A man made the mistake of doing an ordinary thing in response to a bad driver, not knowing the driver was an NYPD detective.
If you were driving along the road and another driver gestured at you, what would you do? Probably nothing at all. If you realized you hadn’t used your turn signal while you tried to park by the road, forcing a driver to go around you, you might make a mental note to be more careful next time.
Would you feel you had a right to pull over the driver and harass him for daring to express his feelings whether they were justified or not? Would you take time to find out that he is an immigrant (a real one, not an amnestied as far as we know) so you could mock his accent? I doubt it. And police would probably not approve of harassing another driver in this way.
But when an Uber driver had to deal with a car parking in front of him without signaling, he paid a pretty high price for gesturing to him to use his turn signal.
The normal-looking car was being driven by a police detective. The cop pulled over the Uber driver and ranted at him. When he found out he was a newcomer to America, he basically communicated to him that he had moved into a police state.
Since the detective uses bad language I have not embedded the video here. CNN has it.
CNN reports on the footage:
When the detective steps back to his car, the Uber driver, who moved to America less than two years ago, turns to the passenger and thanks him for recording the video.
“That’s crazy. That’s really inappropriate,” the passenger tells the driver. “Listen, it’s not your fault. He shouldn’t be slamming your car door, throwing things around. He doesn’t have a right to open your door.”
When the detective comes back, he is irate and doesn’t allow the driver to speak.
“I don’t care what you have to say, people are allowed to park their cars on the side of the street without your interference,” the detective tells the driver. “I don’t know where you’re coming from, where you think it’s appropriate in doing that. That’s the way it works.”
“I’ve got news for you,” the detective says, “the only reason you’re not in handcuffs and going to jail and getting summons in the precinct is because I have things to do. That’s the only reason that’s not happening. Because this isn’t important enough for me. You’re not important enough. Don’t ever do that again.”
And the New York Daily News reports,
The detective repeatedly mocked the mild-mannered driver’s accent and pronunciation of English words, cursing at him. The driver responded calmly, saying “okay” during one point in Cherry’s tirade, the video shows. The driver’s ethnicity was not immediately clear.
So this is the level of professionalism of a man who gets recruited to be on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and is granted top security clearance. In this case, because a passenger video-recorded the officer’s behavior, CNN reports he is “facing suspension, reassignment and loss of his clearance.”
That is all good. He has obviously abused his authority and it is only right that he lose some of it.
But notice that if this had happened in Texas, under a proposed bill, according to reports, that backseat passenger would be subject to 180 days in jail and a $2000 fine. When we make it illegal to record cops, we encourage them to act this way because they can get away with it.