About . . . . Classes . . . . Books . . . . Vita . . . . Blog. . . . Podcast

by Peter Moskos

May 5, 2013

Good Cop

The Reese Witherspoon arrest on video.

You know what I like?
Reese: "I have to obey your order?!"

Officer: "Yes, you do.
Well done, officer. Well handled. Grace under pressure.
Witherspoon: "Do you know my name... You're about to find out who am I."

Officer: "That's fine. I'm not really worried about you, Ma'am."
Witherspoon: "I'm an American citizen, I'm allowed to do whatever I want to do."

Funny she should think that.

Honestly, Witherspoon didn't embarrass herself too much. But she was wrong. And she got arrested. And Reese was also wrong about it being national news. It is international news.

As a side note, I'm always amazed when I see a solo officer arresting somebody. I patrolled without a partner, but I was taught never to arrest without backup. The one time I didn't follow that advice, I ended on the pavement of Eager Street wrestling with a handcuffed suspect.

That's right. He was handcuffed. I wasn't. What could I do? I couldn't mace him. I couldn't hit him. He was in handcuffs, for crying out loud! He had not one but both hands tied behind his back! And I still couldn't get that SOB under control.

Never was I so happy to hear sirens coming.

And never again did arrest anybody without backup.


campbell said...

I'm always amazed when I see a solo officer arresting somebody

Word. As far as I can tell that's a common split among city police and the highway guys.

I couldn't hit him.

Oh, they can still be hit, it just depends on the circumstances.

PCM said...

You know what was going through my mind as I was fighting this guy? Me at the trial board, and something that might go like this:

"Officer Moskos, why were you striking a handcuffed prisoner?"

Uh, you know, because he got all squirrely and I couldn't get him under control.

"But certainly you could have called for backup."

I did, sir. They were on their way.

"But not before you were were wrestling the suspect?"

Uh, well, the wagon was already enroute.

"Officer Moskos, when were you trained to arrest a suspect without backup?"

Uh, never.

"In fact, were you not told countless times never to arrest anybody alone?"

Uh, yes.

"So what were the exigent circumstances that lead you to decide to arrest a suspect without backup? Just what made the situation so urgent that you couldn't wait three minutes?"

Well, sir, it was almost 8AM and I was making one last swing past the drug corner of Wolfe and Eager and I saw this white guy standing outside his nice convertible drinking from an open bottle of malt liquor buying drugs from corner drug dealers.

It wasn't right.

But it was late in the shift and a minor arrest and, you know, I didn't want to bother anybody right before shift change.

"Were other officers in sector two in service?"

Well, it was right before shift change

"Were they out of service or just piled up near the station?"

I don't know, sir.

"Because you didn't ask?"

No. I mean yes. I mean I don't know.

"So let me get this right. You were striking a cuffed prisoner because, as you said, you 'didn't want to bother anybody'?"


"And when exactly did you lose control of your prisoner?"

Right after the cuffs went zip, zip.

"So all 200-plus pounds of you lost control of the suspect *after* his hand were tied behind his back? [snicker]"

Uh, well...

From there it only went downhill. And I saw my vacation days fluttering away.

Gotti Rules said...

Well said Pete. I did have a sergeant warn me though that you can only say so many times that a suspect fell and hit his head before they stop believing you.