I have previously posted about the police’s use of “tactics” and “training” to trump the rights of innocent citizens. Basically, sometimes when you get pulled over, a cop walks up to your window with his hand on his gun; or yells at you from a distance when he could be talking to you; or orders you out of your vehicle; and pretty much treats you like a criminal. The reason for this is supposed training and tactics which are meant to protect the officer. Because everyone knows that a traffic stop is the most dangerous scenario for a police officer.
Well I say, too bad. If you can’t handle pulling people over, then don’t pull them over. Or don’t become a police officer in the first place. 98% of us don’t deserve the disrespect and insult of being treated like a criminal. Take a look at small town police departments. You rarely see such “tactical” behavior, and yet, you don’t see every other cop getting shot down on the side of the road. Then, you take these larger departments, and its like pack behavior. They start behaving with an air of inhumanity, almost like an army, and “protect and serve” becomes just “protect”. For instance, you get pulled over for speeding, and then you get questions like, “do you have any weapons?” This gets asked at pretty much every stop now. And without some type of reasonable articulable suspicion, or probable cause to ask it, it’s just plain old harassment. And the correct answer is, its none of your business if I have any weapons. Its a free country. Though that might just invite the officer to remove you from the vehicle and possibly arrest you. If you really piss them off, they arrest you for “obstruction of an officer”, i.e., “contempt of cop.” Or maybe assault of an officer – saying you somehow threatened them. Then try and prove them wrong – prove yourself innocent.
There was an interesting article in the Charleston Gazette this morning, about a lecture which was given to the Charleston Police Department recently by Alex D. Huskey, superintendent of the Indiana State Excise Police.
Huskey asked the 16 officers at the class why the approach they have to many situations was tactical.
“It’s because of what you might encounter,” one officer said.
“Safety reasons. Everyone you run into is a potential threat,” another said.
Huskey agreed that officer safety is one of the most important things an officer must focus on, but he said that police across the country spend the least amount of time focusing on what makes people tick because they are too busy focusing on how to protect their own lives.
We are not enemy combatants. We are free American citizens, and the situation should be rare where a government employee with a gun points it at you and issues commands. But unfortunately, in the name of “officer safety,” we allow it to happen everyday. A bank robbery suspect? Fine. But innocent motorists? If they were speeding, give them a ticket. But quit harassing people.
– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney.