So, there’s this viral video circulating around social media that shows a police officer confronting and then detaining a white male who may or may not be a “kid” after he apparently flipped off the cop. What resulted was a picture-perfect display of white privilege that serves as explicit evidence that cops are really out here pretending it’s against the law for citizens to disrespect them.
The body camera begins with the officer calmly asking the young white man why he gave him the finger. The man ignored the question and repeatedly asked if he was “free to go” and started walking away despite the cop telling him he wasn’t free to go. The officer started to follow him telling him “get over here” while the citizen continued to walk away and argued that he was “free to go” because shooting a bird at a cop isn’t illegal. Of course, the officer said it was illegal but when the man challenged him to “quote the law” that says as much, the officer isn’t able to do so. Ultimately, the cop kind of just gives up and lets the man go.
Now, if you’re a Black person who has been subject to racial profiling and police harassment and has been stopped and detained without committing any real infraction, you might be looking at this video and wondering how you can get a passport to the second America (because there are clearly two). Imagine being able to walk away from a cop who is ordering you to stop while talking expletive-laden trash to said cop—and he just lets it slide rather than deal with the frustration.
But this white man was apparently just bound and determined to get himself arrested.
As the two begin to part ways, the citizen starts cursing out the cop calling him a “f****** pig,” which prompts the officer to resume his pursuit of the disrespectful civilian and detain him.
The man asks why he’s being detained insisting that he’s done nothing illegal. He says it’s not illegal to curse out a cop. The cop disagrees saying, “Yes it is. It’s causing a public disturbance and public alarm if you are cursing in public.”
Now, y’all know good and well this cop just made that one up on the spot. If cursing in public was that serious of a disturbance, cops should have been arresting themselves as long as they’ve been riding through Black neighborhoods and speaking recklessly to Black kids and adults for even the most minor offenses. How many cop videos have we seen that start with an officer shouting “SHOW ME YOUR F******* HANDS!”???
Anyway, to make a long story short, the white guy continues to bicker with the cops and walk away when they’re telling him not to. He also calls them idiots, pigs and the ableist r-word repeatedly while dusting off his Law & Order degree in explaining to them what his rights are. In response, the cops continue to calmly explain that they aren’t charging him with anything and ask why he’s being so mean to them.
The officer then handed him some kind of citation (presumably) and told him, “There you go, Ok? Now, listen, if you have any problems…if you want to come down and talk to somebody our supervisors are always there as well.” That prompted the man to say he just wants to know who to see about pressing charges and a filing lawsuit against the police.
Then he just walked away. No use of force. No “I was in fear for my life.” No nothing.
It isn’t about knowing your rights. It’s about knowing you’re white. Just sayin’.