12

This is Why Even Innocence and Compliance is No Guarantee of Your Safety During a Police Stop

Posted by Zenphamy 4 years, 2 months ago to Philosophy
72 comments | Share | Flag

I was reading this while watching Schindler's List. The similarities and progressions were frightening.

"Handcuffed and Helpless
There’s a naive idea floating around that an innocent person should never be afraid of cops

What you are about to read is not a philosophical argument. It’s a personal testimony. The aim of telling this story is neither to make a political statement, nor to score points for a particular ideology. For almost three years, I’ve mostly held it in. But it’s become clear to me that it’s time to give a more detailed account to a broader audience."

And: "Without asking to see my license or registration, the officer on my side told me to get out of the car. I immediately and respectfully complied without raising a single question or objection. And in case you’re wondering, I wasn’t dressed in gang colors, nor was I wearing a hoodie.

When I exited the car, he turned me around, handcuffed me, threw me against the side of my car, and did a complete body search on me. As he groped me, he said, “This is how we do it in LA.”"

Then: "Imagine what goes on inside of a man’s head when he’s handcuffed and helpless as he watches two men with guns get in his wife’s face. Imagine the complex blend of confusion, fear, irrational optimism, and rage that festers inside one’s soul as he watches one cop take his wife’s purse and pour all the contents out, while the other officer literally crawls around inside our car for several minutes."

Finally: "As I slowly walked back to our car, I said to one of the officers, “Sir, I’m not trying to be antagonistic or disrespectful, but is there a reason for why I was pulled over?”

“We just had to check you out.”"

Is it time that we all asked questions or is it already too late? How compliant do you have to be to end up in a Police State?

-------------------------------------------------------
Note: Since the author is a philosopher, I've categorized this post such.
SOURCE URL: http://thefreethoughtproject.com/innocence-compliance-guarantee-safety-police-stop/


Add Comment

FORMATTING HELP

All Comments Hide marked as read Mark all as read

  • Posted by vollenweider 4 years, 2 months ago
    I praise you for keeping your cool and your open minded and eloquent description. I am not sure I would have done the same. Your wrote a wonderful and insightful article. I gives all of us pause to think. With your attitude and response to all of life's challenges, it gives me hope that we can move forward to a better country for all. thank you.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by nicktheitguy 4 years, 2 months ago
    When I was 16, I had a run-in with the local PD. I'm white and grew up in a predominately white, well-to-do town that is a suburb of Chicago. I come from a blue collar family, and I had to work for what wanted, not what I needed. I spent many years, starting as a young kid, cutting lawns and blowing snow to earn pocket money. At 16, I got my drivers license and bought an old rust bucket Blazer from my uncle, and I worked at the local Osco.

    That night, I was driving home from being out with friends, and I cut through the Osco lot on my way home. I knew it was illegal to cut through a lot to avoid multiple lights, but it saved about five minutes of time, and I never had a problem. Three squads pulled me over as I exited the lot - two marked and one unmarked. All had their guns drawn. I was told to throw my keys out of the vehicle, exit the vehicle and lay on the ground spread eagle. One of the cops came up to me, put his foot on one of my wrists, held a gun to my head with one hand and emptied my pockets with the other hand. While doing this, he repeatedly asked me, "Did you steal this truck?". After the third time, I stated, "For the third and last time, No...run the plate against the registration and my license.". He picked me up and pushed me against the hood of his SUV, and put all my stuff on the hood, telling me to keep my hands on the hood. They ran the plates, reg, and my license and came up with nothing, but kept telling me they could cite me for reckless driving because I "was speeding through the lot". After about thirty minutes of back and forth, I started putting all my stuff back in my pockets. The one cop asked me what I was doing. I told him, "You have harassed me for a half hour now...either charge me with something, or I'm leaving." The cop handed me my license back and then said, "But we know where you live." I left without a citation, warning, or arrest.

    The cops in that town where known to harass teenagers and minorities. I was harassed that one time, but was present for at least three other times, when my friends were harassed. It really sets the stage for a person's respect for authority when cops do things like this to teenagers. As I got older, I realized that what I experienced was not the norm, but a few bad apples. That being said, I think cops should be held to a higher standard than regular folks. Yes, they are just regular folks, but they are taught to deescalate the situation, and try to avoid larger issues due to their attitudes (hopefully lack there-of). They should be reprimanded for stepping out of line, not high-fived, and the situations not ignored.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      You're a very lucky guy. In today's atmosphere of obey me or else, the least you could have expected was 'interference with a police investigation' or 'refusal to obey lawful instruction' and you certainly wouldn't have been allowed 'I'm leaving.'
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Esceptico 4 years, 2 months ago
    Books like “militarization of police,” the Cato Institute having an entire website devoted to abuse by police, and shows like Stossel are bringing this to the forefront. As in any police state, when the police become the army, they need an enemy, and the enemy is the citizenry. "To serve and protect" has become “To harass and arrest.” Your best protection is to realize you are not living in the country you thought you lived in, and have a video camera running.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 2 months ago
    In all my 50+ years of existence, I recall only one occasion when an interaction with a cop was positive - he once helped me change a flat tire. ALL other occasions have been negative or very negative, with only a rare exception being neutral. And to add insult to injury, I am being forced to pay for the abuse!
    Eventually, as the country is sliding towards a civil war, this attitude will not be of service to the uniformed thugs.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by superfluities 4 years, 2 months ago
      After reading your post I though that isn't me as law abiding citizen but in fact I have never had a cop help me at all in any way and in fact I was interrogated as I was THE criminal after reporting and armed robbery I witnessed. I learned a lesson to keep my mouth shut unless I have proper representation present-that's just how the system works.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      In my younger years I had some very good interactions with police, but in the last few years I've had exactly opposite experiences. My biggest problem isn't just the cop that does good, it's those that are basically good that witness the bad ones abusing people and not saying anything and the organization that won't get rid of the bad apples.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by strugatsky 4 years, 2 months ago
        This is a very common excuse - "a few bad apples." The problem is that when an organization, and for that matter, a society, is so rotten that "a few bad apples" are not stopped, but accepted, is an indication of exactly that - rot of the entire system. Just like it is not just a matter of "a few" rapists in the Catholic Church - the fact that the Church was and is hiding them, is a clear sign of the rot. No doubt there were many good Germans in the Wehrmacht, and in Germany in general, but they did nothing - and the results are what they are. We are marching in the same direction.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Abaco 4 years, 2 months ago
    It's too late.

    I have personally known cops my whole life. Hell...one of my earliest memories was going door-to-door with my folks in Santa Clara to help them campaign for a family friend who eventually was elected chief of police. Anymore, I fear the police. I've had very little interaction with police the past 30 years but what I've seen is enough to know that things have really changed. As of the past 8 years or so I no longer have any cop friends. The good guys I grew up admiring have all retired. I've partied with some of the younger guys and, unfortunately, they aren't the kind of people I want around my family.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by DrZarkov99 4 years, 2 months ago
    I guess I'm luckier than most, since even my scariest interaction with law enforcement turned out positive in the end. I was in Mississippi back in the '60s, and was pulled over by a highway patrolman. He did not get out of his car, but immediately pointed his 357 at the back of my head, and yelled "Git yo a** outa the cah!" I very slowly got out, keeping both hands in the air and away from my body, and my back to the officer. In the end, once he saw my military ID the situation improved, and he apologized, explaining a car like mine had been involved in an officer shooting.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      Well, you're a lot luckier than some. During the hunt for the rogue ex-cop in LA a year or two ago that was killing other cops, cops pulled up behind a small pickup with two female occupants, that they later explained they thought resembled a vehicle the suspect was in and immediately started blasting away. Later turned out that the suspects vehicle bore no resemblance to the ladies vehicle and no such description had been released.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
    • -1
      Posted by CircuitGuy 4 years, 2 months ago
      I wonder how they would have reacted to a nursing badge, my electrical engineering license, my wife's bar card, a school teacher's badge, a plumber's license, or an ID from American Family insurance or Epic software. You can't tell who are the good guys from an ID. Most people are the good guys, and we need police who are also the good guys and understand that most citizens are on their side in fighting crime (i.e. theft, aggravated battery, rape, and murder).
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Posted by DrZarkov99 4 years, 2 months ago
        Actually, I find that police relax when you stop acting like a victim and try not to make them feel like the Gestapo. They're human too.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
          Might be individually, but the system they live and work in is not. Quotas for stops, for citations, for Privatized prisons with contracts requiring 85% to 90% occupancy. Just doing my job, and just obeying my orders you understand.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 2 months ago
    We all know that this police stop was wrong on so many levels that it is quite amazing. I have to ask -- is this a common occurrence? In my long and illustrious career, I have been stopped by police mostly for traffic infractions. In some cases I was treated more courteously than in others but never violated anywhere near the extent presented. The worse that happened was when a local cop who pulled me over was a bit brusque, he later kinda apologized saying that I failed to show him my insurance I.D. I pointed out to him that he never asked to see it, and he got a bit huffy.

    I'm always wondering in cases like this, how commonplace these kind of stops are. Is there a racial component? If it wasn't LA would a similar event occur in say, Boise, Idaho or Salt Lake City?
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      I just don't buy the racial component other than training and even experience biases them to expect to be able to find some type of violation with certain people in certain areas. And I think often they feel that its more acceptable to act that way with certain people.

      I think that in every serious study that's been performed, blacks, mexicans, indians, oil field workers, construction workers, etc have more interactions with police, initiated by the police "To just check them out" than a large number of us. But with the excuses of the 'War on Terror', it's moving into our lives as well. Listen to all the nonsense that vets and constitutionalists are now considered potential domestic terrorists.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by vido 4 years, 2 months ago
    I had to go read the article linked at the end of your truncated citation in order to get the meaning of it : the guy was stopped for either "driving while black" or something else he did not mention (and being a "philosopher" has nothing to do with it). You should at least have included that part to help understanding the strange attitude of the cops.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Posted by NealS 4 years, 2 months ago
    Is your "Police Stop" above a real story or just a scenario of a "what if"? Perhaps what has been happening (Ferguson, Baltimore) was needed in order to bring to light, but do we need to condemn all police in order to get the few that break the law. Is it not the same as condemning all of a particular race due to increased percentage of crime rate by that race? Many of these things get blown totally out of proportion because of injustices, ignorance, testosterone, and the likes.

    What are some real possible solutions to these issues? Would black cops policing black neighborhoods help provide a solution? I don't think standing down while rioters destroy other peoples property is the way to go either. How about designating certain areas of the country, or specific city limits as a "Free Crime Zone", and/or "Police Free Zone", areas where people can exercise their need to commit crimes. Certain parts of Detroit might be a good area to test such an idea. How about a "Free Kill Zone"? Actually something like that might work to secure our southern border, a strip between two single rail fences about a mile wide. Label it a "Free Kill Zone", and perhaps even set up booths to rent guns and buy ammo. The government wouldn't have to secure the border and could perhaps even make some money selling "Border Killing Permits". I'm sure it would eventually stop most of the illegal immigration.

    I'm not necessarily proposing any of these ideas specifically, just bringing them to your attention. We've got to start thinking and acting out of the box, so to speak, before all the nut jobs rule this country, or is it too late?
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      The solution is to eliminate 'sovereign immunity' for cops, reduce a cop's pay based on citizen complaints, and to provide protection for the 'good' cops to report the abuses of 'bad' cops. Get rid of 'Immigration Stops' any further than at the border-- not 100 miles, eliminate the TSA, eliminate the DEA, eliminate 'One ID' driver license's, make violations of the 4th and 5th Amendments a felony crime, get rid of all laws other than tort against an individual or his property.

      As to areas like Detroit, etc, shut down Urban Project Housing, go back to 'Welfare to Work' programs, give anyone on welfare transportation to a job anywhere in the country.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
  • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
  • -1
    Posted by AmericanGreatness 4 years, 2 months ago
    These stories about the police were pap in the beginning and have now endangered law abiding citizens as is evidenced by skyrocketing violent crime in major cities across the country.

    Are there a few bad apples among the hundreds of thousands in America? Or course, as there would be when examining any large group. But, they're the remarkable exception and not the norm.

    Ask the residents of Baltimore if they feel safer since the cops have been vilified.
    Reply | Mark as read | Best of... | Permalink  
    • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
      There is NO sky rocketing violent crime. All evidence released by any reliable source, DoJ, FBI, etc. indicates just the opposite. The only increases I've run across is citizen abuse and death by cops. See the website, 'The Counted'

      Please provide your source of such a statement.
      Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
      • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
      • Posted by AmericanGreatness 4 years, 2 months ago
        You need to fact check. Violent crime and murder rates in Chicago, Milwaukee, Baltimore, New York City, St. Louis, and other major cities is up high double digits and in some cases triple digits.
        Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
        • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
          Please provide references to those statistics or any others you might know of. The DoJ and FBI tell a different story.

          The cities you refer to have some pretty bad Police public reputations so far for at least last year and this year from the articles I read in Reason, The Guardian, The Washington Post and a number of others.
          Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
          • Comment hidden by post owner or admin, or due to low comment or member score. View Comment
          • Posted by AmericanGreatness 4 years, 2 months ago
            http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-new-n...

            The stats have been widely published and reported. Here's a good synopsis read.
            Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  
            • Posted by 4 years, 2 months ago
              And here's some experienced commentary on the selected statistics released by some cities after they've had national attention drawn to their abusive actions towards their citizens:
              ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              "The Ferguson effect is an unlikely reason, said Jeffery Ulmer, associate head of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania.
              "Is it possible that somehow high-profile police shootings have angered some local populations and caused a rise in violent crime of all kinds in the last few months? Yes. Do I find that scenario likely nationwide? No, not at all."
              More likely, he said, is that local forces are at play.
              Violent crime rates are often in response to major changes in policing, but are mostly driven by social factors such as the size of the youth population, the amount of socioeconomic disadvantage and social disorganisation in a given city.
              Violent crime being up in NYC is related to the decrease in "stop and frisk", said Alfred Blumstein, a criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
              The New York City Police Department's historical main tactic for stopping people has significantly decreased after the way it was exercised was deemed unconstitutional.
              "Inevitably, there was a trade off," said Mr Blumstein. "[Stop and Frisk] was certainly a deterrent effect to carrying a gun in the street."
              New York City's historic drop in crime since the 1980s is "astonishing", said Mr Blumstein, but continuing downward trends cannot go on forever.
              Mayor de Blasio said summer was also to blame - last year saw an uptick in crime at the end of spring and beginning of summer for New York City as well. Researchers from the University of North Carolina found a correlation between higher temperatures and violent crime rates in a 2004 study.
              Could the increase be just a blip?
              Violent crime is not going up everywhere. Philadelphia has seen a 41% decrease in murders since 2007.
              Short-term spikes are statistically unreliable, especially if they come after a long-term decline, and could just be a blip, said Dr James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston.
              "It's a ridiculous silly game of focusing too much on too little, trying to ascribe it to something like the impact of [events in] Ferguson," said Mr Fox. "None of these statistics are reliable."
              A wider window of statistics would be much more reliable than a handful of figures representing January to May of this year, he said.
              That flattened feeling police officers are having in Baltimore? It will pass, Dr Fox said.
              "I don't want to minimise the tragedy of so many dying... but the sky is not falling," he said.
              Anthony Reuben, head of statistics, BBC News:
              Some of the rises in violent crime so far this year are indeed striking, but I understand there have been similarly impressive falls in other cities.
              It is usually a mistake to declare a trend based on a few months of figures for a handful of cities. It is also difficult to blame this selection of figures on a nationwide problem with US policing, or anything else for that matter.
              I'm sure the relevant police departments are looking at these figures very carefully, but we will need considerably more data over a longer period to be able to draw any meaningful conclusions."
              -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Personally, I kind of wonder if the nationwide monitoring and reporting of death by police might somehow be incorporated in the increased murders in some cities resulting from police now knowing that if they don't report it, someone else will. It was estimated last year that 50% or more of deaths from police were never reported to the FBI. Through the Jan to Jul period of 2015, the numbers were somewhere around 600--a significant increase from previous years.

              Neither your nor my perspective on this issue is the entire story and I seriously doubt either of us will ever get all the information and academia take years to reach conclusions. I think there are some correlations we can look at. Supposedly the marked increase in all violent crime started increasing in 1963, about the time of the first major gun control law and just a few years before Nixon's declared War On Drugs and kept rising till sometime in the 90's, about the time the renewal of gun bans failed. Gun purchases have increased drastically starting about the same time, and violent crime started precipitously dropping. It may very well be that violent crime against everyday citizens has become too dangerous for criminals and the statistics are now picking up the criminal on criminal crimes resulting from the insanity of the War On Drugs. It should also be noted that the early to mid 60's was the beginnings of many major Housing Projects in cities that did what--it concentrated the welfare culture in one area, increasing the amount of crime. We'll have to continue to deal with that until we bust up those Projects and get people spread out and working.

              Who knows, but none of it justifies the horrendous police abuse I see reported on and viewed on Youtube and other sources everyday, nor the number of cops I see walk away with outrageous retirements after drawing abuse or murder allegations and almost none going to prison.
              Reply | Mark as read | Parent | Best of... | Permalink  

FORMATTING HELP

  • Comment hidden. Undo