The Florida Highway Patrol arrested a man for violently resisting arrest last night when he was pulled over on I-4 near SeaWorld in Orlando. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Wrong.
Read the story here and see if you can read between the lines.
If you missed the barely touched on point in the story let me elucidate:
The man was pulled over for speeding. By the cop he was behind on I-4. That means that the cop was speeding as well. Obviously the cop was not en route to somewhere he needed to be in order to “Serve and protect” us – because he had time to pull over the man who was following him.
Just as obvious – the man was an idiot for resisting the officer. When the cop pulled him over he should have just smiled, accepted his ticket, and fought the ticket in court. He would have lost – just because a cop is speeding does not give him the right to speed. The man let his righteous indignation get the best of him.
But the man’s ire is one I can relate to. All too often I see cops turn on their lights to speed through an intersection, only to turn them off again when they get to the other side. I see cops double parked. I watch them perform illegal turns. I watch them speeding every day. They tailgate just to intimidate people and make them so nervous they commit a traffic infraction.
Of all the agencies in Central Florida I have found the Florida Highway Patrol to be the best of breed. They are the most polite, the most professional. Orlando Police Department is the worst; their cops are a bunch of power-crazed assholes with no respect for the law or anyone else.
FHP pulled the man over last night. He tried to say he had done nothing wrong, but that was a lie – he was speeding and, supposedly, tailgating the cop. The man should have just accepted his ticket.
Anyone who knows me knows I have a serious issue with authority – cops in particular. There are ways to assert your rights during a traffic stop, though, that will not lead to mace or tasers – and I know every one of them and use them. During a traffic stop, I urge everyone to assert their rights and not let the cops overstep their bounds.
As for cops who speed or break traffic laws – all we can do is take pictures, video, and confront the agencies. Since OPD is a a big ole boy’s club, nothing will happen – they’re a bunch of assholes who have too much power and too little accountability. As for FHP – they are pretty strict in their officer conduct and they will take action to curb dangerous and illegal activity – even if it is one of their own.
A police car turning on his lights, going through an intersection, then turning them back off should be on a silent response to a priority call. Usually, it is a security alarm going off, and no siren and minimal lights are used to not alert anyone who may be in the location. But, if you aren’t monitoring the police communications channel for the call to confirm it–sure, it could be abuse.I agree with what you are saying about the proper way of doing things, and I’ll offer my own piece of advice. If you’ve been told you have been speeding, ask to see the evidence: the measuring device used to determine your speed–even if it is just a speedometer. I’ve never been in a state where they could deny that. And, again, ask politely and before he/she walks back to the car with your license and registration. Why before? Once a police officer begins writing in the ticket book, they are committed to defending the ticket… they don’t just tear it up for accountability reasons. So if there is some hesitation in showing you the device, you have possibility exposed less-than-honest intent, and two things are immediately in your favor. 1) If you are denied knowing what device it was, or seeing it, that’s information you can take to court and tell the judge. Or, what is more likely to happen, B) a police officer who may be operating under the pressure of a quota–real or perceived–may think twice about starting to write the ticket that he knows you are already questioning. And he/she will come back and just give you a “warning.” That can be enough to keep an honest person, well… honest.