The personal and public police issue
Sun Oct 1, 2017 12:41pm

Many people have stressful, negative encounters with police.

I had a virtually clean driving record from first license until just a few years ago. Virtually because the only ticket I ever received was for speeding, 34mph in a 20mph zone on my bicycle. It was downhill and I cruised.

I was stopped a few years ago because my license was about to expire. I was charged with no proof of insurance because I did not provide my proof of insurance in time. I had every policy card ever owned for the vehicle and it took me a few minutes to find the current one. Too late. The case was thrown out. But stopping because a tag was about to expire? Flimsy, abusive of authority, and the judge agreed.

I was stopped at 6am on my way to work for alleged speeding through a school zone. It was my neighborhood, and I absolutely was not speeding. Nor was I anywhere close to a school. Nearest school was a mile away. I know because I "run." The cop was an asshole jerk. When I was looking for my registration and proof of insurance, he stood with his face in my open window saying over and over, "you're looking for a little piece of paper." I asked to hear his tuning fork for the radar calibration, because I have perfect pitch and would know instantly if it was calibrated. He went into a rage, yelling at me, telling me it was calibrated and I had no business asking to hear the fork. He went back to his cruiser. I found the current registration and insurance and held it out the window, waving it so he could see it. He ignored me. I opened my door, and he jumped out of his car enraged, yelling at me to close my door. I did. I documented the entire stop on a narrative timeline, like we do with teachers during an observation. A column for time and another for descriptive narrative. He cited me for speeding, no registration and no insurance. All bogus.

At first appearance I had choice to plead guilt and pay the fine, or go to court. I chose the latter. On the court date, I was directed to a door and a long, narrow room with benches on each side and a desk at the end where a man sat. The benches were lined with sheriff deputies including the officer who cited me. I made direct eye contact with him. My intent was to produce the narrative for the judge. I was told to leave the room and wait in the hall outside. I did, for fifty minutes. Then a deputy came out and told me the officer didn't show up, and the case was being dropped. Didn't show up? He was right there in the room! As far as I am concerned, every deputy and the administrator/judge in that room lied.

My last ticket was for not wearing a seat belt, and improper signal. I was to meet a friend at a trail head for a hike, and drove W on the highway, in the right lane. For a good two miles a cop drove in the left lane in my blind spot. Well before I approached the turn off, I slowed down to let him pass, so I could safely get in the left lane for my turn. He slowed down too, remaining in my blind spot. I did not want to cut him off. Then he pulled behind me and turned on his lights. I signaled, got in the left lane, made my turn and pulled over.

A ticket for a seat belt is not a primary offense. Police can't stop you for that. It was his only words to me. He wrote up the ticket, and when he handed it to me, he cited the law for proper signal and lane change- not that I violated it because I didn't. But it was his justification for the otherwise illegal stop. I produced a narrative, but in court was not allowed to produce it. Violation of my First Amendment rights. Then the cop testified and lied, saying he followed me and when I didn't signal in time for a turn, he stopped me. His lights went on first, before I signaled and changed lanes to make the turn. My point? He lied. And the court believed him.

Last year my car broke down, and I was unable to have it repaired before the tag expired. It was parked on the street. I was awakened by cops at 1am for an expired tag! I had 24 hours to get my car off the street, into my driveway. I had to push it! It is the only citation for which I was guilty, and it was unnecessary. They could have just told me I have 24 hours to get it off the street. I know others in the neighborhood have non running cars parked on the street, with expired tags. After my citation I went around to see. Found three more. Were they cited too? Were any causing harm?

Behind me was a crazy woman neighbor who regularly shot a gun from her house. Her house was riddled with bullet holes. Neighbors and I called sheriff many times without response! To someone shooting a gun from their house! Finally the bank foreclosed and repossessed the house, and that took care of her.

So my personal experiences with police haven't been positive. I have seen how they lie, protect each other, bully, and abuse their authority. It is hard for me to have a positive feeling, even though I know and believe most police are honest and good. My experiences can't be typical, can they?

I had two cops in my church "praise band" when I directed music. Both were arrogant jerks. Both committed domestic violence against their wives, which led to divorce.

When I read stories about other police misconduct, I can see how that is possible and likely. Simply, there are too many of these stories, and they have a common element. I like to think I am more skeptical than biased. But fact is I have a healthy prejudice against police due to my experiences, and because of that, I tend to be more supportive of the protesters and protests. They have a point. Too many police get away with things they shouldn't, and they tend to protect each other, including their bad.

  • Yes, police brutality is an issue, not only forPH💀💀EY, Sun Oct 1 9:34am
    ghetto blacks but for whites who too are being shot dead in record numbers. Twice as many whites are killed by cops than blacks. However blacks commit a disproportionate number of crimes and thus... more
    • The personal and public police issue — Pikes, Sun Oct 1 12:41pm
      • Your experiences parallel mine.PH💀💀EY, Mon Oct 2 8:32am
        The one good experience I had was I was speeding just a little over 70. The officer who pulled me over was very polite. AND told me he was going to write the ticket but would show my speed at less... more
    • at a disproportionate rate on crime rates. Has nothing to do with the crime rate when no crime has been committed. It's about cops being trained to be fearful and have an attitude that they are not... more
      • It is obvious racism is in the mix.PH💀💀EY, Mon Oct 2 8:35am
        One might argue it's a culture clash.
        • Culture clash? Trudy, Mon Oct 2 12:16pm
          Between white privilege and the reality that POC live with, maybe. The fear and loathing of "others" is the reason some white people can't acknowledge racism. Fear of becoming a minority in "their... more