wrong way sign

Cops Should Serve, Not Demand Subservience

This is a post script to a previous blog post about police who do not accept or understand parameters the Fourth Amendment places upon them. I offer additional observations after viewing the video of a white male cop in Virginia losing all composure—and any modicum of professional demeanor he might ever have possessed—when a black male soldier in uniform had the audacity to remain calm, and calmly inform the police officer that he had not broken the law during a traffic stop.

The cop knew it. He knew the man was right, and they both knew his rights were being violated. But his fragile ego couldn’t handle a citizen who knew the law, and knew a cop was violating it.

Violating a citizen’s constitutionally protected rights. When police are supposed to protect and serve, not demand subservience from those they deem inferior because of their skin color.

We can all see and hear it. Every quiver of the cop’s jowl telegraphed: How dare a black man tell me no! Or in my case, it was because I was a woman knowledgeable in the law. A certain type of man really doesn’t like us telling them no.

I, too, was harassed by a white male cop in the Commonwealth of Virginia. I also remained calm while stating the situation was not what the cop decreed it to be. The cop did not remain calm. He got himself all puffed up and threatening.

Just like the Virginia policeman in the video currently in the news. Where we can all clearly see him spewing with self-importance but no self-control as he brandished his can of pepper spray. He was so easily threatened, and physically flustered, when calmly confronted with a law-abiding citizen who wasn’t buying his bigoted bullshit.

Yes, police deal with a lot of assholes who are blatantly breaking the law, whether speeding or something more sinister. But their job is to not behave like an asshole. Not to act like a triggered teenager. Their job demands they maintain composure—and also that they themselves follow the damned law.

Police are supposed to know wrong from right, and practice the latter. To not violate citizens’ rights decreed by the Fourth Amendment. A badge does not give them a right to run roughshod over anyone. Especially those they selectively target for all the wrong reasons.

It should go without saying, but apparently always needs to be said, that racist targeting is wrong. Also, citizens have rights under the Fourth Amendment, as human beings, that apply even to lawful, valid traffic stops. And a search or seizure can be patently unreasonable even if someone has appeared to have broken a law. It’s called excessive force. Or selective prosecution.

Plus, if outright racism is involved, the search and seizure is going to be unreasonable. And excessive. Inherently unconstitutional. As is failing to recognize when racism is involved, and not holding police accountable for it.

There are those who heinously perpetuate this pervasive problem. Far too many district attorneys and judges who look the other way, and miscarry justice. Making a mockery of their courtrooms by mocking and blaming victims, while a cop runs free to play this dangerous game. Again and again.

Police are permitted, with court-approved impunity, to throw the next violent fit when a black man or woman doesn’t meekly and silently submit to their rights being trampled by an ignorant thug with a gun. Wielding a badge as his personal power trip.

We’re in this never-ending nightmare because the bad guys are not held accountable by a boys-will-be-boys law enforcement mentality that permeates and poisons our society, and corrupts our entire judicial system. Especially when it’s a white male abusing a position of authority.

They should all be held accountable for their wrongdoing, their duplicity, their blatant bias. The police, the prosecutors, and those on the bench who most definitely know what’s going on, and are letting it happen. Letting the police lie in reports, and on the stand. Committing perjury under oath, and calling it justice served.

Judges and prosecutors should stop protecting the wrong-doers, therein deliberately violating the oath they took to uphold the Constitution, including the Fourth Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable search and seizures, shall not be violated.

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