By Jerry Cooper
The older I get, the less I suffer fools.
Here’s a quick lesson for you:
- · If you comply with a law enforcement officer’s direction, the officer will in all likelihood communicate by words or actions his or her appreciation
- · No one has a Constitutional right to disobey a lawful command by a law enforcement officer
- · No one has a Constitutional right to resist, delay or obstruct a law enforcement officer acting upon his or her lawful authority
- · “Not every push or shove, even if it may later seem unnecessary in the peace of a judge’s chamber, violates the Fourth Amendment.” (Foster v. Metropolitan Airports Commission, 1990)
- · If you assault an officer, don’t be surprised if you are assaulted more
- · At the scene of every police response, there is at least one firearm
- · Attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer of his or her firearm constitutes deadly force, and can justifiably get you hurt bad
- · If you shoot at an officer, expect to be shot at yourself
- · If you shoot at an officer, and then get yourself shot in return, you’re not the “victim.”
You see, it really isn’t that difficult.
Now, to be fair, let me make a few other points:
- · Not all law enforcement officers should be one
- · Not all competent law enforcement officers are as gracious as they should be
- · Not all use of force by law enforcement officers is constitutionally justified
- · Not all use of deadly force by law enforcement is constitutionally justified
- · Unconstitutional use of force by a law enforcement officer should, and usually does, result in bad consequences for the officer
- · All uses of force by law enforcement are by nature “ugly”
This is why after serious use of force by law enforcement officers there comes a professional investigation. Most (not all) use of force, once the matter runs the course through the criminal justice system, turn out in favor of the law enforcement officer(s) who used force. That’s because the courts have to ascertain if the use of force was “reasonable.” The courts ask:
- · Did the officer(s) follow Constitutional law?
- · Did the officer(s) follow statutory law?
- · Did the officer(s) follow their training?
- · Did the officer(s) follow departmental policy?
The problem is, however, no matter whether the officer’s use of force was reasonable or not, no one wants to wait for the facts to be established. Clear-heads are not wanted before, during, or even after the professional investigation.
Think of the Michael Brown incident in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown apparently tried to disarm an officer and paid the ultimate price for it. Opportunists, activists, hucksters, race-baiters and the national news media fanned the flames. The “hands up, don’t shoot” theme was apocryphal. When the facts were looked at, the District Attorney decided he could not in good conscience prosecute the officer, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder could find no basis to advance a violation of Civil Rights laws.
What a shock. With great thrill, the news media today (Monday, August 10, 2015) informs us that a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday, August 9, shot a black protester at the “mostly peaceful demonstration” marking the one-year anniversary of the “killing an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, by a white cop.” Oh yeah, and looking further into the story one learns that the “victim” had shot at officers.
I do hope Michael Brown’s family can one day find peace, but I don’t think they will find it on the streets of Ferguson.
Perhaps one day the clear-heads will dominate this conversation, and I will not have to suffer so many fools.