Saturday evening as I was leaving a card room to head to a music festival, I stumbled upon two of Fresno’s finest performing a traffic stop in the entrance to a hotel parking garage that adjoined the casino. I began to film the incident with my cell phone and shortly after was confronted about my actions.
One officer was frisking the driver while the other was digging through his vehicle. Eventually the driver was made to sit on the sidewalk while his partner continued to search.
Around this time the officer guarding the driver felt that I had chosen a dangerous spot to film from and in the interest of public safety felt I needed to move. I was a solid 20 feet from either officer and they already had the man, who they claimed was a dangerous felon, detained. Nevertheless the officer insisted that I move for my protection and when I told him I was perfectly capable of deciding for myself where I was safe he tried to use my probationary status against me.
I have been on unsupervised probation since being found guilty for chalking the memorial. It hasn’t hindered my life, as I don’t have to report to some state agent who will try to search my urine or worry about strangers barging into my residence in order to check if I am in possession of items deemed contraband, but it does provide officers another form of arbitrary leverage to try to coerce me into following their commands.
I was in no mood for a trip to the jail for some bullshit cite and release procedure, so in order to comply with the officer I crossed over to his side of the street. Ironically my new state approved copblocking vantage point was closer to the officer and his detainee placing me in more danger if one of the scenarios the officer had started running through his brain actually happened.
After everything was over and the man was allowed to leave, the officer came over to explain why I was unsafe on the median and he had to threaten me in order to protect me. The subject was on parole and as such was subject to multiple state intrusions. He may have done something terrible in the past, but throwing someone in a cage and forcing everyone else to pay for it is not justice. It only punishes everyone else for the behavior of a single person. Supposedly, after you get out of prison you’re rehabilitated and capable of re-entering the arbitrary confines of society again, but not without a government minder, at least for a certain period of time.
These arbitrary sanctions are most likely what led to this traffic stop and this subsequent harassment of the individual, but according to these cops, they were just keeping everyone safe.
Our conversation ended with the officer reminding me to remember what his job is. The truth is, I don’t think he knows what his job is and never will. The enforcement class is unable to see itself as violators and predators as they are constantly being praised by the public and trained to view everyone as a potential criminal. Their paycheck and very existence rely on them not understanding their job and continuing to be another cog in the machine.
The fact of the matter is all the police are just a domestic military that serve the interests of whoever provides them a paycheck and gives them their next order.
A common excuse used by police officers and their supporters is that they “don’t make the laws, they just enforce them”. Yet the law makers change so frequently that police may be enforcing one set of laws for a certain period of time, only to be enforcing the rules of the next tyrant installed for the duration of his dominance.
The lack of a baseline standard for what is a crime opens the doors for everything to potentially be a crime as long as someone doesn’t like it and can convince enough people to agree that you should be punished for it. Crimes require victims and if you are unable to produce one, then you should also be unable to punish someone for the action despite how strongly you disagree with it.