Kirby Column: Alleged Race-Based Mistreatment by Officer

An Instance of Alleged Race-Based Mistreatment at the Hands of Law Enforcement Placed in Perspective

By Ken K. Gourdin

Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Kirby recently recounted being in a vehicle in the company of some other gentlemen, one of whom is a police officer. The driver committed some slight against another gentleman, who then made his intention to raise the stakes and to refuse to let the matter drop – loudly, profanely, and unmistakably.

In the course of the confrontation, the gentleman identified himself to his belligerent interlocutor as a police officer – whereupon said belligerent interlocutor became even louder and more profane, and even more determined to raise the stakes and to refuse to let the matter drop. When interlocutor refused to remove his hands from his pockets, the officer, fearing both for his own safety and for that of his companions in light of uncertainty about whether his belligerent interlocutor was armed, pointed his weapon at interlocutor. For Mr. Kirby’s column, see here, last accessed August 4, 2016:

Another commenter opined that the officer’s treatment of his interlocutor was driven less by the factors discussed in the preceding paragraph than it was by his interlocutor’s minority status. I replied:

No, he was detained at gunpoint for refusing to keep his hands where the officer could see them. As Mr. Kirby pointed out, once this gentleman identified himself as a police officer, the conversation then should have proceeded with a string of “Yes, Sirs,” and “No, Sirs.” I seriously doubt, with the number and amount of warrants out on this guy, that he would have been allowed to leave in any event, but if one has a momentary attack of the stupids, is otherwise a law abiding citizen, and then comes to his senses with the proper string of “Yes, Sirs” and “No, Sirs” once someone identifies himself as a police officer, there’s still always the chance that he’ll be allowed to leave. However, instead, the attack of the stupids being suffered by this poor, unfortunate soul who had a gun pointed at him, by contrast, became even more acute.”

Perhaps a contrasting incident in which I suffered a momentary attack of the stupids will be instructive. While no police officers were on the scene at the outset, they arrived a short time later. Once they did, my attack of the stupids subsided, and I delivered the proper string of “Yes, Sirs” and “No, Sirs.” Amazingly, none of them pulled a gun on me. Since I had no warrants out on me, I was allowed to leave a short time later.


About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
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