Sgt. Jim Parker is my new idol ***UPDATED

Actress Daniele Watts was detained along with her boyfriend Brian Lucas for refusing to identify herself after someone called 911 to report “two people having sex in a car” a couple of weeks ago. By now, pretty much everyone knows that she then pulled not just the race card, but also the fame card, on LAPD Sgt. Jim Parker, and generally behaved like a spoiled child, ranting and raving in a way all too familiar to any emergency service personnel, unnecessarily prolonging what would have been a 2-minute contact 12 times over and ruining the sergeant’s original plan to get some coffee.

Lucas, on the other hand, appeared very chill and basically ended the cops’ interest in him by being, let’s just say, uninteresting and, therefore, unsuspicious.

I actually listened – and cringed – to the entire 24-minute audio clip of the LAPD response. I don’t have much personal interest in this whole kerfuffle, but I do realize one thing: I do not have anywhere near the unbelievable patience that Sgt. Parker has, and it’s a good thing I’m not a cop. I even recognize in his voice that very unique blend of restraint, bemusement, fatherly indulgence, sarcasm, passive-aggression and resignation that only other emergency responders can understand.

Since this happened so soon after the Oakland, California incident, it really has not been a good month for embellishing your racial profiling claims. I get it – no one likes cops, but claiming a bunch of stuff that is practically the opposite of what is recorded generally isn’t such a good idea.

After the usual did-she-or-did-she-not-have-to-show-identification in the media, this being America, a country where something as simple as identifying yourself to law enforcement during questioning routinely becomes as complicated as humanly possible, the legal people still can’t agree on anything.

Meanwhile, in typical chickenshit management mode, the LAPD is investigating the incident even though no one, as of this writing, has filed a formal complaint.

It is endlessly funny to me that, as a law-abiding member of society with things to do, someone would actually rather be detained for 24 minutes than 2 just to be a martyr. A bit like the way someone would rather sit in line in the cash lanes of a toll road than zip through electronic toll collection just because s/he doesn’t “want the gubmint to know where” s/he’s going.

Finally, in an amazingly unusual move, local civil rights leaders totally sided with the cops and asked Watts to apologize, and, in a totally expected move, Watts refused.

***Update #1: Daniele Watts has been ordered to apologize in writing to Sgt. Jim Parker.

***Update #2: Daniele Watts couldn’t even write two sincere, mature apologies to Sgt. Jim Parker.

Chest Cam 1, Race Card 0

An Oakland, California firefighter claimed that a police officer in the same city racially profiled him and his children while detaining them at a fire station.

Keith Jones, who works at the fire station and was off duty at the time, saw the apparatus bay door up and went to secure it. Just moments later, cops arrived as requested by the fire crew, who had earlier left on a call, to check to see if they did indeed leave the door open. So, Jones, who is black, then makes his sensational claim that one white cop was way out of line, mistreating him and his children, “ready to pull his gun.”

Except, he wasn’t.

The cop could not have been more professional.

I’m going to stop just short of calling anyone a liar. Let’s just say we haven’t heard from Jones since.

Part of the job

Code 3 for intoxicated subject.

The cops have a very dirty young man sitting on the curb, handcuffed. He is drunk, and he is being a total asshat. He keeps asking why he is being detained. For a moment, he looked homeless.

“This guy was sitting in front of a stranger’s apartment, completely naked, covered in shit. We somehow got him to put his clothes back on.”

Two of the 3 cops are not wearing gloves.

You guys actually touched him? My god.”

He is probably not homeless. He looks like just another college student who didn’t know when to stop. It’s just that the poo caked all over his feet and hands are kind of dried up in the way we only see in homeless people and neglected old people.

It is so gross that we actually bag his hands and feet.

“I’m sorry,” I offer my partner.

“It’s part of the job,” he maturely replies.

Then it hit me. IT IS SO NOT PART OF THE JOB! And it absolutely does not have to be. How is it that people’s unbelievably bad behavior is just par for the course? When did it become just another day when some asshole spits blood in our direction? Why have I not ever ended up pressing charges against combative drugged-up scumbags we are forced to fight when they get squirrely?

A-hole: Lay low

A reader sent me this news segment from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It is a pretty damn good one.

What is it that causes people, many of them, in fact, to think that it’s OK to drive on a suspended license without insurance while not even trying to keep a low profile, starting with not committing a simple traffic violation?

Personally, I think the debate over capital punishment is misplaced. Sometimes in my fantasies, I think maybe we should put to death assholes like this one in the video who do asshole things. Not every murderer is an asshole, certainly no more an asshole than a person who shows up on a video like that, or that Florida road rage guy.

I bet no one would miss these assholes. We know the death penalty doesn’t deter hardened criminals, but it sure will deter assholes and asshole behavior.

Bad people do bad things

A man is handcuffed, face-down, in the middle of the road. There is a big pile of feces* several feet away.

There is absolutely no way that the poo is a coincidence.

Meanwhile, the man clearly does not want to lie on his back.

“I shit my pants, man.”

Later on, I’m cleaning up the cop who chased this bad guy down. We’re doing the usual emergency service chitchat.

“What kind of bad guy is he?”

“He’s had a felony warrant for beating up a woman for more than a year.”

“So… what’s up with the poo?”

“Some guys are known to actually hold their shit in case of foot pursuits ’cause they know cops don’t really want to touch them.”

“Eww…”

This is someone’s worst nightmare.

“I mean, we’re both running full speed down the road and this guy literally turns his head to yell back at me, ‘I’m taking a shit!’**”

“Fucking disgusting. Not that it was intentional, but I’m glad we rolled him onto his back and now he has to sit in his own shit all the way to the hospital then.”

“Haha.”

“Do you think that’s more disgusting than eating puke to get to pill fragments?”

“Who fucking knows…”

*I totally was going to get a picture of poo and use it as the feature image for this post. But I changed my mind. You’re welcome.
**Bad people, why all the asshole-related issues?

Yours is not the only call in the world

Code 3 for unknown.

As we arrive at the convenience store parking lot, a man on a bicycle rides up to us and tells us that there’s a traffic collision involving 2 vehicles a couple of blocks down. He is calm and articulate, even though he looks like a bum. He doesn’t know if there are injuries. We even joke that he’s better than a couple of the dispatchers we have.

“Alright man, we’ll call another unit. Thanks.”

“OK. Thanks.”

We still have the original response with the cops. It’s a combative psych call. This person trashed the convenience store for no reason. Stuff is everywhere.

As dumb as it is, we don’t get to just leave and go to the other call. I don’t agree with it, but that’s how the current rules are until someone finds the balls to write more sensible ones, including ones where we can tell patients to buck up and take a cab.*

So while we’re here restraining this subject with just about all hands, one civilian after another comes up to us to tell us about the wreck the bicyclist already told us about. Like we’re standing around doing nothing but eating donuts.

I mean, you can even hear the approaching sirens of the responding units.

Finally, the fire captain steps out in front, loudly, “Yes, yes, yes, can’t you see we’re busy here? I already told you someone else is going to that crash! Now back up!”

In a city of millions of people, civilians, does it ever cross your one-dimensional minds that there is always more than one active incident and there is always more than one unit available to handle those other incidents?

So, what was the disposition of the wreck that the civilians were so worried about that they kept interrupting us to tell us about it?

Non-injury.

Thank God someone responded to that wreck.

*Will probably never happen

Explaining Public Safety to Civilians #2: Ingrates

Getting sued when someone is boo-boo butt-hurt, whose feelings are hurt:

The most common one has got to be civilians calling cops for some violent behavioral/psych subject – usually a family member – and then complaining when the cops use force to mitigate the violence.

If you don’t like it, don’t call us and handle your own shit.