As the state becomes more authoritarian and the police more militaristic, revelations like this one from our overlords sure puts things into perspective:
The backstory is this: a woman was walking down the street when a motorcycle cop approached her, asked her if she lived in the area and if she would talk to him. She says his approach made her feel uncomfortable, so she refused and continued on her way.
“I thought that maybe he was flirting,” she said. “I just thought it was odd, I thought it was odd. I wasn’t really sure but I felt uncomfortable because there wasn’t anyone around.”
She says she was worried he might not even a real cop, so she refused to stop and began jogging away from him.
“He just crept along beside me on his motorcycle and he started saying, ‘Hey ma’am! I want to talk to you. Hey stop, ma’am! I want to talk to you.’ Then my anxiety rose even higher,” she said.
This was followed shortly thereafter by the cop dismounting, chasing her down, tackling her and placing her under arrest. The police chief claims this arrest was for “walking on the wrong side of the road,” (as well as “evading arrest” and “resisting arrest”) despite the fact that the woman wasn’t ultimately charged with anything.
Even if the preceding events could possibly be dismissed as hearsay, or something tainted by false impressions and emotions, there’s the police chief’s responses to questions about this interaction.
Whitehouse Police Chief Craig Shelton says this:
Shelton says by law you’re not required to stop and talk to an officer if there’s not a lawful reason for them to be stopping you.
But then he says this:
“Normally if a police officer pulls up, in my opinion, it’s awful odd for somebody just to take off and not want to speak to the police officer,” Shelton said.
Yes, this may seem “odd” to a police officer, but it’s not all that odd for citizens, even those committing no real crime (Shelton justifies the stop with the “walking on the wrong side of the street” crap) to have no desire to talk to police officers. A huge imbalance of power makes conversation uncomfortable. Anyone who’s attempted small talk with their boss understands this. If someone doesn’t want to talk to a cop, it’s not odd, it’s normal.
Get it? If you refuse, as Cartman from South Park would put it, to respect their AU-TOH-RAH-TAY, you must be up to no good. My personal experience is that agents of the state tend to have over inflated opinions of their worth and are practically always dismissful of the fact that they work for us tax paying citizens. Not the other way around. The trending I am seeing these days, where this field, too often dominated by ego maniacs, is arming up, thinks the law applies to us but not them, and quite often don’t even know the law, worries me. When you hear stories of police officers abusing citizens just because they record them, thinking that they should be immune form scruteny, it bodes nothing but ill, too.
Look, don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating either anarchy or disrespect and active resistance to the law, but I think most of these public servants need to be reminded that they are there to serve us, not to treat us like criminals that just have not been caught in the act yet.