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Thread: Ethics - Lying to make an arrest

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    I was watching COPS last night, and I saw a bit from Pittsburg, PA, where two undercover drug officers arrested a guy for possession of a crack pipe. The arrest was dirty from the word go. Here's what happened:

    The guys are driving down the street to where they say is a drug neighborhood. They see a guy walk away from the window of a car. Cop 1 is driving and Cop 2 says "look, he just walked away from that window". The officers talk about how he was probably buying drugs. They stop the car and jump out, and say "Police, come here we want to talk to you". The guy says "Yeah, so what?" and keeps walking. They take him with force and toss him around a bit while he resists them. They cuff him and have him spread his legs. Cop 1 searches him and finds a crack pipe in his right pocket. They toss him around a bit more and he resists them some more. A uniformed officer shows up and they put him in the patrol car. Cop 1 says that when they saw the guy, Cop 2 said that he saw him with a crack pipe in his hand and told him that he saw the guy put the crack pipe in his right pocket.

    Up to this point,I knew the guy could get the case dropped against him due to the illegal search (there was no probable cause to search him what-so-ever. He lived in the neighborhood and he was walking away from his neighbor's car window). But then Cop 1 lied and made up a story about how Cop 2 had seen the crack pipe, generating probable cause! I couldn't believe my eyes! This is how cops get charges like this to stick. They search and then claim that they had probable cause AFTER they find whatever the perp has!

    I was so furious, but I had no idea what to do about this. These cops need to be off the streets! Please, can someone help me find out what can be done about this? I mean there is a very clear video that was played on national television that shows them lieing to generate probable cause, there has to be something I can do about this! I won't stand around and watch this happen in my country; it's unamerican!

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    Having not seen it I cannot confirm what you have alleged and reported.

    Did the camera operator have the camera on the subject the entire time so you can confirm that no crack pipe could have ever been seen? Or did the camera bounce all around like I have seen in the past.

    The police had a reason to stop the subject based on the activity they observed. They even stated they suspected drug activity and later found drug paraphernalia. So they were on the money.

    They ordered the guy to come talk to them and he refused. If he walks away and then is resisting an investigative detention.This is going tocause a "roughing up" on both rides as they attempt to control him so they can investigate.

    What if they did lie to a uniformed officer. This has NOTHING to do with the case in court.At that point they are not testifying under oath and do not need the officer's approval. They could tell the uniformed officer that they saw smoking crack and it would make no difference. They are the two officer that will go before the magistrate and provide an official statement.

    You have not seen their written report, their statement to a magistrate, or their testimony in court. So you have no leg to stand on as far as a complaint to anyone.

    And then.... do you think this would really make it past the lawyers and the department that will be reviewing the footage before it is released?

    The show COPS has a ton of ways to do it all wrong... but I suspect nothing illegal occurred. And then..... how do you know it was real? It is TV and made for entertainment.

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    I understand what you are saying, but the camera was clear and uncut throughout. The officers said that a person walking away from a car window is probably a drug deal. They didn't say that they saw anything happen, they didn't say that they suspected the owner of the vehicle of being a drug dealer based on any previous experience or anything. They mearly stated that they guy was walking away from that car window (parked in a residential driveway in broad daylight) and that they assume he was there to buy drugs. They didn't find that he had bought drugs, but they did find that he had a crack pipe. The search was unwarranted, as was the detention, but they lied (and I'll bet you a month's pay the report says the same thing) and said that they had seen him put the crack pipe in his pocket. They said that they had a conversation where Cop 2 said that he specifically saw the guy put the crack pipe in his pocket and which pocket that was. This conversation never happened, and there was never any evidence of a crack pipe. The guy looked poor with missing teeth, and it was a good bet that he had a crack pipe on him, but that doesn't give them a right to search him or detain him. The lie is the big deal though. Now the judge won't question whether the search was legal or not, because these officers have altered the story to fit the search. The video was clear. There was no misunderstanding. Sure, they could have written the truth in their reports, but you know as well as I do that they wrote the revised version of the story.

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    I do audio & video editing. While not having seen that episode I can say that there might have been a slight edit done to the video and you would never know. A few seconds of creative editing here and there can skew the what the viewing audience sees. Like you I want to know the truth but without seeing the raw uncut footage, we may never know.

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    M1Gunr wrote:
    I do audio & video editing. While not having seen that episode I can say that there might have been a slight edit done to the video and you would never know. A few seconds of creative editing here and there can skew the what the viewing audience sees. Like you I want to know the truth but without seeing the raw uncut footage, we may never know.
    I went to film school. I know how to edit video, and I know how to detect edited video. The video was raw and uncut. The footage began with a conversation about how nice of a city pittsburg was and ended with the police car driving away. There was no creative editing in between.

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    I can't watch COPS - it's bad for my blood pressure. "Suspected drug activity" is what got me run in - despite the fact that no drugs or paraphernalia were found. It is ********, absolutely. If they had probable cause, they wouldn't have even had to say "we'd like to talk to you" to this guy. Given that theydid say it, they had no cause. Ergo, bad search, bad arrest, bad cops. I don't feel sorry for a crack head who may be made to get help, but we all suffer when rights are routinely disregarded as they are on that show.

    Cop bashing? I don't think so. Bad cop bashing, maybe, but I don't really care. I've been through it. Wait till they run you in and then tell me how the system works.

    -ljp

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    expvideo wrote:
    I was watching COPS last night, and I saw a bit from Pittsburg, PA, where two undercover drug officers arrested a guy for possession of a crack pipe. The arrest was dirty from the word go. Here's what happened:

    The guys are driving down the street to where they say is a drug neighborhood. They see a guy walk away from the window of a car. Cop 1 is driving and Cop 2 says "look, he just walked away from that window". The officers talk about how he was probably buying drugs. They stop the car and jump out, and say "Police, come here we want to talk to you". The guy says "Yeah, so what?" and keeps walking. They take him with force and toss him around a bit while he resists them. They cuff him and have him spread his legs. Cop 1 searches him and finds a crack pipe in his right pocket. They toss him around a bit more and he resists them some more. A uniformed officer shows up and they put him in the patrol car. Cop 1 says that when they saw the guy, Cop 2 said that he saw him with a crack pipe in his hand and told him that he saw the guy put the crack pipe in his right pocket.

    Up to this point,I knew the guy could get the case dropped against him due to the illegal search (there was no probable cause to search him what-so-ever. He lived in the neighborhood and he was walking away from his neighbor's car window). But then Cop 1 lied and made up a story about how Cop 2 had seen the crack pipe, generating probable cause! I couldn't believe my eyes! This is how cops get charges like this to stick. They search and then claim that they had probable cause AFTER they find whatever the perp has!

    I was so furious, but I had no idea what to do about this. These cops need to be off the streets! Please, can someone help me find out what can be done about this? I mean there is a very clear video that was played on national television that shows them lieing to generate probable cause, there has to be something I can do about this! I won't stand around and watch this happen in my country; it's unamerican!
    Cops...Politicians...what's the difference ???? Both are Paid to Lie and live with it. So what's new

    TJ

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    I do not need to "say" every detail on how I believe it is drug activity when we are about to go out and approach the guy.

    If you are working with a partner this is not always necessary. Example... "That guy just ran a red light" and we go stop him.

    I do not need to identify how long it was red, what light was ran, or how many feet prior to the stop line he was before it turned red. All this is assumed to exist in the mix and it not important at that moment.

    When you have to quickly jump out and make contact and worry about the guy running away... the details can be said later.

    So just because it is not on camera does not mean it never happened.

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    Why not write the chief with a formal complaint? Worked for me when a cop fabricated evidence about me.:X
    Answer every question about open carry in Michigan you ever had with one convenient and free book- http://libertyisforeveryone.com/open-carry-resources/

    The complete and utter truth can be challenged from every direction and it will always hold up. Accordingly there are few greater displays of illegitimacy than to attempt to impede free thought and communication.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    I do not need to "say" every detail on how I believe it is drug activity when we are about to go out and approach the guy.

    If you are working with a partner this is not always necessary. Example... "That guy just ran a red light" and we go stop him.

    I do not need to identify how long it was red, what light was ran, or how many feet prior to the stop line he was before it turned red. All this is assumed to exist in the mix and it not important at that moment.

    When you have to quickly jump out and make contact and worry about the guy running away... the details can be said later.

    So just because it is not on camera does not mean it never happened.
    I completely agree, but I'm not making any assumptions here. What I saw was as clear as day. The cops had no idea what they were going to find, and when they found it, they claimed that they had seen it to begin with. The video was not shaky, and everything happened very clearly. If you saw the video, you would understand what I am saying. I know it's hard to communicate over a forum what was on this video, but I wouldn't pursue this if it weren't as clear as day. This was a bad bust and a lie to make the charges stick. These cops were some of the worst kinds of cops I've ever seen. The question now is what can I do about this? I can't just sit around and not do anything. I am outraged at seeing this man's rights being abused and these cops going around due process and making up stories to justify their illegal search.

    What can be done about this?

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    Seriously, write a complaint. Complaining will start a detective investigation, and it could very easily get these twits in trouble if things are exactly as they seem from the tape. Of course being a department that would air such a tape, you have to wonder if they would just sweep it under the rug, but hey, it will piss some people off, and that is a start.
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    The complete and utter truth can be challenged from every direction and it will always hold up. Accordingly there are few greater displays of illegitimacy than to attempt to impede free thought and communication.

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    Legba wrote:
    I can't watch COPS - it's bad for my blood pressure. "Suspected drug activity" is what got me run in - despite the fact that no drugs or paraphernalia were found. It is ********, absolutely. If they had probable cause, they wouldn't have even had to say "we'd like to talk to you" to this guy. Given that theydid say it, they had no cause. Ergo, bad search, bad arrest, bad cops. I don't feel sorry for a crack head who may be made to get help, but we all suffer when rights are routinely disregarded as they are on that show.

    Cop bashing? I don't think so. Bad cop bashing, maybe, but I don't really care. I've been through it. Wait till they run you in and then tell me how the system works.

    -ljp
    I've personally had police officers lie in their police reports about me, and even lie in court to make a charge stick. Not stretch the truth, flat out lie. Trust me, I've fought this legal system before, and I know exactly how you feel. You are guilty, regardless of anything, or you wouldn't even be there. That is the attitude of the legal system. Your public defender will talk you out of trying to fight any charges and try to sell the prosecutor's deal to you. They will assign you a different public defender every time you make a court appearance, and he won't even crack your file until you are up. He will tell you not to say anything, but he won't say anything on your behalf either.

    Our court system needs to be flushed down the toilet.

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    expvideo wrote:
    What can be done about this?
    Stop watching COPS?

    Seriously, shows like that just glorify the persecution of peoples under the various Wars on Nouns, though primarily serve to desensitize people to the police state.

    ETA: To seriously start getting something done about it, forget about this particular incident. Start talking to neo-cons and convince them to support all rights of men, not just the ones that reflect their religious convictions.

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    LEO 229 wrote:
    I do not need to "say" every detail on how I believe it is drug activity when we are about to go out and approach the guy.

    If you are working with a partner this is not always necessary. Example... "That guy just ran a red light" and we go stop him.

    I do not need to identify how long it was red, what light was ran, or how many feet prior to the stop line he was before it turned red. All this is assumed to exist in the mix and it not important at that moment.

    When you have to quickly jump out and make contact and worry about the guy running away... the details can be said later.

    So just because it is not on camera does not mean it never happened.
    At this point, we're veering far off the fundamental subject. If you would, please answer the questions given an assumed scenario. I know that we don't have the video and the OP might have missed some or ALL of the details, but let's just assume for the moment that:
    1) Perp was merely seen emerging from the parked cars's window.
    2) No crack pipe was seen at the time. No other paraphenalia either.
    3) None of the cops know anyone or any of the cars/houses on the scene.
    4) Subject walks away from the car.
    5) Subject continues to walk when the cops ask for him to stop.
    6) The officers both suspect drug activity, but no physical evidence was actually seen.

    The Question: Is it right and just for the officers at this point, knowing only the information above, to forcibly detain the subject?
    I think a lot of people on this forum would like to have an officer's opinion about this. I think we all fully support cops acting on their gut instincts, but there is a line that shouldn't be crossed. We should just make that line more clear.

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    Not to mention that possession of drug paraphanelia is a ridiculous crime. May as well start arresting people who have hacksaws for "possessing untaxed sawed-off shotgun paraphanelia"...

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    ufcfanvt wrote:
    At this point, we're veering far off the fundamental subject. If you would, please answer the questions given an assumed scenario. I know that we don't have the video and the OP might have missed some or ALL of the details, but let's just assume for the moment that:
    1) Perp was merely seen emerging from the parked cars's window.
    2) No crack pipe was seen at the time. No other paraphenalia either.
    3) None of the cops know anyone or any of the cars/houses on the scene.
    4) Subject walks away from the car.
    5) Subject continues to walk when the cops ask for him to stop.
    6) The officers both suspect drug activity, but no physical evidence was actually seen.

    The Question: Is it right and just for the officers at this point, knowing only the information above, to forcibly detain the subject?
    With regards to #1, if the area is known for high crime or drug activity and the individual was exhibiting specific behavior (e.g. stopping by a car window in a neighborhood where that is the common method of drug delivery), that is more than enough to justify a Terry stop of the suspect.

    This would, of course, allow for a pat down to look for weapons or contraband. As to whether the suspect can be forcibly detained, officers are permitted to use reasonable force to detain a suspect who can be lawfully detained.

    Police don't HAVE to see crack pipe. If they did, that's probable cause to arrest and they can do that right on the spot. But a combination of suspicious behavior consistent with a crime in an area known for that crime will fly by a judge as being reasonable articulable suspicion to conduct a Terry stop.

    Edit: With regards to number 5, if an officer actually says to you, "Stop," you can bet your sweet ass that's not a request. Even if you *think* you're doing nothing wrong, stop, turn around and ask if you're being detained.

    In the scenario you've given, LEO's would be well within their duties to act.

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    Wynder wrote:
    ufcfanvt wrote:
    At this point, we're veering far off the fundamental subject. If you would, please answer the questions given an assumed scenario. I know that we don't have the video and the OP might have missed some or ALL of the details, but let's just assume for the moment that:
    1) Perp was merely seen emerging from the parked cars's window.
    2) No crack pipe was seen at the time. No other paraphenalia either.
    3) None of the cops know anyone or any of the cars/houses on the scene.
    4) Subject walks away from the car.
    5) Subject continues to walk when the cops ask for him to stop.
    6) The officers both suspect drug activity, but no physical evidence was actually seen.

    The Question: Is it right and just for the officers at this point, knowing only the information above, to forcibly detain the subject?
    With regards to #1, if the area is known for high crime or drug activity and the individual was exhibiting specific behavior (e.g. stopping by a car window in a neighborhood where that is the common method of drug delivery), that is more than enough to justify a Terry stop of the suspect.

    This would, of course, allow for a pat down to look for weapons or contraband. As to whether the suspect can be forcibly detained, officers are permitted to use reasonable force to detain a suspect who can be lawfully detained.

    Police don't HAVE to see crack pipe. If they did, that's probable cause to arrest and they can do that right on the spot. But a combination of suspicious behavior consistent with a crime in an area known for that crime will fly by a judge as being reasonable articulable suspicion to conduct a Terry stop.

    Edit: With regards to number 5, if an officer actually says to you, "Stop," you can bet your sweet ass that's not a request. Even if you *think* you're doing nothing wrong, stop, turn around and ask if you're being detained.

    In the scenario you've given, LEO's would be well within their duties to act.
    Thanks for the quick reply. Now consider this:
    Given your response and the ease with which an officer can stop, detain and search a citizen, how would one go out in public and insulate himself from being detained and searched by an officer?
    It seems to me, by your criterion, that nearly anyone could be detained and searched in their daily travels. Let's face it, I could give someone directions through his car window, turn around, see the cops and though I'm a law-abiding citizen, easily be detained an searched.
    I don't personally believe that kind of police discretion is conducive to a free society. Do you?

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    Here's a couple of questions that may help to clear things up:

    These police officers were 'undercover.'

    What kind of uniforms were they wearing? If any at all? Did they turn their flashing lights on when they stopped?Did they show their badges if not in uniform? When the guy didn't stop, did he run, or just keep walking normally?

    Kinda sounds like to me that all they did was announce themselves as police. Anyone could do that. Not many people would, but a pair of guys with a cruiser-type vehicle could pull off anything like that. Not a good idea, I doubt hardly anyone would do this,but still.

    Also, what is the penalty for failing to stop for a uniformed police officer? How about an un-uniformed police officer? What about for an 'officer' that doesn't prove that he is an officer? What about the average joe?

    Im asking seriously because I don't know,and I didn't look hard enoughfind the law online for my state, yet.

    Gwee

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    Thanks for the quick reply. Now consider this:
    Given your response and the ease with which an officer can stop, detain and search a citizen, how would one go out in public and insulate himself from being detained and searched by an officer?
    It seems to me, by your criterion, that nearly anyone could be detained and searched in their daily travels. Let's face it, I could give someone directions through his car window, turn around, see the cops and though I'm a law-abiding citizen, easily be detained an searched.
    I don't personally believe that kind of police discretion is conducive to a free society. Do you?
    Through our daily travels? I wouldn't go that far -- I don't normally find myself in drug-infested neighborhoods unless the windows are up and I'm driving 40+ MPH.

    That being said, if you injected yourself... anyone for that manner, into the scenario you presented, then yes, you would've been detained and Terry searched. Mind you, that's not a full-blown search of your person; the officers are limited to an over-the-clothes plain-feel pat down for weapons or contraband. There's also a time limit on how long they can detain you for while they conduct their investigation.

    While I agree that abuse of that police discretion isn't good for a free society, our framers specifically guaranteed the freedom against UNREASONABLE searches and seizures... not ALL of them, and this is how the courts have parsed the Fourth Amendment.

    Moral of the story, keep your nose clean, try to stay out of bad areas; otherwise the officers are just doing their job, trying to keep crime down in a bad part of town.

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    See Brown vs. Texas. Location does not amount to probable cause. Terry allows pat-downs for weapons particularly where there is a reasonable and specifically articulable suspicion that a crime has or is about to take place. I don't know of any "high drug area" exceptions to these or the 4th amendment otherwise such as would justify these "I thought he might havea crack pipe" fishing trips.

    A cop accused me of having a crack pipe during a ******** Terry stop as part of a traffic stop. It was a ball-point pen, and he still insisted I was "up to no good" and "going to get into trouble" if I didn't turn my car around "right now" and go home. I did not comply. This is not Soviet Russia, and I will not justify my coming and going to the police.

    -ljp

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    Legba wrote:
    See Brown vs. Texas. Location does not amount to probable cause.
    Location alone is not, but the totality of the circumstances are taken into account.

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    Giustiniani wrote:
    Also, what is the penalty for failing to stop for a uniformed police officer? How about an un-uniformed police officer? What about for an 'officer' that doesn't prove that he is an officer? What about the average joe?
    If an officer doesn't identify himself, as far as you know he's an average joe. In most cases, an officer, acting under color of law and who is not uniformed, will identify himself as an officer.

    If an officer tells you to, "Stop," "Don't move," or, in an authoritative voice otherwise attempts to get you to stop moving and you don't feel that you're free to disobey his command, you are technically under arrest and, failure to stop will most likely get you arrested.

    The upside of that is that police are very careful about how they ask you to stop. They'll use questions, "Would you mind stepping over here for a minute," or, "I'd like you to show me your ID now." If that's the case, they're probably engaging in a consentual encounter.

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    Giustiniani wrote:
    Here's a couple of questions that may help to clear things up:

    These police officers were 'undercover.'

    What kind of uniforms were they wearing? If any at all? Did they turn their flashing lights on when they stopped?Did they show their badges if not in uniform? When the guy didn't stop, did he run, or just keep walking normally?

    Kinda sounds like to me that all they did was announce themselves as police. Anyone could do that. Not many people would, but a pair of guys with a cruiser-type vehicle could pull off anything like that. Not a good idea, I doubt hardly anyone would do this,but still.

    Also, what is the penalty for failing to stop for a uniformed police officer? How about an un-uniformed police officer? What about for an 'officer' that doesn't prove that he is an officer? What about the average joe?

    Im asking seriously because I don't know,and I didn't look hard enoughfind the law online for my state, yet.

    Gwee
    The cops were dressed like street thugs, one of them had a "corrections worker release" orange jacket with the sleeves ripped off and what looked like prison tattoos on his neck. The car had no lights or markings. It was a black unmarked Chevy Impala. If I saw these guys beating this guy, I probably would have drawn down on them, because they looked nothing like cops and were dressed to look like thugs. I would have thought they were mugging him. I wouldn't have stopped for them either, because they didn't look anything like cops and their attitudes reflected street thugs, not authority figures. I probably would have ended up escalating the situation to defend myself from what looks like a mugging.

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    Actually, Legba, reading over Texas v. Brown, the posters scenario' is amazingly similar.

    Two police officers, while cruising near noon in a patrol car, observed appellant and another man walking away from one another in an alley in an area with a high incidence of drug traffic. They stopped and asked appellant to identify himself and explain what he was doing. One officer testified that he stopped appellant because the situation "looked suspicious, and we had never seen that subject in that area before." The officers did not claim to suspect appellant of any specific misconduct, nor did they have any reason to believe that he was armed.
    So, I could be wrong. Unless the officers knew that the car belonged to someone know for dealing or saw an exchange or had more articulable reasons, the bust would probably be overturned.

    Granted, I'd wager that the bust still would have taken place with the hopes that the guy couldn't afford a lawyer worth his salt to recognize the arrest for what it was.

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    Sheriff wrote:
    Watch the LIE in this video. Near the end of the video one cop is telling another cop how he verbally warned thedriver before shooting a taser into his back. He claims he said, "Turn around right now, or I tase you!" It's a LIE. The cop made no such verbal warning. I would like to see what he testified to in court.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJVQxLv8GAM
    The officer may not recall what exactly he said at that moment and it really makes no difference when he gives the basic idea on what happened to the other officer.

    He claims he said "Turn around right now or I'll taser you"

    What he actually said was "Turn around and put your hands behind your back now!"

    In court the cop is not going to "testify" to what he told the guy. He will testify that the driver as speeding and later refused to sign the ticket.

    To me... this is not a "lie" as there is no need to be dishonest. He is not required to warn that the driver will be taseredeither. What the cop was actually doing was explaininghis thought process to the other officer. "If this guy does not turn around and put his hands behind his back I am going to have to taser him." He just never converted it all over verbally at that moment.

    The driver mistakenly believed he was in charge and decided to dictate the terms for signing the summons.

    Now the cop did a bunch of officer safety things wrong and should have explained what would happen if the driver refused to sign. I alsobelieve the cop was a little ticked off even as he walked up to the window. The driver barking his own commands only added fuel to the fire already brewing.

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