Rorschach Test & Contempt of Cop

It is kind of an interesting exercise to compare the police account of this encounter with the video.   What do your eyes see?

I find it fascinating that so many commenters seem to believe that the police are entirely in the right to physically assault anyone who diss them.    One example:

For the 3 of you who commented above, I hope you never really need the cops.. You have no idea "what's called for" as you have no law enforcement training (watching "police academy" doesn't count). the Metro police go out there and do their job as best they can....

Bottom line, don't mouth off to cops or plan on carrying really good dental insurance.

Or this  (remember, all she did was use words):

She was told to leave, she left and came back and started in with the officer. Too bad for her, she asked for it.

Thanks, police, for making sure we don't ever have to encounter people in public who are not like ourselves

Finally Metro does something right. I ride the Metro regularly and I am sick and tired of this type of behavior. As a senior citizen I get fed up by the unruly behavior of today's youth. ... As for the cop, thank you

Or this one, where it is implied that it is the state's duty to use physical violence to enforce etiquette:

What kind of home schooling did she have? Why is she acting like this? I can't have any pity for her. She needs to take her uncivilized behavior somewhere else. Show some respect please. It appears she has no respect for authority or right or wrong. I feel for her parents if they should see this. Shameful, just shameful. The cop seems to just be doing his job. All she had to do was shut her sailor mouth and act like an adult.

Those who don't show respect for the state will be tackled and taken to jail.  Metro police might as well come on over to my house and drag we away, because I have no respect for you either.

It pains me to admit that 30 years ago I was just such a "law and order" Conservative.  Bleh.


  1. Elliot:

    It pains me to admit that 30 years ago I was just such a “law and order” Conservative. Bleh.

    I know the feeling.

    I hope I was never as bad as some of those comments, though.

    Note how the cop keeps saying "stop resisting" even when she's not resisting. If I recall correctly, I've seen a few other YouTube videos of police encounters in which cops do the same thing: tell a non-resisting person to "stop resisting". Maybe this isn't new and before internet video all we got was a news article about a person who was arrested for "resisting arrest" and were blissfully unaware of the ugly details. But I get the nagging feeling that it's a dishonest tactic used by police which has spread from precinct to precinct as officers swap stories and see how effective it is.

    Even if a cop never charges a person with resisting arrest, he covering his ass just in case he has to play that card.

  2. DrTorch:

    "Conservative"? Maybe, if you're using the language accurately. But, most of the respect the law types tend to vote Dem and espouse left-leaning politics. They've been conditioned almost completely by the public schools, "Just do as you're told."

  3. me:

    Argh. Forgive me for riding my pet peeve here, but it doesn't matter one bit how this cop votes.

    What matters is that he's behaving like an asshole and getting away with it.

    "The investigation has been completed and it was determined that the officer acted lawfully and complied with departmental policies and procedures."

    I don't care if he's a faithful Rep or pink Dem, I care that this guy hasn't been reprimanded or fired from the force. It's abuse of power and false arrest, and it's been signed off on by the dept head.

  4. Matt:

    David Packman is doing a great job tracking police misconduct like that of the Metro Transit Police thug at his site, Injustice Everywhere:

    Will Grigg is also a must-read:

  5. TomD:

    A video commenter is quoted thus: "Bottom line, don’t mouth off to cops or plan on carrying really good dental insurance."

    Now, I know the concept of "begging the question" is confusing to many people; I certainly don't expect the average joe to be able to define the phrase itself (or even know it), let alone provide some academic explanation.

    But comments like that always confound me. You don't have to know what "begging the question" is to recognize the fallacy on its face. The debate at hand was whether the cop should have acted that way. So what makes someone think a valid response is, "They *should* act that way because they *do* act that way" -- ? I mean, why would anyone think that's an operative response to the issue on the table?

    It's just... weird.

  6. Henry Bowman:

    I know that there are many who say that cops such as the scumbag in the video are unusual, and that most cops are "good cops". Frankly, I think such statements are erroneous. Most cops are complete thugs. If a person doesn't immediately obey their "commands", their first actions are to resort to violence. The cop in the video is typical, not unusual. And, his boss backing him up is SOP. With very few exceptions, cops cover for one another, and they all know that. The result is that thugs such as the cop in this video know full well that they can do anything they want to, with almost no chance of suffering any adverse consequences. They are simply scumbags.

  7. Terrence:

    I used to respect police officers; over the last few years that respect has increasingly diminished. I now agree with Henry Bowman "Most cops are complete thugs. If a person doesn’t immediately obey their “commands”, their first actions are to resort to violence. The cop in the video is typical, not unusual."

    And I extend this to ALL thugs with power over citizens - all TSA minions, many, if not most, "security" guards (who are simply cop wannabes who want more power); and union goons, especially those in the union offices.

    Anybody with any awareness, dignity and intelligence would NOT be a cop, or they would speak out about the vile abuse that is now representative of ALL cops. But, they don't - silence is golden, and is tacit approval.

  8. astonerii:

    "It pains me to admit that 30 years ago I was just such a “law and order” Conservative. Bleh."

    Funny, in my perspective, it is the progressives who think that the government (police) have the power to do things to citizens with little if any reason at all. But you seem to think that it is a conservative position that police have the right to abuse people?

    I have to completely call B.S. on your position of this. A Law and Order Conservative is a person who believes that the police are to be held to a higher Order under the Law than a citizen would be, as they not only have to uphold the law, but should also be people to be looked up to in forming law abiding mores in society. When Police become out of control, abusive of their power, corrupt they are no longer a part of the "Law and order" and are in fact part of the problem.

    You are becoming such a pathetic read lately Warren. When I started reading over hear from your climate skeptic webpage you seemed pretty reasonable. But your hatred of enforcing Immigration Laws and now contempt for conservatives is getting to the point I may just move on. You are no longer a of much value added to my weekly reading.

  9. el coronado:

    agree with henry bowman above. the cops ARE thugs, and have become a de facto gang. a gang i fear MUCH less than crips or bloods or disciples or vice lords, et al. those guys can only rob and or beat me, and that won't happen if i keep the ol' situational awareness turned up on 'high'. cops? well. let's see.....they can stop me, legally, at will. they can plant evidence on me, and the courts will by definition take their word over mine. they can send me to prison; take all my possessions; destroy my family; or just - because they're amped up on steroids, or in bad mood, or someone paid them to, or because they're bonehead screwups who have miserable weapons discipline - they can just kill me, and walk away scot-free, by saying the magic words. magic words **taught to them in the academy**, and which, to my knowledge, have never failed: "i thought i saw the suspect make a furtive move towards his waistband."

    and as for that "conservatives like that" bullshit, can you kindly tell us how many bills reducing police power were written/introduced/passed/signed into law over 2007-jan 2011? you know: when the "liberals" controlled the house, the senate, AND the white house in such commanding margin that those mean ol' 'conservatives' wouldn't have been able to do a damn thing about it?

    it's "zero", right? thus exposing your implied 'conservatives support police state tactics' as utter bullshit as well, right? so, evidently i agree with astonerii above, as well: this once-impressive blog has turned into KOS-lite, and is no longer of any value whatsoever. maybe it's an arizona thing - IIRC, pretty much the same thing happened to barry goldwater. of course, he was 90 or so, so he had an excuse.

  10. ChevalierdeJohnstone:

    What's most disturbing is the sheer ignorance of most of the video commenters about basic citizenship and legal practice.

    However, the problem is not the LEOs, and those of you suggesting that "most cops are complete thugs" will, I am sure, admit that you do not know "most cops" and thus that these statements that you made are intellectually dishonest. The problem is the legal system which we citizens have allowed to be put in place.

    In fact police are not required to formally tell you that you are being detained or that you are under arrest, this is a myth. The Miranda, for example, relates to questioning a suspect, not detaining them.

    We delude ourselves when we say this sort of incident is an example of "rogue cops gone amuck" or even when we suggest that "most cops are rogue cops". The real tragedy is that the officers in this video and in most other "evil cop" videos never do anything which would in fact be considered - legally - unwarranted. As Boston T. Party says, there is a difference between "unlawful" and "illegal". We, the people, have legally granted to government officials such as the cop in the video the privilege of behaving unlawfully. That's the real crime. The heaviest chains are those we have put on ourselves of our own free will.

  11. caseyboy:

    The way I was raised if you showed respect you would be given respect. If you are disrespectful don't expect to be given respect. In 60 years that hasn't failed me. Our society no longer knows how to be respectful. We've lost our moral compass. And the way we are headed it isn't going to get better any time soon. The thing I hate about these video clips is that you rarely get the setup to the event. Those who have a predisposition against the "Pigs" certainly have fodder for their point of view. However, naive or not, I prefer to give law enforcement the benefit of the doubt because all of my personal experiences have been positive.

  12. Mark:

    I am sorry, but "law and order" conservatism has nothing to do with police officers using unnecessary physical force in an unjustified manner.

    The premise of "law and order" conservatism is that crime and punishment should match and that there should be a reasonable and effective deterrent to crime, including the death penalty. It is clear to me that the increasing level of "law and order" practices, starting in the 1980's, have been very successful in reducing the amount of physical and property crime. If you look at crime statistics and you cannot see the negative correlation between incarceration rates and crime rates, then you must never have seen the data.

    Incarceration is the most effective deterrent to crime. Unfortunately, it is not because we have effective "rehabilitation" programs, but simply because it removes criminals from the public were they commit more crimes. Some liberals and libertarians complain about the incarceration rates of "drug offenders", but what is also clear is that these "innocents" are responsible for a tremendous volumes of crime that extend beyond drugs.

    Lastly, the greatest failure of liberalism is not political. The liberals have long glorified the drug culture. They have controlled academia for almost six decades. Yet, with all of the crime and drug problems of this country, they have never developed effective rehabilitiation programs for either, and the only somewhat effective programs were built from the ground up and are Christian based (note, I am not a Christian). It is a sad world were we have groups (Hollywood, for example) that practically push youths into drugs because of their glorification and that we have groups that believe drugs should be legalized, and yet these groups ignore the fact that there is very little "treatment" for the people who ruin their lives because they become addicted.

  13. Bearster:

    Am I the only one to see the irony? The title of this post alludes to the Rorschach Test, wherein people see what they feel like seeing.

    Most of the comments here are eager to agree with Warren that this is a case of police brutality because, you know the anarchist-libertarian narrative: all cops are thugs because well, there shouldn't be pigs (err, cops) in the first place!

    Maybe it is just that I have a crappy video monitor on this laptop, but I couldn't *see* enough to tell what was happening! While I will allow that others may have better monitors, I doubt the video quality is good enough to get clear evidence that the girl was in the wrong or the cops, let alone clear proof that the cop was BSing when he said "stop resisting" because she wasn't resisting.

  14. Ted Rado:

    In all my life (82 years) I have only encountered one cop who was rude. I have never seen anything resembling police abuse of power. I am sure it happens, but to demonize the police in general is unfair. One can criticize any group by pointing to a member who did something bad. Unfairly accusing the police as a whole is as bad as the occasional policeman who abuses his authority.

    When a policeman crosses the line, he should be (and usually is) punished. Let's leave the rest alone to do their difficult jobs. As to the accusation that conservatives, liberals, or anyone else is in favor of police abuse, it is utterly rediculous.

  15. smurfy:

    "all of my personal experiences have been positive."

    On balance, so have mine. As such I don't fall into the all cops are pigs thinking. But I can still acknowledge the systemic incentive problems we have created.

    "The way I was raised if you showed respect you would be given respect"

    I think that used to be true. It also used to be true that you weren't a criminal. We are all* criminals now. I don't find it very surprising then to have a routine interaction with the police turn into an interrogation. If they suspect me of breaking some rather serious law, of course they're not going to behave respectfully to me, even if I do deserve it.

    *not you, personally, of course.

  16. Matt:

    "...those of you suggesting that “most cops are complete thugs” will, I am sure, admit that you do not know “most cops” and thus that these statements that you made are intellectually dishonest."

    I don't know most rocket engineers, but I'm damn sure most rocket engineers are pretty good at mathematics.

    I don't know most heroin addicts, but I'm damn sure they're all better than me at shooting up.

    I also don't know most cops, but I'm damn sure their job involves violently enforcing other peoples' stupid preferences, and that cops, *all* *cops*, hide behind their jobs, *every* *day*, as an excuse to avoid every human being's primary obligation: discern right from wrong and act accordingly.

    "what practice or event cannot be packaged into a ‘job’ and isolated from criticism because it’s a ‘job’?"

    Who's being intellectually dishonest here?

  17. Matt:

    "Am I the only one to see the irony? The title of this post alludes to the Rorschach Test, wherein people see what they feel like seeing."

    It is what it is. The girl tries to leave within seconds of the thug commanding her to leave. She swears at the thug as she's trying to leave. The thug chases her down, throws her to the ground, mauls her, and kidnaps her.

    Everyone should ask themselves: would you have done what that cop did?

  18. GoneWithTheWind:

    I love our police, firemen, EMTs, doctors, nurses, military and the many other unsung heros public and private. I know a lot of police are thugs and indeed you would be wise to not test them because they may, as this one did, make you pay for being rude to them. In general anyone can have a bad day or allow themselves to be pissed of by someone they have to deal with. I hope this cop isn't always like this. I think when a cop does something criminal or abuses their power, especially if it involves violence and false charges they should be fired. We deserve better from our police.

  19. Jesse:

    hey caseyboy:

    So, showing respect elicits respect. Great. Therefore, when someone disrespects you, for instance, a young lady in her twenties, you respond by tackling her and pulling up her dress? Is that your personal policy?

    I'm sick of this notion that says "hey, if you just behave and be nice to the cops, they won't hurt you".

    THE POLICE ARE NOT LEGALLY ENTITLED TO OUR RESPECT. They are public servants that live off of OUR productivity. There is NO law on the books that says they are entitled to our deferential kindness and submissiveness.

  20. Elliot:

    I take exception with those defending police in general, arguing that most cops are good people and that you just have to show them respect.

    That's crap.

    Maybe there are only a certain percentage of "bad apples" who commit felonies, but the problem is that 99% of the alleged "good apples" who don't outright commit felonies will cover up for those who do, when push comes to shove. In the rare case where a cop does the right thing and crosses the thin blue line, he or she is very often the target of harassment from all the other cops. Read for a few weeks and you're sure to hear about examples, including cases where the only person charged with a crime is the whistle blower.

    As far as showing cops respect, who else do you have to genuflect to in order to prevent them from making up some bullshit charge against you, or worse, hurting you? Gangsters, conquering armies ... you know, just the sort of types you want holding special powers and an exclusive license to use deadly force in your community.

  21. Alex:

    Well, it's not just conservatives that jump to the defense of such pigs. I've seen self-proclaimed libertarians and objectivists, with all their professed respect for reality, do just the same. (I call that objecto-fascism.)

    If they were to admit that there's a problem with the police, they'd have to admit to themselves (A) that they themselves are at risk to be victimized by pigs, (B) that they are morally (and in their own self-interest) obliged to do something about it, and (C) that there may be an underlying problem with the state, not just with the socialism they like to complain about.

    It's just so much easier to deny the reality of the problem and post comments how the victims had it coming and how the victims should be grateful that the police are "protecting their rights."

    And yes, I used to be a law and order conservative, too.


    You don't have to know most X to judge X. You just take the sample of X you met, and if most of that sample was rotten, then most of the whole X likely is, too.

    That's called induction. It's pretty nifty, because all human knowledge is derived from it.

    Do you have to have seen most or all sunrises to conclude that the sun will rise tomorrow? Do you believe doctors looked at every single flu virus there is before they concluded that flu viruses cause the flu?

    If we arrive at different conclusions based on our experiences, that means we may need a larger sample, or need to look at circumstances that may have caused the differences, but it does not mean we have to suspend judgment until we have met most cops.

    You're the one who's intellectually dishonest. You desperately try to suspend judgment until an impossible degree of knowledge is attained.

  22. DensityDuck:

    Matt: Please tell us what your job is, so we can tell you what kind of asshole you are.

  23. Doug Proctor:

    The only real power the police have is that of civil authority, i.e. the ability to get people to do what they want by merely saying so. If the public recognize that they do not have to do as they are told, then the police are powerless unless they resort to trucheons and pistols. The cop over reacted. Yet, to him, his authority was compromised by verbal abuse. Clearly he needs better training/preparation/self-esteem. Unfortunately, the police MUST maintain the appearance that what they say, goes. It is the perception of power that counts, otherwise we will have to turn over policing duties to the military, who (in theory) tolerate NO dispute. We don't want that. We must voluntarily defer to them even when they are in (minor) error. The alternative is worse.

  24. Elliot:

    @Doug Proctor: Do you realized you're rationalizing allowing armed professionals the privilege to act outside the law as a thug if a second-class citizen (i.e., civilian) dares to commit "contempt of cop"? That's disgusting.

    I've seen professional cops who did the right thing and allowed some hothead to mouth off, without lowering themselves down to that level.

    As for the military comparison, I'd beg to differ there, as well. People in the military tend to be more professional and use more restraint with civilians. My dad was in law enforcement in the military and was disgusted with civilian cops who acted dirty or abused their authority ("super cops", he called them). He was used to having people under his command act with great discipline.

    A few months ago, Radley Balko linked to an article in which military people took exception to the phrase "police militarization", as it sullied the name of those in the military to be compared to the most aggressive SWAT commandos. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan treat civilians there better than many US cops treat US civilians.

  25. caseyboy:

    Jesse - I don't condone reacting violently to being disrespected because that in effect confirms that you were not due respect in the first place. The police officer, at least from the point where the video picks up, shows behavior not worthy of respect.

    Jesse, I don't know if you're a football fan. If so, I'm sure you've seen times when a player is called for a personal foul that was precipitated by being punched in the throat, groin, etc. The punch wasn't seen by the official, but he certainly saw the reaction. Perhaps the video operator didn't see the event that triggered the behavior but he noticed the commotion and started recording the reaction.

    Our society has become so crass and ill mannered that it no longer surprises me when these things happen. Gang members shoot innocents on the street to earn their "street cred". Respect for one another, respect for life, respect for property, respect for law, respect for pretty much everything is going,going gone. Starting in 1962 the Supreme Court kicked God, the Bible and the Ten Commandments out of our schools. Replaced by "if it feels good do it". Do you suspect any cause and effect going on here?

  26. chuck martel:

    There is no excuse for a supposedly well-trained and licensed police officer to act unprofessionally in a confrontation with a "civilian". Their job is to defuse situations, not escalate them.

    We hear constantly what a difficult dangerous job they have but there are waiting lists for their positions. How many cops quit because of the dangers of their job?

    Invariably, when a policeman runs afoul of the law, we are told about his commendations for bravery and heroism. But those awards are given by the police themselves, not the citizenry. They don't have much credibility.

  27. Bill:

    People are allowed to walk away from cops, even when those cops are talking to them. Cops are allowed to give lawful orders, and even unlawful ones, in good faith.

    Here, the young woman had her back turned, and was not threatening. She was trying to "escape" after mouthing off by walking away quickly. She did not stop walking when he told her to, but he also did not say anything like, "I order you to stop," "Freeze, you're under arrest," etc. Then he tackled her, splayed her out on the ground with her skirt above her waist, and held her down while grinding his crotch into her panties, for no apparent good reason, and said "stop resisting" a bunch of times. Why not cuff her and get off? Why not tell her sit down against the wall with your hands behind your back. It was obvious she was shocked, traumatized, and had all the fight taken out of her. Meanwhile, he had his back to her male friends, who, while certainly not threatening in an absolute sense, were insulting the cop and therefore more of a danger.

    Being a cop is a hard job. It is not politically correct or constitutional to say, but their life is on the line, and so if they see a threat and decide to over-react, then that is usually ok and every thinking person can understand it. But here, the obvious threat is the males, especially after he tackled their female friend. So, I don't see any justification for the cop's actions from a safety stanpoint. I do see some justification if she committed some sort of crime (and she very well may have committed a crime which justified arrest) and was getting away, but then his actions after he tackled her seem strange.

  28. Barry:

    I watched the video. What I saw was a poorly trained cop acting badly: What was he arresting her for? I did not hear it. A well trained cop says why he is detaining or arresting someone.

    A well trained police officer knows how to give precise/concise commands/directions. Saying "stop resisting" over and over is the sign of poor training. He may have been trained to say that. Still poor training. Instead of a vague "stop resisting" he should have told her what he wanted specifically - like "Put your hands behind your back." or similar clear-cut commands. Apparently he said something eventually that was inaudible to me and put her hands behind her back.

    Once she was handcuffed, I could not make anything out that was useful. I did notice that during the handcuffing she appeared to be laughing and smiling - which makes me think this whole thing may have been staged.

    What happened before the video is meaningless - despite the commentary.

    I have seen a lot of really ignorant comments like "all cops are thugs." Also I saw stuff like "the others(cops) all know what is happening and do not report it." How many cops were on scene at the beginning of the video? I do not see any. So only one cop - himself knew what was taking place.

    It is possible that there was something or some reason that she was arrested that is not shown in the video. Therefore, commenting on the "internal investigation" is meaningless.

    Lastly - why are only comments supporting the cop in the narrative above, when that was not what I mostly saw on the original site? Just what you are specifically testing with the Rorschach Test you mention? That is my $.02 worth.