A Law Student's Attempt to Understand It All.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Police: Not Above the Law

In an argument on the law, who do you root for: a lawyer or a cop?

Breitbart reported the AP story of a showdown in a Japanese restaurant between a lawyer and a cop. The cop had run into the restaurant for a quick meal-- but he parked illegally next to the curb outside. Now, if you or I did that, we would get a parking ticket. The lawyer brought up this important point.
Bryant testified. "I responded, 'No, you're not.' I told him he was an officer of the law. He's not supposed to break the law. He's supposed to enforce the law."
The cop replied that the law did not apply to him. The best he could come with in court is that he might have to leave quickly to answer an emergency call.

This is a victory for the rule of law. The police should never be above the law. If the law needs to be amended to allow a cop to park illegally for routine meals, then let the legislature do so. I seriously doubt that parking an extra 30 feet away would really hamper the cop in performing his duties of taking reports after a person is victimized. What this is really about is the arrogance of the police culture in assuming power they do not have, but who will argue with the man with the gun?

Nonetheless, until the law is changed, the cops must abide by the law too.

Tangentially, I will never use the LE/"Civilian" distinction. Really, either a person is active duty military or they are a civilian. Either they operate under the rules of martial orders and law or they operate in civilian law. A soldier has vastly different responsibilities to the state than a cop. A cop is a citizen whose given a badge to enforce the law, while a soldier is to defend the very existence of the state.