27 September 2010

Serpico, Et. Al.

As a former law enforcement officer I know our Police are continually looking at an ugly side of our world. Dealing with angry, drunk, frustrated people all the time makes the job difficult. Taking into consideration that even the most routine traffic stop is a potentially fatal situation, it's no wonder our law enforcement personnel fall into the category of having the highest suicide statistics of most jobs. Still, if you choose to work in L.E., you should try your darndest to do the job to the best of your ability and not take advantage of the situation, lest you become a crook yourself.

Are you, like me, troubled by some of the stuff we're now seeing on the news?
A motorcyclist in Maryland gets stopped for speeding... (granted, he was apparently exceeding 100 miles per hour), and the (unmarked car-plain clothes) officer who stopped him is captured on the biker's helmetcam brandishing a gun at him. Then the biker is arrested for "illegally" filming the officer!
This is happening elsewhere too...
A lady, also in Maryland I think, was threatened by Police when they saw her videotaping them questioning a suspect on the street in front of her home.

And then there are the shootings...
An off-duty Marine is accosted and shot by Police in Las Vegas. Now there are troubling reports that Police there have been involved in a cover-up.
How are these actions greatly different from what history has shown us about similar Gestapo-like tactics used by totalitarian governments we defeated in the cold war?

Our Police do a VERY difficult job, one that most of us have no desire to do, and therefore they deserve our support and gratitude.
They also need to take a now-and-then close look at their attitude, and re-read the oath they swore when they first put on the badge. If they no longer feel the same way about doing the job as when they first started, they can no longer do the job properly and need to find work elsewhere.

Updated:
I'm mistaken about him being an off-duty Marine.
He's a graduate of West Point.


Related-
Logic and reason prevail? Wiretapping charges against the
motorcyclist have been dropped.

4 comments:

cj said...

So... here's my take:

Anyone going into LE these days needs to understand and accept that their behavior, while in uniform, is probably going to be taped and questioned 90% of the time. They need to understand and adjust their behavior accordingly.

The old school cops, the ones like me, also need to accept that things have changed. Like you said - get with it or get out.

It still, however, sucks that an officer can be judged on a piece of video that may or may not convey the entire truth of the situation.

cjh

The Old Man said...

A lot depends on whether the tox results are a rumor or reality. Still seems suspicious that all of the audio (911 tape) and in-store video is "unavailable". And it's not like the LVPD has a real good history of investigating their officer-involved shootings (~199 out of 200 were ruled righteous, IIRC). So as near as I can tell, the jury is still out.
YMMV.

jinksto said...

Just read through a lot of stuff on this one. But, really, only have a couple of thoughts:

1) Never touch a gun in the presence of a cop unless he is looking right at you and calmly telling you to do that. Yelling "drop the gun!" is wrong for him to tell you to do (with a holstered weapon). If he's going to shoot me he's going to do it while both hands are well over my head. If he's calm and I'm calm and everything is cool I might consider it but more likely would say, "yeah...why don't you get it instead".

2) If the guy had taken even a single painkiller the carry was illegal in the first place. If he was as off his rocker as the tox report seems to indicate (the coroner said he had lethal doses) then he had no business carrying a firearm. Doesn't justify the shooting but does throw some doubt in there.

3) I've seen where they can prove that the video recorder was known to be broken and that they requested repair the previous week. The 911 tapes however... that's a different story.

4) Witness accounts as to what happened seem to vary with many people saying that he never touched the gun but really, that goes back to my first point. Cops can deal with a guy that is carrying a gun a LOT better than they can a guy that's reaching for one. Hands above your shoulders and big smiles.

Personally, I think this was totally off the wall. Evacuating the store was the wrong thing to do and put everyone, including the suspected bad guy, all together at the door. They should have let the police deal with it. They should have never approached him about the gun in the first place and, again, should have let the police deal with it. Since they did though, they should have accepted his CCW as legal and told the cops about it when they called. From the accounts that I read he was presented as a nut with a gun... which, don't forget, might actually have been the case.

This went down way out of control and I suspect that more experienced officers would have dealt with it so smoothly that it never would have made the evening news.

This is interesting to me because I had an experience a few days ago in a traffic stop. That story is on my blog.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

If each or all of these events are valid and the LEOs are incorrect in their actions, that is called "thinning the herd" and they deserve to be fired.

No, I don't think we're living under the Gestapo. I DO however, have some very serious thoughts about why those things are occurring and it isn't pretty and it isn't Politically Correct.

BZ