Sunday Stupid: The calmest cop ever gives the angriest motorist ever a ticket!
Warning: A torrent of foul language awaits in the above clip.
Over-aggressive police officers have been much in the news lately here in the U.S., as has a militarization of local constabularies that’s made them more paramilitary organizations than law enforcement agencies. It seems, right or wrong, like the image most have of the modern cop is that of a boot kicking the little guy right in the chops.
But don’t let it be said that there aren’t good policemen and policewomen out there who are models of restraint. There’s one in this clip (maybe), who calmly goes about his duties as the world’s most pissed off driver unfurls a string of profanity and crabbily complains about perceived harassment, the cost of insurance, the cost of postage, his illiteracy and national economic policy.
Here are some highlights:
0:01 – Stephen Murray, the Maine State Police officer in the video, introduces this version, indicating that it was used in training videos — usually you see this clip in “World’s Wildest Cop Moments” compilations or whatever, with no intro. Also, it should be noted that the motorist’s face is blurred out in this iteration, while in others it sometimes isn’t. All the glorious swears are in there, though. Not a bleep to be heard. Which is what counts.
0:42 – We pick up with Murray having written the ticket and proceeding back to the stopped van to hand it to the driver — hereafter referred to as “Crabby.” And then it begins, with Crabby trying to yank it away and referring to the officer as a “goddamn a$$hole.” This won’t be the last time these two things occur.
1:33 – Crabby displays a lack of basic economic comprehension by accusing trooper of “running up the deficit on the working man” by unjustly stopping innocent drivers. Oh, and he’s also deployed a few f-bombs by now.
2:06 – Murray explains what to do with the ticket in the most condescending tone imaginable, which is really quite generous of him considering that by this point many of us in his shoes would have grabbed Crabby by the collar and pulled him through the window.
2:14 – Crabby can’t read?
2:43 – Crabby can afford a stamp. At least there’s that.
2:47 – The clip reaches its apotheosis when Crabby learns the fine amount: $137.50. He immediately yoinks the ticket out the trooper’s hands and tears it up, all the while making sounds like a wombat in heat — there might be a little dash of Curly Howard in there as well. “YOU’RE F**KING CRAZY!” The van rocks like two people are going at it in the back. Fantastic.
3:02 – The trooper makes Crabby get out of the car and pick up the ticket shreds, or else face a littering charge. Which is actually a restrained, reasonable response, even it does sound a bit like a pricky power move in the abstract.
3:21 – He missed some.
3:50 – The trooper informs Crabby that he’s giving him a warning for his failure to produce insurance, and Crabby evenly inquires whether he can “give [him] another one.” Which would seem to indicate that his profane, righteous indignation isn’t all that righteous.
4:56 – He’s a Bill Clinton supporter, and can spout the old “Hope” platitude and economic talking points. We should note that the last night of the 1992 Democratic National Convention was indeed on the day indicated on the video’s time stamp, July 16th, which adds a dash of historical context to the proceedings. Maybe there’s going to be an old red van with a Hillary 2016 bumper sticker cruising the rural roads of Maine in near future?
5:16 – “Bye.”
Like all things, this clip means different things to different people. While some see a model of restraint, others see an arrogant cop baiting some poor citizen with that very same serenity, a cop who probably riled him up in the first unrecorded portion of the traffic stop. Like some law enforcement Rashomon. But nobody was physically harmed, and when is it ever a good idea to call a cop assorted scatological names at the top of your lungs?