St. Louis, MO — When normal citizens lose their cool in an act of road rage, they either let it go and move on or face the consequences of their actions. However, if a police officer flips out in a fit of road rage, they can claim legal authority to ticket, kidnap, cage, or kill you. An incident involving Detective Steve Burle, from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, just so happens to illustrate this predicament quite well.
Last week, computer programmer Scott Smith was sitting at a red light. When it turned green, the person in front of him refused to move forward. Doing what anyone in his situation would've done—given a reasonable amount of time to move—Smith politely honked his horn to alert the man in front of him that the light was green.
As the man in front of him refused to move his vehicle, the honking became more progressive.
"The light turned green and the car in front of me just sat there," Smith says. "So I honked once and he started to scoot forward, then just like hit his brakes real hard. So I honked again and he started to go forward and kinda threw his arms up, but wasn't really moving, still just blocking the way. So then I just laid on the horn for a minute as he slowly crept forward, and then right as he got through the intersection he kinda pulled into the far left lane of Tucker."
The cop then pulled Smith over.
"Is your fucking horn stuck, smartass?" detective Burle asks Smith in the video.
"Is your brake stuck?" Smith replies.
"Let me see your drivers' license."
"For what?" Smith asks. "For honking at someone who's sitting at a green light. This is fucking ridiculous."
"I'm sorry, what'd you just say?" demands Burle as he seemingly takes issue with Smith's choice of vocabulary.
"I said this is fucking ridiculous," Smith repeats.
"Well, you know what, maybe you shouldn't be a fucking asshole," Burle says.
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"You're sitting at a green light. I have to go back to work."
"Really," Burle answers. "I hope you're not in a hurry. You're going to be late for a little while, fucking jackoff," responds this public servant.
A second cop then shows up and Smith recalls hearing them talk about trying to find something wrong with Smith's actions so they could ticket the innocent motorist.
"You could tell he was just trying to find something wrong — he wanted a reason to be able to do something, ticket, get me out of the car," Smith says.
A third cop then showed up to back up this officer's fit of road rage. All three officers—on the taxpayers' dime—then proceed to hold Smith on the side of the road for over 45 minutes until Burle walked back to the car and told Smith he'd be getting a ticket in the mail.
"A traffic violation shouldn't end up with 40 minutes on the side of the road with you being an angry prick yelling at me through the window," Smith says. "If I violated some violation, just give me my ticket and send me on my way.
"I really was on my way back to work," Smith continues. "I was already late; I had two co-workers with me. It was just like, 'Dude, whoever you are, just get the hell out of the way. Quit being an asshole just because I honked at you.'"
As Patch.com reports, the department has launched an Internal Affairs investigation related to the incident, and Smith has said he plans to file a formal complaint.
However, we won't be holding our breath to see if this cop is held accountable.
Burle has a history of abuse and has been sued at least three times for excessive use of force, and he reportedly liked a racist Facebook post in July 2016 that cost a Fox 2 reporter his job and led to calls for the firing of Police Lt. Jerry Foster, who originally wrote the post, according to Patch.
Ironically—and, frankly, quite frighteningly— Burle is part of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's Force Investigation Unit, which was created after the death of Michael Brown. This cop who called in backup and ticketed a man for honking at him while calling him a "fucking jackoff" is responsible for investigating police officer-involved shootings in the city. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a prime example of the corruption and tyranny of the thin blue line.