You Make the Call: Video from the Orange County Police State or Perps Behaving Badly?

The Keystone Po-Po line
The Keystone Po-Po line
Mack Sennett Studios/public domain

I don't know where the video on the next page was shot, other than apparently within a gang enforcement zone patrolled by the Orange County Sheriff's Department. (Stanton, South OC or unincorporated North OC, perhaps?) The video raises interesting points about living in a police state (perceived or otherwise). Ah, there I go again, getting ahead of myself.

Roll the tape, Jimmy ...

According to the LiveLeak.com link, this was shot on Tuesday. My observations follow; share your own in the comments section.

1) If I'd been an occupant of that car, I would have handed over my identification and cell phone just to get the unpleasant encounter over with. Also, I found--especially when I was the age of these fellows and even younger--that when I've complied with cops in an overly polite manner, they have always responded with "Have a nice day" and walked away.

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2) That said, I've never lived within a gang enforcement zone or anyplace where I have been constantly harassed by the Po-Po. (That is, they were not such zones back in the day; some may be now.) Someone who has grown up in such a place may have discovered at earlier ages that hyper-compliance/politeness does not work for them.

3) And that's not to say the gentlemen in the car are impolite. More like questioning in I-know-my-rights tones even though they know the answers. But what amazes me is how calm and measured they are throughout. As you'll discover if you watch the video through to the end, you cannot say the same for the deputy dressed like a Blackwater contractor. (Hat tip to the LiveLeak commenter who noted this.)

4) Indeed, the young 'uns seem to be schooling the deputies on their rights as citizens, to the point where you sense the law enforcement officers--at least based on these two minutes--begin to question whether they are correct.

5) Look, maybe it is perfectly proper to roll up in a gang-zoned neighborhood to a car parked in front of at least one occupant's home, claim you smell marijuana, ask for I.D.'s and then order someone recording the encounter to stop due to what is now "a criminal investigation." But to me, it does at least emit a stale whiff of police-stateness. "But it's a gang-enforcement area," you might be saying. True, but it also indicates to me that if such a zone designation is justified, there must be far worse things going on within it than three guys sitting in a parked car, even if one of them has un-smoked weed in his pocket (as he freely admits).

6) In any event, the video shooter should be allowed to continue. If you are a cop doing everything by the book, what do you have to fear?

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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