(As submitted to Kop Busters several days ago...yet I wanted to post it here as well...as the incident happened in Portland)
Thank you Patrick and friends for your guts.
I hope your court battle goes WELL for you!
And thanks AGAIN Barry, for posting this.
Patrick's situation both hits a nerve; gives me a boost as several years ago, I was pulled over by a Portland Police Officer(Shirihama), for "honking at another car". I was honking at another car...some hotshot in a orange BMW who was repeatedly, dangerously shifting from lane to lane. As I was approaching an intersection with an already RED light, this clown slid in front of me and slammed on his brakes, leaving me almost no time to stop safely. YES...he got a good long honk for that! My young(and only) son was with me and so this fool was not just endangering others but my son as well.
After the light changed, I made a right turn and suddenly had a cop on my tail...lights...blip of a siren. I made the next right turn immediately pulled over. I looked in my outside rear view and saw an obviously angry cop storming up to my window. It was SO obvious he was angry, that I told my kid: BE quiet...I will do the talking with him'.
Cop approached, I rolled my window down and CALMLY (because I KNEW hew as angry BEFORE he even got to my car) said: 'Why are you pulling me over?' I have the right to ask that. He responded angrily: "Have you ever been stopped before!?...I ASK the questions!!" I thought 'uh-oh' here goes.
I've met some nice cops...but this was not going to be one of them.
He demanded my insurance and license both of which I had(and a clean driving record I will add!). BUT...I wear one of those hip bags as a result of being pick pocketed for over $200 years ago. The way my van seat is I cannot get into the zippered compartment where my vital info is kept...nor do I normally have to. When I am standing up, or sitting in a chair with room to stretch out my leg, I can access this. But that is not the room I have in my van. I explained this to the cop and asked if I could open the door enough to stretch out my left leg(the side the bag is on)to access the info he wanted. He moved up against the door and refused me that simple request.
I explained to him again and he still refused. My van nor myself had nothing in or around the area or on me that posed any obvious threat to him, and I was staying calm if only for the fact my son was with me and the cop was already mad on his own dime. I absolutely knew that I could not and should not do anything to piss this guy off. Did not matter though.
After a minute or two he let me out of my van(I still don't get why he suddenly decided to let me?)and as soon as my wallet was out of my bag and VERY CLEARLY THE ONLY THING IN MY HAND, he spun me around and shoved me face down in my seat; locking my wrists behind my back. His voice was shaking with anger as he said:" Are you going to calm down!!?"
I was VERY scared at that point and humiliated to have this cop do this, and for NO reason except to vent the anger (he had from the time he approached my car!)unfairly and in the presence of my young boy. It was if he was trying to show me AND my kid that HE was the boss and could do whatever he wanted. I WAS very angry by then...but as a testament to my reserve, I held it in check for the sake of my son. I cannot honestly say I would have had my son not been there. NOBODY has the right to push me around without cause and it is a code I live by..and teach my son. That cop violated both me AND my son by the attitude and actions he took...'because he could'.
Major point(IMO)is that I was not given any kind of a ticket...nor arrested...even though the cop had accused me of "road rage" for honking my horn! I accuse him of COP RAGE instead...for bullying me for NO good reason.
I have not forgotten it. I NEVER WILL. It was a day before my birthday when this happened and EVERY YEAR I remember it with anger and frustration. And many times in between. I know many people get far worse at the hands of cops...but there is something uniquely humiliating and WRONG about being pushed around by a cop in front of the only kid I have; who looks up to and respects me. I cannot get over it. I am not a thin skinned wimp...I have gotten over a LOT of things in life...but this unbrideled arrogance and misplaced anger and attack by this cop goes beyond that. I could not help but wonder 'how far' that cop might go if I were to have gotten angry? Portland has had it's share of not well enough explained cop actions agsinst it's citizenry. and it is usually excused!
The cops name was, again, Shirihama. I wonder what his record is? Now...on MY police record it says in capital letters(!!)' USE OF FORCE'. ..but not because he had the right to...and how will THAT little notation affect me on some future job opportunity or??? THAT does not go away! My anger and frustration over this does not go away! I STILL; even more want to challenge him over his actions that day. Not just for me...but for my son. Shirihama showed no respect for either of us...unless not getting tazered or shot equals 'respect'??? Hard to say!
It does not seem right for my son to see that some cops do what they want and that seems to be the end of it. What he/shirihama does not realize(or does not care to) is that from that day on I have made my son understand that cops are NOT his friends or to automatically be trusted. I have even given him permission to walk out of any class if a police officer shows up to indoctrinate the kids. As they do.
I base my decisions on people based on what they show me. I respond well to situations and my attention allows me to operate well in most places of my life. No cop has a right to violate the sense of fairness and respect I offer to others...that people deserve in general. 'to protect and serve' is the complete opposite of the attitude he gave me.
At the time Shirihama pushed me down and wrist locked me, I did not move a muscle! I did not want to give him one single sign that he needed to carry his already over-the top and unnecessary response to the NEXT level of irresponsibility. But my MIND cannot be put in a wrist-lock and I now have a clue(as I could never afford a lawyer whereas cops can!)as to what I can do about it thanks to your section in Kop busters. Feeling helpless to this point has been gas on an already intolerable fire, regarding my feelings about this all.
I need to add...I was so upset that I DID immediately file a complaint with the Portland Police 'Citizens' Review Board(so-called)and the response I got was almost totally dismissive of the events. I was basically told to "do what the cops tell you". Again I say: I was NOT arrested nor even given a ticket(for "road rage" or 'resisting' even)but nevertheless I was attacked by this cop and the 'USE OF FORCE' now on my record does not tell the fair story of! Again: I was attacked by shirihama when I was COMPLYING WITH what he had demanded to see! My wallet (not a gun or a knife!)was IN MY HAND when he pushed me down and locked my arms behind my back. I did not know that compliance was 'the thing' that would set a cop off!? Like I said: He was clearly angry when he approached the car and this proved to me he was deadset on venting it SOMEHOW before he was done.
Sorry about going on and on. This has really affected me. Cops are not my friends and I do not pretend that they are. They have shown me that they are not and have no interest in becoming. The agenda is always there. If a cop stops me(or you)it is NOT to say 'howdy', but because they ALREADY THINK that you/I are guilty of something. I realize police are(though they have caused me more harm than criminals)necessary. But what they so often get away with is NOT necessary. If I step over the line and break a law I am subject to pay for it...should be no different for cops who feel they are free to push people around. There is a name for counties where that is 'okay'(not that it ever is)but it is not supposed to be here.
I am mad that in some way as well that cop instilled a fear in my kid that day. At the very least I HAVE and continue to make sure my kid knows the REAL deal about that. I have even called various radio shows when a cop was on giving out their blah blah spiel about 'community relations'. They act incredulous when I relay my REAL WORLD experiences with Portland cops that reflect ZERO interest in such 'community relations' in any positive sense.
YES...I AM biased against cops. THEY are biased against me...us. but I don't wear a gun...tazer...or have a shiny badge that gives me the 'right' to take out my bad attitudes on others. Cops either are TAUGHT to be that way(and call it 'command presence!?) or they soon adopt it on the streets.
I respect cops for what they are SUPPOSED to be doing...I have little to NO respect for what they actually often; instead choose to do. THAT is what the public sees. I have witnessed it at personal cost and seen others being disrespected via it as well. And I have stood up for citizens when I have seen them being intimidated into doing something the cop can THEN use to escalate a situation. Several times. Wish I could say it was not the case.
My kid is 12 1/2 now...but I remember that event and the cop like it was yesterday. Shirihama has NO right to be proud of it, nor respected for it. I would very much like to address this in court. Thanks Barry for the info on how we can stand up to such in Federal court.
Thank you for reading this...and don't honk at anybody ...a 'Shirihama' might be just across the street. "Just say NO, to honking'!