Friday, September 14, 2007

Wielding Power

Well, the web is all a-twitter at the following video:

In short, an officer in St. George - a suburb, I take it, of St. Louis - takes it upon himself to imcriminate himself on video during the stop of a young man. Said young man had been previously assaulted by a drunken off-duty officer. I haven't researched the thing top to bottom but if I were in a small town and experienced same I'd have a car bristling with surveillance tech and ECM. Damned straight I would.

That officer's supervisor was involved in unsavory matters, too.
"Five years ago, an administrative commission upheld an accusation that Uhrig propositioned a 17-year-old girl for sex during a traffic stop in 2000, when he was an Arnold officer."

What is really disturbing is "...[an] Unofficial website popular with Saint Louis, Missouri police contained a death threat against Brett Darrow three months before his recent encounter."

And, of course, in the recent incident the officer's video tape is missing or deemed erased in a basic SOP.

Now, I suppose my opinion is colored by the fact that DPS is so stringent about the "violator contact" rules that this sort of thing is simply not even possible. People are given marks in files for cursing on tape. This sort of behavior would find you likely being formally charged.

Trooper and I have often butted heads about the SWAT shows (Dallas SWAT, Detroit SWAT) and the use of SWAT for the serving of warrants on drug dealers. As though they never go to the store for some milk. SWAT has a place, that's certain. But not there, not in my opinion. And every hayseed county now gets to have an essentially poorly trained SWAT team because the feds sent funds all around for Homeland Security. This has ensured errors - I don't need to detail them here as we've all heard about them.

The reason we sometimes butt heads is because I put such a strong emphasis on the duty and honor necessary when one has the ability to remove from a citizen everything they have and know. To have the right of life or death, freedom or incarceration, over another human being is a right that MUST be respected and MUST be exercised with every possible courtesy and care.

We all know that crank-fueled morons are not going to behave and you will have to wrestle them into the car after they've beaten the baby. But a basic traffic stop should never escalate to a point where you are so obsessed that you threaten to shoot a kid for daring to show the world you're a prick. Is life in that area so damned dull that all they have to do is make this kid the object of their anger?

In many ways the response of his supervisor is worse. Everyone talks about the "code" and how they protect each other. But anyone who would stand by this guy is just an idiot. It's only a matter of time before he seriously fucks someone up. And what then? Call it a misunderstanding? A sad mistake?

The guy has no business having a badge and his supervisor needs to be demoted to the street for a few years. I may take some flack for this - maybe even from Trooper - but it's okay. It boils down to respecting the power and authority that you are GIVEN by the citizens you work for. You are supposed to be stronger and more sensible than the rest of us. You're supposed to protect us - sometimes even from ourselves.

If you let this sort of behavior slide by or if you give it a snicker and ignore it you are tarnishing your own honor. You are a lesser man for it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am apalled at the conduct of this supposed Law Enforcement Officer. I cannot speak from an educated position on this matter involving the motorist, I do not have all the videos. From what I see this Officer is as wrong as wrong can be.