What if Graber had shot the plain-clothed cop?

Follow-up to my previous post. This discussion raises some interesting points. First,

The cop is in an unmarked car and plain clothes. He pulls up past the motorcycle while it’s stopped at an exit, veers in front of it, stops, and gets out with a gun drawn, saying, “Get off the motorcycle. Get off the motorcycle! Get off the motorcycle. State police.” …Right up until he says “State police,” it doesn’t look like a traffic stop to me. It looks like a crime in progress. Even then, pretty much anyone can say “police”. He could at least flash a badge.

What if Mr. Graber — fearful of the maniac pointing a gun at him — had pulled his gun and fired at the gun-waving screaming man? One commenter claims,

The motorcyclist would have been 100% within his rights to draw a gun and shoot his attacker in the face…. The law AFAIK is quite clear: Unidentified man, in unidentified car leaps out pointing a gun at you? YES, you are within your rights to SHOOT HIM IN THE FACE.

Someone else agreed:

You weren’t in error at all. Some people are offended by the concept of self-defense, but if your only option to instantly stop an obvious assailant is to disable their central nervous system by “shooting them in the face” that is what to do.

I don’t know the answer, but it seems extremely dangerous (and stupid) for a non-uniformed officer to point a gun at someone without flashing a badge first. Besides, this was a speeding case, and Mr. Graber had come to a complete stop. It’s not like Mr. Graber was a murder suspect fleeing the scene or holding a hostage.

It seems this is exactly why we should record public police activities. In fact, the police should record and critique themselves so they learn not to do such stupid and dangerous things. Instead, the Maryland police compounded their stupidity by abusing the law to punish Mr. Graber for the “crime” of posting the video on the Internet.

Second, I like this comment:

When law enforcement does nasty stuff they’re rarely punished. If a private citizen pulled a gun on a motorist, then broke into his home, kidnapped him for 26 hours, and stole his computers, there would be serious prison time, but when cops do this there are no real consequences.

The court should not merely rule against the police for their illegal behavior. Police officers who break the law should be punished, esp. when they break the law to cover up their own misbehavior.

Posted by James on Tuesday, July 27, 2010