domestically for political purposes that helped lead to the American Revolution.

105

The Vocation of a Soldier is Next in Dignity to the Priesthood

There are some whom denigrate soldiers and policemen and the plan God has for them in Salvation.  I disagree completely and there are many examples of saints and popes who have honored the soldier and policeman in defense of justice and peace.

I found this quote by Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen‘s Wartime Prayer Book:

“The great French Lacordaire once said the vocation of a soldier is next in dignity to the priesthood, not only because it commissioned him to defend justice on the field of battle and order on the field of peace, but also because it called him to the spirit and intention of sacrifice.”

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29

Understanding the Police

The nation (or at least, that portion of it which follows the news cycle) suddenly found itself in one of these “national conversations” about policing this week, after President Obama accused the Cambridge, Mass. police of having “acted stupidly” in arresting his friend and supporter Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. outside his own home for “disorderly conduct”. The police report, minus some privacy data such as addresses, can be viewed here. The short version, is as follows: Prof. Gates returned from a trip to China and found himself having trouble getting into his house, so he and his cab driver forced the door open. A passerby saw this, feared a burglary was taking place, and called the police. Officer James Crowley of CPD arrived on the scene shortly thereafter, saw Prof. Gates in the house as he approached it, and though he looked to be a resident, but knocked, explained the situation, and asked for ID to be sure.

Here the two versions of the story diverge. According to Prof. Gates, Officer Crowley repeatedly refused to identify himself, lured him out onto the porch, and then arrested him. (You can read the Professor’s version in an extended interview here.) According to Officer Crowley, Prof. Gates did provide identification, Crowley was satisfied that he was the homeowner, but Gates had immediately taken an angry tone (repeatedly accusing Crowley of treating him this way because he was black) and that Gates followed him outside, accusing him of racial bias and generally shouting at him, until after a warning Officer Crowley arrested him for disorderly conduct.

Now, I think it’s pretty appalling to be arrested at your own house for yelling at someone, even a police officer. At the same time, the police report rings a lot truer to me that Prof. Gates’. And while even given that account, I don’t like the idea of arresting someone in front of his own house for being loud and rude towards the police, it strikes me that Prof. Gates violated a lot of the very basic rules that everyone knows about interacting with police. Perhaps I can best explain with an example:
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