Watched this video today. TL;DW, a guy is pulled over, tells the cop he has a concealed carry, refused to get out of his car, got arrested for it. Could have gone much worse. Both adults in the car acted like damn fools and that cop was restrained for the most part….No one died. This is a great thing…And that’s what’s fucked up. That this situation, where a man ends up arrested for essentially not wanting to get out of his car, is considered a good thing.
I’m no fucking expert, but this can’t be the best way to handle these interactions. To my eyes there’s a bunch of issues here. Clearly neither of the two people in the car really know the law that well but they think they do. My guess is that’s because, despite spending a shit ton of money on public schools, our children are required to go to, we don’t teach people the rule of law. We don’t teach people their rights or how to interact with cops. You’d think these might be some of the most important things to teach at a government run school…but instead of preparing our students for life, we prep them for college. We prep them for a life of debt, instead of a life of understanding the world they live in. So people go off what they’ve heard repeated, snippets of the law they find online, and shit they’ve seen in movies and such.
Another issue is the Cop’s clear lack of desire to deescalate the situation. You can read in his face that he’s trying to control his anger when the man decides to not get out of the car. He does not do a good job of controlling it. While he doesn’t show the panic and fear that was so evidenced in the latest hot ticket police abuse case(Philando Castile), he also is struggling to remain calm and eventually completely fails. In fact, the passengers manage to remain far calmer. Perhaps it was the tension of the concealed firearm, knowing this situation could go from routine to deadly real quick. Maybe it was that he was being filmed. Maybe it was the audacity that someone dared to challenge his authority. Maybe it was because the guy was doing it over such a stupid trivial thing. Maybe it was that he had in the back of his mind the Castile case or perhaps the murder spree of Dallas cops from last year. Maybe it was all of these things and more.
Whatever it was, there was no way he was backing down from his request. That man was coming out of the car, willingly or not. And that’s his legal right…but I can’t see how it’s the right move. Maybe cops should be allowed to give Lawful Commands to citizens that we have to obey. I can see the justification for keeping order that provides. However it leads to alot of problems, that should be obvious and are discussed at length online elsewhere*. This order was sensible and very likely lawful. Step out of the car so the officer can find the weapon and secure it, for his safety. However once the man refused pursuing that order just made things far more dangerous. In order to get the man from the car, the officer had to call back up. Once back up was there, there was a much easier way to deal with the situation. One officer could do the required paperwork and citation while the other made sure the man didn’t draw his weapon. Would have worked alot better than reaching in and trying to drag him from the car. Had he actually been a threat that seems like a far more likely way to get someone shot.
I understand that once the order was given, there was justification for an arrest. But essentially at that point the officer was arresting a man for being stubborn. Is it worth the tax payers money to deal with the court fees? Is the extra paperwork the officers have to do instead of being on the street policing, really worth it, just because a guy decided he wanted to be lazy? I say no. And that’s all done without taking into account the context of the Black Lives Matter movement.
I don’t care where you stand on the issue. Maybe you believe cops are racist and killing black men. Maybe you just think cops are poorly trained. Maybe you have no problems what’s ever. Whatever your opinion, it is fact that there exists a believe in the county that officers are out of control and that black men are in danger when interacting with them. This is believe is especially prevalent in the black community. And that means that all the hyped up senses, fearful emotions, and other justifications we use to explain why cops are quick to pull the trigger, will be equally present in the driver and passenger in these cases. Probably more so, as they don’t have the protection of a union should they survive a shooting or bullet proof vest to help them survive. So when the man doesn’t want to step out of the car, the motivation could be anything, but to not understand that part of it is likely rooted in a fear of death at the cop’s hand is foolish. People are afraid of cops and that reality needs to be recognized.
Perhaps being afraid of cops, he should have gotten out. But fear doesn’t make people rationale. Perhaps the fear is not warranted, either with this particular officer or officers in general. But the funny thing about emotions is that they aren’t rationale. You can’t say “well he shouldn’t feel that way” as a reason to ignore the feelings. They exist. They are real. Those feelings are fact, regardless if the thing that caused them is or not. And because of that, people should be cognizant of those emotions might exist and try to act with a comprehending of how those feelings will make a person act.
It is not hard to comply with commands. But it is equally not hard to be reasonable about those commands. Recognizing that this man will not follow, the next step should not be, double down on the command, but a return to the original problem. Can the officer safely process the information and write a citation? To this observer it certainly seems that. If you feel different, please feel to explain why.
All that said. Props to the officer and the dallas police department for only escalating it as far they had to in this arrest. There were no tazers or guns. Admirable restraint. I just wish your training and procedure was to de-escalate whenever possible, instead of to escalate just to the next level, as it appears to be.
*Here are two such options.