July 31, 2007

An Officer Who’s Not a Gentleman

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” have long supported police officers against their myriad detractors. If you ask us, police work is a tough job, and it’s far easier to criticize policemen’s efforts than to keep the streets safe yourself. Accordingly, in many instances we’ve figuratively (and literally) bent over backward to defend the cops.

Ah, but a run-in with a particular member of the force last week has well-nigh compelled us to think twice about our incessant cheerleading for the police. Though we have yet to join arms with the All-Cops-Are-Thugs crowd, we must admit that we’re having our second thoughts.

Allow us to set the scene. It was around 11:30pm on a Friday night and one of the junior editors here at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly”—let’s just call him “Chip”—was standing in front of an apartment building waiting for a gal to give him a ride. This gal had just spent an evening with “Chip,” and made a brief pit-stop at her apartment before the two would head off to her car. As such, she left “Chip” standing in front of her complex watching her purse whilst she, presumably, used the facilities.

Under these circumstances, a lone figure approached “Chip” on the road. Clad in a baseball jersey, this fellow walked up to “Chip” and menacingly brayed, “Can I help you?”

To which “Chip,” unaware of who this fellow was, replied, “No.”

And then “Chip’s” interlocutor asked with an intense look, “Why are you here?” “Chip” responded, “To wait for my friend.”

The fellow continued. “Who’s your friend?” “Chip” replied, “A friend from college.” “A friend from college?” asked the interlocutor.

At this point, “Chip” was a bit taken aback. Who was this guy who kept asking these questions? Why was he asking these questions? Why would he think it would be safe for “Chip” to offer him some specifics?

Soon after his last query, however, the man unbuttoned his baseball jersey a tad and flashed a police officer’s badge underneath. As he did so, he stared at “Chip” with haughty resolve.

In response, “Chip,” no longer worried about this guy’s intentions, informed him exactly why he was waiting in front of the apartment complex and for whom he was waiting. Without so much as a smile, the cop said, “Just curious.” And then he himself disappeared into the apartment complex. Once the gal for whom he was waiting returned, “Chip” learned that this police officer owned the apartments.

Clearly, this isn’t exactly an example of Darrel Gates-like brutality. But it’s irksome nonetheless. How poorly trained was this pathetic officer?

Why didn’t he merely come up to “Chip” and ask: “Excuse me, sir, I’m the owner of this apartment complex. Can I help you with anything?” Had he done so, “Chip” would have understood the cop’s intentions and answered him fully.

Instead, the dimwitted police officer was needlessly confrontational, itching to show off his badge to a civilian. Having found out—surprise, surprise—that his non-inebriated preppy interlocutor was not, in fact, a thief or a pimp, he didn’t even apologize for the confusion, but stomped off before “Chip” could get a word in edgewise.

Well, color us Rodney King. Can’t we all just get along?

Posted at July 31, 2007 12:01 AM | TrackBack