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by Peter Moskos

December 24, 2009

The snowball heard round the web

Everybody is talking about it...

...so here's my two-cents:

For a cop, having a gun out isn't such a big deal. Pointing a gun at someone is a big deal. Waving it around would be a big deal (and would also show a lack of professional training). I understand others may see any display of a gun as a shocking development. But this is D.C. and this is a police officer. The streets are dangerous.

Simply having your gun out means there's a threat. Having your hand on your holster means there might be a threat. This officer has lived through a lot of threats and I don't begrudge him for feeling threatened by a large crowd. And from what I can tell he holstered up pretty quickly.

To me the question is why the guy got out his Hummer in the first place? That's the mistake. He could have just kept on driving.

[Though I should point out, because I haven't heard anyone else do so, that all the uniformed officers handled the scene very well.]

When you're in your vehicle, snowballs are not a threat to anything but your manhood. The only potential threat to the officer was created by the officer when he made a choice to exit his vehicle to initiate a useless confrontation with a large group of people. Christ, if you feel so threatened while driving your Hummer, what's the point of owning a Hummer in the first place!?


Anonymous said...

To me this is much more a matter of how he reported the matter to the police before the videos came out. It looks like he reported falsely. If that is not a serious crime, it should be.

As far as the clearing leather part: (i) if a regular citizen would face a brandishing charge, then so should the detective; and (ii) if a regular citizen's name would have been released to the media by now then so should be the detective's. These points could probably be debated either way. Not so, the false report.

Oh, yeah -- your book that I ordered yesterday afternoon from Amazon got here this morning.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah -- despite graduating with good grades from a top 10 law school, I cannot afford a Hummer. O well.

PCM said...

We know the detective's name from the video. And that cop was "on-duty" when he faced the kids. I don't think working police can be guilty of brandishing.

A false report would always be a doozy. But what did he report? Anything?

PCM said...

I graduated from two top colleges and do not want a hummer.

Anonymous said...

What did he report, or what will the police department admit tha he reported? That is the question of integrity that presents.

PS: don't want a Hummer neither (at least not the veeHICle), but that is not what I sed.

PCM said...

If no arrest was made (not clear from the video) he probably reported nothing. No crime in that.

Anonymous said...

The police reported that no gun was drawn. Sounds like obstruction at least (same thing they sent Martha Stewart up the river for).

That is assuming he didn't make a sworn statement that has since been misplaced.

Meh said...

Cynical much? The call was for a man displaying a gun. The cops show up and find out that the man in question was a cop and was dealing with a large crowd. Since it was not illegal for cops to possess a weapon or take it out his holster, I would also have cleared the call as unfounded .
Stop looking for malice where none exists.

Jeff N said...

The police spokesperson, that night, stated that the detective did not have his gun out. Thats when the video came out contradicting the spokesperson. Not sure if the spokesperson got the original information from a 'report'.

The issue was not just that he had his gun out, he also did not initially identify himself as a cop.

The uniformed officers did a good job of both diffusing the asshole detective and the crowd though.

The comment about the cop driving a hummer I think might have more to do with the previous thread on police pay than the desirability of that type of SUV.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if the spokesperson got the original information from a 'report'.

Whether or not he got his misinformation from a quote-unquote report (which should have been required of the detective at any event), it is clear that the spokeman got it from a fraudulent, obstructive representation of some kind made by the detective. And that should be the main basis criminal charge now. Since the detective drove the Hummer to go make the fraudulent representation at the station, that was used in the commission of his obstructin crime and should accordingly be forfeited and sold at auction to get some money to help train the other detectives not to obstruct.

Judging by the sheer number of policemen on the Internet who missed the obvious obstruction charge, it seems like a lot of re-training is needed nationwide. Then again, I am not sure that integrity can be trained into someone. Anyway, this story can certainly help police understand exactly what it looks like when other policemen lie. IOW, this story can help counter the denial that exists about police lying. But, the focus really needs to come off the brandishing issue and onto the issue of what the detective said at his interview. Releasing the tape of the interview to the public and to police professors for classroom use would be the next logical step.

Side note: Read Cop In The Hood today. Nice book. I knew most of that stuff, but the part about high-arrest versus low-arrest officers was new and surprising to me. Was also good to see the cameo appearance by Ross Grimsley.

PCM said...

I'll be nice because you bought and read my book. Thank you. And it's Christmas. But the officer probably drove straight home. At least at first.

And all names were taken directly from the Baseball Encyclopedia.

Most have very few at bats.

Only now do I see that Ross's last MLB appearance was for the O's!

Anonymous said...

I think I had his card as an Oriole.

Meh said...

"Since the detective drove the Hummer to go make the fraudulent representation at the station, that was used in the commission of his obstructin crime and should accordingly be forfeited and sold at auction to get some money to help train the other detectives not to obstruct."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You are...oh why bother do I even bother responding to that? It's so ridiculous a statement, it's obvious you are just making a joke.

Anonymous said...

No joke. Forfeiture laws aren't just for drugs any more. The best part is that guilt does not need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. As they say, sauce for the street level drug dealer is sauce for lying policeman. This is why justice is graphically depicted wearing a blindfold.

Meh said...

This is hardly the same thing and you know it. Seizure laws are for items that were purchased with illegal funds. Completely different situation and it is debatable if anything illegal even happened in this situation. Unprofessional? Yes. Illegal? Doubtful.

Anonymous said...

The detective does get paid to tell the police what happened. That is where the money to buy the Hummer came from. Of course, if the detective can prove that all his statements to fellow police before this one were true (like they are supposed to be), then he would be allowed to have his Hummer back.