The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is one of the world’s leading proponents of “zero tolerance,” which forbids police to use discretion when citing citizens for any of thousands of possible infractions. It is a law enforcement philosophy that blatantly encourages cops to search for excuses to bully citizens and it only works one way. Citizens must scrupulously obey authority but cops can do anything they want.
It is also an offensive perversion of official power and it isn’t just people who read pages like this who think so. Which explains why the video below has gotten about three million hits on YouTube since it was posted to a thread on the social media site Reddit three days ago.
The clip, which was actually posted to YouTube last September, documents an encounter between a 12-year-old named Jeremy Drew and a Vegas Metro motorcycle officer who refuses to identify himself. The kid documented the encounter on a smartphone and it has already sparked an informal debate between pro-cop apologists who accuse the kid of being rude and the generally unacknowledged majority of Americans who are fed up with police.
In the normal course of being twelve, the kid observed the cop’s motorcycle parked on the sidewalk in front Terrible Herbst’s convenience store. Terrible’s is a common chain of convenience stores in Vegas. Do to the kid’s experience and training, he was aware that most people aren’t allowed to park on a sidewalk in Vegas.
When the cop exits the store with a giant drink in his hand – the kind that may soon be illegal in New York City – the boy asks, “Um…hello? Is there a reason for you to park on the sidewalk? Is it an emergency or anything?”
“Because I can,” the surly cop growls.
“Can I see your badge number?”
“Uh, because I have the right to.”
“You do, huh? What are you? A junior lawyer?”
“No. I just want to see your badge number.” The cop ignores the kid until the kid asks again, “Can I please see your badge number.”
Moving to the offensive, the cop asks ”Do you have ID on you?”
“No. I’m a minor.”
“Well, if you don’t have ID how do I know who you are.” It’s how cops think. How can the kid prove he isn’t Al Qaeda if he doesn’t carry his official papers. It is an official affect that worked for the Nazis.
“I’m Jeremy Drew.”
“Well how do I know that?” After a brief exchange about whether police have to obey the same laws as civilians the cop accuses the kid of “loitering.”
“No. I’m actually mailing this.”
And then the heroic policemen rode off.
The video began appearing on various television stations throughout the country this morning. It has not yet been broadcast in Las Vegas.