At the gym today, I witnessed an exchange between a county police officer, about 30 years old, and an elderly man.
The officer was working out with a heavy barbell, and was slamming it down on the floor with considerable force. (I think he was either deadlifting, or doing some overhead press.)
I was about ten feet away doing floor exercises when I heard the elderly man walk up and politely ask the officer to not slam the bar down so hard. He explained that he had a sensitivity to loud noises, related to a stroke he had suffered.
I didn’t hear the cop’s initial reply. But after a few exchanges, the cop told the man to mind his business, and that “this is a gym”. The man seemed shocked. He said, “You’re a police officer”** and asked if they could discuss the matter. The cop said “We’re not discussing it”, and again told him to mind his own business.
Regarding the cop’s assertion that “this is a gym”: I’m familiar with hardcore gyms where such a request would indeed be brushed off. But this is a small, casual, family-owned place. Members include novices, women, children, and handicapped and older people.
Additionally, the cop was slamming the bar down on the bare carpet in an area with no protection. The gym has two power lifting stations which have padding and reinforcement on the floor, both of which were available at the time. So the cop wasn’t just rude, he was disrepecting the gym owner’s property. (The gym employs a token system to control access, so there are no employees present unless someone is there to do maintenance.)
The cop’s behavior would have been inappropriate coming from a civilian. But I think it’s downright disturbing for a cop. I couldn’t help but wonder how he would handle a more dangerous confrontation related to his job.
I am friends with a retired state cop who works out at the same gym. He’s in Florida for the winter. I’m thinking about talking to him about the outburst when he gets back later this month.
Thoughts? All welcome, LEOs especially.
**It’s common knowledge that he’s a cop because he arrives in his marked vehicle.