Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Serving and Protecting.

"Ever get smart-mouthed with a cop again, I'll show you what a cop does! You understand me?"

(H/T to Unc.)

36 comments:

Kevin said...

Translated: "RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH!!

According to a post at AR15.com, the cop is currently suspended pending an investigation into his actions.

Good.

Tam said...

I hope he freezes in the dark.

Marko said...

That guy does not need to be wearing a badge.

phlegmfatale said...

That's actually embarrassing to listen to.

Matt G said...

Phlegmmy's right. It is embarrassing to listen to.

But more so, I'm ashamed to listen to him.

That's not the norm.

That's not what we do.

That's not how I or any cop that I personally know about does it.

If I saw that, I'd be writing a formal letter of complaint to the chief of police, C.C. to his immediate supervisor. If no action were taken, then I'd file a public information request for the tape and the dispatch logs of the stop, and go to the media.

But there'd be no problem there, because every chief that *I* know would can his butt.

Seriously.

But until he's been fired, he's one of us. So:

As a member of the law enforcement community, please, everyone, I ask that you accept my sincere apologies that this prick has been violating people's rights, even if this were the only time. Professionals must not act like that, and must remember that they are servants of the community. I beg that you not tar all officers with the same filthy brush that Sgt. Kuehnlein has dirtied.

Tam said...

Hey, Matt, I know that's not you. It sure as hell is no officer I know.

At the same time, when it does happen, I feel it's important to expose the actions of the little twerp to public scrutiny. Call it an "employee review". ;)

Anonymous said...

It angers me that there are cops out there that think like this. How many people did he do this to before he got caught?

Divemedic

triticale said...

A young friend of mine was worked over after smart-mouthing a cop. He has no complaints; he acknowledges that "It wasn't me, it was the one-armed man" is not an appropriate response to a routine underage drinking investigation.

Matt G said...

I know it, Tam. I'm sure not asking that his actions be covered up, or that people not watching the video.

I just wanted folks to know how ashamed I am that he was a police officer. While we all have bad days at the office, and sometimes don't bring our A Game to work, that's a few steps beyond the pale. So long as he is wearing a badge, "we are diminished." :(

There are those who believe that we cops get caught up in the "thin blue line" BS. Some undeniably do more than they should. I just wanted people to read this cop formally apologizing for that one's behavior.

Billy Beck said...

Good for you, Matt.

I'm not being facetious. I mean it.

Try to understand: the rest of us have no way of knowing which ones in uniform are the rotten bastards like that. And there are more of them all the time.

I would not be a cop for anything on earth, now.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I didn't know police officers were allowed to tweak on meth-amphetamines.

Anonymous said...

Matt G. -- I hate to tell you this but there are a LOT - as in a VERY LARGE number - of cops like this. And worse.

I am not saying it is most cops, but it is more than 2%, more than 10%, and probably more than 20%.

Homophobic. Racist. antisemitic. All of these types - and more - can be found wearing badges.

The other problem is that in the absence of video like this, and in some cases even when the video exists, cops defend even the bad cops. "Closing ranks" is not always a good thing.

Those of your brothers in uniform who were being jack-booted thugs in New Orleans after Katrina were not all from Louisiana - though a lot of the sheriffs decided that no guns in civilian hands was a good idea. The ones on tape - that I saw - were from California. I am sure that they were from all over. And they ALL decided that on THEIR authority, the Constitution no longer applied.

How many times does something like this happen and there is no video? How many people have video in their cars? I am going to look into what it would take to have everything recorded. The incidents of SWAT in the wrong place, and stuff like this is more than enough to warrant it.

Ben said...

Most of the LEOs I've known have been good people, people who seem to genuinely care about others. People who got into law enforcement because they wanted to help and protect others.

And then there is the other group. The cowboys who desperately want to live out their Crusader Cop fantasies. Ones who stare at themselves in the mirror in the morning and say "Hey, where's my penis?" Then after adding badge and sidearm, "Oh, there it is."

Matt G said...

"I am not saying it is most cops, but it is more than 2%, more than 10%, and probably more than 20%."

Anonymous, I would respectfully disagree.

I've been a cop's son all my life. My father was very integrated into the local cop scene, and I grew up around a LOT of cops. I went to police academy in '94. I've worked for 3 different agencies, in most of the capacities offered to someone without rank. I've seen very, VERY little incidence of anything approaching this. The one instance that I can think of right off the bat, another officer filed a formal complaint.

Ever been to the mall or a college campus, and thought "man, there's beautiful women *everywhere*! They're almost ALL hot!" I have. But then you sit down do a careful scientific study of the issue, and find that, in fact, it's a far, far lower percentage than you originally thought; your eye simply looks past the boring women.

Same thing applies to the cops that aren't hassling you. You never notice them.

"Homophobic. Racist. antisemitic. All of these types - and more - can be found wearing badges."

You're absolutely right.
Thing is, I'm okay with that... so long as it doesn't affect their job. I don't care if a cop's a racist between the ears, but treats every citizen with the same professional courtesy.

Justin said...

Along with what matt g said, in regards to the percentage of bad cops there's another point:

Bad cops will pull you over to harass you.

Good cops don't pull you over to be extra nice.

I figure it's a safe bet that the hundreds of cops I've passed doing 10mph over on the expressway weren't the 100% a-holes that the guy in the video is.

Who is..... Carteach0? said...

There is way to much of an 'Us vs Them' conflict between officers and citizens.

Recordings like this show a glimpse of a reason behind that.

I understand that officers (most of them) do what they do out of service and honor. I also understand that most officers spend their days neck deep in utter crap. Either dumped from above or crawling up from below.
There is no way a life like that isn't going to change someones outlook and how they interact with others.

There is a reason officers suffer such a high suicide rate and divorce rate. There is a reason many officers say they only feel comfortable talking with other officers, and everyone else is either a suspect or an idiot.

Not all officers, but many.

On the other side, every time a citizens sees an officer cruise past them on the highway at speeds a 'civilian' would get pulled over for, it widens the gap. Every time a citizen sees an officer parked on top of a median to monitor traffic, in a place that would get a citizens ticketed or arrested if parked there, it widens the gap.

Every time one of these recordings comes out... it widens the gap.

It's a cultural issue for which *I* certainly have no answer.

The really bad thing.... in it's extremes the divide results in dead law officers and dead citizens.

I wonder... how long till somebody in court uses about twenty tapes like this as a defense for why he didn't pull over for an officer, and wins the case?

Gregg said...

Sorry Matt, I don't buy it. I understand that you grew up as the son of a cop. Do you understand that that colors your viewpoint?

Cops treat other cops differently, they treat the families of other cops differently.

Many cops treat those of us without badges as second class citizens. The attitude s typically that we are either criminals who they haven't caught yet, or peons they can abuse however they choose.

There are exceptions, but not many. Yes, they can be reasonably decent human beings if you manage to break past that arrogance. Meeting them out of uniform in a dojo helps.

Professional courtesy? I just want to be treated with common human courtesy and the respect one should treat all other humans with. I have had cops do that to me once or twice. Admittedly it was in the boonies of Arizona where everybody had a weapon strapped on.

Yeah, it's a tough job, so what? Who chose to take that job? There are a lot of tough jobs out there.

Zendo Deb said...

I would add a few to the "widens the gap" list.

Katrina was covered above. (Pretty well I have to say) That widens the gap for me a WHOLE lot. Living in hurricane country I now have to view them all as potential Jack-booted Thugs.

Every time the no-knock warrants end up in the wrong house - even when no one gets killed - it widens the gap.

Waco and Ruby Ridge - I don't know if the FBI et al were right or wrong (I wasn't there), but it sure looks like a police state. (Were they right once and wrong once?)

BATFE - a law enforcement arm of the federal government - and its treatment of Red's (Utah?) widens the gap.

I have had the unfortunate pleasure of scraping several friends up off the sidewalk after a gay-bashing and taking them to hospital. Once, it was a struggle to get the cop on duty in the ER to file a damn report. (Wasn't much of crime, was it?) Once police drove by and did nothing even though people had called, and were trying to flag them down. Once the friends who went to the injured guys defense were arrested, not the bashers - they were screaming at the cops because the cops were doing jack sh&t about the assault. You got the impression they would have preferred to join in. This was not all in one jurisdiction, and was spread between suburban, and urban jurisdictions. I don't even want think about rural cops.

A friend was assaulted - simple robbery not a gay bashing. He called 911 twice, but the cops wouldn't come - would hurt their FBI stats I guess. With no cops, no ambulance - it was a violent crime. (Fractured ovoid socket, broken finger, cuts and bruises.) A call to some friends got him transport to the hospital. Now I suppose it could be that they were "too busy." But the net result was no crime report, no bad statistics for the jurisdiction in question. (and said jurisdiction is REALLY sensitive about bad news for the touristas.)

Maybe it isn't 20% but it is more than 2%. It is enough that any police officer I don't know personally is lumped in the "potential threat" category.

7.62x54r said...

Power and authority attracts those who are most likely to abuse. It's human nature.

Zendo Deb said...

I should say that not all of my interactions with cops have been so bad. When I was in the top 1% of wage earners living in high-class Midwestern suburban town, the cops were great. We paid them well.

As for the racists/antisemites/homophobes in uniform.... do you really think someone could be a member of the KKK - or even just sympathetic - and be able to be a good cop, be someone who "treats every citizen with the same professional courtesy?"

Anonymous said...

[quote] I don't even want think about rural cops.

[/quote]

I hate asshole cops as much as the next, but i have to stick up for rural ones. These are your friends and neighbors out here. real peckerheads are few and far between, and don't last long.

Rural cops are the first ones to an accident or crime scene and the ones that let a minor traffic infraction slide. definatly better than most.

And this is comming from a smokey-hating habitual lead foot.

TBeck said...

I've never had a bad experience with a police officer. I've lived in Orlando, FL and Decatur, IN. They've all been unfailingly polite and courteous, even when I've told them I was wearing a lawfully concealed weapon.

Just my $.02 anecdote.

That said, the officer in the clip needs to find another line of work where his stress levels won't damage anyone else.

Don Gwinn said...

I listened to the discussion on this on St. Louis talk radio on the way home from work. I couldn't believe the number of people calling to excuse this cop. More than one suggested that "Maybe he was just having a bad night."

A bad night? That's an excuse to threaten to put an innocent man in jail for nothing?

Many more thought the cop had a good point--the kid's attitude sucked. Maybe it did, I don't know--I do know that guy wouldn't last ten minutes in a middle school honors classroom if he can't think of a better way to deal with "attitude" than that. What was the kid's attitude problem? That he asked what he did wrong?
Solzhenitsyn says the first thing every single person said upon being arrested by the Soviet "organs" is "Me? What for?"

"What would you do if I came into your job and gave you attitude?"

Well, I wouldn't threaten to have you thrown in jail, officer.

Even the former Mayor of St. George called in to KMOX today to say that he didn't know both sides of the story, but "Kenline" or "Kuehnline" or whatever is "a good officer."

Seriously, what would he have to do? What would it take to get these people to say "Yeah, I guess that was over the line."?

r said...

Matt, back in my military career, I was Navy (Senior) Chief Petty Officer.

We had this unique place (organization) known as The Chief's Mess. In there, we were all equal, and could spit on the floor and call the cat a bastard.

More importantly, we realized that everyone else regarded our community by the standards of our worst member, and we had to, uh, police ourselves.

So, it was also the place where we could drag a contemporary into a private (or not private space) and tell him "Looka here, you're f*in' up by the numbers and you're making the rest of us look bad; knock it off." I've been on both sides of that conversation, and I can't tell you which is worse, getting counseled by your contemporaries, or counseling one of your corpbruders.

What I'm saying is that you have to hold yourselves to a higher standard, and confront and deal with problems yourselves, or let us "amateurs" do it.

Remember, the best among you gets tarred with a brush meant for the worst among you.

bumper sticker philosopher said...

According to the cop himself on the tape, He's been "policing" longer than the kid has been alive.

It seems to me that someone has been covering up for him or looking the other way from his abuse and criminal, yes criminal, behaviour.

According to comments after the video the town in Missouri that the cop is employed by enjoys the reputation as a "speed-trap" I bet this officer regularly meets his quota. So his chief hasn't had to deal with a hassle until a kid with a video tape in the new age of youtube exposes it.

The officer clearly lies when he says the young man didn't signal, since you can see him signalling in the video. He also threatens to merely make something up so he can arrest him. That is criminal misuse of authority and a violation of the young man's civil and due process rights.

To all the good cops who think that this is only a small percentage of your ranks, I have to disagree. You aren't the ones getting pulled over by angry abusive cops.

Divemedic said...

tbeck-
I live in Orlando, and I was pulled over by an Orange County Sergeant for doing a rolling stop. When he pulled me over, I told him I was armed and handed him my permit and DL.

He put his hand on his weapon and told me "You wanna go? I will kill you right now."

He then used profanity and insults for the next few minutes. I got the feeling he was trying to get me to do or say something in anger.

They are out there.

pignock said...

Matt said "I've seen very, VERY little incidence of anything approaching this."

When I watched the video, the first thing that popped into my head was that lawdog post about giving a guy who flipped him off a traffic ticket for improper signalling.

This was obviously several degrees worse, but I think it's a lot more common than you want to admit to yourself, Matt.

Keith

Johnny Law said...

"I live in Orlando, and I was pulled over by an Orange County Sergeant for doing a rolling stop. When he pulled me over, I told him I was armed and handed him my permit and DL.

He put his hand on his weapon and told me "You wanna go? I will kill you right now.""

Thats a little crazy. I would hope that you made some kind of complaint.

I have to agree with Matt G. Ive been doing this for close to a decade and such officers are few and far between. Believe me, we hate them as much as you do.

You have to remember that there are hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers out there. As long as we recruit from the human race, we are going to have some assholes in the ranks.

I can tell you that all our hiring processes and training programs do their best to weed these people out but some do get through.

With that being said, some people are very quick to be offended when an officer writes them a ticket or takes charge of a scene. I honestly think that many of the people complaining on this board and others simply resent the authority of police officers. When you deal with the situations we run in to, you cant always take the time to say pretty please with sugar on top.

However, I hope they discipline this dude.

Divemedic said...

I hear you. I work for the Fire Department, and we get authority resentment all the time. The "You can't tell me what to do" crowd.

With that being said, I know lots of cops, and I get along with the majority of them.

My own experience is that about 1 in 10 of them are real a-holes.

Who is..... Carteach0? said...

"My own experience is that about 1 in 10 of them are real a-holes."

Well, that's WAAAY better than the average human race!

I usually figure just about everyone to be a waste of carbon and o2, then hope to be happily surprised.

On the other side of the coin, you gotta figure an officer doing traffic enforcement is probably running into closer to 1/2 the crew being total jerks. Gotta be a poor day dealing with the kind of mental giants who try and cruise at 80 while everyone else is doing 65.

I'm not making any excuse at all for what we see in videos like this....

It's a whole new world, and more people are 'on stage' than ever before. I try to remember that as I teach class. Any one of my students could be secretly taping via cell phone without me knowing.

I try to keep it entertaining....

Zendo Deb said...

"Believe me, we hate them as much as you do."

I'm not sure I believe that.

If you hated them as much as we do, why are they still around. I worked as a manager for large - private - organizations. It is hard to fire people for not doing their jobs. It is not impossible.

How often does the union go to bat for someone like this guy?

If you can't fire him, make him a non-threat to the rest of us.

Especially in the 99.8 percent of the cases where there is no video evidence.

And again I have to ask, what percentage of the cops in NOLA post Katrina were trampling on the Constitution? 10% - seems like it was a bit higher than that to me.

Zendo Deb said...

When the guy at the fast-food restaurant is a jerk, I have a couple of options. Don't go. Complain to management - which WILL usually result in his getting fired, even without video evidence.

What do you do when confronted by one one these cops and you don't have a video recorder set up in your car?

In how many cases of complaint, where it is the "perp's" word against the officer, do you believe that citizen?

Just asking....

Douglas Hester said...

The chief of police is now reporting, with a straight face, that the dash cam video from Kuehnlein's squad car is "missing", possibly due to a "glitch":

[url]http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/DD258E792AE58A0286257354000FA1BC?OpenDocument[/url]

This story gets richer and richer.

Billy Beck said...

The cop in the video successfully petitioned a judge to expunge his record of theft and assault convictions in two different cases.

The police chief in that town was once suspended without pay for sexual harassment on the job as a patrolman in another town, seven years ago.

Hit my blog for the linx.

Fuck the police.

Kristopher said...

It looks like I need to find a spygear website and get my vehicle wired up.

"You wanna go? I'll kill you now!".

My favorite weapon is an attorney.

When involved in a traffic stop, I admit nothing, but just be polite and take the ticket and get on my way ... the less the cop remembers about me, the better I will be able to fight the ticket in traffic court.

If I make it a personal thing, he will write a bunch of lies on the back of the ticket and then try to ruin my life.

Nowadays, with full access to public records being available for a price on the internet, just one arrest ( NOT a conviction ) can be enough to deep six a job interview. Until federal privacy protections for the innocent are in place, you have to keep that damned NCIC check clean if you want something better than a McJob.

Zendo Deb said...

Why was he video taping this?

Because cops in the St Louis area had made death threats against him.