Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

You've seen it. I've seen. We've all seen officers of the law breaking the very laws they're employed to enforce. I don't mean theft or murder or anything of that magnitude. I'm talking about officers casually and seemingly epidemically violating traffic and parking codes just because they can.

Who watches the watchers? Not everyone is willing to put up with it, and here's what a couple of folks have done about it:

First is the story of a recent law-school graduate who issued a parking citation to a cop when he became flippant about illegally parking his patrol unit in front of a Japanese restaurant in Portland, Ore.

Stensgaard walked into the restaurant wearing his police uniform, but did not make any arrests or citations. Instead, he turned his attention to the basketball game on television, according to Bryant. When Bryant asked Stensgaard about his vehicle, Stensgaard allegedly acknowledged being in a no-parking zone but asked Bryant, "If someone broke into your house, would you rather have the police be able to park in front of your house or have to park three blocks away and walk there?"

Bryant returned to his seat, and says shortly afterward he watched a restaurant employee hand the officer a plastic bag before he left. Unfortunately for Officer Stensgaard, Bryant had recently passed the Oregon bar exam, and decided to pursue the matter further.

"If he had acknowledged and corrected his error, we could have avoided this whole thing," says Bryant. "But instead, he kept watching basketball and told me he wasn't doing anything wrong."

You can read the entire article here. The cop has been issued a summons and faces up to $540 in fines.

Second is a video shot in New York City by Jimmy Justice, a amateur videographer whose hobby is filming cops breaking the law. Here, he confronts a parking enforcement officer who has parked her police car in front of fire hydrant while eating lunch in a nearby restaurant. While filming he's confronted by a retired NYPD officer who tells him it is illegal to film a police officer "because of the terrrorism."

Riiiight. (Some of the language and the officer's behavior is NSFW.)

Mr. Justice has more than a dozen more similar videos posted on his YouTube channel. I'm glad I haven't gotten on Mr. Justice's bad side. He can be a bit of a jerk when he thinks he's right.

No comments: