You see flashing blue lights behind you so you take the time to find a good, safe, well-lit spot to finally pull over. Two officers exit their car immediately, but in lieu of approaching your vehicle they take up positions just behind it and yell in a very loud commanding voice to “GET OUT OF THE CAR NOW!!
You can’t see them very well in your mirrors so you are probably not aware that they already have their guns drawn because you didn’t pull over immediately. In fact, they think you were trying to elude them because your license plates are missing. (They can’t see the temporary one in your tinted back window.)
So yes, you really do look very suspicious to two men who in their training have watched a litany of dash cam videos of officers just like them being gunned down on the side of the road at night.
“GET OUT OF THE CAR NOW!!!
They repeat their command over and over.
But you refuse to do so.
So the scene gets amped up to a point where one of them, in both fear and nervous frustration, pepper sprays you through the window until you finally decide to comply. They then force you to lie down on the ground until they can verify that A.) the car is indeed NOT stolen and B.) you are NOT going to pull a gun and shoot them in cold blood on what otherwise might be a routine traffic stop.
So a law suit ensues and you can pretty much make your case that you weren’t “fairly treated” and the rest of the story is easy enough. Generally good officer fired. Big money paid. Liability insurance for the community rises. More costs for police enforcement. Further suspicions of intentional injustice etc., etc., etc. . .
Or . . .
Perhaps you are pulled over for an expired tax sticker. The officer runs your license and discovers there is a warrant for your arrest on a charge of possessing a gun without a permit during a previous encounter with police.
You DO get out of the car – but only for a moment. As the officers prepare to place you under arrest you physically fight them off and jump back in your car. One of them yells repeatedly that she is going to taze you if you don’t stop. You keep fighting and when it becomes clear you are going to be able to put the car in gear and pull away while they are leaning in the door trying to hold on to you, she shoots what she thinks is her tazer.
Only its not.
In the heat and confusion of the moment that was your sudden and unexpected attack she has reached to the right side of her belt, not her left. “Holy%#@#?!!,” she exclaims as your car screeches away. “I shot him!”
So again – the rest of the story is easy enough. You die a tragic and unnecessary death, riots and looting in the streets continue for days (it is now somehow fine to destroy / steal property and threaten other’s lives) and an otherwise exemplary officer of 25 years is canned. Millions are spent on a long drawn out trial and big money will be paid to your family.
Would they trade it all for you?
Of course they would.
Which begs the question that so many others just like you should ask themselves.
In an imperfect world where fear and adrenalin can improperly influence decisions and accidents can so easily happen, why not just listen to the officer?
– Stuart Revercomb