“Brock Estep, 31, of Knoxville, alleged that two men in a Toyota Avalon attempted to cut him off in traffic as they pulled out of the Waffle House parking lot at the corner of Weisgarber Road and Papermill Drive on Dec. 15. They flipped him off with their middle fingers, Estep returned the gesture, and soon enough all three men had exited their vehicles, according to Estep. The Toyota’s passenger drew a handgun on him and, when Estep threatened to call the police, the two men said they were the police, Estep alleged.”
What’s wrong with this picture? OK, when you heard they were cops, you figured they’d have been coming out of a donut shop instead of a Waffle House, right? But this incident differs from your typical road rage incident in another important way: as knoxnews.com reports, the Oak Ridge, Tennessee flatfoots who drew on Estep won’t face any charges for drawing on Estep.
After reviewing the findings of KPD’s criminal probe, no charges will be filed against the pair, John Gill, special counsel to Knox County District Attorney Randy Nichols, said this week.
“We determined they acted reasonably,” Gill said.
Oak Ridge Police Chief James T. Akagi said this week that he’s awaiting written confirmation of the DA’s decision before Oak Ridge police investigators conduct their own internal investigation.
Granted, we don’t know what Estep actually did. Getting out of his car to face two angry guys jumping out of theirs probably wasn’t the smartest move he ever made. Maybe he made a move at the cops causing them to draw. The question is, why were the cops so stupid as to get out of their car just because they’d been flipped off?
But it seems that, in too many jurisdictions, the police are just like you and me, only better. Yes, they have a tough, dangerous job and we’re glad they’re out there doing it. But when they abuse their power – like drawing a gun, possibly in anger to intimidate another driver, in an off-duty incident – they need to be held to the same standards as the citizens who pay their salaries with their hard-earned tax dollars.
Getting a pass only erodes their public image and diminishes any respect they get from those they serve and protect.