Local police officer Gabe Hollinger today came very close to being a good cop stopping a bad cop from law enforcement misconduct during a routine car 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 $20 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 why, Officer Hollinger told them it was because he supposedly could smell marijuana coming from the car. I myself could not smell anything, and I suspect Officer Klasman told what we police call a fib.”
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. “Frustrated, Officer Klasman then 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 $20 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 felt morally conflicted, so he acted on his rigorous, strict police training, and stood by 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 dishonest or illegal, standard law enforcement protocol is to not get involved at all, and to 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 lawsuits for 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 calm citizens for no legitimate motivation, it could be really dangerous if you try to get in their way or talk them out of their blind rage, you know? It’s better to just wait out the storm, so to speak, and that’s why in videos you see of police misconduct and abuse of the citizenry you typically see at least one cop standing off to the side abstaining from protecting the civil rights of the people we are sworn to serve and protect. It’s just a personal safety thing, you know?”
Officer Hollinger thought about reporting Officer Klasman to his superiors later at the police station, but he ultimately decided against doing that, too.
“We have to back the blue, you know?” he said. “We’re a really thin blue line protecting society from monsters and criminals. We have to look out for our own, even when we cops are the ones being the monsters. So I didn’t say anything about Officer Klasman planting the drugs that he shouldn’t even legally have been carrying in the first place, but I want the record to show that I did think about it and felt guilty afterwards. But at the end of the day, I have to keep up my cred and reputation with the other cops. The worst thing a cop can be is a snitch. But just know that I knew it was wrong while I was watching Officer Klasman arrest those four innocent African-American men. One of them is in jail now because he had a prior marijuana charges a few years back, 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.”
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