Was this cop justified? (with video)

Watch this video: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8987337564896952728 . Be warned, there might be sound, but it isn’t that important.

Was this cop justified in what he did? I say yes: he had no idea what this lunatic running up to him was going to do. He might have pulled out a gun next, or a knife. If the cop were a normal guy on the street, it might be different, but uniformed police are targets for all kinds of violence and hate from wackos.

And if the guy had simply given him the finger and run off, it would also be different, but he didn’t: he hung around for a while and kept harassing him.

Obviously, in this particular instance the guy was just some stupid dipshit, and the cop was in no danger. But, he had no way of knowing that, especially in the few seconds he had to react. He couldn’t been hopped up on drugs, or just insane. The police should not be expected to place their life in danger by giving people like this the benefit of the doubt.

What are your opinions? I know some people on here hate the police, and would have preferred to see the cop wait until the guy pulls out a knife and attacks him before doing anything in response.

I recall seeing this video several months ago and there were some questions about its authenticity and concerns it might have been staged. Has it been verified to be a real (non-staged) incident at this point?

This looks like a total hoax. I think the cop is not justified in participating in a video called “Cop Finger Dare” and thereby making it out like cops will beat the crap out of weirdos because they flip the fuzz the bird.

I don’t know.

Even if it was staged, the question still stands.

No, I would say legally, and even morally, the cop isn’t justified.

On the other hand, it was pretty funny to see an idiot get what is coming to him.

Question for further discussion: if the moron in question was harassing a cop simply because he was a cop, is that a hate crime?


Not sure.

The person flipped the officer off and put his fingers practically in his face. That to me, is too much for the police officer to just ignore. I’m not entirely certain what his first response should have been. What the man did was almost certainly a crime, albeit probably a misdemeanor in most states.

The police officer could have informed the man he was being placed under arrest and then have simply taken his hands and cuffed him. I don’t know how well that attempt would have gone over, either way.

I think it is possible this video is a fake. There’s no accompanying story of any kind or any evidence that shows me it is a genuine video. I have a few reasons to doubt the veracity of the story. For one, I don’t think most police officers, once they got a suspect down to the ground would allow them to get back up like the person in this video. Every video I’ve ever seen of police officers in action they go for the handcuffs the second they are able to get someone to the ground. This cop seemed to just keep swinging. If it’s a real police officer I don’t necessarily think that he acted inappropriately, but I also would say he probably could have acted differently.

In any situation there are multiple ways to act, I don’t hold police to the standard of “best possible option” every time they do something, I recognize they operate in situations where decisionmaking time is near zero. As long as they act within the bounds of the law and department policy I’m typically okay with what they do, even if would have been possible to do it in a different way.

Not legally, anyway; I don’t think someone’s job is criteria for hate crime along the same lines that skin colour or religion are.

Anyway, being a cop is a choice. I’m not sure what affect that would have on it, but it seems to me like it’s significant.

I don’t think that’s significant. If make the choice to become a Muslim, buy a turban, and grow the appropriate facial hair, it’s still a hate crime if someone attacks me because of it.

Membership in a religion would be a good example (hi, Absolute) of a choice that might still draw a hate crime. I was also thinking about harassing abortionists and the like. Being an OB/GYN who does abortions is certainly a choice, but I can see possibly charging someone who harassed such a doctor with a hate crime.


Assuming it’s not staged, I like to see stupid getting a beating. It’s the only way stupid learns. I’m with the cop on this.

Of course, it would have been even funnier if the cop had calmly whipped out his tazer and zapped him.

If anyone else did that to someone who walked up to them on the street and flipped them off, it’d be assault.

His hands are plainly visible, he turns to walk away… sure, the cop should have killed him! You know, perhaps that’s what a terrorist looks like without a towel wrapped around his head!

Violence, ESPECIALLY to the police, should be a last resort. And I don’t think I’m the only one who’d have held the police in much higher regard if it actually was.
In this situation, it’s a choice between

  1. definitely hurting somebody, and probably respect for law and order, too, or
  2. possibly getting hurt.
    Where 1 is something you get paid to avoid, and 2 is a risk you’ve likely been paid extra to take. I could accept someone else putting themselves before others, but not someone who fancy themselves keepers of good conduct.

Looks like a hoax to me. If it’s a shoot, then the punk got what was coming to him. Hope they also charged his smarmy pal, and let them both do 30 days picking up garbage or something. I’d find video of that highly amusing.

No. For one thing it’s not a crime to merely flip somebody off, no matter what the reason. For another thing, cops do not fall into the list of legally defined groups for which hate crime legislation can be prosecuted.

No, because the cop is not a member of a protected class. It varies from state to state, but in California, protected classes include race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability. Simply expressing hatred of cops does not a hate crime make.

And just to make it clear, neither does expressing hatred of a protected group. A hate crime has to entail doing something that’s already illegal to begin with. The “hate” part is an aggravating factor. It’s a penalty stage consideration. The hatred is not the crime in itself.

No, not justified-although the kid was a moron, and I don’t blame the cop TOO much.

Now, if all the guy did was flip the bird out the window of the car and the cop freaked out, then I’d totally be on that guy’s side. But hopefully, assuming the video isn’t staged, this kid will emerge a wee bit smarter.
And the cop will go to anger managment or something.

You know, it sounds entertaining but after the first couple hours the only way to keep it interesting would be to turn it into a drinking game.

“Okay, whenever he picks up a Coke can I have to drink, whenever he picks up a Pepsi can you have to drink, and if it’s a 7-Up can we both have to drink.”

Except that if it were staged the person in question was an actor, not a cop. And the beating never really happened. So what was the question again?

The question would be: “Would a cop in this position be justified in using that kind of force?”

I’m going to disagree with most people and say that, assuming that this really happened, the cop may have been justified. The guy didn’t just casually flip the bird or shout something, he moved in really close and put his hands right in the cop’s face. Look how the cop jumps back. From his position, it looks like an attack.