Saturday, May 30, 2015

An arresting story

Yesterday, we saw something highly unusual. We were heading north bound on Wasatch Boulevard, approaching 33rd South, when two cop cars, light flashing, roared past us. A half mile ahead, they spun into u-turns, and pulled over a black truck. The cops in both vehicles hopped out and trained their guns on the vehicle. Like an idiot, I drove closer so I could see what was happening, and pulled back over to the side in a gap that had been left between two other vehicles.

The guy driving the black truck appeared to be cooperating, and the two cops soon had him in cuffs and down on the ground. Within seconds, he was back up again and driving down the road, shaking his head, and the cops had jumped back in their cars and sped off down the road with their lights flashing again. We had just witnessed some cops putting the wrong man in cuffs.

I wonder how he felt with those guns pointing at him.  I wonder if there was any apologies from the officers who had him on the ground with cuffs on. I wonder how many other people recognized exactly what happened there.

I guess they were looking for someone in a black truck. It could be easy to make a wrong move in such a situation. Thankfully the guy didn't resist arrest in any way, and he came to no harm--maybe other than his pride and his clothing.

Question: If it was a black truck they were looking for, would they have pulled over any black truck they passed? What made them think they had the right person? Truck color alone? If that's the case, something like that could happen to anyone. In that case, here's my advice: Don't struggle or complain when a cop's gun is pointed at you. Do what they say. Keep your cool.

I'm hoping they at least bought him a dinner at Texas Roadhouse or something.

2 comments: said...

I agree that power is easy to abuse, but I also know a lot of cops and see them take care of business. They seem like bullies when they order civilians to get back behind their perimeter. But they know what would happen to them, both morally and legally, if they weren't aggressive enough and a civilian got killed because of it.

I am willing to bet that the incident you saw was fueled by intense urgency to protect the public from a real menace in a black truck, and it was prudent to be aggressive with the occupant they thought might be their suspect. In the end, police often rely on the maxim, "It's easier to get forgiveness than ask permission."

Debbie Murdock said...

This happened to Matt when we were in Boise. His car matched the description of an armed robbery. He had 14 guns pointed at him and his counselor(they were on visit for Elder's Quorum). He said it was the the scariest moment of his life and knew that if he did anything wrong they were going to shoot. The funniest part of this when they had cuffed and stuffed him they were frisking his suit and asked what was in his pocket and he said a pinewood derby car then one of the officers yelled out he looks like a missionary. Then they magically said you can go and disappeared to probably torment another poor soul. No sorry or we made a mistake, just moved on.