From The Other Side Of The Bench
By David J. Seidemann, Esq.
I asked my college students the other night what we can learn from the Garner case in Staten Island, the case in Cleveland where a 12-year-old was shot on a playground by police, and the Mike Brown case in Missouri. All of the answers were poignant, but the most precise answer was given by a young man who stated, “If you wave a gun in the air, even a fake gun (referring to the 12-year-old in Cleveland); if you rob a store and then punch a cop; and if you resist arrest, even if it is when the police are arresting you for something minor, bad things will happen.” He was spot on.
Just a few hours ago, I was in Manhattan and I made a left-hand turn at an intersection where doing so is prohibited. Two officers pulled me over. I immediately shut off the engine, put the keys on the dashboard, and put my hands on the steering wheel where the officers could see them. I rolled down the window, and said, “Good afternoon, officers.”
They did not pull me out of the car. They did not reach into the car. They did not tackle me, nor did they pepper-spray me, Taser me, or, G‑d forbid, shoot me. And yes, I was wearing a yarmulke, but they did not violate any of my religious or other constitutional rights. There will be no marches for me. The reverend Al will have to look elsewhere for a cause.
Much to the consternation of Mayor de Blasio, these officers do not need sensitivity training. Much to the dismay of Attorney General Eric “Beholden” Holder and President Obama, deep-rooted racism and anti-Semitism and police brutality in our country did not raise its ugly head.
Could it have anything to do with the fact that when the officers asked me to do something, I listened? Could it have anything to do with the fact that as soon as the officers arrived door-side, they saw that I posed no threat, my engine turned off and my hands on the wheel in full view? Could it have anything to do with the fact that I greeted them and said, “Good afternoon, officers”?
The officers then asked me if I knew why they had pulled me over. I did not lie. I did not obfuscate. I did not claim ignorance. Instead I said, “I realized once I started my turn that there is a no-left-turn sign. I’m sorry, officers. It was a really dangerous thing to do.”
The officers asked for my paperwork, which I handed them without any delay or requests for a special favor. They matched my face to my license, handed the license back to me, and wished me a good day. They said, “Stay safe,” and I said, “I appreciate that you keep us safe.” And with that, my encounter with the NYPD this morning ended. No disrespect, no altercation, no ticket, no points, no fine, no increase in my insurance premiums.
Would it have been different if I were an African-American? I sincerely doubt it. Would it have been different if I’d acted like a jerk? I am sure it would have been.
Those who want less policing have the answer at their fingertips. It’s called less crime, less confrontation, more respect for authority. Those who deride the grand-jury system offer no proof that it does not work. Being unhappy with an outcome of a system that works does not mean that a fatal flaw exists in the system. Where are voices of liberalism when the grand jury chooses not to indict an arsonist, a killer, a molester, a cop-killer?
Where are the leftists when a trial jury, in the face of seemingly insurmountable evidence pointing to a conviction, exonerates a former football star of double murder?
The sad truth of the matter is that the clowns decide on a plan and then build a circus around it. This is and has been their M.O. since they first popped up on the look-at-me screen.
This is true on the streets in Cleveland, Ferguson, New York, Oakland, and every other city where demonstrations for “law” disrupt the “order” of ordinary citizens who bear no connection to the perceived injustice that serves as the basis for the demonstration
This is true on the streets of every metropolis where the root cause for the initial confrontation between policeman and citizen-victim is rarely discussed, never protested, and never covered by the left-wing media.
Take all this energy and invest it in building opportunities for those who say that the police are denying them opportunity. The best way to avoid a meeting with the NYPD is not to make the illegal left-hand turn. Having made the turn, the best course of action is to be respectful and cooperate.
The end result of this false narrative created by the clowns is a greater disrespect for cops, more confrontation, more lawlessness, and greater despair amongst the have-nots. Why pick yourself up, which is difficult, when you can blame your plight on someone else holding you down?
This mentality of confusing right with wrong gains traction because everyone has something that they feel is a bit unjust, and they look for avenues to vent. Caution is thrown to the wind for the “cause” and little attention is paid to see if the facts fit the cause.
This explains how Hillary Clinton could utter such foolishness the other day when she said America needed to empathize with its enemies. The clowns are building the rest of the circus around their ten-minute act.
This explains how Mr. Obama can threaten to sanction Israel for building apartments but passes on imposing tougher sanctions on Iran for its efforts in building nuclear weapons.
My idea? Israel should build apartments with nuclear weapons in each apartment. How then could Obama object?
It’s time for the circus to move on. v
David Seidemann is a partner with the law firm of Seidemann and Mermelstein and serves as a professor of business law at Touro College. He can be reached at 718-692-1013 or firstname.lastname@example.org.