A few weeks ago, I was in Warren, OH filming the police, who were conducting a “shield” operation. This operation was designed to target drugs and was a result of some recent overdoses within the community. I’m currently editing that video and plan to blog about the operation soon, but while we were out CopBlocking the police, who were simply pulling over anyone they could (we filmed over 20 traffic stops that night), I was pulled over for stopping after the white line at a stop sign. Before you watch the video below, I was approaching a “T” intersection and was unable to see to my left. So, I stopped where I could see any oncoming traffic.
Earlier in the evening a “be on the lookout” call came over the police scanner with a description of my car, but these two Warren Police Officers didn’t get that memo and were taken aback for a second, when the stop first go underway. Officer Dena (cop at the driver’s side window) and Officer V (because I have no idea how to spell his last name) started the stop with the usual spiel, asking if I knew why I was stopped and for my government paperwork. However, it was when Officer V started to ask me for my ID, while using his flashlight to scan/search my car, that we started to have our back and forth.
Officer V claimed that he would show me his dashcam that would prove I had stopped after the stop sign. Now, I don’t contest that I did in fact stop after the white line, but that was because that’s where I could fully see oncoming traffic. However, where the Warren Cruiser was at that time would NOT have caught any video of my infraction. I believe this is where our conversation turned. As you can see in the video, Officer V bails on showing me that video and simply asks Officer Dena if I’m clear to go.
My name hadn’t cleared dispatch yet and I think at this time the officers knew this wasn’t going to be their typical fishing expedition. You know, where cops pull you over for something minor, but really their only intention is to see if you’ve been drinking a little, have the smell of weed in your car, or to find out if you have warrants or a suspended license when they run your name. After challenging Officer V to show me the video, he became less talkative. I took that moment to ask him if he’s ever heard of CopBlock.org and he said, “Yeah, sure. I think you guys have some good videos on there.” To which I replied, “I didn’t like you until a second ago.”
That changed, or reduced, the tension in the car greatly and opened up the dialog amongst us in the car and those with guns outside of it. Officer V asked me a few times if he had been rude to me during the stop. I explained to him that though he might not have been verbally rude to me, him and his partner did pull me over for something that wasn’t harming anyone and that had no victim. I also pointed out that they were able to do so, because they carry guns. So, the very act of stopping me – at the barrel of a gun basically – was rude, IMO. Of course, he gave me the “I’m just doing my job” line and the traffic stop concluded shortly thereafter.
Since there were over 140 cops in town that night, mostly Ohio State Troopers, while our traffic stop was going down another had popped up just down the road from our position. When our stop concluded we (Jason, Adam and myself) went to film that traffic stop. It was pretty uneventful, during the second stop, and the cops wrapped it up pretty quickly after our arrival. That seemed to be the theme of the night (the CopBlockers are here, so end this stop ASAP), but the surprising part happened afterwards, when the Warren Police Officers that had just stopped me rolled up as the Ohio State Troopers rolled out.
As the cop car rolled up Officer V said, “Can I have a consensual talk with you guys?” That started about a four minute conversation about how CopBlock.org started and how people all over the world are partaking in the message that, “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.” We also touched on what I feel would be the best solution to ending the police state, which IMO, is for police officers to offer their services to the people directly. If the people were actually able to withhold their funding of bad police, or able to hire good police, then we wouldn’t see AS MANY of the police abuses we see here at CopBlock.org everyday.
I would have liked to continue this conversation with Officer V, because I feel he was actually sincere and curious. I feel the same way about Officer Houston, whom I’ve met in Zanesville, OH, but have had other experiences where police who talk with you aren’t very interested in your views. But merely interested in keeping you occupied, so that you can’t film the police. Our conversation was cut short when a Ohio State Trooper pulled up, probably thinking the Warren Cops were on a stop. Once the Ohio State Trooper saw our cameras though, he simply pulled away. In the process, leaving his brothers all alone with the CopBlockers, lol.
I’ve been accused of being a Cop Hater, but that simply isn’t true. I do NOT hate all cops. If I hate a cop, it’s because they actually did something for me to hate them for, like shooting 12 year old kids with toy guns. I don’t just hate people for no reason. Sure, I think cops do very bad things while at work and that there is no such thing as a good cop, but some cops just need to realize that it’s their employer, their bosses, that have tainted their profession. If two cops like Officer V and Officer Houston could just see that they’d be better off providing their skills directly to the consumer, than we might actually have a chance at ending the police state peacefully.
Until next time, remember that, “Badges Don’t Grant Extra Rights.”
Video of Officer Houston of the Zanesville, OH Police Department
Video of Unknown Indianapolis Police Officer