Criminal defense lawyer Randy England of Jefferson City, Missouri brings us this post about Brett Darrow, a 20-year-old St. Louis kid who drives around town wired for sound and light, deliberately antagonizing cops by refusing to play along with their attempts to pry into his personal life and intimidate him. The police conduct in the first video Randy links to might shock most middle-class white folk who think the cops are their friends, but it shouldn’t. This is how lots of people will behave when you give them a gun and a badge and set them loose on the street. The police sergeant in that video was fired not because of what he did, but because he got caught doing it.
Darrow’s civil disobedience is reminiscent of Texas lawyer Pat Barber’s Just Say No to Searches campaign. Both of these guys are role models. If everyone knew their rights and exercised them, the police wouldn’t think they have license to run roughshod over the constitution. If you’re not rolling dirty, talking to the police and consenting to searches might be expedient, but that doesn’t make it right.
Randy makes the good point that police, like the rest of us, can’t be sure that they’re not being watched (along those lines, see this post at IWTS about a New York cop caught on MP3 trying to coerce a confession). Eventually there’ll be enough cops caught on video or audio breaking the law that either the middle-class white folk will realize that it happens all the time, or the police who break the law will become, like other criminals, much more careful about doing it in public.