“The incident portrayed on the video is not a typical interaction between our public safety officers and the public.” – City of Rohnert Park statement in Northern California cop placed on leave after pulling gun on man recording him [at latimes.com]

60 Responses to Quote of the Day: This Is Not Who We Are Edition

  1. Sadly all too frequently it is. Reason number one million and one to eliminate immunity for ANY public official.

  2. I’m sorry. TAKE YOUR FUCKING HAND OUT OF YOUR POCKET, DUMB SHIT!!!

    People who are street savvy know that basic rule. This guy obviously had a personal beef with the cops in his area, based on his commentary and what he said to the cop and the attitude he displayed. I don’t know what happened to make him be so antagonistic toward the cop, but he could have potentially been hospitalized or worse because of his behavior. don’t give cops a reason to ice your ass.

    As for the cop’s actions, well, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to him…

    • Why should he have to take his hands out of his pockets while on his property not committing any crimes? Sure, it was dangerous of him to endanger his life by not dropping to the ground immediately with his hands on his head begging the officer for mercy and offering to do anything he asks… but he wanted to make a point. A point that comes across clear as day.

      Some cops are bullies, and such behavior is unacceptable.

      • Many citizens are idiots, not realizing that their conduct could get them killed. It’s hard to fight for freedom from a casket.

        • Many cops are idiots, not realizing that their conduct brings the torches & pitchforks day that much closer.

    • Wow. Some people will be apologists for anything.

      The police have been doing similar things to him for months. That’s why he filmed it and why he was pissed off.

      As for removing hands from pockets, don’t drive up and for no reason start harassing someone and making demands of them on their own property. Nobody has that authority. Nobody has any responsibility to submit to every random whim just because the harasser claims to have some (very limited) authority.

      Cops have one reason to “ice” you: You assault them. Otherwise they are just tax paid public servants who need (and are going) to return to showing the proper respect to their employers. But people like you, desperate to submit at every turn, make reining them in that much more time consuming.

    • I’m usually on the cop’s side on these interactions, but the cop pulled a firearm almost as soon as he got out of the vehicle. IN THIS ONE instance I see the need for cops to be treated like your average citizen. If I got out of my vehicle and pulled a gun on a person for filming me, I would be arrested and or shot. Was this cop investigating a crime? Was the guy filming suspected of a crime? The only thing that we see that was done was a guy filming a cop. The cop gets out of his vehicle and immediately pulls his firearm.

    • The guy was being an asshole with the camera I will give you that, but it’s his right to be an asshole under the first amendment. It does not give the cop the right to pull a gun out on him when the guy was only using a video camera/cellphone, there’s bullying and then there’s a police state. Guess which one California is?

      • In what way was the guy an asshole? He is on his own property, minding his own business next to his car. A cop car stops next to him and just sits there, and he claims that he saw the cop actually filming him too. He had all rights to start filming, and plenty of reasons to think it was warranted. Not to mention that this is a public street, too, and cop is a public official on duty with no expectation of privacy.

    • While I don’t particularly like to see hands in pockets, I’m not seeing anything in the video to make a demand to pull his hand out reasonable.

      This looks to be a social contact, not a Terry stop. Police have no right or authority to detain someone without reasonable suspicion to believe a crime has been, is being, or will soon be committed, and a reason to believe that the person they are detaining is involved. A guy standing on a sidewalk, or even on a residential street if there’s no traffic? Not enough. Legally speaking, I can talk to him, but can’t make him do anything. Can’t make him talk to me, can’t make him show his hands or empty his pockets, can’t force anything unless he starts breaking the law.

      If being a jerk was against the law, I would never get to go home.

      • True but it’s relevant to note that the officer here didn’t detain him, arrest him, etc. While some people might see unholstering as a provocative act, it can start to make sense when you think about how much time it takes to pull a gun out of a pocket when you have your hand around it versus a level 3 security holster.

    • Did you not notice in the video that he is filming with his right hand and you can SEE his left hand? All the while the cop is saying “remove your hand from your pocket!”. Or does this guy have a third arm/hand like some kind of genetic mutation?

      Also, this cop has done similar things to this guy in the past (LA times)…as in over a dozen recorded times. Over a year, and harassment complaints have never been addressed. The guy posted on his FB page photo’s time stamping the cop coming into the neighborhood and sitting across from the guys house before awhile before he started recording video.

  3. I thought that the Blog topic about cops staying in their little cop caves unless called was not a bad idea. This Is just a good example of them cruising around and stirring up crap. Most of the stuff that they enforce is victimless crimes and Mickey Mouse laws anyways. But that Officer with his gun drawn at least knew he was going home that night. Can you see this guy around a Border Collie?

    • Keep them in their cop caves where they can cause less mischief.
      Radically reduce scope of SWAT teams (in most towns…eliminate)
      Decrease their pay.
      End the ridiculous puffed up pension plans.

      • Think about this for a minute, and leave the hyperbole behind. Accept that I am not trying to support this particular cop, who went so far over the line that I wouldn’t mind at all if he was fired. So far this year there have been maybe two weeks where I didn’t recommend to someone I met on a call that they go get a gun and as much training as they were comfortable with.

        If you get rid of the good pay, good benefits, and anything else that makes the job attractive to the kind of people you should want, what do you think you will end up with? Do you really want to give the same kind of power and authority to the kind of people you see working airport security checkpoints? You pay TSA wages, you get TSA quality.

        Tell me if I’m wrong in saying that America shouldn’t need police at the scale we currently have, because decent men and women should take responsibility for their own lives and their own safety. Now tell me if I’m wrong in saying a depressing majority of people can’t even really understand what that means, much less do it. Until that changes, you and me and the rest of the country are stuck with having cops around. Why? Because when people abdicate the responsibility for their lives, they vote for whoever says they will fill the void.

        • Yeah, I agree with everything but the pay;

          -Cops stay in cop caves unless called for a crime.
          -Reduce scope and use of SWAT teams
          -INCREASE pay and benefits and be much more selective in hiring

        • “If you get rid of the good pay, good benefits, and anything else that makes the job attractive to the kind of people you should want, what do you think you will end up with? Do you really want to give the same kind of power and authority to the kind of people you see working airport security checkpoints?”

          Sadly, that’s very often what we end up with despite the good pay and benefits. The reason is that many municipalities and states don’t select for the best and brightest police applicants because of political (diversity and affirmative action) reasons. So what you often get are highly paid often astonishingly poor quality cops. Austin, for instance, apparently doesn’t require even a HS diploma to be hired. A few months academy training and you’ve got somebody who’d have trouble being hired at Dell to sweep floors striding around Austin with a gun a badge. I understand your defending police salaries, but you also have to admit that you work with more than a few people who should never have been hired. Even worse, because of departmental politics, they can’t be fired.

        • I won’t pretend for a moment that you’re not correct about low quality compared to what we want to see. I find it interesting, though, that you use Austin as an example- the guys we have who transferred from Texas departments all say that one of the reasons they left was that the wages there are terrible relative to western WA. Many of the departments here require four years of college (fortunately not mine, but two years college and four years military helped a lot).

          Some departments do indeed select away from applicants who are too intelligent, and either refuse to fire officers who are a danger to the public or get slapped down by union lawsuits when they try.

          Where I work, we’ve fired people for sleeping on duty, for talking back to supervisors, for trying to extort criminal suspects, for sexually harassing citizens, and for lying about their education to increase their pay. So, certainly, we’ve hired people who never should have been hired- but they’re out the door soon after their misdeeds are discovered.

          I also won’t pretend that departments across the country hold themselves to a similar high standard. My city is for better or for worse, fairly unremarkable. There’s nothing that sets us on a pedestal compared to those around us- which I take to mean that any city, any agency, should be fully capable of doing things the right way… if the citizens settle for nothing less.

      • Absolutely wrong on pay. You want it to be a very well paid job precisely because it should be a relatively small elite force. It should be coveted enough that it should have dozens of candidates vying for each opening, and the thought of losing one’s position (and the associated paycheck) should be painful enough to act as a deterrent for bad behavior, as well as all kind of BS like small-scale racket and other forms of corruption.

  4. So when the cop says “what are you, some kind of constitutionalist?”, the real question is, why aren’t you? Didn’t this asshole take an oath to uphold he constitution?

    • Someone in the original posting of this video linked the path these officers typically take and yes, the constitution was sworn to be protected.

      It’s more than disturbing that some “keepers of the peace,” who’s job is to protect and uphold the constitution view it’s adherents as “crazy” and as hostiles that must be dealt with.

    • “Why yes, I am a US citizen who respects the Constitution.
      Why don’t you blow me, you Constitution hating ****sucker?”

  5. It isn’t exactly atypical either. Nor punished (he got a paid vacation). Nor generally frowned upon.

    • That cop looked senile. Some crazy dude in a blue shirt walks around threatening my neighbors shouting crazy stuff and waving a gun, he might end up as a dgu.

  6. Cops need to be educated on what the law actually is before they try and go enforce it. This Dbag cop thinks it’s fine to pull guns on people just because they are recording him purely for the sake of harassment. News flash – you work for us – we don’t work for you.

    • Does anyone, anywhere, ever have a recorded instance of the ‘ol “you work for me, I don’t work for you” bit actually working during an interaction with a LEO?

  7. From the LA Times article:

    “The video . . . has sparked public outrage, forcing the Public Safety Department to cancel a planned “Coffee with a Cop” gathering . . . .”

    That right there is the comedy gold straight line of all time.

  8. Some say “Hey, he had his hands in his pocket… .” That’s not any excuse. If I’m standing at the end of my drive next to the road, cell-phone in hand and LE drives by, I expect a friendly nod. Not, “Hey, you some crazy constitutionalist or somethin?” at the barrel of a gun.

    aflagunblog.wordpress.com

  9. Yep and the old cop got a paid vacation. I wonder how close he is to a lush pension and perks for”serving and protecting” the peons he harasses? BTW I see the Chicago po-leece and the ACLU just reached an agreement on “stop and frisk”…why it’s all better ’cause they’ll make movies about it now…

  10. If that cop was actually scared for his life because the dude had a hand in his pocket, why did he sit for so long with his vehicle angled to give him very little cover and so that to get out he’d have to step into the line of fire?

    • I thought the cop was in a great position to be ambushed if the camera guy really wanted to plug him.

      • No kidding, the body language says as clear as day that he doesn’t really think there’s any danger. If he actually thought there was, the tactics are terrible from start to finish.

        • There ya’ go! He pulls his gun out, but then just holds it dangling at arm’s length at his side–not in any kind of “ready” position. He plainly just draws it to show the guy he’s got it and is quite willing to jack around with it. It’s patent intimidation, not preparation for self-defense.

    • Hopefully Officer Unfriendly will be terminated for cause and be unable to find further LE employment.

      Of course, as that is unlikely to be the case, he needs to be either:

      1. Removed from patrol duty.

      Or

      2. Sent to some remedial tactical training.

      Because seriously, this idiot thinks that “cover” is what you do with your muzzle when you see a law abiding taxpayer, and has no other concept of the term.

  11. I think a point should be made of what a “Constitutionalist” is out here. There are a unique subset of people also known as “sovereign citizens” who do not believe that the federal government has any authority, that taxes are illegal, that their homes are “sovereign territory,” (i.e. an independent state not subject to federal or state authority) and that greenbacks are not legal tender. They make up their own driver’s licenses, and always insist on being taken to the magistrate immediately if stopped for a traffic violation. I remember one story where a constitutionalist claimed that because greenbacks were not legal tender, he did not have to pay property taxes. The County Attorney told him, “We’ll take gold, tyvm.” Mr. Bundy’s arguments that the federal government could not force his cattle off of federal land for nonpayment of grazing fees because the feds could not legally own property in Nevada falls into the same territory.

    • In what dictionary are you looking where Constitutionalist and sovereign citizen remotely mean the same thing? One believes in a document that limits federal powers, providing a contract between the government and its people. The other has a Sealand passport and completes transactions only using pre-65 silver quarters.

      This is the most blatant hijacking of language I’ve seen.

      • There are people who start as hardline constitutionalists, and then “evolve” into the sovereign citizen territory.

        BTW, sovereign citizens wouldn’t hold a Sealand passport. They don’t want any passport, since they believe that accepting one would “intermingle” their “straw man” with their “real flesh and blood person”, and thus implicitly agree to have all the laws other than what they call “common law” apply to them.

  12. There is nothing in the video that suggests any reason that this officer had to get out of his vehicle, much less to draw his weapon as he exited his vehicle, and when he took a low ready position, he was definitely brandishing (displaying a firearm in a threatening manner). Clearly, given the lack of any explanation for his actions except for demanding that the individual remove his hand from his pocket, this was out and out intimidation, for reasons not explained (at present). I would love to know what this officer (will say) his reasons were for his actions.

  13. If you think the Officer was really just roving around and hassling this guy for no reason, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. There’s more to the story than the sensationalist media articles present, and you stupid cop haters fell for it hook, line and sinker. Of course, you’d all prefer to advocate shooting him and go on demonizing him as some anti gun, nanny state warrior who wants to take your guns, but you’d be wrong. I’ll take the high road here, and caution you to reserve judgement until you have ALL the facts, instead of a one sided video with a narrow perspective, made and distributed by an angry man with an agenda.

    • No matter what the background to the story, if the video shows something morally wrong, possibly illegal, and hopefully against policy, then the public should not stand for it. One of the inconvenient things about being the good guy is that you have to follow your own rules and do things the right way, no matter what you’re faced with.

      If any cop wants to stop being the good guy, to stop following the rules, and to embrace an ‘ends justify the means’ attitude, I don’t want to work with him, and I don’t want him working the road where he could hurt innocent people, including my family and yours.

    • Regardless of any backstory, there’s no legitimate reason for the cop to get out of the car and THEN draw the gun and then just carry it around like that. Either there is a threat or there isn’t. If there is, he should be drawing to shoot or at least to hold. But he doesn’t, and he seems pretty chill otherwise, so it’s just plain old intimidation.

      In any case, we’ve seen enough other similar videos that the presumption of innocence is squarely on the harassed person rather than the cop. You guys made that bed yourselves, don’t whine when you have to lie in it.

  14. Wow!!! The officer admits in the video that the only reason he stopped had been because the guy holding the camera was, well, holding the camera. Several times in the encounter, the police officer looked away from the camera guy, which indicates to me that he did not really see the camera guy as a threat, but yet, he did not holster the firearm. There is absolutely no justification whatsoever for the police officer to draw his firearm, period. In the 80’s as a USAF SP, if I drew my firearm with that little justification, I would have probably been apprehended and charged with aggravated assault, which says a lot since in certain scenarios, we had more legal justification to use deadly force than a civilian police officer would ever have. Sure, the camera guy became mouthy, but not until the police officer drew his firearm….and last I read, mouthing off to a police officer does not give that police officer the right to use or threaten deadly force. I had 7-years of people mouthing off to me, and there is not a single instance where I had justification to draw my firearm. Once the police officer drew his firearm, it reduced his ability to deploy non-lethal alternatives, which essentially means that a non-lethal attack by an assailant would undoubtedly have ended with the officer using deadly force. The aggressor in this encounter is clearly the police officer. He is obviously an angry fellow who is unable to control his emotions. He needs to be removed from police service before he kills someone for jaywalking or staring at him wrong.

  15. I’d really like to know what the backstory is. Not because I think anything could justify the actions of the cop in the video, but because I want to know how much or how little it takes for a cop to go insane like this.

    -D

  16. All I see is one man with a really, really poor attitude who is making all police officers look bad. As if the job wasn’t hard enough for the hard working, honest and righteous members of the profession.

  17. No matter who was right and who was wrong…the camera guy was a intercoursing idiot not to go all “hands up dont shoot” when Barney pulled his piece. Just like the guy who got shot in the head in Cinnci. Do what the Po Po says and live to see another day and have your day in court. Be a badass later when you tell your version of the story to your hommies.

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