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My Experience With the Police

I came back home this weekend to visit family. Every time I'm in town, I have to meet up with my old friends. I still keep in touch with a lot of them back home which always makes the visit so much sweeterr.

Four of us decided to get together on Friday night and grab a drink at the bars. The first place we went was packed, over-crowded. Not only could we not get a drink, but we couldn't even move. So we left to find another place. The area we were in has a bunch of bars all on the same street. As we were on our way to the next place, we crossed the street.

All of a sudden, the red and blue flashed right in our face. Two police officers immediately approached us and it hit me that we were in trouble. But what for? All I could think to myself was, what did I do? But I couldn't think of anything. We were sober and crossing the street, no one was acting recklessly, and it wasn't like we were loud or disturbing the peace. What a sad reaction. That even when you haven't done anything, you're already in defense mode. But we got caught! For something!

The officers informed us that the law we broke was jaywalking! Yes, I said it, jaywalking!!!

And I know what you're thinking, we were next to a bunch of bars and the cops have to maintain the security of the area. But, this wasn't a major intersection by any means. It was a one-way street. It would take the average person 5 steps to cross. There were no cars around, NONE, absolutely none. And there weren't any later on either, it's not a high-traffic area. We jumped the light by 2 seconds. You know when you see the light at the other end turn yellow from the corner of your eye. You know you're just seconds away from the walking sign to pop up, and when the street is LITERALLY a hop, skip, and jump over and there are no cars in sight, you just go without even thinking about it.

So the cops told us we were jaywalking. There was a sigh of relief because it was only jaywalking, this has happened to me at least once before where the cop just gave me a warning, I figured the same would ensue. Two of my friends tried to explain to the cops how we just jumped the gun by a few seconds, how there weren't any cars around, and how the street was so narrow you wouldn't even think there would be a signal light there. Pretty much how we weren't trying to cause any trouble, we just didn't feel that it was that big of a deal to cross a few seconds early. We even knew the officers were there, that's how confident we were that it wasn't going to be a problem. But the cops weren't having it. One of them raised his voice at my friends in a very aggressive manner asking "YOU THINK YOU'RE ABOVE THE LAW?!"

WTF I'm thinking. This is jaywalking!!! I get riled up when I hear about non-violent drug offenders getting locked up in prison, and right now I'm being held for crossing the street?!?!? My friends tried to reason with them, I chimed in a bit, but soon realized these cops simply didn't want to hear it. In fact, it seemed like they were trying provoke us. They were loud, aggressive, and getting directly into our faces. It really seemed like they were hoping we were drunk, so that they could give us this ridiculous ticket, wait for us to argue back or something even worse, and then arrest us.

Understanding their aggressive nature, I told my friends to shut up, I was still holding out for a warning. The officers asked for all of our IDs and headed back into the car, I figured they were just checking if we had anything on our records and they would then let us go. I thought, luckily we were all clean so we should be fine. But the idea of them "looking us up" really irks me. Then they proceeded to pull out a pen and their book and write us a ticket. Wow!! We just stood there in front of their car as they held our IDs and wrote all 4 of us up for taking personal responsibility when crossing the street.

The officers came out of the cars to hand us back our IDs and a ticket. I was the first to get handed back my stuff, and being the Libertarian that I am, I was pissed and ready to take action. I pulled out my camera phone and took a picture of them and their license plate and started to record. The more aggressive officer saw that I was recording and flashed a white light, which was attached near his side mirror, right at me, killing my camera shot. He then came out returning a ticket to my other friend and told me to put my camera away. I told him this is my right. He followed with, "I'm going to ask you once again, put your camera away," in a very I'm-the-boss-of-you type of way. The other officer jumped in to say "He can do that at a safe distance." So I took a step back and kept recording. My friends were saying the minute I took the camera out the officers were acting much more politely.

I didn't that great of a video, in fact there were times when I just had it up and it wasn't even recording, otherwise I would've posted it. I felt so helpless during this situation, and a part of me got very nervous and scared when I really shouldn't have been. The whole ordeal took 45 minutes long and they had their lights flashing as we stood there and a number of people walked by probably thinking we did something really bad. They treated my friends and I as if we were criminals. All we were doing was crossing the street. I was just in town to hang out with some friends that I haven't seen in a while, and for taking personal responsibility, I was fined.

There were an infinite number of things going through my head. I know our freedoms are deteriorating by the day, but when you're not able to cross the street at your own risk, what freedom is really left? Fortunately, my friends and I can pay this off, still don't know how much it is, but I read on some forums that it can be up to $190. But what if you're a student, deep in debt, you get 1 night to take off from school or work to hang out with friends, and you get hit with this. That just sucks! It sucks right now for me, but for so many, this would be a major setback. How powerless are we? It's the cops word vs. ours. Why isn't the cop fighting real crime? Wait, we're paying them so they can do this to us?

Lesson: The camera phone is a very valuable and important weapon.

I urge everyone, film the police. Film everything. Film not only the bad cops, but also the good cops. Applaud cops in any way you can when they are actually doing their job -- protecting our rights. And when you see anything suspicious, it doesn't hurt to have it recorded. Even though I didn't get great footage, the symbolic gesture of me doing that, of me exercising my right to film them goes a long way. It gives the cops something to think about, and hopefully a bit of paranoia that they know we are watching them and recording what they do. And it gives confidence to those who see you filming that they can film too.

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They were hoping you were

They were hoping you were drunk and that they could provoke you into a fight so they could club you. I know of a police officer who takes extra work as security at wedding receptions and when he sees someone who is so drunk he can barely stand he gets in his face and provokes him and them beats them to a pulp with his club. It is a form of entertainment to him.

got pulled over last week

for failure to use my turn signal. But the only thing the officer wanted was my license, he didnt wait for me to dig through my glove box to get my insurance card or registration. He asked me if the car was mine, and when I said yes he went straight back to his car checked it out and gave me a warning. I just assume someone stole a car that was the same model as mine, it still irritated me though, but at least he wasnt a jerk about it.

Actually, interesting thing

Actually, interesting thing here. I once had to dig through the glove box to find registration. The guy didnt give me a ticket though. It seemed to me that he didnt care to waste anymore time there.
Reading this, it would seem that a few of them are impatient and just want to leave after a few minutes if nothing is happening.

To climb the mountain, you must believe you can.

"He can do that at a safe distance..."

VERY interesting and important statement by the cop.

Sorry you were harassed...I guess the department needs money and giving tickets to jaywalkers is easy, safe, and lucrative.

Check this out:

It's jaywalking laws in California...were you in Cali or is home somewhere else?

The law cannot make a wicked person virtuous…God’s grace alone can accomplish such a thing.
Ron Paul - The Revolution

Setting a good example is a far better way to spread ideals than through force of arms. Ron Paul

Film the police

life happens every day.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Hey cheer up

it might work out for the better. Have you ever listened to Arlo Gunthrie's, "Allison's Restaurant"? You ran into two clowns who were pissed they were working while you were partying so they rained on your parade. As far as taking out the camera phone, you were lucky the cops weren't the real aggressive types. These guy's have a license to kill and some of them are just chomping at the bit to exercise it. There have been many examples of camera wielding citizens being attacked and charged by these brutes.

There are no politicians or bankers in foxholes.

Alice's Restaurant

Ahem. FYI.
Arlo Guthrie, the writer and singer is a Libertarian.

"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty" TJ

Sorry about the mistakes

Been quite a while since I've listened to it. Love the part at the recruiter's where he starts jumping up and down screaming he wants to kill kill kill.

There are no politicians or bankers in foxholes.

I listen to it for Thanksgiving

it's a tradition.

WMMR in Philly

has been playing it on Thanksgiving for at least 30 years. I think there might be a station here in NE PA. that does it too.

There are no politicians or bankers in foxholes.

I agree with

the camera thing but it sounds like you just didn't like the way these guys interacted with you. When it comes to legality though they can write you a ticket for jaywalking (even though its lame) if its a law in that city.

"Once you become knowledgeable, you have an obligation to do something about it."- Ron Paul

Thousands of Laws

And they choose to enforce jaywalking? By choosing to enforce unjust laws, law enforcement is telling us that they no longer care about public service.

Its still a law

I agree its silly but you can't get around that its a law.
Remember we are a nation of laws so we respect those.

"Once you become knowledgeable, you have an obligation to do something about it."- Ron Paul

Bureacrats are Desperately Trying to Justify Existence

This sort of misuse of authority is bound to increase as the government-class tries to justify its existence to its victims.

Remember, the flashing lights, his angry tone, and his aggressive posture are all intended to frighten (terrorize) you, and to make you think you've done something life-threatening. This is intended to convince you that "the law" just saved your life, and the fine is a "service" which protects you from yourself. In fact, why aren't you thanking that cop for the privilege of living under his watchful care?

When it happens, just take the time to explain to the officer that his actions have undermined your trust in law-enforcement. Explain that greedy politicians enact some laws solely to extract money from innocent citizens. Go on to explain that despite previous support, you are now in favor of severely cutting funding to the local police organization.

Double post

sorry, double post.

As you can imagine

There are plenty of other officers who don't get along with those types of officers either. I know from experience!

ecorob's picture

Then, where are they?

I don't ever see them speaking up.

Are you one?

If so, you carefully neglected to mention it. It is understandable why. The "code" ostricizes you for speaking out.

The "code" needs to be obliterated!

its 'cos I owe ya, my young friend...
Rockin' the FREE world in Tennessee since 1957!
9/11 Truth.

Sure do

Of course. Anyone who works with me knows me as being vocal about my opinions related to statism and constitutional restraint. Actually most are very receptive to that message. Ironic but true. I wasn't always that way, but I was never one of the hardcore guys either.

Think about it. When there is only one prevailing opinion being passed down from the political leaders to the enforcers, do you expect a majority to go against it? Probably not, right. I have found that a little truth goes a long way with law enforcement. They know to not put anything past crooked people, and that includes those we elect to make the rules.