T Nation

Abuse of Police Powers


I have many more concerns about local and state police abusing police powers than about federal-level abuses. Local/state forces are subject to less scrutiny, and recently states and municipalities have been using criminal prosecutions as revenue generators more than as ways to control the peace -

they've always done it with parking tickets -- then with speeding -- and now moreso with vice and RICO act prosecutions (feds do it somewhat with drug-law forfeitures too).

This story is ridiculous:


This is classic entrapment. (ADDED NOTE: I meant classic entrapment behavior - this is even worse than entrapment because the accused didn't even commit any crime)

The police report improbably charged that the accused solicited sex from the undercover officer, even as the accused's wife sat in the passenger seat, and the accused's daughter was on her way out from getting a beverage.

This guy would likely have been royally screwed (even moreso that is) if his wife and daughter weren't around. Also makes those websites cities put up posting mugshots of suspected (not convicted) johns all the more invidious.

The punchline: Though the charges were dropped, the city seized the family's car under laws allowing the forfeiture of automobiles used in the solicitation of prostitutes. The city won't return the car until the accused pays $4,700 in towing and storage fees.

This is crap.


Wow, that's really shocking.

It's frightening to think how many arrests that crew has made that weren't laughable enough to be obvious cases of abuse. How devastating for the people involved.

I'm trying to imagine how I would react to hearing that my husband had been arrested for solicitation. I'd like to think I'd believe him if he said he'd been falsely arrested, but...I don't know. Calling from the jail and our car has been seized? It would be tough.



I aggree with you. The cops have to much power and the citizens not enough. If you get pulled over, a cop can litterally do anything they want. The opportunity for abuse of power in a situation where you are on the wrong end of a cop is endless. I can say that most of them don't step out of line and just do their jobs, but the ones who abuse ruin lives. Even if you are found not guilty or charges dismissed, what kind of hell did you have to go through.


I have always had a trouble with female cops posing as prostitutes. Just because they don't directly ask someone "Wanna have a good time?" doesn't mean that their dress and manner isn't intended to convince someone to solicit who ordinarily would not.

But part of the way we got into this mess is allowing things to be criminalized which ought not have been; things for which there is little, if any evidence of other than hearsay.


This stuff sickens me. Every single cop involved should be fired.


Hear, hear



A video. Enjoy.


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This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.



Second only to God in terms of power in a county and some are certainly politically-motivated, misguided tyrants.


Very little, unless the case becomes high-profile for some reason. Mike Nifong got what was coming to him, but it's far too easy to abuse power.


I saw that the other night. I hope he's thrown off the force.


Most unfortunate, but in a way, it is to be expected.

No matter how much oversight, or citizen action, or even extra-legal means of redressing the problem, the situation that gives opportunities for this to occur (and re-occur) remains the same.

A police force (and Law in general) is a government sponsored, and protected, form of monopoly.

There really isn't a cure for abuse from the police except massive reaction from the citizens/customer base, removal of the police, some type of aggressive competition, or some other crazy idea that will likely result in more harm than good.

Live with it?


A welfare state is just across the creek from a police state.

The desire for people to be hand fed, and taken care of by a benevolent government goes hand in hand with allowing the same government to have a police force with little or no regard for the law.


I know Im going to find myself in a street-fight because of this, but whatever.

Please everyone take notice of the cop's attitude prior to the copwatch instigator(and that is what he is) starting to play games for no reason. I have done exactly what this officer did 5000 times. Before you guys start screaming, I'll explain.

If an officer checks an occupied vehicle late at night and he knows that a.)it is an area that is typically deserted at night and b.)there has been a high rate of criminal activities there(the cop cites a rash of car burglaries), then he is perfectly within his rights to do so. In fact, he is doing his job diligently.

I have seen this hold up at suppression hearings time and again. This guy intentionally began to push buttons after placing himself in this situation. Your mother always told you that if you look for trouble, you will find it. Unfortunately, the wisdom of the ages is lost on most people...

Now, threatening to make up charges is out of line. I dont know if he was serious about that or he was trying to get his point across. I have never had to do that. There are much more intelligent and straight forward ways to get your point across.

A big part of the problem I see is poor hiring and selection of officers. Without getting too mystical, there is no real attempt to hire people who wish to master themselves. If you know anything about confrontations, whether they be with words or Abrams tanks, you must master yourself first in order to master the opponent.

The cops I see that fly off the handle the quickest and lose control of a situation are the one's who are completely out of control of themselves. They're not in shape, they can't fight, they can't shoot and honestly, they are not all that bright, intuitive or self-disciplined. They try to mask their fear of a situation with threats, shouting and so forth.

I despise these types. Society is essentially buying a product(protection) when they hire a cop, and those types are an absolute rip-off. Im not trying to talk for this Sgt. because I dont know him. Cops are subject to the same stresses as the rest of you guys plus a hundred more most of you will never understand.

Maybe it was just his day, although that doesn't excuse the threats of fabricated charges. That just brings down my whole profession which is ultimately supposed to be based on honor.

While you guys are looking at one instance of bad behavior, 2 million instances of proper police behavior took place around the country that night that no one will ever know about.

As far as the subject of an over-reaching police state, Im kind of with many of you guys, believe it or not. I dont believe we are here to close budget gaps for townships and Im pretty libertarian on many of the situations(like prostitution) that governments feel they need to completely outlaw.

I wont even get started on the local shit like government's telling you how to use your property and then expecting the police to enforce their will. It is all these things, once combined, that cause most of the resentment of the police.

However, if any of you guys really believe our society can exist as peacefully(generally speaking, of course) as it does, then ask yourself...who is going to investigate a burglary to my home? If your wife was trapped in a bank during a robbery, would you want a posse of plumbers, doctors and shopkeepers stacking up to go inside or handling the negotiations?

I've heard a number of people shouting "I'll never need the police" and in at least two instances I can think of, they were dialing 9-1-1 at a later date.

Historically, societies have always held a measure of disdain for their protectors, with a couple of exceptions. Im not sure why this is, but in sum, while I agree with a lot of what is said here in regards to excessive government in our lives, there is definitely a need for us to exist.


From your post I want to start of by saying that you sound like a pretty solid guy. Now I really dislike cops, but I'd probably buy you a beer. All this said, while I may like the occasional cop I can never TRUST a cop. That is where my issue lies. You say that you are generally libertarian. This is good.

But why should I trust a cop who is libertarian, but still gives out seat belt tickets or busts prostitutes? Many cops know these things are wrong, but do it anyways, because it is a part of the job. I'm not saying that cops are Nazis, but the Nazis were just doing their job when they were throwing jews into ovens.

Do we give them a pass? Certainly not. And I can't give a cop a pass either. A cop KNOWS he is going to have to do these things in order to wear a badge. In my mind that means that I cannot be a cop.

I mean, a couple months back I had four cops escort me out of a grocery store because I was open carrying a pistol. This is 100% legal in Idaho, but the store had a non-posted policy against open carry in their stores.

Instead of informing the store to tell me that themselves, I had four cops, bladed off from me hands on their pistols ready to draw, make me put down my milk and beer and escort me out of the store.

Last month I had a TSA agent threaten to doctor a report to make my accidentally leaving a loaded magazine in my carry-on look intentional and charge me with a felony. We recently had some crazy take his M1A and an AK-47 start firing into the sheriff's dispatch office then hole up in a church and kill a bunch of people, including a cop.

Once the firing started, a guy grabbed his .45 and ran into the fray to help the cop that had just been killed. He ended up shot but lived. The local cops here slammed him for getting involved, expecting everyone to leave it to them.

This has devolved into a rant so I'll shut up. All I'm getting at is that cops aren't all bad guys, but they are untrustworthy. It was cops that didn't say no when ordered to put Japanese Americans into internment camps. It was cops (FBI and ATF)that murdered Randy Weaver's family and put the Branch Dividians to the flame. And it'll be cops that kill Ed Brown in New Hampshire.



The cop in the video was definitely an asshole. I would have never acted like that kid because I'm always pretty cooperative but the cop was way out of line.

That first article was worse. I can't imagine what would have happened to that guy if his wife wasn't with him. That's just not something you can explain away - "Honey they say I was soliciting a prostitute but I was just seeing if she needed some help".

The recent event that has bothered me most was the way the Police and National Guard forced the citizens of New Orleans to disarm. Had that been me I might have gone down in a blaze of glory especially if those assholes entered my home with their M4's drawn. It's complete bullshit.


I read your grocery store and airport stories when you posted them. I think both were handled improperly. If you were to acquaint yourself with my other posts, you would see I am an unforgiving believer in gun rights. Criticizing the guy who helped out in the shooting is pathetic. We need more sheepdogs among the citizenry to keep down the wolves.

The Randy Weaver and Waco stories also trouble me. I certainly wouldnt put either group (Weaver clan or Branch Davidians) on a pedestal, but to say those incidents should have been handled differently is an understatement. I know this may cause some grumbling, but look at who the attorney general/president was at that time.

I just told a buddy of mine this yesterday...I try to keep my work as consistent as I can with my personal beliefs. We dont have a prostitution problem, so I have never made a prostitution arrest. I also don't write seatbelt tickets(except as a break for something more serious if I think your deserve the 2nd chance). Will I pop you for a lot of other reckless behavior on the road?
Absolutely, but I don't do it myself so neither can you.

You have to realize that many cops, like everyone else who goes off to work, don't overthink their profession or the political and philosophical issues around it. They just do there job, bring home a paycheck and take care of their family.

You are a bit of an extremist and I think you can recognize this. Blanket statements like "I hate cops" border on the absurd. I don't understand hating any particular group simply because of what they do for a living (although lawyers and politicians come close for me...Im kidding...maybe). With that said, your beliefs in many areas are very close to mine and I certainly respect your staunch values.


Indeed. In a day and age in which Americans are proving more and more cowardly, it is refreshing to see someone like Pete Husman step up.

Agreed. I'm not a Bush fan, but hey, at least he wasn't Clinton. As far as the AG thing goes, bear in mind that Alberto Gonzales did support the idea of H.R. 1022, the upcoming new assault weapons ban. You're also right about Weaver or Waco. I hate to have to back a shithead white supremacist or a religious cult. They're a good example of the Fedgov overstepping its bounds, but that's about it. Perhaps, that's why they were chosen. laugh Who wants to have their back?

Agreed. I'm with you 100% on that.

I do understand this, and that troubles me. Again, a great many Nazis were doing the same thing. They do not get a pass for their behavior because they have mouths to feed at home. Careerism is a bitch. I watched firsthand in the Corps how many Staff NCOs and officers would not do the right thing for their men because they didn't want to hurt their shot at a promotion, ect. Men wouldn't get trained as hard because a SSgt was afraid of getting in trouble. But it's beyond work. Many people don't take into account the effects of their actions. Prisons are full of such people.

Yeah, I suppose I am an extremist in this case. But to quote my man Barry Goldwater, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the defense of justice is no virtue."

However, I think you're right. I put some serious thought into what you said. I don't think I'm going to say that I hate cops. I do however stand by the fact that I do not trust them. Tell ya what, next time I run into a decent cop I'll buy him a beer in your name.



Fair enough. I'll be sure to remind a newer guy of the importance of individual liberties in yours.