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Suspect Freed After Exposing Cop's Facebook Status 653

Posted by samzenpus
from the goblin-tossed-out-of-court dept.
longacre writes "A man on trial in New York for possession of a weapon has been acquitted after subpoenaing his arresting officer's Facebook and MySpace accounts. His defense: Officer Vaughan Ettienne's MySpace 'mood' was set to 'devious' on the day of the arrest, and one day a few weeks before the trial, his Facebook status read 'Vaughan is watching "Training Day" to brush up on proper police procedure.' From the article: '"You have your Internet persona, and you have what you actually do on the street," Officer Ettienne said on Tuesday. "What you say on the Internet is all bravado talk, like what you say in a locker room." Except that trash talk in locker rooms almost never winds up preserved on a digital server somewhere, available for subpoena.'"

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Suspect Freed After Exposing Cop's Facebook Status

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  • What the hell? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DurendalMac (736637) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @10:42PM (#27161347)
    That defense actually WORKED? Sorry, but that is nothing more than "locker room talk". If silly bits and pieces like that are valid in court, then the idiotic judge just opened a massive can of worms. Nice precedent, asshole. No more joking on the internet because someone could take it seriously!
    • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Stoutlimb (143245) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @10:44PM (#27161363)

      All that's usually needed is a reasonable doubt.

      • by GrpA (691294) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:20PM (#27161685)

          The defendant had better hope never to see:

          Officer Vaughan Ettienne's MySpace "mood" set to "vigilante"

          GrpA

        • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by jd (1658) <imipak@yaCOLAhoo.com minus caffeine> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @01:11AM (#27162485) Homepage Journal

          If they do, they would have legal grounds for getting the officer investigated (vigilantism has been a crime for a while, and "terroristic threats" were added shortly after 9/11), possibly kicked out the force, and maybe even jailed.

          This should not be considered a bad thing. Getting rid of bent cops is the only way you can ever ensure law enforcement is free of corruption. If the corrupt advertise their corruption, do not excuse them for it, nail the bastards to the courtroom wall.

          You want to know the reason nobody trusts those with power, and why power seemingly corrupts? Easy. Power doesn't corrupt, the corrupt seek power, and society hands that power to those who brag the best (ie: are the least stable). If you want those with authority to be responsible, then do not permit the irresponsible within a mile of authority.

          • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @07:52AM (#27164701)

            It's unfair to call someone corrupt because of a status in My Space. Are cops never allowed to be in a devious mood? This could have been attributed to a countless number of scenarios the cop was in. I agree getting rid of bent cops is the only way to prevent corruption, but I don't think it's fair to say this man is a bent cop because of his My Space status.

          • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @08:44AM (#27165117)

            Or he could list 'Nazi'. This is not a classic 'Godwin' statement: a number of British police were revealed to be members of the 'British National Party' when a membership list was revealed on Wikileaks (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/nov/19/bnp-list). That's the Nazi party of the UK, and it's illegal for police to be members of it.

            Wikileaks is wonderful for publishing criminal or abusive facts that 'those with the secret privilege' would like to never see revealed, and I applaud their work.

      • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:27PM (#27161749)

        A couple days ago, there was an article in the local paper. Someone (college athlete) had been cited for DUI but the charges were dropped. Why? Well, the arresting officer's report claimed he was visibly drunk, couldn't stand, was falling over, etc. None of which was corroborated by his own video taping of the event.

        The alleged drunk driver refused a breathalyzer test at the time, which some people consider an admission of guilt. Now, I don't know if he was drunk or not, but consider this: can a police officer who lies on his police report be trusted to accurately report the breathalyzer result? (Keep in mind there's no evidence, just a number he writes down.)

        • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Informative)

          by russotto (537200) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:10AM (#27162081) Journal

          Why? Well, the arresting officer's report claimed he was visibly drunk, couldn't stand, was falling over, etc. None of which was corroborated by his own video taping of the event.

          Go to court a few times and you'll realize something interesting... for a lot of cases with the same charges, the officer's story is exactly the same, only with a few details changed to make it applicable to the particular defendant. Someone booked for DUI will always be slurring their speech, staggering, have bloodshot eyes, etc. Someone booked for resisting arrest will always have been waving his arms and cursing, etc. This isn't because all the offenses are the same. It's because the officer's testimony has no relation to the truth. He's simply telling the story that gets a conviction.

          • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Informative)

            by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:16AM (#27162129) Journal
            The term is "testilie".
          • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by fractoid (1076465) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:26AM (#27162197) Homepage
            This is so very painfully true. What makes me really, really angry is that if you (as a defendant) lie in court, it's perjury and you're in deep shit. If the police officer lies in court, the judge smiles and nods. If you call them on it, the judge says "ok, well we'll ignore that bit".

            Justice system: 1. Justice: 0.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by BrookHarty (9119)

              Its not a Justice system, its a Legal System. And the law is foobar'd.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward

                Its neither. Its a revenue source. True guilt or innocence does not matter one whit. Want to be proven innocent regardless if one did a crime or not? Pony up for a good legal team who has manpower to do research and find any dirt on the witnesses being paraded so the jury discredits them.

                This is why Madoff will never see a day in jail.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Ihlosi (895663)

            Someone booked for DUI will always be slurring their speech, staggering, have bloodshot eyes, etc.

            Great. How about a defendant who can prove that he can still talk properly and walk on a straight line even with 0.2% BAC because he's an actual alcoholic?

            • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Interesting)

              by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @09:21AM (#27165549) Homepage Journal

              Great. How about a defendant who can prove that he can still talk properly and walk on a straight line even with 0.2% BAC because he's an actual alcoholic?

              I am not for a minute defending drunk driving, but many people like that are far safer on the roads than plenty of people for whom it is legal to drive. For example, if you can't turn around to look behind you, you can NOT safely back up a car, yet there are many elderly (and simply disabled) people who physically cannot do this. Arguably, it should be illegal for them to even operate a vehicle which must be driven in reverse. They can have a prototype Tucker, but they shouldn't be driving so much as a fucking Honda Civic, which is still dangerous enough to be considered a deadly weapon if you try to run someone over with it.

              The idea of drunk driving legislation is kind of ridiculous to me, because it is based on an arbitrary measurement. Some people can't drive safely at 0.03% (just to make up a number) and for that matter, some people never fucking drive safely. I was behind a woman driving a small car yesterday, going the same speed in my land yacht, she was over a foot over the double yellow while I was always in the lane. Unfortunately the cops came around the blind curve on the one curve she wasn't crossing - I live to see those people get tickets. I live in Lake County where we have [half of] a road called the "Hopland Grade", which is a portion of CA Highway 175 between Lakeport and Hopland. It is twisty and narrow and they fly a Cessna over the mountain and take aerial photographs of people driving over the line, then give them a big. fat. ticket. of about $240 for crossing that SOB. People crash in the road center all the time on that road, and many people also try to dodge the asshole in their lane and go off a big cliff, and the mystery is never solved. Some wanker wrote in to a paper about it being a secret toll road - the unanimous response was to stay the fuck home, we don't need you in our county. Point is, people are over that line generating revenue all day, and most of them are sober. They just think that the rules were invented to stop them from having a good time, and so they should not apply to them.

          • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:19AM (#27163521) Homepage Journal

            Sorta like the arrest report I have that I've saved for over 20 years.

            Reality: I'm sitting quietly on some church steps with a girl, a cop car pulls up on the lawn, I look up to see the cop's mouth move but can't tell what he said, so I ask "would you like us to leave officer?" (it was not unusual for cops to shoo teens along around that neighborhood.) He grins, says no, he wants ID, I have none, he arrests me.

            His police report: says I was making a disturbance, refused repeated requests that I leave until finally he was forced to arrest me.

            I'm lucky that's all it was, he threatened to add resisting arrest (which I of course didn't do.)

            In the car on the way to the station I find out why I had just been arrested for sitting on church steps. Turns out I had made some wisecracking unflattering comments about the town's cops' weight and age in the presence of an undercover cop (who was busy checking someone else out at the time...) and the arresting cop says to me "how about we let you meet with him alone in a room and talk about just how fat and old you think we cops are?"

            I was guilty of being a cynical 19 year old wiseass, is all.

            COPS LIE. ROUTINELY.

            • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by damburger (981828) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @06:38AM (#27164249)

              Cops are in it for the power. Remember the kids at school who swaggered down the halls looking to pick on any kid who looked a bit different? Back then they were 'policing' the school (i.e. beating up smaller kids) in the name of the 'community' (i.e. the consensus of normality reached by the population of the school which few if any people really adhered to).

              Someone just gave them a uniform is all.

              • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Norwell Bob (982405) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @09:27AM (#27165639)
                Way to generalize.

                As it so happens, every single police officer I know on a personal level is the polar opposite of that stereotype.

                But then, I've never personally been molested by a Catholic priest, or had my money embezzled by a Republican, or lacked rhythm because I'm white or been in any other way victimized by one of the stereotypes that it's OK to believe in.
                • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Informative)

                  by swb (14022) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @11:25AM (#27167537)

                  I've had the same experience. The cop I know best personally was a high school jock, his dad was a cop, and he's a very conservative catholic as well as a die-hard Republican. Despite all that, and being a police officer in a very diverse population, you simply cannot goad him into being a stereotypical mean spirited cop, a racist, or any of the other mean stuff you'd normally expect.

                  I've gone on a few ride alongs with him and he's very much the public servant with both crime victims and when he's made arrests.

                  About the worst thing I ever saw him do was take down a door-door "salesman" who had been canvassing our neighborhood well after dark (the cop and his wife lived up the block at the time). The cop's wife called me and complained that some weird guy banged on her door and wouldn't go away. I told her to call her husband who was at work (we live in the precinct) and I'd watch for him outside. He knocked on more doors as he moved down the block, and when the cop got to our neighborhood the "salesman" ducked between houses when he saw the squad and ran to the back road. They cut him off and stopped him on the street. They asked him what he was doing and who he worked for and he refused to answer or provide ID (he wasn't wearing the usual embroidered sales polo and had no sales materials or flyers), so the salesman got handcuffed face down on the hood of the squad and they searched him and his wallet, ultimately finding a business contact that verified who he was (some lame window company) and then they let him go and urged him to make his sales pitches when it was light out and respect people who said no.

                  I was the only witness (a half block away) and his wife had felt threatened by the sales guy -- they easily could have tuned him up and thrown him in jail on a resisting beef and nobody would have cared, but he didn't do it.

                  Anyway, I agree -- the blanket accusation that all cops are assholes and power mad jerks isn't true from what I've seen. Some are kind of weapons geeks, but that doesn't make them mean.

            • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Informative)

              by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @06:52AM (#27164335) Homepage Journal

              I remember when I lost my faith in the police. I was in third grade and a girl came in to tell us a story about her dad getting pulled over for speeding going 5 mph over while people were zipping past him. He asked the cop why he was the one pulled over and the cop literally said "you were easier to catch". From that moment, I have never trusted authority. It has been an excellent policy for me.

        • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:19AM (#27162157) Journal

          Interesting how much of what the police can charge you with relies solely on the officer's report of it. Would it not be prudent that such stewards of community safety be at least reprimanded harshly for implying that they could be 'in a mischevious mood' or that they are 'watching training day for pointers' etc.

          Whether it is bullshit bravado or not, what is different from this situation and that officer talking in the locker room about 'fucking niggers' and managing to arrest a disproportionate number of blacks? A bias demonstrated in the locker room or on the Internet is still a bias. The officer is clearly too stupid to be allowed even on Myspace, but nobody stopped him, now he got caught^H^H^H^H^H^H^H knows better.

          This is little different than political correctness finding its way to the Internet via the court. Is it right? Perhaps not. Finding yourself the prime suspect in a murder investigation is exactly when you don't want someone telling the cops that they heard you say "I'll kill that SOB" about the victim.

          It's a delicate balance indeed, but public figures should expect just a bit more scrutiny. On that note, lets smile now that we know exactly why video surveillance of all the population will cause as much problem for the 'law' as it will for anyone else.

          Lets face it, there just are somethings you shouldn't be putting on the Internet. You can guess how many cops in that precinct will have myspace accounts now... can't you?

          • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:39AM (#27162283) Journal

            Oh, it is MUCH worse than a little "testilying", which is frankly bad enough. Did you read the TFA?(I know, but I got bored). Check out this quote from the cop after watching a video of another cop roughing up a handcuffed suspect:"If he wanted to tune him up some, he should have delayed cuffing him." He added: "If you were going to hit a cuffed suspect, at least get your money's worth 'cause now he's going to get disciplined for" a relatively light punch."

            Now does THAT sound like a cop just joking around to you? Sure as hell don't to me. Sounds like somebody who likes to take his roid rage(yes he is also on steroids) out on the occasional suspect. Add to the fact that he felt comfortable enough with these beliefs to post them under his own name on the Internet and I'd say we got a cowboy here. As someone who has had his skull cracked because some cop didn't like "damned long haired freaks" I may be a little biased here, but he sure as hell don't sound like one of the good guys to me just by his own words. He sounds like another bully with a badge.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by pangloss (25315)

          The alleged drunk driver refused a breathalyzer test at the time, which some people consider an admission of guilt.

          Not to take away from your point, but according to the Chicago Sun-Times report [suntimes.com], the driver requested a breathalyzer test on the scene, but the officer claimed he didn't have a breathalyzer device in his squad car. The driver only refused the test later, at the police station.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @10:45PM (#27161379)

      That defense actually WORKED? Sorry, but that is nothing more than "locker room talk". If silly bits and pieces like that are valid in court, then the idiotic judge just opened a massive can of worms. Nice precedent, asshole. No more joking on the internet because someone could take it seriously!

      I know! This really ticks me off! I totally want to grab a handgun and take out a large handful of innocent bystanders before turning the gun on myself. Or maybe I'll start a blog!

    • by s0litaire (1205168) * on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @10:45PM (#27161381)
      Ok if i ever have a FaceBook page the status is gonna be set to "That cop set me up" or "I'm innocent" That should get me set free!! :D
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jd (1658)

        Au contrare. The precident set in this case would say that your facebook status shows prior knowledge of the action and therefore would secure your conviction.

        Now, if the cop who arrested you had a facebook page status of "I need 3 more arrests to make my quota for the month", you might have an easier time of it. Who, in their right minds, is going to take the sworn testimony of a cop needing to make up numbers seriously?

        In your example, the situation is reversed. Who is going to take YOUR sworn testimony s

    • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DaMattster (977781) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @10:52PM (#27161427)
      Due to the fact that it was made as a public announcement on a publicly viewable board, it looses the "locker room talk" argument. Officer Ettiene admitted to bias in his police work and judgement. Training Day is a prime example of extremely poor police work, judgement, and ethics; needless to say outright criminality. By not sending a message to this officer, we silently condone him. An officer that exhibits bias cannot be trusted to fairly and impartially enforce the law and has therefore abused the public trust put in him. Officer Ettiene showed incredibly poor judgement and will most likely loose his job for it.
      • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:00PM (#27161499) Homepage Journal

        Due to the fact that it was made as a public announcement on a publicly viewable board, it looses the "locker room talk" argument. Officer Ettiene admitted to bias in his police work and judgement. Training Day is a prime example of extremely poor police work, judgement, and ethics; needless to say outright criminality. By not sending a message to this officer, we silently condone him. An officer that exhibits bias cannot be trusted to fairly and impartially enforce the law and has therefore abused the public trust put in him. Officer Ettiene showed incredibly poor judgement and will most likely loose his job for it.

        Yeah. Personally, I just wonder what his Fark or 4Chan handle is.

        (and it's lose, goddamn you! Loses the locker room talk, loses his job. Loose is what you do to the hounds)

      • by Mr_eX9 (800448) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:29AM (#27162223) Homepage
        Learn the difference between "lose" and "loose." One applies to you, the other applies to your mother :)
    • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by east coast (590680) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @10:54PM (#27161435)
      No more joking on the internet because someone could take it seriously!

      Show me where I can joke in front of a cop without taking the chance of him taking it seriously and taking action based on it.

      And you know, I agree, it sucks that it's come down to this but everyone is so uptight anymore and the cops like to flex their muscles a little too much. This is the end result of a bunch of old high school jocks with a chip on their shoulder and the people who get sick of their 10th grade antics with a badge.

      Sorry for any cops that read this and think they're above that kind of thing, you just might be, but too many of your brothers in blue are nothing less than what I've described above. Most of us know police only when they meet them in a bad situation and all too often the asshole cops are the ones to be the most vocal. We rarely see the cop that lets small infractions slide.
      • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:25PM (#27161735) Homepage Journal

        Most of us know police only when they meet them in a bad situation and all too often the asshole cops are the ones to be the most vocal. We rarely see the cop that lets small infractions slide.

        We rarely see the cop that even enforces small infractions without making them a big deal. Part of their training is supposed to include not escalating a situation into violence.

      • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:08AM (#27162063) Homepage

        Sorry for any cops that read this and think they're above that kind of thing, you just might be, but too many of your brothers in blue are nothing less than what I've described above. Most of us know police only when they meet them in a bad situation and all too often the asshole cops are the ones to be the most vocal. We rarely see the cop that lets small infractions slide.

        About ten years ago, I've been known to be a little speed racer on the highways here in Houston, TX (ahh, my youth). As such, I've had my fair share of run-ins with the police. Almost always they are polite but stern. They will listen so long as you don't give them a line of BS as they will always see through it. Hell, it's their job to sniff out and isolate the BS. Most of the time, an officer will have written me up a speeding ticket (I deserved it), and others they will yell at me till I formed a pile of goo in my driver seat. Yet, that same officer will have closed our little "meeting" with just a formal warning. I guess he thought yelling at me was punishment enough.

        However, there has been a few times where an officer will have gave me a hard time for no good reason. Once, it was to impress how badass he was to a fellow partner that rode in the same patrol car. The other I felt he randomly pulled me over to fulfill his monthly ticket "quota". In all cases however, always prefix and end your conversations with "yes sir" and "no sir". Never get into an argument with an officer. Let me repeat... Never get into an argument with an officer. You will lose that battle every fucking time. Don't bother being sadomachoistic about it. Even if you're 101% in the right, just state your case once (politely) and let the chips fall where they may. But if you must, save your temper and proceed with a court hearing instead. Trust me; I've played this song and dance. You will not enjoy it when the tempo gets ugly.

        • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by twostix (1277166) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @01:16AM (#27162511)

          always prefix and end your conversations with "yes sir" and "no sir".

          This has always baffled me about you Americans, you viciously and readily proclaim yourselves as a nation of citizens over state power and the freest people on earth, but every single time a thread like this comes up people say baffling things like the above. Why would you, a free and presumably upstanding citizen of the community call a public servant "Sir" - in a manner that's really a bit too close to groveling for comfort?

          How does having to grovel to police officers lest you upset them and they ruin your life (apparently they have this much power in your country) make you the freest people on earth?

          I don't know about general social mores in the US, and perhaps calling people Sir is something that everyone does, but here in Australia nobody calls anybody Sir except for people employed in the service industry and some children to adults. If I was being bailed up by the police and I started calling them Sir, it'd probably make things worse. Either they'd think I was a spineless lick-spittle trying to suck up to them and so not worthy of ANY respect, or they'd think I was taking the piss and being a smartarse and so worthy of a hard time.

          Whenever I've had association with police on either side of the law (more often than I'd like to admit now that I think about it), I speak to them in exactly the same manner that I would speak to any other reasonable and upstanding adult that I have just met. With general politeness and general respect, no more and no less, they're not gods and treating them as such is probably half the reason your police run around thinking they are. Wouldn't you get a bit of an ego if people were falling at your feet calling you Sir everywhere you went just because of some government power you wield?

          Of course you're entirely correct about the temper and arguing, but attempts at gentle correction of inaccuracies in the officers claims are perfectly reasonable, they're just people after all and may well be wrong. And if they're a reasonable person and officer they'll listen to what you have to say. If they're a prick then all bets are off anyway temper or not.

          I enjoy the internet, sometimes it lets me see how much better my own country is than others in various things, (the opposite too).

          • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @01:48AM (#27162711) Homepage

            Why would you, a free and presumably upstanding citizen of the community call a public servant "Sir" - in a manner that's really a bit too close to groveling for comfort?

            My mannerism to a public servant (be it Police, Fire, EMT, Politician, and Military) is out of respect in that they put their life on the line for me, or have been elected in a democratic fashion.

            An American police officer is a very risky job and comes with shitty hours, high divorce rate, and a paycheck that doesn't match. While I may not agree with how they conduct themselves at all times, the profession has earned my respect. In no way is my mannerism toward them groveling.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by caitsith01 (606117)

              I find this mentality totally mystifying too.

              You pay their salaries. They are subordinate to the executive branch of government, which is subordinate to the legislature, which is subordinate to YOU and every other citizen.

              They should be calling you sir. You should be dealing with them in a polite but not deferential manner. Otherwise you are recognising that they hold some form of authority 'at large' over you, rather than merely an authority which is activated by a combination of the valid application o

              • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Interesting)

                by Lloyd_Bryant (73136) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:41AM (#27162985)

                They should be calling you sir. You should be dealing with them in a polite but not deferential manner. Otherwise you are recognising that they hold some form of authority 'at large' over you, rather than merely an authority which is activated by a combination of the valid application of democratically passed laws and your conduct.

                As a rule, police *do* address people as sir/ma'am (until/unless people start getting belligerent, at which point it becomes "scumbag" :)).

                As for recognizing that they hold some form of authority over you, well, there's an old joke:
                Q. What do you call a six foot negro with a seven foot spear?
                A. Sir!

                The simple fact that police carry lethal weapons has more than a little to do with the "sirs"...

            • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Belial6 (794905) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:23AM (#27163215)
              "An American police officer is a very risky job and comes with shitty hours, high divorce rate, and a paycheck that doesn't match."

              The same could be said of the guy working at the QuikyMart. Do you treat them with the same 'respect' that you do the police?
              • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Insightful)

                by JoeMerchant (803320) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @09:34AM (#27165747)

                "An American police officer is a very risky job and comes with shitty hours, high divorce rate, and a paycheck that doesn't match." The same could be said of the guy working at the QuikyMart. Do you treat them with the same 'respect' that you do the police?

                If you don't, what does that say about you as a human being?

          • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by TapeCutter (624760) * on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:42AM (#27163647) Journal
            "Officer" is the Aussie equivalent of "Sir"

            I'm also an Aussie, the correct way to address an Aussie cop is "Officer", "Yes officer", "No officer", "I should know better officer", "I tell my kids the same thing officer". Try it next time one pulls you over and you KNOW you are in the wrong. Never have I been more sorry than when as a long-haired freak in the 70's I turned to my g/f and said (just a little too loudly) "the dipshit is checking my rego because he thinks I stole the bike".

            However I agree, if you think you are right keep using "officer" to adress them and treat them as reasonable human beings while stating your case ONCE, leave the arguments for the court room. Oh and if you do find yourself in court don't lean on the wittness box and talk to the judge as if you were down the pub talking to your mates, trust me when I say pissing a judge off is much worse than arguing with a cop.

            Notice also that the cops over here will call you "Sir" on certain occasions, usually when they are deadly serious about what they are asking you to do and haven't yet established your name. Does the phrase "Can I see you license sir" ring any bells or do they use that language on me because I'm an old fart?

            None of this is subservience it's plain old fashioned respect (both ways). Also a healthy dose of humility when you know your in the wrong doesn't hurt anything, except maybe one's ego.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Zironic (1112127)

            It's also very interesting to see this behavior from a Swedish point of view, our equivalent of the word "sir" hasn't been in common use for atleast 50 years, we also don't use lastnames or titles if we can avoid it so the only way to sound polite without sounding like you belong to a b&w movie is by actually being polite :O

          • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Informative)

            by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @08:11AM (#27164841)

            I don't know about general social mores in the US, and perhaps calling people Sir is something that everyone does, but here in Australia nobody calls anybody Sir except for people employed in the service industry and some children to adults. If I was being bailed up by the police and I started calling them Sir, it'd probably make things worse. Either they'd think I was a spineless lick-spittle trying to suck up to them and so not worthy of ANY respect, or they'd think I was taking the piss and being a smartarse and so worthy of a hard time.

            Depends on your location. Down South (where we're usually known for good manners, if anything) we do indeed call just about everyone Sir or Ma'am. It's just a form of respect. The guy at Arby's who asks if I want extra ketchup with my sandwich gets a "No, Sir." reply. The janitor at work who asks if there's anyone else in the bathroom after I leave gets a "No, Ma'am.". It's just the way we're brought up.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Alarindris (1253418)

        We rarely see the cop that lets small infractions slide.

        And how do you treat officers when you are pulled over? If you are defensive and angry, you will get fucked.

        If you are light and cheerful, you are free to go.

        I've been pulled over at least a dozen times in the 11 years I've been driving, and only come away with a ticket once. Half the time I was definitely over the limit.

        You treat them with respect and make their job easy and they will return the favor.

    • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pugugly (152978) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:17PM (#27161647)

      I've known too many cops - hell yes that defense would work.

      One thing I've noticed about assholes with authority is that they *do* brag about how they are assholes with authority, and how they're going to screw up someones life. I've learned over the years - when someone claims that's the way they are, they are generally being honest.

      Quite often, that's the only warning you receive, before they screw up your life.

      Pug

    • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:38PM (#27161833) Journal
      If we, as a society give you a gun, a badge, and powers of arrest, I think we can fairly hold you to a reasonably high standard of behavior.
    • by jeko (179919) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:33AM (#27162243)

      What you say in a public forum, ESPECIALLY as a public official in a critical position of trust, matters. Make a joke about crashing planes on the TSA website, see what happens. Make any kind of joke in any kind of public forum about possibly harming the president of the United States and the Secret Service will absolutely pay you a visit.

      How would you feel to know your doctor cruelly jokes about involuntarily euthanizing people over 40? A kindergarten teacher making jokes about molesting the kids? A contractor who jokes about building houses to fall in the first earthquake? I'm a network engineer, and I can assure you I don't joke about crashing the 911 systems or bringing down the hospitals and airports I'm the lead engineer for.

      I love Bill Hicks. I thank God for Penn Gillette. Richard Pryor is a certified genius. We will not see the like of Jonathan Swift again. But when my wife is in the middle of a c-section, I don't wanna hear the anesthesiologist go "Hey Dude, do you want a hit of this too?" It would be hilarious, and I would have to kill him.

      A police officer who jokes about beating people and planting evidence does not have the temperment or trustworthiness for the job.

  • I get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SupremoMan (912191) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:17PM (#27161651)
    So when the system uses this kind of bs to keep you from a job it's fine and dandy. But as soon as you turn it around on the system, all of a sudden people are outraged?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mabhatter654 (561290)

      a girl showing her boobies 3 years ago when she was a sorority girl is not the same as somebody who's a cop right know joking about beating suspects or planting evidence.

      The last 3 presidents openly admitted to smoking pot... What would be so different about it in 15 years when somebody digs up somebody's old facebook post from Freshman year?

  • by Sarusa (104047) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:22PM (#27161695)

    The persona you show in the locker room or internet is your real self, or at least a closer version of it than what you show on the streets when anyone else but the guy you're screwing with is watching. I've seen fine upstanding cops like this lie their asses off in court enough to believe that if he jokes that 'Training Day' is great training that he more than halfway actually believes it.

    The suspect, Waters, is obviously not a great guy, but I'm not convinced I can trust anything a guy like Ettienne says either.

    • by Anubis350 (772791) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:39PM (#27161851)

      Oh, the cop was definitely an idiot for posting something like that, his job *requires* more discretion than that. WHile the reasonable doubt makes sense (which even the cop admits to), to think you can base your opinion of his policing ability and trustability on what's pretty obviously a facetious facebook comment...

      Hell, I work in a research group in bio-chem modeling, and not to long ago I had a status that read "Everything I know about DNA I learned from Gattaca" - I do hope that any future employers arent facebook-reading idiots...

      • by Sarusa (104047) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @12:34AM (#27162251)

        I guess it boils down to whether someone thinks you're joking or you're 'joking ha ha wink wink'. As a bio-chem researcher your Gattaca comment obviously trips the nerd humor trigger because it's so ridiculous. But we catch corrupt cops all the time. How about that Republican party member who made 'just a joke' about Obama's Easter watermelon hunts? Or if you'd snickered instead that you were 'falsifying COX2 inhibitor research results'?

        Cops are given an amazing amount of power - I've seen that if there's no evidence otherwise the judge will take their word over anyone else's, but they're caught lying and falsifying evidence quite often. Given that, joking on your Facebook page about using Training Day as a model he is are makes me go 'Ha ha ha... ha?' because it does happen. It is an admitted prejudice of mine, but I've never met a single good cop (and there are plenty of those too) who ever joked, even in private, about how corrupt they were.

      • by martinX (672498) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:47AM (#27163027)

        His job doesn't require more "discretion", it requires ethics and honesty. "Discretion" implies it's OK to be unethical and dishonest as long as you can get away with it.

  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:22PM (#27161697) Journal
    This is the kind of news that keeps me on track. When I release an SBD [wikipedia.org], I maintain a poker face [wikipedia.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:31PM (#27161779)

    Tough titty. If you're a public official, you have to live up to a higher standard than everyone else - it's part of the deal. Even the appearance of unfairness or impropriety is unacceptable, insofar as it relates to your position.

    To this end, I have compiled a list of analogous examples of facebook status lines, as depicted by their various professions:

    - Catholic Priest: "Off to work for me...Long day ahead of corn-holing a bunch of kids."

    - Astronaut: "Launch time is tomorrow morning. This time tomorrow, I should be safely in orbit, pulling my pud and spewing my wad into someone's EVA glove."

    - Programmer for Microsoft: "Damn I got coder's block. Time to find something useful inside the linux kernel."

    - Local baker: "I just fooled around for two hours with my raunchy girlfriend and haven't washed my hands. Gonna go bake some bread."

    - Medical examiner: "I'm just so bloody horny lately and dammit the online dating just isn't working out for me."

    - County Judge: "Feeling a bit woozy right now after sampling everything out of the medicine cabinet."

    - Airline pilot: "Life sucks and I want to die."

    - Cthulhu: "Sometimes i just want a hug."

  • by desinc (788828) on Wednesday March 11, 2009 @11:35PM (#27161815) Homepage

    I was waiting patiently outside of a coffee shop with my puppy while my girlfriend was inside getting a couple White Mochas.

    As I sat on the bench, two cops came and sat down right next to me. They were in the middle of a conversation, which I couldn't help but overhear.

    Cop 1: "Why'd we arrest that guy again?"

    Cop 2: "Man I don't even know!"

    Cop 1: "Eh, whatever. He had it coming to him. They'll sort it out at the station."

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tsotha (720379)
      That may not mean what you seem to be implying. It could mean they really didn't have anything to arrest him on. More likely it means there were so many different possible charges they didn't know where to start. In those cases they usually just kind of pick the most egregious thing and let the DA draw up the complete list once the suspect is in custody.
      • by bentcd (690786) <bcd@pvv.org> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @06:04AM (#27164039) Homepage

        That may not mean what you seem to be implying. It could mean they really didn't have anything to arrest him on. More likely it means there were so many different possible charges they didn't know where to start.

        It could also be that they were assisting in an arrest where someone else had the lead while they themselves had little idea how the whole thing started or why the guy in question needed to be arrested.

  • by nexuspal (720736) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @01:04AM (#27162441)
    Remember what your peers on here have said about slights committed by police officers. Give the guy/gal on the defense an extra benefit of the doubt, they really need it in cases where the police take it apon themselves to "help" get a conviction.

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