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by Peter Moskos

April 7, 2008

Cops tell the truth

If that statement shocks you, you're a fool. All cops don't tell the truth all of the time. But cops tell the truth a lot more than many people seem to think. At least in Baltimore there is no culture of lying on the stand or anywhere else.

Why would I perjure myself and risk my job and my reputation just to convict some teen-age crack dealer? I don't live in that neighborhood. I'll do my job, play by the rules, and go home, thank you very much.

In the Queens trial of the officers who killed Sean Bell, a police officer testified last week that the officers identified themselves as police before shooting. This was largely discounted by many. The assumption was that an officer would always lie to protect a fellow cop.

Today a person who lives near the shooting testified that the police did in fact yell a lot before shooting... just like the cops said. This is huge for the defense of the officers.

Maybe they're both lying, or maybe not. I don’t know. I wasn't there.

My point isn’t about Sean Bell and his friends. The cop in me is bothered when people reflexively believe the testimony of thugs and their mothers rather than hard-working and dedicated police officers. If a cop says one thing, and a criminal says another, believe the cop!

Too often TV news, in some attempt to get "both sides of the story," talk to some thug's mother. The mother says her son is an angel and couldn't have been doing anything because he was home asleep at the time, or in church, or helping homeless orphans with their homework.

Guess what? Mothers always think their son is an angel. That’s their job!

Here’s a case of a poor mom, seeing the truth. From my Baltimore notes:
We pull up on 700 N Port St and [my partner] knows one of the kids there. [My partner] says he promised to arrest him if he saw him there again. When [my partner] gets out of the car with cuffs, the guy takes off. [My partner] chases and I follow in the car, calling us out on the radio. I see them run down Madison and up an alley towards Ashland. I turn up Collington and make a right on Ashland and stop in front of Bradford.

I can't figure out what's going on with [my partner], who it turns out lost the trail when the guy booked in a vacant. But [my partner] thinks he's still in there. Meanwhile I see who I think is him stroll off Bradford. That's him, I think. So I get out and he starts to take off again, but another car pulls up from the other side on Madison and he stops.

I grab him, the other cop says, "put him down" and we put him on the ground. [The other officer is] holding his arm back Koga style [a way that doesn’t hurt, but will hurt if the suspect moves or get squirrely]. His mothers appears (as they are wont to do) and starts screaming, "Why you hurting him? Why you holding his arm back. He ain't done nothing!" I'm waiting for [my partner] to come and say if it's him or not.

After a bit [my partner] does show up and says that's him. We stand the kid up, and another cop (there are many here by now) says, "what's that in your mouth?" Out of the kid's mouth pop one coke vial, then a second. The mother, looking on from about ten feet away, sees her angel pop coke vials out of his mouth and falls out [faints]!

That, indeed, is comedy. We call an ambo for the woman and give the 16-year-old kid shit for doing that to his moms.


Anonymous said...

Yeah. They're all getting their lives together and finding Jesus right before they get popped or sent away to the pen. Damn I'm getting grizzled (in a decidedly left-libertarian way). Seeing this nonsense day in and day out does that to a thinking human being.

PCM said...

I once felt bad for some loser murdered kid. The paper was trying to make him sound like a good kid, but the best they could quote somebody as saying was: "he could dribble [a basketball] really well."

Dribble?! Are you serious? That's the best his friends and family could come up with of? I mean, couldn't they say he played the whole game well? Or had an album coming out? He's dead! Nobody will ever know! Poor kid.

Anonymous said...

Very sad. But that's the way out for too many ghetto kids. Basketball, shitty hip-hop music, and illicit pharmecutical sales. Its been like that here in Peoria for my entire lifetime (30 yrs.) and probably before. One of our local players got killed once and I remember a guy telling the Journal Star, "he wasn't a good guy, but he was a cool guy." That about sums it up. All in the game, yo.