Becoming a police officer is a pretty sweet gig. You don’t need to be intelligent. In fact, being intelligent can prohibit you from becoming a police officer. It’s not an especially dangerous. And you get to enjoy special privileges:
This week, a Tarrant County judge sentenced cop watcher Kenny Lovett to 90 days in jail after a jury determined he interfered with a high-risk traffic stop in Arlington in 2015.
“It’s a safety issue first and foremost,” said Melinda Westmoreland, the assistant district attorney who prosecuted Lovett’s case.
On that day, Lovett and several other cop watchers pulled over to film Arlington police making a traffic stop.
Not long after they began filming, two officers approached them, concerned about the holsters some the cop watchers were also carrying. The exchange was caught on video.
“I need you to go back [to your vehicle] and put your weapons up if you’re armed,” the officer says in the recording. “Feel free to record after that.”
Two of cop watchers did what the officers told them to do. Lovett, who was carrying a black powder pistol, refused. He was then led away in handcuffs and charged with interfering with public duties and disorderly conduct.
When you interact with a police officer it’s OK for them to demand you to disarm but it’s not OK for you to demand they disarm. Considering the number of officers being killed is going down while the number of people being killed by cops is going up I think it would be fair to demand officers disarm when interacting with members of the public.
Power is easily abused by those who have it. By operating on a higher level than the general public law enforcement officers are in a position to abuse power. If we want to reduce power abuse by law enforcers they need to operate on the same level as the rest of us. That means they should fall under the same scrutiny when using force, being surveilled, and interacting with other individuals as every other person in society. If an officer can be armed while interacting with the general public then people keeping officers accountable by filming police interactions should be allowed to be armed as well.