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What to do when a cop does not shake your hand

Jan 27, 2014 What to do when a cop does not shake your hand

When I started high school, a junior in the concert band enthusiastically greeted me, and offered her hand to shake. I regret my gender discrimination in not shaking her hand, trying to figure out why for the first time in my life a female was offering to shake my hand. Fortunately, I righted this mistake quickly thereafter.

I sometimes get poetic justice back my way with police who decline to shake my hand. On the flip side, I wonder why an airport police officer offered to shake my hand as I exited the men’s room, since he would not have known if I had washed my hands in there.

Recently, I walked into a Maryland criminal court, and later saw that the lead police officer in my client’s case was in the courtroom. I walked over to him, and he seemed to ignore my offered handshake. I have learned too many times to read little to nothing into this. His reason for not shaking my hand could have run from his not wanting other criminal defendants or cops to think he is close with any criminal defense lawyers, to wanting to show who’s boss, to not wanting to catch a cold on a day when many had sniffles.

I knew that the point here was to clear my mind of judgment and guesswork over the cop’s response to me, to get my questions asked, and to get the police officer as close to my side as possible for negotiations.

In the hallway, the officer soon loosened up. He mentioned not seeing me around for awhile, and I told him I relocated to Virginia last summer, and am not in Maryland courts as often as before. When I asked if he had any other matters in the courthouse, he happily told me he was earning overtime pay to be in court. When I brought up settlement negotiations, his response to me and the prosecutor was favorable under the circumstances.

The magic mirror took hold. In dealing with this initially straight-faced seeming cop, I looked within myself, my own mood, my own compassion, and polishing my own mirror in seeking the best possible outcome for my client.

One thing is for certain: Never B.S. opposing witnesses nor prosecutors (nor anyone else), and always expect them to sense and be repelled by B.S. Nobody likes the smell of feces. Always be genuine, to the point of not offering a handshake unless it is a sincere handshake, not a slick one.

Furthermore, the more a prosecutor, opposing cop, or anyone else feels at ease with and trusting in you, the fewer will be that person’s mental resistances and blockages to dealing with you, thus opening their mind more to you and your words. Moreover, the more that I talk with them as human to human, rather than in adversarial roles, the further I can get for my clients.

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