Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Remembering why I do this work

Alright, it's been a long time since I've posted. To those online and offline friends who've told me "what's going on?" I can only say, thank you for encouraging me. Work has been very busy of late, and management at our office has really become unhinged in a bad way (it's all relative, I guess. I hear enough horror stories that really makes my management pale in comparison). The net result has been that I've been offline too long. Perhaps it's drained all inspiration out of me.

That being said, there are times that things happen that have a cathartic effect on me and makes me realize why I do this, and a video on You Tube has provided that for me.

People have accused me of being obsessed with black/white issues, or rich/poor issues, or things of the like. In reality, I am obsessed with powerful/weak issues. Those who have power, and abuse it, against those who are weak and cannot fight back.

In this video, a Utah Highway Patrolman pulls a guy over for speeding. The guy evidently disagrees, and makes it clear. What is clear from the start is that the officer isn't accepting any disagreement, and goes back to write a ticket. When he returns, the person refuses to sign it. Here's where it gets really bad, and where the cop totally loses it. The person being pulled over probably had no clue that in signing the ticket, he's just agreeing to show up in court, and not admitting to any guilt (his lack of understanding of the system should've been a tip-off to the cop at this point). At this point the cop could've calmly explained "look, I know you disagree with me, but signing this ticket is just a promise to appear in court. You can explain to the judge why I'm wrong, and we can have it decided in court rather than out here, since we obviously disagree. I just have to make sure you're willing to come to court on your own, which this signature affirms. If you don't, I have to take you in cuffs to have you post bail personally. You have your pregnant wife and infant here, and I know you don't want that, so sign the stupid ticket, come to court, and we can argue about it there."

That, of course, would be the reasonable thing to do so as to explain to someone who appears otherwise law-abiding what the system is actually doing here. Instead, the cop orders him out of the car and immediately decides to arrest him, without telling him what he's arrested for. Obviously, the guy is pretty surprised by this and doesn't jump to it with his hands behind his back, and after 6 seconds (which was actually timed in one news report of the event), has his taser out and is threatening to shoot - which he does a second later or so. The victim (I love calling the arrested person that, but he clearly is one) never endangers the officer, never threatens him, and never does anything offensive other than request a sober statement of what happens.

Here's what fascinates me. The officer otherwise seems like a nice guy. He talks with the wife afterwards in a very polite manner, as if he has concern for her (this after just tasing her husband, leaving her hysterical, and threatening her as well, all for nothing). He clearly will never be disciplined for this, he tells his supervisor who comes on scene what happens (only slightly lying in his rendition), and has evidently never been disciplined in the past. In other words, this was standard operating procedure.

And yet, watching it, I felt the pangs of uncontrollable rage in me. I felt the same as I felt watching videos of 60's protesters in the south being set upon with dogs, or sprayed with high powered hoses, or watching protesters in Russia get clubbed, or with any other place where injustice plays itself out in such a blatant fashion and where society at large yawns or (worse) applauds loudly.

I am so honored to be one of those people who stands up for these powerless people. I'm not saying that every client of mine is in this guy's position - of course not, that is absurd. But the chips are stacked so dramatically against the people that I represent, and when something like this happens, there is no one otherwise there to stand up for a victim of police abuse like this and say "enough!" The problem is, society has become so inured to the notion of "lock 'em up and throw away the key" that they are now willing to lock up anyone and everyone, and society at large applauds. Honest, good people get abused now because it has become acceptable. After decades of shitting on poor minorities, the attitude has spread and the practice has followed closely behind it. Anyone can be nailed now, legal protections have become so pro-forma so as to not exist anymore. Perpetrators of these actions are protected far more than the public at large is. Police officers are seen as victims if their actions are called into question and they are investigated for their misdeeds.

The only people out there fighting against this all the time - not just in the case of the highly sympathetic white victim in Utah with a pregnant wife and infant in the car where the case is caught on video - are public defenders and other lawyers like us.

It takes watching a video like this, and feeling once again the frustration in me while watching it, that reminds me why I'm so proud to do this work.

And with that, I'm back.


Peter said...

george w. bush and every other u.s. president seem perfectly nice, too most of these criminals seem nice - they'll still beat you, murder you, have you kidnapped and tortured, etc. it should never be surprising that someone can wear a smile when bludgeoning you.

i think you maintain a generally favorable view of cops as just other human beings trying to get by - i couldn't disagree more. they may not have been pure evil at the time they started wearing the badge, but they quickly descend into evil. power corrupts. absolute power corrupts absolutely. and that's what police enjoy - absolute power.

this guy is typical cop - his smug attitude is the same. got beat up in high school, and now he goes around acting cool while he's wearing a badge. he's so nice to this dude's wife after terrorizing here - brilliant. it's to be expected - he's feeling all-powerful at that point, and he is - it's easy to act benevolent when you've got all the power and the people you're abusing have none.

the cop is a criminal and should be locked up.

you're right - the signing of the police ticket is garbage. it's not at all obvious to anyone why they're signing the ticket, except that someone with a gun and a badge is ordering them to do it. of course people think they're admitting their guilt right there on the spot - what else would they be signing a document for except to acknowledge its validity and accuracy? it ain't a tea party. that is what 'signing your life away' means to people - when you sign a piece of paper, you're agreeing to whatever is written on it.

if you ever need to find your outrage, subscribe to the Innocence Project feed.

lot of innocent poor people out there need help getting out of jail before the federales murder them. so what's 40 years of false and misleading testimony anyways? fiddlesticks.

or subscribe to the google news feed telling you about every time a cop murders someone else with a taser - the latest canadian murder is a good one:

and to scare the reality into people, refer them to what cops are really about:

glad to have you back!


CT said...

In a free society, the criminal defense counsel sits at the right hand of God. Why? Because society cannot rely upon its police, prosecutors and judges to adhere to the law and follow its mandates. Were it not for the criminal defense attorney pointing out each abuse by law enforcement and the deceptive antics of the prosecution and arguing with the former-prosecutor judge about erroneous rulings, our society would not be free.

We fight the good fight. We don't always win, but the bullies on the block think twice about fighting with us because they know they will likely walk away victorious, but with a limp.

Carry on solider, carry on.


CS said...

I doubt this is the reason "...why you do this work." After seeing the video, you hardly need a capable attorney to have this poor guy fight his case. I don't beleive this is acceptable use of force in any jurisdiction...despite what may have been said by the officer's supervisor. In short, the PD Dude probably does what he does in order to protect the accused and our constitution when the government is much more nuanced and subtle in its misconduct.

I don't disagree in substance at all. But given that you again must inject race, class and affluence ...I of course have to respond a bit. First, you say that its really not about race and class but about "power." I agree. Later in your post you cant resist taking a swipe by saying that it is usually only noticed when it happens to whites or the affluent.

Far from...while it is certainly easier to give the shaft to those who are unfortunate, it happens to the affluent repeatedly. We have seen it on your blog here when we are discussing Paris Hilton, the Duke Lacross team etc...

The fact that you are only surrounded by the former, may only indicate the demographics of your location or the type of crime involved. Get assigned to Valencia and you"ll see that the cases and the misconduct are similar if not identical.

Bottom line...I never saw this video until you posted it...never heard any outcry over it. Similarly, the mentally ill white lady that died in police custody in phoenix, there wasn't much of an uproar about that either. It got a bit of coverage and that was pretty much it.

So I am surprised that you are surprised by this type of conduct. I agree with is about "power"...and the cops get on their high horse with everyone as a result. If you do white collar defense you would see that for yourself as well.

And as bad as this video is...I hope and presume it will resolve itself quickly because of the video itself. I would much rather have a discussion of how Michael Vick is being completely screwed with his fed plea, only to face identical state charges. Moreover, it is more disturbing to me that those who generally have the same leanings and concerns as you do with the justice system, were basically calling for Vick's public execution on the courthouse steps. Forget about the trial, the evidence or the presumption...they wanted blood.
Why? Again, simple hypocrisy? Their "pet" issue (no pun intended) was at stake. They care about it...they fight for all their notions of justice and the constitution go out the window. This is to say nothing of the fact that they wouldn't dare protest and do those things outside the courthouse if 30 people were slaughtered instead of the dogs.

Dennis R. Wilkins said...

I love the post and I miss you posting them, Dude. Your voice is helpful to the rest of us, or at least to me. Good to see you post again.

That being said, I'm going to go with CS Legal on much of his nuance of your excellent post, especially the treatment of Vick. The truth is that our criminal justice system is very susceptible to public outcry, vengeance, and distortion from wealth and power. More often than not, the sentences that are handed down are handed down for the wrong reasons. And the cases prosecuted and charges brought are selected more on "who can the DA pick on without retribution (or who must the DA prosecute to keep his job)" rather than what is the just and right thing to do. Politics and power have an awful lot to do with how justice is dispensed - perhaps the real sin is in not admitting that this is the case. It might help skew the system back a bit and get the jurors to look at evidence a bit more skeptically after they understand that power and politics are infused in our system.

One good note here, among all of the bad things. The ubiquity of portable recording devices has probably done far more to inhibit police brutality than anything the various civil right movements ever did. I'm not denigrating any civil right movement, I'm just pointing out that portable video cameras and portable recording devices have popped up in so many cases where cops claimed one thing and the truth turned out to be something else. It's to the point now that even the most conservative law-and-order-type person cannot honestly claim (unless that person is also completely illiterate and has no access to the web, in which case there is simply no educating that person) that police NEVER frame any one. Or that police NEVER lie.

In the end, the Scooter Libby commutation might actually do us all some good, because although I still believe it was Bush's successful attempt to shield his perjurer from punishment, it nonetheless higlighted the facts that: 1) Federal (as well as state) punishments for crimes, especially nonviolent crimes, are too high and prison is simply prescribed far too often, and 2) There are far too few commutations, and there ought to be more.

Please be aware that I don't agree with the Libby commutation. But it happened, and it is one of those few times where conservatives were finally bitching about the extent of federal power to prosecute and punish, sometimes even before an arrest (like Ruby Ridge or Waco, but minus the craziness of some of these detractors).

Last comment: I know many cops and they don't all fit the profile of what you descibe (i.e. short guy syndrome). Most are honest, loyal, and respectful. But they have been trained, one and all, to control a situation. And control generally requires a use of force, a show of force, or a threat of force. The problem is that many of these guys buy into the rhetoric, just like almost all prosecutors do. Things like, all drugs are bad, and that by threatening druggies they will quit. Or that prostitution can be "stamped out" in a given area with stepped up enforcement, disregarding the social forces and moral forces surrounding its illegality in the first place. Or that poverty does not heavily interrelate to crime. Or that Hitler did bad things, but at least he got the trains moving on time (gotta love that one, and I haven't met a cop yet who wasn't familiar with the saying, or its underlying meaning - i.e. fascism is good). So long as police departments are run in a military model, they will act like a military. The reason we don't allow the military to interfere in civilian matters in our government (posse comitatis) is the same reason we should keep police agencies and prosecutors at arms-length: They will take over in a coup, if given the chance.

And they have. Pray that we eventually get our democracy back.

Dennis R. Wilkins

Patrick said...

This guy isnt completely innocent as you probably know. He was under arrest and then he tried to get back in control of his vehicle. The last thing this officer needed at that point was a high speed pursuit. The bottom line is, that cop may have been a tight ass about the law, but it is the law and he had every right to enforce it at his discretion. The focus should be on the use of force policy of the department that allows the use of a taser on passively resisting suspects.

Anonymous said...

Not to burst your "holier than thou" (typical) liberal attitude, but if the driver had simply followed the officer's instructions - this would not have been an issue.

Regardless of whether he didn't "understand" the process, when a uniformed officer gives a lawful order, you obey it.

The driver could have fought the ticket (or the original arrest) in court. Instead- he (like you) thinks that he can disregard law enforcement at will.

Was the cop a dick? Yeah- probably. But, again, if the drive had simply done as he was told, no TAZER, no arrest, no whining from you.

CS Legal said...

It is rather pointless to debate either Patrick or anonymous. Apparently, any order by police must be obeyed whether reasonable or not. Disobey it...and the consequences are your own fault.

I would venture to say that not much about the cops conduct was reasonable here, except the way he wants to cover his ass with the wife afterwards.

There is nothing to suggest a dangerous situation, a dangerous couple, or as I presume, that the guy had any significant priors of any kind.

And sorry, disobeying a lawful order does not equal getting tazed. Thats not reasonable or justifed use of force. The guy didnt sign the ticket and took a few steps towards his car while the cop is screaming like an asshole...yeah, I guess the cop could have shot him too.

Spoons said...

I'd have to disagree with cs legal. As a cop myself, i see exactly where the officer was coming from. Maybe he could have spent a little more time dealing with the pain in the ass driver and the situation wouldnt have escalated, but the fact is, he didnt, and hes not obligated to cut people slack. The driver had an attitude and when he made a move for his vehicle the trooper analyzed the situation and realized that he could possibly be going for a weapon, or at least try to drive off. If the officer didnt stop him and one of those things happened, that officer would be fired as well as the laughing stock of the department for being an idiot. In the end, an officer is not required to be patient with an obnoxious driver when he is within his right to arrest him, its called discretion.

Dennis R. Wilkins said...

Wow. Lokks like CS-Legal, PD Dude, and myself are the only ones who give a damn about the use of force. Let's get this straight: Simply because a person is arguing with a cop, and the person walks away, he can be tased. I realize that tasers are less than lethal, but they can be lethal in various circumstances. The cop didn't tell the guy "stop moving, come back here." He simply shot the guy when he refused to sign the ticket. And no, simple refusal, BY ITSELF isn't justification to take the guy to jail. It is the refusal to cply with the signing ticket scheme, which had never been explained to the driver. Never mind being a dick, the cop does have some duty to explain "if you don't sign the ticket, I must take you to jail to ensure your appearance in court" and "signing the ticket is not an admission of guilt." These are, in fact written on every citation in California.

All that said, we really have gone too far. Too many people are ready to jump to the defense of an officer who turns a regular, law-abiding citizen into a criminal over a simple misunderstanding.

The constant belief that "the cop is always right" has gotten us into far too much trouble. We have now come to a point that a cop pretty much has to just kill a guy in cold blood on camera, without any justification whatsoever, to be looked at as a "problem officer."

Police have been give too much power in our society and not enough oversight. Shows like "24" have justified extreme and unjustifiable acts like torture and no one even blinks. Even Justice Scalia made a comment recently during an international conference regarding torture and said: "Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. ... He saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Judge Scalia said. Then, recalling Season 2, where the agent's rough interrogation tactics saved California from a terrorist nuke, the Supreme Court judge etched a line in the sand. "Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so.

"So the question is really whether we believe in these absolutes. And ought we believe in these absolutes."

Great job, Justice Scalia. Now everyone thinks of law enforcement, and that just about any tactic employed against those suspected, not just charged or convicted, of crimes is reasonable.

It is no wonder that our public is so sadly misinformed.

Oh, and by the way: I sincerely hope that when one of you naysayers is in a place where law enforcement is doing bad, corrupt things, that you don't get your heads bashed in by a dirty cop when you try to say anything about it. But of course, most people who love authority so much never speak out when authority has become corrupt or untrustworthy.

The word they have for this is fascism. We get exactly the type of government we deserve. How is it working for the rest of you? Me, I'm not liking it too much right now.

Cs- legal said...

Dennis, sadly that appears to be the case and you are right on.

I am amazed at those who continually argue how difficult a cop’s job is, yet can’t make distinctions as to proper use of force when it’s blatantly apparent. This case isn’t even close and when I hear people try to rationalize it, it just undercuts real discussions about when such force is proper.

For example, we all probably remember the attention seeker who interrupted John Kerry’s speech a few months back. (“Don’t tase me bro”…yes, that guy). Whatever you may think of whether he should have ultimately been tased or not, a more rational and legitimate argument may be had about it. He had 5 cops on him, he was clearly pushing, resisting, flailing, and on the tape they warned him over and over to stop or that they would tase him. Now, my point isn’t to start another discussion of the appropriateness of that, but merely to point out the clear difference in behavior, conduct and circumstances between him and the guy in the PD video. I am sure that Patrick, Spoons and whomever else thought that the Kerry dude was legitimately tased. How the hell can they look at the tape here then and argue the same just for refusing to do something a cop asks…without any struggle, any violence, and virtually any warnings. If they can’t see the difference in these situations then I can’t value their opinion in either circumstance.

Not only does this video suggest that he should not have been tased, but I don’t see any justification for drawing the taser to begin with. This is to say nothing of the fact that a reasonable person may rightfully believe that the cop is pulling a gun on them not a taser. Look at the video and see whether in such a situation one would even be able to tell the difference between the two.

This is not a matter of "discretion," "cutting slack," or being "cool cop,"its about being a reasonable human. You have no right to tase someone who is not posing a threat to you or another person, simply because he takes a few steps back after you have pulled what looks like a gun. A cops job is hard, but if being reasonable and proper makes your job harder, well tough shit…then your damn job will be harder.

If we are to use the last few comments as guides for the use of force…then…hell…why don’t you guys just advocate tasing everyone right from the inception of the stop. That way they will never be able to reach for a weapon, make a getaway, initiate a high speed chase or be a threat to a cop.

And Spoons…if as you say, the cop didn’t stop him in that manner "…the officer would be fired as well as the laughing stock of the department for being an idiot." Well…then there is something wrong with the whole lot of you.

Dennis R. Wilkins said...

Good points all, CS-Legal. But I do want to wrap this discussion around so that something is clear. I don't agree with Spoons, Patrick, or Anonymous on this issue, not at all. But I would rather hear what they have to say in response to what we have said.

You see, I get social conservatives and law-and-order folks on my juries all the time - many jurors are both, and some are one but not the other, but most are both. Many of these jurors are hard-headed, but then many people (myself included) are hard-headed. Sometimes, not always but it seems to happen enough, I get these jurors to see things my way - I live in a conservative county so my political opinions are not necessarily the norm for my jury pool. That being said, I can sometimes convince these law-and-order and social conservative types to agree with me.

All that said, what I am more interested in hearing from some rational law-and-order types and/or social conservatives is what, exactly, people should do when they find out about corruption in their government, especially at the police officer level. As a reminder, remember that G. Gordon Liddy, an example of both law-and-order (from a convicted felon, no less) and social conservative advocated head shots on ATF agents when they are messing with citizen liberties. I know that I have somewhat misquoted him, but what he said isn't far off. And I'm not saying that G. Gordon Liddy speaks for anyone. But I would like to hear from others like Spoons, Patrick and/or Anonymous, and I invite them to tell us what exactly average citizens should do when they are confronted with corrupt police. Abusive police. Unfair police tactics.

I'd like to hear from them what poor minorities should do when they are confronted with police targeting them for traffic stops, as the New Jersey chief of police stated in an interview that he did - he admitted that New Jersey singled out people of color for traffic stops and justified it by pointing to the amount of convictions brought in under that policy.

Again, I'm not trying to sneer at those I am inviting to repond to this post, and I am not looking for invective, or calling their opinions ridiculous. I have used the word fascism purposely - those who look uncritically at their government and merely obey are either fascistic, totalitarian, or something. And yes, the former Soviet Union and the curent China, although not fascistic, were and are nonetheless police states where individual rights don't matter much.

What if there were an all-black community that decided one day that, henceforth, only white people would be stopped in traffic stops, because it is an issue of "fairness." Could and would white social conservatives/law-and-order types object? After all, these are "law-enforcement" and they are above scrutiny, right? I am not being silly. I want to see some actual responses.

I eagerly await your responses.

Cs-legal said...


I think you'll be waiting for a long time.

PD Dude said...

Great posts, Dennis & CS.
CS (re your first post), you really have an ultra sensitive antennae for my analogies and comparisons of treatment of race and class in my posts, so much so that it makes me wonder what your real issue is.

If you'll carefully re-read the original post, you'll see that I only refer fleetingly to race and class in this post, only to note that what was once confined to the poor and minority has now begun to spread to the rest of society - and that society has reaped what they've sown by their countenancing of such misconduct against the "other" for so long that now it's coming back to get them. What was that old saw from the German priest in WWII? "When they came for the Jews....."

You implicitely acknowledge the extent to which the reflexive conservative defense of police power against the less powerful has led to more recent abuses against people less associated as victims of police/court abuse - Paris Hilton and the Duke Lacrosse players. What is noticeable about those analogies by you is the fact that 1) they are so recent (showing that society has really changed from tolerating the abuse of only minorities and liberal protestors to tolerating it against society at large) and 2) they are still so unusual. Those stories still are the man bites dog stories, but they are clearly increasing. The reality is that those stories still are the exception, while in poor, minority neighborhoods it happens ALL THE TIME.

Incidentally, I have worked in primarily white courts before, and the one thing that is totally noticable is the outrage on the part of defendants and their family when they get screwed over by the police (again - while this does happen with increasing frequency in white neighborhoods, it still generally happens only to the poor white folk, just like it generally doesn't happen as frequently in affluent black neighborhoods). The fact is, white people have been used to getting far more breaks than minorities have, and hence, whine so much more when they are violated. Ask any defense lawyer who's worked in both minority and white areas, they'll tell you how much more outraged whites are by the commonplace abuses that minorities put up with every day.

One last thing - consider the filing criteria for a poor (frequently, but not necessarily) minority person vs. a rich person or a celebrity when it comes to something like rape, or even murder. The prosecution waited a year before charging Phil Spector, they have rejected so many rape cases against the various athletes in California from the different professional and college teams that I see filed every day it's a joke. This is because they know they can beat up on the poor and minority and people won't care. So they do it.

Josh said...

I'm in law school now and just happened upon this post. This asshat definitely got what was coming to him for disobeying a police officer. There's no excuse for it. Absolutely none. If a person thinks an officer is breaching his police powers, etc... then there is recourse. In my state, you do not even have the right to resist a false arrest. And, that's the way it should be.

If a police officer gives you a command you follow it, or your ass gets taken down. It's that simple. Anyone who doesn't recognize this principle deserves to be Darwined as fast as possible.

PD Dude said...

Perfect words from a facist society. Ask questions, speak freely, step out of line, and you get beaten down. Sort of like the Japanese proverb that the nail that sticks up gets beaten down.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you're out of the mainstream on this anymore, far from it, you're right there.

Then again, your views would be much more at home in places like Saudi Arabia, where theft results in cutting off your hand, or public beheadings are still somewhat commonplace. Your unforgiving, unrepentant authoritarian views are a sad testiment to where our society is right now.

God help us all if the pendulum keeps swinging in that direction, as it clearly has for the last 25 years or so. We'll be standing in the public squares cheering on the hangman as he executes people accused of heresy, or insubordination. It's all part of our increasing "zero tolerance" culture that has helped to turn us into increasingly reactive, unthinking automatons.

The notion that a police officer has no responsibility to dampen down the situation before using serious force that causes extreme suffering by a human being is despicable.

I hate that attitude. And it is why I do this work.

Anonymous said...

What kind of nutcases are you all? Signing a ticket means you are signing a promise to appear, without that, you subject yourself to arrest. This driver could've gotten himself shot walking up behind the officer in the cuffs. As a public defender myself, I would recommend that people who don't want to get tased cooperate with an officer's orders and fight their tickets in court, not on the highway with an armed peace officer. He could've taken the wife in too for 148.

Miss Carnivorous said...

Well, one can argue that Saudi Arabia tends to have less crime, because of such drastic punishment.

I served on a jury last July in a car jacking, shooting case. It was pretty hard to find a juror who had not been a victim of a pretty serious crime. The more violent crime that happens, the more reactionary we will be and the more the general populace will countenance strong arm tactics.

Here in the Bay Area, many people would be happy to see this guy tasered, just because he is driving an SUV.

Witness the fact that a majority of Americans don't care of the NSA spies on citizens.

Anonymous said...

Who can we rely on when the police themselves are corrupt? He pulled his taser out as he told the guy to turn around and put his hands behind his back; he pulled it out right then, before there was any reason whatsoever to think it necessary.

This is just scary.

Shane said...

i used to admire cops, that was before a bunch of them pushed me around and tried to frame me with drugs

I didn't even knew what was going on exactly until I was in prison

according to a slip of paper they handed, they were charging me with assault with a deadly weapon, assault with..., terrorism, and 10 other stuff

then let me go after spending all of friday to mondy in jail. I was never even brought before a judge or anything

I wish someone recorded what they said to me, things like how to write it up so that I look like I was high and crazy, how much nonexistant drug they found on me, they are the law, how they will say that they saw me actually take drugs right in front of them

well, there was this one cop who wasn't so bad, he lossened my hand cuffs when he knew the other cops deliberatly tigtened the cuffs to bruise me and he sort of suggested that I should be let go, but he didn't dared to go against the three other cops putting the smack on me