What do you do when officers show no respect for traffic laws and feel free to do as they please? If you try and say something to them about their actions, should you have to feel worried that they may become hostile, threatening or just look for a way to use their badge and ticket book against you?
A few days ago, I came across a video of a police officer who became very hostile towards two people in a vehicle that he had pulled over. He was not in any way acting like a professional police officer should with the “Courtesy, Professionalism, and Respect” that they have painted on their cars.
Becoming a Police Officer is a personal choice. After 3 or more months of training, you would think cops would learn how to present themselves in a calm, professional manner in any situation. All to often, we see police officers talking down to people as if they belonged to a higher class of human being or being nasty and aggressive when there is no need to be. For an officer, just being polite and respectful when you encounter a situation will most likely produce the best outcome, not to mention a safer one, for all parties involved. When you act the way this officer did, you disgrace your whole profession. Yet many law enforcement officers wonder why people are afraid of them and fail to automatically show them respect .
I was able to speak with Kiara, the passenger in the video, who was able to explain to me what happened before she turned her camera on. Kaira said that they were driving at dusk, doing the speed limit, when a police cruiser abruptly pulled out in front of them and a dodge pickup pulling trailer. The officer’s reckless actions caused both drivers to slam on their brakes. The officer didn’t appear to be responding to a call from dispatch, as no emergency lights were on, and even failed to put his headlights on as required by law because of the time of night.
At this point, the officer performed an illegal U-turn, still with no lights on, to pull up beside them and yells at Ajay. When Ajay explained that he (the officer) almost caused an accident with his erratic driving the officer begins to raise his voice and yells, “do you want a speeding ticket?!’ And then tells them to pull over even though they have broken no laws. It’s at this time Kaira decides to pull out her camera phone to record the encounter.
When the video starts, Officer Paul Conners of the Marlboro Mass P.D. comes to the window and says that he knew they were speeding because he can judge distance with his eye. That statement alone make me wonder. If he was watching them so close and knew they were speeding, why didn’t he pull them over for speeding and instead of cutting them off and risking their lives? The officer then starts raising his voice trying to intimidate both of them which only escalates a situation which never would have happened if the officer had followed the same driving laws he holds others to.
In the video, the officer asks Kiara for her ID. When she questions him why, he said that it’s because she’s not wearing her seat belt. She states that she just took it off and his response was “it was off when I got here,” meaning he did not see whether she was or was not wearing her seat belt when the car was in motion. Now, I do not know of any state that has a law that requires a person to wear a seat belt in a parked car. He just admitted that he didn’t see it off when she was driving and is looking for a reason to further harass this couple for questioning him.
Ajay then states that he is military, maybe to try and receive some respect from this officer, and the officer says “your attitude wouldn’t have gotten you on this force.” I never once heard Ajay state that he wanted to be a police officer and I am still wondering why the officer is telling him that he can not be one. Silly, right?
At this point, everything happens rather quickly. The officer drops his ID on the floor while accusing Ajay of having bad aim. Ajay says that he is a sniper after just previously saying that he was military and that he can out shoot the officer (referring to the shooting range). Officer Conners misquotes Ajay as saying “you want to shoot me” and pulls him out of the car. This is when the camera goes off. Kiara was dragged out of the car and they were both handcuffed. The second officer threw Kiara into the car hard enough to injure her wrist. All this and they haven’t even committed a crime; they just questioned a police officer about why he was driving erratically.
Both of the officers decided to ignore the 4th amendment and search their vehicle without proper cause or permission. They obviously were looking for anything they could to use against this couple because they knew they had nothing. It sickens me that these police officers would spend 15 minutes illegally searching them just to find a reason to arrest them. I guess their search paid off, because they did find a hot pizza that the two were taking home to enjoy for dinner.
After about 15 minutes, they were both released and Ajay was cited with a $200 dollar ticket for speeding 45 in a 25. Their speed was not caught on radar, just an estimated by the officer. Kiara a $25 dollar ticket for not wearing a seat belt in a parked car. Kiara also says that her wrist is still in pain to this day.
It makes me wonder why police officers treat fellow humans this way. All this over a couple trying to bring a pizza home for dinner. Could this whole situation been avoided from the beginning if the officer didn’t break the law, showed some respect, and apologize for running them off the road? Or maybe he shouldn’t have abused his power to stop these peaceful people for no reason at all in the first place.