Newsflash: Don’t be a dumbass with cops

[Edit: I wrote this before all the TSA kerfluffle. I think this is an interesting counterpoint; before you slam or praise, ask yourself what the differences are between this and the TSA’s scan-or-grope policy. Is this comparing apples and brontosauruses?]

I saw this video in class. Take a few minutes and watch it.

What stunned me when I was looking for the video on the web was how many people complained about the Officer McNevin and called him a “Nazi strom trooper” [sic].

Look, folks, there’s such a thing as being a dumb-ass. I don’t mean this woman being a jerk to the cop. I mean her continuing to sit in the car when he clearly states that he will taze her if she does not get out of the car. We aren’t simply talking about her “not doing it fast enough”, we are talking about her simply disobeying.

Maybe it was because we’d recently seen an interview with the female police officer involved on in this case:

Daniel Williams, 41, who had a history of criminal and mental problems, flagged down a police cruiser being driven on Central Parkway by a 23-year-old female officer on Feb. 2, 1998. Williams pulled a .357 magnum and shot the officer four times in the leg and abdomen below her bulletproof vest, then shoved her to the passenger side, got behind the wheel and sped away. Though wounded, the officer was able to pull her gun and kill Williams.

Or the videos of other officers who were severely beaten during routine traffic stops.

I don’t think the woman should have been charged with “resisting arrest” or anything like that. She was stupid, not criminal. That said, I think the officers did exactly what they needed to in order to ensure that she was not a threat to themselves or others.

There’s a fine line between being rationally suspicious and abuse of authority. It’s a line that law enforcement officers have to walk every day, and it can be a hard distinction to make in peaceful situations, let alone stressful ones.

Bombastic rhetoric – on either side – only ends up making things worse.