Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cops on the Prowl

I just viewed a video of a hassle in the stands at the NY Jets-SD Chargers game. There he was, the drunk loudmouth standing among Charger rooters screaming for his beloved Jets. Girlfriend was alongside and both were wearing green and white Jets gear. I didn't see much to warrant intervention by law enforcement. Probably a beer on his head would have either cooled him down or caused a ruckus that would have really needed the cops.

Apparently someone complained about the noise and here they came, sturdy and officious, with badges shining; crew cuts and big jaws; some with bellies to match their jaws. And the fight was on. Mouthy was not going to give up without a struggle - and a battle royal it was. The mass of struggling humanity resembled a roller derby jam with real determination behind it. It was apparent the miscreant was a contortionist and the beef had trouble subduing him enough to get the handcuffs in place. They finally got him cuffed and in a supine position and dragged him up the steps. Girlfriend followed after scooping up her belongings and putting them back in her purse - the victim of the flailing arms and legs.

And the onlookers were superb. There were shouts of "taze him" from cop supporters and "kick their ass" from non-supporters. One Charger fan kept telling the policemen that the guy hadn't done anything. He yelled at them over and over, proclaiming his innocence. Of course, by this time the cops were in a tag-team wrestling hold and not paying much attention to the peace maker.

Why, you ask, am I bringing this up? Because, as a retired peace officer, I can relate to all the grunting and sweating portrayed. I can attest to having a split lip and sore bollocks from wrestling around with a guy who is not going to let the police boss him around. I have picked gravel out of my elbows and knees, and had my uniform cleaned and mended. I have washed spit and sweat out of my hair many times. All this unpleasantness occurred after I said, "Sir, could I have a word with you?"

The point is that all the hassle wouldn't happen if there is a modicum of self-restraint on the part of the person being questioned. If the fellow in San Diego had walked up the stairs quietly with the officers to discuss the problem, he might have been back in his seat, a little quieter perhaps, and enjoying the Jets' victory. There are no officers that I know who aren't more interested in calming things down than in grappling around with some belligerent hard-ass. And to all you hard-asses out there, I say that you will always lose your fight with the cops. There are too many of them, they have nasty weapons to use in subduing you, and you have nothing to gain by making such a stupid choice.

It was Rodney King, after receiving a severe discipline lesson at the hands of LA cops, who said, "Damn, that tazer hurts." I think it was probably his lawyer who mouthed the more famous question, "Can't we all get along?"