Feb 13, 2009 Chatting with cops
Today, I was waiting in line at a lunch carryout, and a local cop was behind me. I admit that I remain so obsessed over all the police brutality, other police misconduct, police slickness, and legally-sanctioned police lying (to get confessions and other discovery) going on in the world that I do not tend to do much chatting with cops outside the courthouse (unless it is about a pending case), as much as I know the value of knowing the opponent.
Today, I tried to move farther away from the stereotyping aspect of my concerns, but cops still are involved in enforcing many crimes that I think do not belong on the books or are too harshly punished, and they are taught slick skills and lying skills to get confessions. In any event, I warmly greeted the cop, and asked how he was doing, figuring at the very least that we have seen each other in the county’s courthouses. He very much welcomed the opportunity to speak; I am not sure if he recognized me as a lawyer, as I was not in a suit because my jury trial had been rescheduled two days ago.
The cop immediately asked me: "Let me ask you something. If you are in the Hallmark store looking at greeting cards, and someone steps right in front of you to look at the same set of cards, and blocks your view, is that rude?" I replied: "Yes, that’s rude. Is that what you did?" I still cannot help myself sometimes. Jon Katz