I thought you would like to read the e-mail I received from Jayne Weintraub, a member of the On the Record legal panel.
I would love to read your thoughts about it. Send me an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I had the worst "cop" experience while driving the kids to school this morning.
A cop cut me off and I gave him a horrified look as I had the kids in the car. Whereupon, he made a U-turn and pulled me over with more attitude than it would take to start a riot in Miami! Over the megaphone: "Sit in your vehicle" etc., for over 10 minutes.
The kids (ages 12-15 yrs old, straight A students) were stressing they were going to be late for school. All of this on top of being scared and embarrassed by the situation -- being stopped by police with friends in cars en route to school passing them by. The officer stood in a stance that can only be characterized as "ready to do combat!" His dark sunglasses never came off -- his chest never relaxed and his attitude never subsided. The officer wouldn't let it go. There was a big confrontation because I couldn't let him just abuse his power and belittle me in front of the kids for absolutely no reason. I called a friend to pick up the kids to go to school -- my son was visibly upset and wouldn't leave me despite my urging him to go with my friend. At my son's side, I asked the cop gently to please tell my son this is ok and let him go to school. He refused to provide any reassurance to my son. That, was the most unforgivable act of all! I was even asking nicely! He said get in your car and sit down. I told him his badge did not permit him a license to bully people -- he yelled at me again. Need I go on?
Contrary to all advice I would give a client -- after he gave me a ticket for running the light (not giving him a horrified look!) -- I took my son to school and went to the police department and filed a complaint against the cop. I have never done that in my life. Got the boys to school who were freaked at the real behavior of cops and my own son who is probably upset with me for lack of complacency.
Sorry for the venting -- but I thought you would understand and I am crazed trying to figure out how to back out of this -- with grace and a decent lesson to the kids. (The trials and tribulations of parenting with truly great kids.) How do I continue to tell the kids that most law enforcement officers are decent and hard working people when they were exposed first hand to a guy like this -- on such a power trip abusing the badge I want them to respect?
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