Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Insane cop put on suspension.

We have an update on the St. George, Missouri case of a police officer threatening a civilian with bogus charges. We reported the officer's name, based on the video of the incident, as Kenline. His actual name is James Kuehnlein and he has been put on suspension.

As the video of Sgt. Kuehnlein made its way around the internet the police chief Scott Uhrig received over 300 protest phone calls from members of an angry public. He had to respond. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:
Chief Uhrig said Kuehnlein stopped to talk to Darrow because police have received reports of thefts from cars in the area. But, Uhrig said, based on his viewing of the online video, the officer acted inappropriately when he threatened to make up charges, and used a disrespectful tone and inappropriate language. "We don't do that," Uhrig said. "Someone either violated the law or they didn't. You don't say, I'll lock you up and then come up with why afterward."
It is important to remember here that, if not for the video camera that Darrow installed in his car, nothing would have happened and St. Kuehnlein would have gotten away with his actions. He would do the very thing he expressed a willingness to do -- lie. Darrow could complain. Kuehnlein would go in and lie about the situation claiming that this "smart mouth kid" had tried to push him but that he was the paragon of patience and refused to rise to the bait. And Darrow would have been ignored. If others can afford to install video surveillance into their cars it wouldn't be a bad thing. And if you don't have the funds to install one it wouldn't hurt to put up a dummy camera.

The reality is that private citizens need to keep the police under surveillance, as this case proved. It is one way of keeping them under control.

And don't get the wrong impression about Uhrig -- he still is suspicious of anyone who makes cops look bad -- there has to be something wrong with them. Fox News reported that "the chief... also questions Darrow's motives." They quote the Uhrig saying: "Most people commuting back and forth to work don't keep their car outfitted with video recording devices and audio devices." So obviously Darrow is suspicious because he does. Darrow says he outfitted his car with the camera after he received a traffic ticket which he said was bogus but he couldn't prove it. And while a traffic cop can't prove his claims, in most cases, his word is taken above that of the accused -- the reality is that many courts assume you are guilty until proven innocent and a cop's word is sufficient to prove guilt.

My first lesson on the dishonesty of many cops, especially those on traffic duty, came some years ago. Myself and two friends were going out for some dinner one even. One friend was in her car and the other two of us were following her. We were a couple of car lengths behind her traveling at the same speed she was since we needed to follow her to the restaurant she suggested.

To our surprise she was pulled over and given a speeding ticket. We knew she wasn't speeding because we were going the same speed she was. The police officer in question claimed he clocked her and she would have to go to court or pay the ticket. Most people can't afford to take the time to go court so they pay even when they know they are innocent and this is a police shakedown. In this case the woman did go to court and the two of us who were following her went as well. We were happy to tell the judge the truth about the lying police officer. We never got the chance. The moment the lying cop saw that all of has had actually shown up for the court date the first thing he did was ask the judge to drop the charges. That avoided the embarrassing testimony from three members of the public that would prove he was lying in court -- and I suspect he did this regularly.

The people who need to be watched most carefully, and never trusted, are those who are given power over the lives of others.