The video below is quite interesting and worth watching. But let me give you an overview. The police have a woman in handcuffs and are searching her and her car. A man who lives across the street yells at the cops that they are Nazis and similar taunts. The police are in the process of letting the woman go, so two of the cops go up to the guy and demand to see his identification. They eventually arrest him for disturbing the peace or some such. Toward the end of the video, you case see a lot of guy’s wacky beliefs. But that doesn’t matter as far as I’m concerned. People have a right not only to hold wacky opinions, they have a right to say them.
What’s clear in the video is that this guy didn’t disturb any peace and he didn’t interfere with an investigation—note that the police only approached the man after they were done with the woman. What the guy did do is annoy the cops. And the cops used their power to arrest someone for no other reason than that they did not like the guy. Anyone who has had any interactions with the police knows how this works. If they don’t like you, they will arrest you. It doesn’t matter what it is for and it certainly doesn’t matter if the charges are later dropped. You will be out time and often money because, for example, your car got towed.
This situation is actually worse than a police state. It effectively means that the police are above the law. Think about the situation above. Lots of people do important jobs, but those people don’t have the right to just arrest anyone they think is making their work less productive. In the video, it is clear that if the guy had just backed down and allowed the cops to feel like they had the power in the situation, the guy never would have been arrested. So he was arrested because he didn’t show due deference to the police. That’s a very bad situation and it exists everywhere in the United States.
What really struck me about the video, however, were the comments. Based upon my viewing, over half of the comments were against the guy. People thought that he should have been arrested. Look: I understand that the guy is a walking, talking anarcho-cliche. But the issue is not him. There is no (official) law against calling the police Nazis. What’s more, nothing the guy did interfered with their work and the cops could have just gotten in their car and gone. In fact, I think it was only one of the cops who really pushed it. Did the cops have a right to be annoyed by this guy? Absolutely. They also had a right to talk to the guy. But beyond that, they overstepped their rights. And the fact that over half the comments on YouTube don’t seem to understand that is a big problem.
It’s also interesting that the police handcuffed the woman, and searched her car and body (including her breasts) thoroughly. There were also three police cars on the scene to deal with this dangerous woman. And then they let her go. It makes me wonder if arresting this guy was a consolation prize for the officers. I know they get an adrenaline rush during stops like this one. They must have been sorely disappointed that they didn’t get to arrest the woman. So they went after the guy.
This video should be enough for anyone to see that we don’t live in a free country. This is feudal lord kind of stuff: mustn’t annoy the police or they will arrest you. Personally, I avoid cops for the same reasons I avoid grizzly bears: they are dangerous, only interested in themselves, and stupid. But that doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t express their contempt for a profession that has become almost completely divorced from real crime.
H/T: Paul Day