*Over and over we are hearing complaints from the motoring public of instances when an errant police, seemingly drunk with power decides to exert his authority just because.
As in the recent case of Hialeah Police Officer Harold Garzon who initiated a traffic stop for “loud music” upon hearing N.W.A. ‘s “F*ck Tha Police” coming from a car stopped at a red light. Turns out, 26 yr old, double Harvard graduate, Cesar Baldelomar knew a thing or two – about a thing or two. Really? You’re really playing that song? Pull Over” Garzon ordered.
Baldelomar wasted little time informing Officer Garzon that he was well aware that the Supreme Court had struck down any law banning loud music in 2012. Garzon was not impressed. Three traffic citations later: one for insurance, a seatbelt violation and having an out-of-state plate, Officer Garzon had shown Baldelomar who was in charge.
As a twenty year veteran sergeant of the Los Angeles Police Department I recognize that Cesar Baldelomar had unwittingly just entered “Contempt of Cop” zone. Apparently, Officer Garzon became angry when he felt his authority had been challenged. Haven’t we seem examples of this before: Mike Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in Staten Island, and Ezell Ford in Los Angeles?
What about that loud music violation? Isn’t that the probable cause (PC) for the detention. Wasn’t that what first drew Officer Garzon’s attention?
Here’s what contempt of cop looks like. A police officer finds you guilty of offending his sensibilities; you get smart; and then you pay. “Pay” can mean a traffic ticket, a trip to the hospital after a use of force incident, three-hots and-a-cot after being booked for assault on a police officer or death.
It’s Time to put an end to over-zealous, heavy-handed, drunk with power police officers who seem to think they have the Blue privilege. It’s Time to purge police departments of any officer who demonstrates a willingness to manufacture probable cause to detain. It’s time to put an end to department supervisors, police associations and chiefs of police who circle the wagons, when officers engage in behavior that ends in an unlawful detention, illegal arrest or deadly force. Time for police heads to worry less about civil liability and more about doing whats right. Stop trying to mitigate an officers’ bad behavior.
I know first-hand that some police officers will “create” a circumstance, in the hopes of “developing” an opportunity to put that person in the system. And by system, I mean jail. Never mind if the detention ends up being a district attorney reject due to insufficient evidence to prosecute; you just spent the weekend in jail. Never mind if the traffic citation is ultimately dismissed; you just missed a day of work. And never mind if you were found not guilty in Court; you just spent thousands on an attorney.
Police Offices who demonstrate a lack of judgment, abuse their authority, manufacture probable cause and outright lie, should not be given the “gift of resignation.” Police Officers who have demonstrated that they are ill-equipped should be fired and banned from seeking employment with any other police agency for life.
Much like San Jose Police Officer Phillip White who tweeted on Saturday, “By the way if anyone feels they can’t breathe or their lives matter I’ll be at the movies tonight off duty, carrying my gun.”
Much like Hialeah Officer Garzon who by the way, has 16 internal affairs investigations to his credit over his 17-yr career. Must we wait for White, Garzon or some other errant officer, yet undiscovered, to kill someone before they are fired? Officer White and Officer Garzon have shown us who they are, shouldn’t we believe them?
Cheryl Dorsey is a retired LAPD sergeant, speaker, and much sought after police expert on important issues making national headlines; as such she has appeared as a guest expert on the Dr. Phil Show, HLN and KPCC. She writes and provides commentary on police culture and surviving police encounters. She is the author of The Creation of a Manifesto, Black & Blue; an autobiography that pulls the covers of the LAPD and provides an unfiltered look into the department’s internal processes. Visit Cheryl’s website www.cheryldorsey.net., listen to her on Soundcloud follow on Twitter @retLAPDsgt
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”~JFK