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Monday, April 20, 2015

Pulling over the cops

It's a new trend: Citizens pulling over the police.

This reminds me of an incident that happened maybe 18 years ago. I was driving down one of the larger streets in the San Fernando Valley around three in the morning. I was driving just under the speed limit on a very underpopulated boulevard.

An older red car started to tailgate me. I hate being tailgated, so I did what I always do in such situations: I pulled into the right lane, slowed down, and waited for Red Car to pass.

Red Car stayed behind (in the original lane), matching my pace. Slower, slower, slower.

Out came the light and the siren. Red Car, it turned out, was an undercover cop vehicle.

"Why did you slow down like that?" said the scruffy-looking cop in civilian clothing. He sported a '70s porn moustache, apparently to help him blend into the criminal demimonde. (At least I hope he was an officer. As far as I knew, he could have been a Ted Bundy understudy.)

"You were tailgating," I explained. "So I let you pass."


"Yeah. Tailgating."

"No way. There was like ten feet..."

Realizing that he had just incriminated himself, Officer Red Car (having morphed into Officer Red Face) suddenly turned and got back into his vehicle. For once, the cop didn't try to get in a final word of stern warning, even though a cop always issues the last word in order to prove that he is The Man.

Not very professional police work. I should have cited him.

(By the way: If you're filming with your iPhone, turn the device 90 degrees. The newer phones have good resolution, but that detail is lost if you go for the tall-and-thin aspect ratio. Besides, tall-and-thin looks ugly.)
Yes, in my town, driving too slowly is considered to be suspicious by the police. Since I am a gray-haired white man, I can get away with it. But, a black man has a very narrow window between driving to slowly and speeding.
I once felt a bit nervous driving past a police car, as my bike had no number plate. Someone had stolen it so I was driving to get a replacement, technically illegal. All was fine.

I was once threatened by a policeman with a truncheon, but he was just alarmed that I have appeared out of nowhere behind a police line. They had taped off the area around my front door after an incident of some sort, but hadn't bothered to knock on the door and tell us about it. I had to give my name and address.

I was also briefly questioned because I was walking the streets in the very early morning in slippers and was walking away from something which had, as they say, "gone on fire". I was just walking around the corner when I bumped into a load of police as they arrived at the scene of this burning bin. They also insisted on having my name and address before letting me walk off.

Of course the filth around these parts don't have guns, and don't have the ability to arrest people for jay-walking or for "disobeying a lawful order" or anything similar.

I'm waiting to hear how Israel is to blame for this. ;-)
In all seriousness, it's quite common for severely inebriated drivers to drive too slowly (and to slow down even further in the presence of other vehicles) in order to compensate for their loss of fine motor control and reaction speed. It's something cops look for.
Sorry, but the guy is a Class A asshole.
Last time I was pulled over, was at night. The cop started tailgating really close and I sped up a bit to get some space between me and whoever it was behind me. On came the red flashing lights. Pulled me over for speeding.
CBarr, that is infuriating. I HATE tailgating, even more than most people do.
CBarr, that is infuriating. I HATE tailgating, even more than most people do.
CBarr, when they're following you they're looking to spur you into a moving violation. They did that to me in Baltimore, when they were training a rookie. The judge asked them "what IS an 'illegal' lane change?" They answered, "there was nothing in front of her to cause her to change lanes." I replied, "That is true. It was what was behind me. I kept trying to get out of the way for the police." The judge threw out the charge.

Always, always, always fight your tickets.
Since my cars tend to be underpowered even when they're trucks, I accelerate slower than a lot of people like, and since I usually stick to the speed limit I often pick up tailgaters. I wire a push button into my dashboard so I can put the brake lights on without putting on the brakes. I push that a couple of times and the tailgater usually backs off. When they don't, I wonder what's wrong with 'em.
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