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Talk Back To A Cop, Get Yourself Arrested

by @ 7:59 pm on July 30, 2009. Filed under In The News, Individual Liberty, Politics, U.S. Constitution

That’s the lesson that one attorney in Washington, D.C. learned last weekend:

Pepin Tuma, 33, was walking with two friends along Washington’s hip U Street corridor around midnight Saturday, complaining about how Gates had been rousted from his home for not showing a proper amount of deference to a cop. “We’d been talking about it all day,” said Tuma. “It seems like police have a tendency to act overly aggressively when they’re being pushed around,” Tuma recalled saying.

Then the group noticed five or six police cruisers surrounding two cars in an apparent traffic stop on the other side of the street. It seemed to Tuma that was more cops than necessary.

“That’s why I hate the police,” Tuma said. He told the Huffington Post that in a loud sing-song voice, he then chanted, “I hate the police, I hate the police.”

One officer reacted strongly to Tuma’s song. “Hey! Hey! Who do you think you’re talking to?” Tuma recalled the officer shouting as he strode across an intersection to where Tuma was standing. “Who do you think you are to think you can talk to a police officer like that?” the police officer said, according to Luke Platzer, 30, one of Tuma’s companions.

Tuma said he responded, “It is not illegal to say I hate the police. It’s not illegal to express my opinion walking down the street.”

According to Tuma and Platzer, the officer pushed Tuma against an electric utility box, continuing to ask who he thought he was and to say he couldn’t talk to police like that.

“I didn’t curse,” Tuma said. “I asked, am I being arrested? Why am I a being arrested?”

Within minutes, the officer had cuffed Tuma. The charge: disorderly conduct — just like Gates, who was arrested after police responded to a report of a possible break-in at his home and Gates protested their ensuing behavior.

And, for the same reasons that Gates’ arrest was unconstitutional, it seems pretty clear that Tuma’s arrest was improper. And, yes, it most likely happens every day in cities around America.

8 Responses to “Talk Back To A Cop, Get Yourself Arrested”

  1. They call it “arrest”. I call it “kidnapping”. Indict them. Try them. I’d vote to convict if I were on the jury. Public hanging at dawn. Problem solved.

  2. Scandia says:

    That guy acted like a rebellious teenager, whether it was legal or not IMHO. He acted stupidly.

  3. Vast says:

    Acting stupid isn’t a criminal offense.

  4. If it was, there would be a hell of a lot more people in jail

  5. T F Stern says:

    That fellow as much as spit on the whole city by his actions and so the police officer, that representative of civilized society should have kicked his ass into the next county. Since that isn’t permitted, a trip to cool off in jail was the next best thing. If you want to defend jerks who chant hate at the police don’t peddle it as a public service.

  6. He may have acted like a jerk, but he didn’t commit a crime that justified arrest.

    And neither did Gates

  7. Levi Woods says:

    I support and admire our law enforcement, but I realize that we are slowly losing our rights and our freedom or speech. I live about an hour south of Seattle, and I’ve been all over the U-district and have seen some pretty messed up stuff… to be honest, this kid may have said or done more than what is printed above… and the problem is that we are only hearing one side of the story. If the officer assaulted this kid, suspend or fire him. Thats only fair. If the officer was responding in the way that he is expected to, then fine the kid and let’s move on. Interesting story, though.

  8. T F Stern says:

    I’d have to disagree, they both fall under Disorderly Conduct, a general purpose catch all something like yelling fire in a crowded theater. If you speak words which incite anger in a public place, no different than spitting in the face of a person is assault, then society has declared that as legally offensive and a chargeable offense; so, yes, acting like a jerk in public is a crime.

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