Miami Beach, Fla. – A video posted to YouTube on October 27, by Albert Valdes, shows a Miami Beach police officer, who identified himself as officer MacLeod, engaging in some extremely unprofessional behavior towards a citizen during a traffic stop for an obstructed license plate.
While we don’t see the earlier interaction between the man and the officer, the video shows the officer becoming enraged as he speaks to the citizen.
The video picks up with the MacLeod telling the man in a condescending and annoyed tone,
“Have a good day, get outta my face before I decide that this might not be the best judgment that I made.”
Valdes replies, “You have a great day too.”
MacLeod then responds, “Trust me I will.”
Valdes replies back, “God bless you.”
At this point the officer becomes livid and decides to throw around his perceived authority over the citizen and threaten the man him with jail, as he obviously feels disrespected in some way.
Officer MacLeod says,
“You know what, fuck it. I’ll throw your ass in jail. You wanna be a sarcastic bitch, I’ll be fuckin a bigger bitch. You're fuckin with the wrong dude bro. I’ve been here longer than you’ve fuckin been alive. I’ve put up with more shit than you can ever think of, so if you wanna test me again you’ll be finding Dade County jail real fuckin hunky dory tonight."
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For those that think perhaps this is a "reap what you sow" scenario, that simply isn’t the case.
Perhaps Valdes was being sarcastic with the officer, but a citizen is under no obligation to not be sarcastic to an officer. On the other hand, the officer is a professional bound by a strict code of ethical conduct dictating how they are to conduct themselves in dealing with the public.
The officer is clearly in the wrong as he arbitrarily threatens a man with jail for telling him, “Have a great day too… god bless you.”
When did talking sarcastically become a jailable offense?
No matter how sarcastic these words may have been, the abuse of authority in this situation is stunning.
When the officer accepted the job as an officer of the law he agreed to follow certain rules of conduct that come along with his taxpayer-funded salary. Even when challenged by citizens or talked to with perceived “disrespect,” an officer is still bound by the ethical requirements of this code of conduct.
Detective Vivian Thayer said Valdes has not filed a complaint, but an internal affairs investigation has already begun into the incident, according to the Miami Herald.
“Even though we don’t have a formal complaint, we are being proactive and investigating it,” she said.
If the officer can’t handle the proverbial heat of dealing with citizens in a professional manner perhaps he needs to find a line of work better suited for him, or better yet perhaps the taxpayers should relieve him of that responsibility if he can’t or won’t deal with the public in a more professional manner.
One thing is certain, every instance of officers abusing citizens that comes to light, whether verbally or physically, simply continues to erode any remaining public confidence or credibility that law enforcement once had.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis and on Facebook at Sir Metropolis.