Yet another NYPD Charlie Foxtrot: Chrissie Brodigan's Ignorance

There’s two sides to every story. Then there’s the truth.
NYPD Police Officer

Woman Says Misogynistic Cop Arrested Her, Punched Her, Grabbed Breasts for Carrying Pug in Subway

First of all, I just want to say that I’m pro law enforcement. On the same token, I’m by no means a fanboy of the NYPD. As is my usual modus operandi, I prefer to remain objective.

It’s rather disturbing to see these kinds of folks who would wish death upon a police officer. Some fellow in the comments said, “Its PUNK cops like this I just LOVE to hear about in the news that get clipped in the line of duty!“. This is just immature and frankly it’s a little disturbing. Then there are the rest of the people who like to lambast police officers, scream out their baseless criticisms, and generally make fools of themselves by exposing their ignorance. Fuck cops? Really? Are you going to say that when some ex-convict is beating your face in with a brick? Are you going to say that when a gang of thugs are raping your girlfriend in front of you? Are you going to say that when a psychopath has you pinned on the ground and is driving his six inch blade into your stomach fifty times? How would you feel if you weren’t sure that you could walk up the block to grab a loaf of bread because some gangbanger might roll up and mow you down with his submachine gun? How would you feel if you couldn’t walk to school for fear that you might get snatched up by a group of men and thrown into the back of a black van? Fuck the police? All cops are pigs? Spare me. Grow up.

As to how I am reacting to this…well, I don’t know quite how to react. You see, all these people commenting and saying how the police are pigs and all that nonsense, they’re only showing just how much of a blindly ignorant “liberal” they are, not to mention hypocritical. The bottom line is that we don’t have the whole story. One police officer I worked with in my security job had a very interesting phrase: “There’s two sides to every story. Then there’s the truth.” Now that’s a soundbite if I ever head one.

There is one thing that one has to keep in mind when dealing with police officers. These guys deal with the bottom of the barrel every day. They deal with the scum so that we do not have to. When you have to handle the number of people who are not exactly well-to-do citizens that NYPD police officers have to, you don’t have the time to be courteous and tactful. In harsher neighborhoods, a police officer who treats a possible suspect with kindness is one who will be hurt. Police officers have to deal with an innumerable amount of people who undoubtedly try to deceive them. If police officers were so lenient, nothing would get done. The best police officers are suspicious and exhibit slightly above average levels of paranoia. And with good reason: if our police officers just accepted some thug’s story about how he didn’t know the car was stolen, well, our streets wouldn’t be very safe.

Of course, from a normal law abiding citizen’s point of view, police officers may come off as arrogant, overly harsh, a little on the brutish side, and even threatening. But a police officer is exposed to the threat of violence, or violence itself, on a daily basis. He must deal with those who would lie, cheat, steal, murder, and maim to evade arrest. So experience says thathemust be tough. He cannot give the impression that he can be manipulated in any way, either physically or mentally. He must maintain control of the situation. He must, otherwise the situation could easily turn into a deadly confrontation.

Anyway, I’m straying from the topic at hand. The fact is that Ms. Brodigan broke the rules by bringing her dog with her on the train. It says that the officer attempted to ticket her, at which point things “turned ugly.” Now, we still don’t have a complete story, but the thing is, I wouldn’t be surprised if such an altercation could’ve been avoided. I believe that it did not have to escalate in the way it did if she had just accepted the ticket and fought it in court. The best course of action is always to remain calm and to comply with the officers commands. Make sure to make it clear that you pose no threat to the officer. Take down the officer’s badge number and file a complaint with the CCRB if you feel that you’ve been treated poorly. But really, it does you no good to get all worked up. Getting loud, talking back to the officer, these are all aggressive actions, and I would imagine that police officers don’t react well to aggression. For one, aggression can easily lead to violence. In order to protect his own life and safety, as well as yours, he needs to nip it in the bud while they can. And that means the cuffs go on.

As for wagatron’s account of the police reaction…police arrogance and their presentation of a “blue wall of silence” is to be expected really. I imagine that if I were trying to control a disturbance like this, I’d be pretty annoyed that some guy was trying to “give her [his] contact information”. A police officer’s job is to maintain control of the situation. Letting some guy pass along a business card or a piece of paper is not exactly ideal when you’re trying to control the situation.

I believe that public ignorance about police procedures and the training they have to go through go a long way in supporting the misconceptions the public have about police officers. See, police officers have been a normal citizen for a large part of their life. But us normal citizens have never been a police officer for any amount of time. And because of that gap in information and experience, because the fact is that we don’t really know what it’s like to be behind that shield and blue uniform, we ought to give them the benefit of the doubt.

At the end of the day, I have no doubt that the NYPD has bad apples, the same way there are bad apples in any job, in any industry. I have no doubt there are cases in which police officers are unnecessarily and excessively forceful in their tone, manner, and actions. But you know what? I’ll reserve my judgments until the facts have been set straight. I really think people should hold their tongues when it comes to these kinds of stories where a police officer is being scrutinized. It boils down to the stories that are told by each side. And really, can we expect an objective and honest account of what happened? I have a philosophy about the truth: there is no single truth. And as many living beings exist, there are just as many worlds, realities, and truths. As such, it’s really quite silly to try to deduce what happened and who was right and who was wrong.

ADDENDUM: YouTube video: Don’t Talk to the Police
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc&hl=en&fs=1&]
  • Luan

    Yes, but bad apples in other industries don't have the same kind of power as police officers.

    When you see those bad apples being covered for by the other "good" apples, it becomes harder and harder to differentiate. The "good" apples become complicit.

  • JJ

    Your comment that this might not have happened if she'd simply accepted ticket may apply in some cases but wouldn't have in this one.

    You quoted the about things turning ugly but somehow missed what the account said brought that about: not that he attempted to ticket her, but that she didn't have ID with her because she'd left it at the office.

    So she wasn't given the option to simply accept the ticket. What she says is that that's what she wanted to do, she wanted to be ticketed and allowed to go on her way. NYPD policy, however, is that a person's identity has to be established for them to be ticketed and released. Otherwise, it's an arrest.

    So the confrontation apparently happened when she was told she was being arrested and was handcuffed, allegedly being treated unnecessarily roughly during that process.

  • As usual, I just want to thank you for your readership, comments are always welcome!

    Luan, there will always be good cops and bad cops. Honestly, the department is pretty clean compared to how it was run in a couple of decades ago. The thing is, I think it's a foolish thing to make generalizations about police officers, the same way it's not smart to generalize about any group of people. I'm really mostly reacting to the massive amount of cop hating comments.

    JJ, you're right. I didn't have a firm grasp of the events. And that's why I didn't write so much about it. With your correction, my opinion still stands. If the officer is unprofessional, acting out is not going to make things any easier for you. And if the officer is a level-headed fellow, then by not acting out he has absolutely no reason to treat you roughly.

    I still stand by my advice. Because no matter the temperament of the officer you are dealing with in any given situation, if you don't show any signs of aggression and comply with the officer, there can't be any room for the officer to mistreat you (and if he does, you have all the factors going for you). I certainly don't think that the officer in this incident needed to use such language, but I just want to remind people to maintain a balanced view.

    These incidents are also often sensationalized by the media. Then we see tons of angry commenters who cry for blood without having the whole story. What I'm trying to say in this article is that these police incidents can often be avoided, and that we should try to keep in mind the motivation for an officer's attitude and actions.

  • Well written. I just hope for both of their sakes and to be completely fair, that they both have independent witnesses not affiliated with law enforcement.

    It's basically a he said she said situation.

  • Thanks for commenting! I agree that it's a he said she said deal going here. Of course Witriol's comments of "you wanna act like a woman?" don't exactly help his case, but at the end of the day, I feel confident that things will be settled fairly in this incident. I'll be keeping an eye out for any news on this matter.