Well, thank you Washington Post, for publishing an op-ed by an advisor to the LAPD who has some advice for all the rest of us.
I understand that he actually believes he's doing us a favor with this, but how about a parallel remark about police who behave like jerks on a minute-by-minute basis?
He would first like us to understand that shootings like the one that took Mike Brown's life are rarely the fault of the police. Rarely. MmmmHmmm.
Sometimes, though, no amount of persuasion or warnings work on a belligerent person; that’s when cops have to use force, and the results can be tragic. We are still learning what transpired between Officer Darren Wilson and Brown, but in most cases it’s less ambiguous — and officers are rarely at fault. When they use force, they are defending their, or the public’s, safety.
Yes, well. Tell that to Ezell Ford, who was shot after being wrestled to the ground by two policemen bigger than he.
Uncle LAPD Guy is now going to tell us how to avoid being shot by the cops. Even if you don't think so, pretend they're right.
Even though it might sound harsh and impolitic, here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you. Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me. Most field stops are complete in minutes. How difficult is it to cooperate for that long?
The Man has spoken, ladies and gentlemen.
But, but, but. He also wants you to know you have due process if you'll just submit and lay there quietly on the ground with your face smashed into the asphalt. At least, maybe you'll have due process. Really, it's just that you won't be dead.
But if you believe (or know) that the cop stopping you is violating your rights or is acting like a bully, I guarantee that the situation will not become easier if you show your anger and resentment. Worse, initiating a physical confrontation is a sure recipe for getting hurt. Police are legally permitted to use deadly force when they assess a serious threat to their or someone else’s life. Save your anger for later, and channel it appropriately. Do what the officer tells you to and it will end safely for both of you. We have a justice system in which you are presumed innocent; if a cop can do his or her job unmolested, that system can run its course. Later, you can ask for a supervisor, lodge a complaint or contact civil rights organizations if you believe your rights were violated. Feel free to sue the police! Just don’t challenge a cop during a stop.
Most of us know cops aren't challenged in court because there's almost no chance of winning. This is the problem right here. There's nowhere to expect a fair outcome, which is what most of us call injustice.