Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Is Probable Cause An Excuse For Law Enforcement Unprofessionalism?

To answer my own question, I think not.

Yet, as can be seen I the embedded video, unprofessionalism abounds as seen and heard in the reactions of police officers responding to a 'shots fired' call.

While the video is pretty amusing, I think there are also some serious considerations to be examined after viewing it.

First of all, I believe that the officer who calls the suspect a fucking liar should be suspended - no pay and face departmental disciplinary action. There is no call for behavior like that in law enforcement and I mean that quite seriously. Behavior like his, rhetoric like his, combine to set an atmosphere of a crime having been committed and of the 'suspect' being guilty before any facts can even come close to substantiating it. While there was no crime committed, they did have probable cause to investigate whether or not shots were fired but that was all they had. There was zero reason for the officer to falsely accuse the mechanic of lying and certainly absolutely no call to use inflammatory and foul language in this situation when they are making an armed response. All he is accomplishing is nothing short of potentially inflaming the situation.

Imagine if the suspect/mechanic decided to sue him for defamation of character/slander. Not much of a case, you say. Maybe there is not but then what if the suspect were to file a formal complaint against the officers. Why should he, you may wonder. If the cops can act like totally disrespectful assholes then why not the accused take corrective action. Add to all their indiscretions the fact that there was no apology forthcoming from the officers for their armed incursion and false accusations! Their response to a report of shots fired was amazingly unprofessional but the unprofessionalism it did not stop their.

Did anyone else besides me even consider, other than the foul mouth and false accusations, how very unprofessional and unsafe were these officers. They suspected the mechanic of firing off weapons or at least of having heard rapid fire gunshots that the police themselves claim to have heard. They come in fairly heavily armed, at least half expecting to find guns. They obviously believe the guy is lying to them about not having any guns or at least about not having heard guns shots. Then they let the mechanic, whom at least one of the officers obviously believes is lying to them (the same officer who over reacted at first by saying he had heard cannons), go to a vehicle that evidently has not been searched so he can demonstrate to them that the car was backfiring. What could have ensued had he reached into the vehicle and pulled out an AK? Officer safety was not a given proper consideration in the minds of the officers - instead, their thought the guy was lying had taken first priority and right then and there that was all that mattered. While the bald cop told the mechanic to demonstrate the problem with the backfiring, I note that once again, the unprofessional acting and foul mouthed cop was center stage in telling the guy to go to the car and prove it - and it is apparent that cop was 100% certain (his mind made up in advance) that the mechanic was lying. Luckily for them, the mechanic was evidently telling the truth.

In addition to a lack of consideration for officer safety, what about the safety of the mechanic and his coworkers? These officers are making an armed response and officer foul mouth is inflaming the situation and then gives instructions to the 'suspect' to go to an unsearched vehicle, unattended by an officer, to demonstrate the backfiring. What is the suspect had tripped and fallen - would that have been seen by the officers as a move to grab a weapon? Would they then have opened fire. Stranger things have happened leading to the death of a person who was nothing more than an innocent bystander. Proper control of the situation was not being exercised and the potential for disaster had been set. Luckily it ended without violence.

That one cop, the one who started all of this was the one who said he heard the shots (remember he called then cannons), he also was the same one who inflamed the situation with foul language and by calling the mechanic a liar and was the same one who urged the mechanic to get into the car to prove it had been backfiring while obviously believing the mechanic was lying and thus was one of the two who placed the lives of the other officers and of the mechanic into potential jeopardy either had the mechanic actually been lying or had he innocently made a move that would have made at least one of the officers feel threatened. Sure no one got hurt but what bout the next time that same cop overreacts and fails to control the situation as it should be controlled. A different and much more professional approach was called for and would have been better at taking into consideration safety of everyone involved. 
All the best,
Glenn B