Local police officer Gabe Hollinger came very close to being a good cop stopping a bad cop from law enforcement misconduct during a routine car drug search, but ultimately chose not to intervene because he didn’t want to seem uncool to the other cops.
“I was on patrol with Officer Warren Klasman when we saw a Chevy Malibu driving by with what looked like four young, African-American men,” explained Officer Hollinger. “So Officer Klasman bet me $10 there was marijuana in the car, and he put on his lights and pulled over the Malibu.”
When Officer Klasman approached the car, he treated the occupants with disrespect, which further troubled our good cop Officer Hollinger.
“He walked up saying ‘hey, ladies,’ even though all four car occupants were male, and he made them all get out of the car,” continued Hollinger. “When they requested a reason for why they all had to get out of the car, Officer Hollinger told them it was because he supposedly could smell marijuana coming from the car. I myself could not smell anything, and the events of the remainder of the detaining makes me doubt Officer Klasman actually smelled any.”
The four occupants complied, but were very vocal about their innocence as they sat on the side of the road.
“So Officer Klasman searched their car for half an hour, even though the car was small and the interior was impressively clean, but he was sure there was marijuana somewhere if he just searched hard enough,” said Hollinger. “Finally frustrated, Officer Klasman searched the four men’s pockets but still couldn’t find anything, so he motioned me back to our patrol car. There he explained that he had a little clump of marijuana bud in his pocket, and he was going to go back into the car and ‘find’ the marijuana. He handed me $10 for losing the bet, but he wanted to save face in front of the four young men rather than admit he had merely been racially profiling them.”
This is where Officer Hollinger became morally conflicted, so he acted on his rigorous, strict police training and stood silently watching in order to not interfere in any way while a fellow cop was trampling on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
“Any time a fellow cop is doing something totally fucked up and illegal, standard law enforcement protocol is to not get involved in any way, and merely look the other way as if we had seen nothing,” explained Hollinger. “This makes the police reports easier to fill out, and makes us cops less liable for blatant violations of civil rights. Plus it’s a safety thing, you know? If a cop turns absolutely deranged and starts beating up innocent people, or pulls a gun out on citizens for no reason at all, it could be really dangerous if you try to get in their way or try to talk them down from their murderous incidents of blind rage. It’s better to just wait out the storm, so to speak, and that’s why, in virtually every video you see of police misconduct and blatant abuse of the citizenry, you typically see at least one cop standing off to the side doing nothing and not trying to intervene in any way to protect the civil rights of the people we are sworn to serve and protect. It’s just a safety thing, you know?”
So Officer Hollinger thought about stopping Officer Klasman from planting the drugs in the car, but he ultimately decided against it.
“It’s a thin blue line, you know?” he asked rhetorically. “A really thin blue line protecting society from monsters and criminals. We have to look out for our own. So I didn’t actually end up doing anything about Officer Klasman planting the drugs that he shouldn’t even have had on him in the first place, but I thought about it. But, at the end of the day, I have to keep up my cred and reputation with the other cops. I have to be cool in their eyes, you know? But just know that I knew it was wrong while I was watching Officer Klasman arrest those four young, innocent African-American men. One of them is in jail now because he had a prior marijuana charge like five years ago or something, but, I mean, young black men should know better than to ride in a car with three other young black men these days, you know? Talk about asking for suspicion.”