Friday, August 7, 2009

The professor and the sergeant

Now that’s it over, I’ll put my two cents in on the subject of the professor and the police sergeant.

We were subjected to two weeks of various views of a confrontation with apparent racial implications. I suspect race had little to do with it. It was just a matter of the sergeant saving face when confronted with someone who wouldn’t comply with his commands.

Backing up for a minute – a basic operational point made in police training is that the officer has to keep control of the situation. We’ve all seen instances on TV when video cameras in the police car show non-compliance leading to confrontation with the officer. The police always win.

My guess on the situation between the professor and the sergeant is that, by verbally arguing with the officer, the professor put the sergeant in a position where he wasn’t in control of the situation. How to regain control?, arrest the professor.

If the professor had been white I believe the outcome would probably have been the same. This racial version has been allowed to stand because, one, possible racial over tones play well, and two, because it would be an even bigger stain on the police if they acknowledged that charges such as public disturbance are used to punish someone who doesn’t obey an officer’s commands.

Spending several hours being arrested and booked will make anyone question the value of arguing with a police officer.

This might be what happened.

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