In a recent survey the question was asked, “Have you ever been the victim of attempted (or actual) intimidation by police?”
The responses were,
Yes 27 (21%)
No 102 (79%)
In this unscientific survey, not necessarily limited to this particular geographic area and without any known percentage of error, for there still to be a 21% positive response is startling. Many thanks to the 129 readers who participated in this survey!
“Intimidation” can have many meanings and broad interpretation. For example, let’s say that I have a long beard, as I did after a three-week raft trip through the Grand Canyon 28 years ago. Further, let’s say that I am driving through a small town and get stopped for a minor traffic violation, worth a $50 mail-in ticket.
Just because I have a long beard, let’s say I get hassled by a local cop and accused of being a drug dealer. The cop wants to search my car. Should I let him? Now, I know he won’t find anything in my car, but should I let him search it?
And what about my pockets? What is he entitled to search of my pockets? Should I let him? Is he only entitled to “pat” me down to find any weapon that could be used against him? Is he entitled to empty out my pockets or to ask me to remove the contents?
If I don’t, he’s likely to make my life miserable on the side of the road and perhaps pile on some other tickets. If I do let him search, because of the fear factor or intimidation, then he is searching illegally, but I’ll get to go on my way sooner.
Then let’s say that I tell him he can search and, at that point, he calls for a drug dog. Can’t he search without a dog?
And after all that, the dog and he don’t find anything; I get my $50 ticket and go on my way. And from that point on, the cops are the enemy. It didn’t start out that way, but that’s how it ended.
Just what cops want; right? Turn the public into the enemy. Just because they’ve got the badge and the gun. Is this the kind of police work we want?