Written by Gregory Monte.
Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold
Let me say right up front that when this individual was stopped, he should have just accepted the ticket. As I tell my son, if a cop stops you, open all of your windows, keep your hands on the steering wheel and turn on your interior dome light (if it is nighttime). When speaking to him, be as polite as possible and hope that he only gives you a warning.
If the cop turns out to be a dick and he still gives you a ticket, just remember the old adage that revenge is a dish best served cold. Later you can fight him in court using one of the strategies I discuss on this blog. If the encounter turns hostile and the cop is rude, your best bet is still to play it cool because you can always file a complaint with his supervisor later on. If he was rude to you, more than likely he has behaved the same way to others and so has a nice full file of complaints. Your complaint may just be the one to get him fired.
Having said all of that, there is no doubt in my mind that this encounter did not have to happen. There was absolutely no reason that this cop had to do a U-Turn in order to pull Mr. Lewis over for a piddling seat belt ticket.
- Running a red light and almost hitting a pedestrian?
- Blowing through a stop sign and narrowly missing another vehicle?
- Traveling 20 mph over the limit on that busy road?
Yes, these are violations that should be enforced. But a seat belt infraction?
I know, I know, seat belts save lives … but so does refraining from alcohol, smoking, eating too much sugar and processed foods, having unprotected sex, etc., etc.
The point is very simple: No one else is harmed when YOU don’t wear a seat belt.
This Wouldn’t Have Happened in Pennsylvania
Maybe this is why cops in Pennsylvania are only allowed to issue a seat belt ticket if they first pull you over for another suspected traffic offense:
“The state’s seat belt law is primary when the driver is under the age of 18. Police officers do not need another reason to pull a driver over, other than not wearing a seat belt. After the age of 18, however, the seat belt law becomes secondary. Police can only issue a ticket for not wearing a seat belt over the age of 18 if they conducted the traffic stop for another reason, such as speeding.”
Justified Shooting? Two Different Opinions
As a final note, what I find most interesting is how two different websites analyzed this event. On the one hand, you have a conservative site called The Truth About Guns which sides sides with the cops. For some reason, however, this website failed to include the important U-Turn part of the dash cam footage.
“From my seat in the stands, it looks like a righteous shoot.”
A libertarian site called The Free Thought Project has a different take:
“In the land of the free, if a police officer sees you in your own car and you do not have your seat belt on, they will claim the right to detain and extort you. If you refuse to be extorted, they will then claim the right to kidnap and cage you. If you resist this kidnapping over a seat belt violation, you can and will be shot or killed.“.