Thursday, June 21, 2012

Another Reason Not To Trust Police

I can think of no other example of the arrogance of the police than this article:

An Ohio woman who gave the middle finger to an off-duty police chief trying to merge into her traffic lane was acquitted Monday on the basis of the First Amendment.

Chief Roger Moore, of Chillicothe, was driving his personal car last month when he tried to pull into a lane of stopped traffic on Bridge St., the Chillicothe Gazette reports. The unidentified woman reportedly honked and made the gesture, and Moore pulled her over and charged her with misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

“She did flip off Chief [Roger\] Moore, but it does not rise to the level of disorderly conduct,” her attorney Aaron McHenry argued in court on Monday.

Representing Moore, Assistant Law Director Michele Rout argued that the gesture the woman made stands for words that often lead to violence.

“I believe we’re all aware of numerous fights that have been started with those two little words,” Rout said.

Part of the law for disorderly conduct states that the conduct would have to be “likely to provoke a violent response.”

Municipal Court Judge John Street said the woman’s gesture is protected under her right to freedom of speech, guaranteed under the First Amendment.

“I’m not convinced in this particular case that the gesture alone constituted fighting words,” Street said.

Rout told the Gazette she is considering an appeal.

So let’s break this down:

  1. An off-duty police chief of some small town tries to cut into a lane of traffic nearly hitting this woman’s car and damaging her property.
  2. She responds by honking her horn and flipping the bird at this asshole (and yes, that was an asshole move on his part).
  3. The police chief responds by arresting her.

I’m a firm believer in the non-aggression principle and I believe than when someone else aggresses against you, you should be able to respond with lethal force.  This police chief is lucky this woman probably doesn’t share my view (neither do the courts, so I’ll refrain from using lethal force in these kind of situations).  In any case, he was clearly not paying attention and nearly caused a car crash.

Regardless of how you feel about vulgar gestures, you have to understand that we have a police chief here who abused his authority to get revenge on someone.  He is so insecure in himself that he had to use his power to get back a woman whose car was physically threatened by his car.

This is why I do not trust the police in most situations.  While I know that there are many who would never do this, you can never know that you have a bad one until they abuse their authority against you or someone else.  How is it that this police chief can be so arrogant as to think that the mere fact he is chief of a small town, it allows him respect by the force of a gun?

I’m glad a judge disagreed with the police chief’s actions and acquitted her.  But she was lucky in that regard.  There are plenty of judges who will side with the police, largely because they have to in order to maintain a working relationship.