2 September 2004

Vengeful Mass cop

I ran into my friend Bart last night, and he told me about an
altercation he had with a Mass State cop on his way home last
night.  It doesn’t surprise me, because with only a couple of
exceptions, I have found the police here in the Boston area to be
unhelpful, fairly rude, and capricious in their enforcement of the law.

So Bart was driving home, smoking, and he dropped his cigarette out the
window (which I think he shouldn’t have done, but there you go). 
Statey pulls him over, tells him he shouldn’t have done that, and asks
for his license.  Bart just bought his car about a week and a half
ago, and previous to that, he had his Arizona driver’s license. 
The clerk at the DMV told him he had 30 days to get his out-of-state
license converted to a Mass license.

Statey asks why he has an Arizona license, and Bart responds that he
had been told that DMV said he had 30 days, so he was in the process of
converting it, but the thirty days had not yet expired.  Statey
tells him he’s wrong and that he was supposed to do it the moment he
arrived in state.  Statey then asks Bart if he’s ever been
arrested; Bart responds that he’s been arrested three times, in three
states, for civil disobedience protesting.  Statey orders him out
of the car, calls a tow truck, and has the car towed to an impound
lot.  Ninety-five bucks to get it out, and ninety to convert the
license.  And the clerk at DMV tells him that Statey was wrong,
that he truly did have 30 days to change the license over.  Bart
probably got towed because he’d been arrested for protesting, not
because he dropped a cigarette from his car. 

This is not the first time I have heard or experienced Mass cops do
something like this.  Cops here in the Boston area act like jerks much of the time — they swagger, seems to like
exerting power over people (Like Cartman on South Park: “Respect my
AU-THOR-I-TAY!”), and speak abusively and rudely to many of the people
who address them.  Protecting and serving don’t seem to be on the agenda.

And they’re got some temerity, too.  Recently, the Boston cops
just got a guaranteed 14.5 percent raise over the next three years, but
they thought that still wasn’t enough, and they threatened to walk out
over it.  Who else is getting that much in guaranteed pay in this
economy?  And then, they had the chutzpah to call our house and
ask for donations to the Police Activities League, to support the
purchase of safety equipment for cops.  Use some of the raise, for
heaven’s sake!  Besides, the only reason people give the PAL money
is so that they can obtain a bumper sticker that indiactes they donated, and
thereby avoid the casual abuse of authority that Bart experienced.

No, I’m not against cops.  But I’m against them abusing their
authority in such blatant ways.  When they do this, they show
themselves little better than the criminals out there.

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6 Responses to “Vengeful Mass cop”

  1. adamg Says:

    You might want to compare the way Boston cops treated DNC protesters with the way NYC cops have treated RNC protesters, before condemning ALL cops around here for the rude behavior of a few.

    Yeah, sucks your friend had his car towed away, but maybe now he’ll stop flicking cigarettes out the window? Guy ever hear of ashtrays?

  2. Nate Says:

    What DNC protesters? I was there. There were all of about 17.

    I’m not saying my friend was right, but the cop’s reaction was not to the littering (for which a ticket could have rightfully been given, especially in this world where we seek to regulate every aspect of a person’s social behavior). The cop appeared to react to other non-germane factors. The cigarette was a pretense to harass for whatever “offenses” the cop could find.

  3. carpundit Says:

    The clerk at the RMV is wrong; the Trooper was right. Massachusetts law provides no grace period for obtaining a Massachusetts license after becoming a resident. Once you reside in Massachusetts, you must obtain a MA license to drive here. See MGL c90 s.8 and c90 s. 10.

    I’m sure Bart’s hair, clothing, attitude and bumper stickers did him no favors. But you’re probably right that those should not form the basis for enforcement action.

    Still, if Bart kept his poisonous litter to himself, he wouldn’t have earned the citation.

  4. Nate Says:

    Thanks for the info.

    Actually, you shouldn’t assume anything about Bart. He was wearing a button-down, shorts, has short, well-kept hair, and doesn’t have any bumper stickers on his car.

    And I don’t know about his attitude, but the cop bears some responsibility here, too. If cops don’t want to foment it, they shouldn’t walk into situations with it before getting it. I’ve had too many situations around here where cops were unnecessarily rude.

  5. carpundit Says:

    OK, so he didn’t look the part.
    It was a fair guess, though, even if wrong.

  6. Bryan Strawser Says:

    I worked in law enforcement a bit over ten years ago before switching into private sector security.

    The police here are.. well.. interesting 😉

    Many good ones – a few bad apples. Mass State Police usually quite professional though.

    — B.