Police with limited follow-through (luckily!)

Nefarious, Dave, and I watched Karate Kid — the original, not the new version, which I’ve already promised my little Jackie Chan fan that we can see in the theatre — and like with The Spy Next Door, Nefarious spent an hour after the movie frantically running around the studio giving everything in her way — often that was me — vigorous kicks and cardboard-weapon beatings. I don’t know yet what the summer plans are going to be, but she’s been asking to go to karate camp (with both words and actions).


Yesterday I was driving to go bowling and traffic was quite heavy. My lane became temporarily blocked, so after letting the lane to the right of me zip past for a while, I signaled when I had a red-light gap and moved forward a little and nosed in to reserve my spot. Then a glossy black tinted-window SUV gunned it to try and stop me from taking what they thought was their spot. However, being in my own big be-bumpered truck, I’m not afraid of someone hitting me, so I continued to move forward into my spot. After the driver first pretended he would hit me with his truck, he switched to extended angry honking. Whatever. I couldn’t care less, and really, you’re playing chicken with the wrong truck, because I’m armored and you have an shiny paint job!

A minute later he pulled up beside me and matched my speed and hugged my lane and started honking again, and I’m thinking what a psycho this guy is, and as I heard Caitlin saying, “he’s trying to show you his light” but not quite processing it quickly enough, I briefly jostled my truck toward him — even though I stayed in my lane it could have been interpreted as a “I’m going to run you off the road if you don’t leave me alone” gesture — and he started honking wildly and turned on the rest of his police lights in addition to the hand held siren-light that he was alternately trying to place and picking up to wave at me. Uh oh… Oops, did I just threaten to kill a cop or something? Stay calm! Time to pull over…

The cop walked up to my window in plain clothes but holding out his badge, and judging my how much he was shaking, I assumed he was pretty upset. This would turn out to be an understatement, and the first thing he said to me was, “I’m off duty right now,” and the second thing he said to me was, “but that won’t stop me from taking you to jail,” and he was practically screaming already, “and you’re under arrest RIGHT NOW!”

“Ok, if I’m under arrest can I go park my truck so it’s not on the street?”

I did that and got out of the car, and he screamed at me to put my cane, and then my knife as well, back into the truck and yelled at me to walk over to him. He was shaking badly and everything he said was full of rage and high volume and completely unprofessional (which is an issue since he’s asking to be treated as a cop). He started with the typical “please incriminate yourself” attempt, shouting “What were you thinking out there? Well?”

Sorry, I’m been through this too many times — “What was I thinking? Me? What were YOU thinking? You’re the one that tried to block me from changing lanes with your truck, and then followed me, honking and being threatening, and now you’re here screaming at me!”

“You tried to ram me with your truck!”

“I did nothing of the sort, if anything I was spooked because you were acting like a psycho,” I told the police officer calmly as he stood there trembling and sweating and screaming. And it’s true — his behavior up until this point had been aggressive and hostile enough that once they were being followed, some people would be very spooked.

“You and your zombie truck, you think the whole world revolves around you! Zombie? What’s that about anyway? Have you ever had to scrape some kid off the road? Well, I have! I’ve seen death in these streets! Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“Sure, I understand what you’re saying,” I tell him, as he continues his rant. Even though he still peppered his comments with the threat of dragging me off to jail, it was pretty sure that I wasn’t even getting a ticket (he never asked for my paperwork once), let alone getting arrested. He did however make sure to tell me what he really wanted to do, giving me the sort of insight into the police mental state that problem cops always seem to want to give you.

In a completely failed attempt to threaten me — and as I towered over him I’m sure that our comparative was a factor in his behavior — he screamed, “Oooh, people like you make me so mad… Buddy, you don’t know how close you are to being on the pavement with me beating the hell out of you! Oh, how badly I want to teach you a lesson!”

As he did this, and I looked down at this trembling little guy threatening me, any last worry I had that there might be repurcussions went away. So I figured let him yell for a minute more and then head on to the bowling alley. The funny thing was when he started screaming about how “people like you think you’re the most important person on the road, and you always have to be first and don’t care about anybody else!”

I pointed out that this all started with him almost hitting me because he was aggressively trying to use the right lane to try to force his way in front of me. The irony was that he was guilty of what he was screaming at me about. It was obvious that his screaming and ranting and threatening were not making a very strong case to me — keep on meowing — and actually, if anything it was making me feel more and more justified that the behavioral problem was on his end. With all his screaming and me being calmer the more he did it, it was clear that I was not worried about being arrested, and even less worried about him beating on me — he eventually wandered, still shaking in rage, back to his car (“oh, buddy, it’s your lucky day because I’m going to let you go, but oooooh, you were so close to being beaten to a pulp and then tossed in jail”) and we both drove off. My only regret is that I know he’s going to take this out on his family. Guys like this, in addition to being precisely the sort of road risk he was accusing me of being, give a bad reputation to the police and the stereotype of the sort of person desperate for the authority to abuse the public. Cops with anger management issues are ticking time bombs.


  1. Bernie wrote:

    Did you get his badge number ? If your GF was with you in the truck (and could act as a witness) this out of control cop is the one who could get into trouble…

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink
  2. Shannon wrote:

    unfortunately i didn’t

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Permalink
  3. Posts like this, where you win intellectually against an obvious troll of a human, make me feel like humanity has a chance against authority. If this ever went to court there’s no way you wouldn’t win.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 9:02 pm | Permalink
  4. John J wrote:

    It’s the cop’s word vs. the citizen if there’s no video recording of the incident. Cops lie all the time as far as I’m concerned.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Permalink
  5. nikk wrote:

    man thats a crazy cop. You should probably still make a report even if you dont know his name or anything. cops like that are a danger to humanity man.

    Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Permalink
  6. Bonnie wrote:

    A few years back, a camero pulled up beside my brother at a red light, gunning the engine and lunging up and back as if he wanted to race. My brother was driving a big muscle car at the time, so was used to this sort of thing. When they came out of the light and he blew the other car away, the guy promptly threw a bubble light up on his roof and pulled my brother over. Off duty cop. He called someone up that was on duty and got tickets issued for my brother. My brother took it to court, but lost. Some people are powerstruck, but it’s never good when it’s the police.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 6:16 am | Permalink
  7. Jilary wrote:

    Wow… sounds like he has a serious case of chihuahua syndrome! Making up for his lack of size by repeatedly barking, all while trembling like crazy. I really don’t understand why he would threaten to beat you to a pulp, since he’d quite obviously lose his job if he chose to carry out that threat.

    Recently an off duty Philadelphia cop shot and killed a man because the guy accidently squirted the cop’s girlfriend with a water gun as she walked by the family having a water gun fight. He then shot a woman and an 18 y/o boy in the arm and leg. Makes you wonder how some people get their jobs.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 7:23 am | Permalink
  8. Caitlin wrote:

    I was in the truck.

    What Shannon neglected to mention was that this man had his daughter (who looked about 10 years old) in his vehicle at the time. Imagine having that as a dad? A purple faced, screaming, monster? It’s the stuff of nightmares.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 7:34 am | Permalink
  9. Chris wrote:

    I have a close friend who is a police officer and after knowing him for years and also meeting a lot of the guys he works with, I’ve become convinced that cops should have mandatory counseling and psychological exams on a regular basis. A lot of them develop these sorts of anger problems, I think in part because they get used to being ‘in charge’ all the time and partly because they are constantly dealing with what’s basically the worst parts of our society. They start to have this attitude that everyone is a criminal in one way or another. I’d bet that the divorce rate in most police departments is extremely high. And making the whole problem worse is that not only is counseling not required, it’s often actively discouraged as the officers worry that it will get back to their superiors and they’ll be looked on negatively and they are also required to report if they are taking any medications (such as anti-depressants) so they avoid that for the same reasons.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 8:28 am | Permalink
  10. Oh dude, I want to beat a cop sooo bad…lol

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink
  11. It’s really to bad the public doesn’t have an outlet to return the favor and have him put under surveillance to show his superiors what he is like outside of the police station. I’m sure he is a puppy dog when confronted with someone with more authority then him. Probably the block bully when he was a kid and just hates that everyone grew up stronger and bigger than his mouth and now needs to hide behind his badge to continue abusing others to make himself feel like a big shot.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Permalink
  12. Ashley wrote:

    I’d like to have seen Caitlin whip out a camera and record the interaction! Wonder what he would’ve done then?!

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink
  13. Caitlin wrote:

    In hindsight, I wish I had thought to snap a couple pictures.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Permalink
  14. Lacy wrote:

    I’ve had a cop arrest me when I was 16 for laughing at him, he brought me in and ended up giving me a ticket for curfew violation, when I had a good 15 minutes or so before I had to be in. I was only out past curfew because of him. That was a nice 300 dollars that my mom ended up paying for no good reason. The only reason I laughed to begin with was because I was with a big group of people and two of the girls that I didn’t even know ended up being on some medications that they shouldn’t have been on . . The cops found out and let them go home while the rest of us got yelled at because we’re apparently the scum of the earth. Truth be told, I shouldn’t have been with people like that . . but I was 16, I hadn’t really learned my lesson about lying with dogs. I thought it was absurd that they were just leaving and we had some a-hole cop in our faces, I couldn’t really help but laugh at the situation . . woopz.

    Monday, May 17, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Permalink
  15. Twwly wrote:

    What a lunatic.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink
  16. Jason wrote:

    Caitlin – snapping pics of cops here in the UK is now illegal, it makes you a terrorist apparently.

    Shannon – Whilst it has never been with a cop, I go through what you experienced almost daily. I’m a cycle courier and when some driver almost kills me it’s always my fault. I’ve been hit by the front of a car on the back of my bike and the driver got out and was going to rip my fkin head off if there was any damage to his paintwork, never mind my bent bike and bleeding knees.
    No-one EVER says sorry or holds up their hands to a mistake. Just like the incident you describe they often hypocritically scream at me for committing the crime they did themselves. I try to tell myself that they are just misdirecting their embarrassment and frustration at me.
    When it’s my fault I always admit my error and apologise, explain that I was an idiot etc.

    I admire the calm way you dealt with it. I have to try SO hard every day and remind myself to take that zen attitude.
    Bravo, but watch your not-so-anonymous back in future, we all know what cops can be like…

    Sunday, May 23, 2010 at 3:12 am | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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