DC Police Arrest Dancing Libertarians
A bunch of DC area libertarians apparently decided to celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s birthday by congregating at his memorial at midnight and dancing to the sounds of their iPods for ten minutes. No, I don’t get it either.
Radley, who arrived on scene after the incident, reports,
The people I spoke with say the other officer pictured in the foreground of this photo told the rest of the group to “shut the F- up.” When one person politely asked why it was unnecessary to use the word “F-,” the officer replied that if the guy who asked the question used any more profanity, he too would find himself arrested.
There’s no doubt more to this than meets the eye. But these are known facts: The Jefferson Memorial is open 24/7/365. It’s free to the public. It tends not to be particularly crowded at midnight, even on Saturday nights. There are no residential areas nearby.
Now, there are some strange rules. For example, professional wedding photography is essentially forbidden. Maybe there’s a restriction on pre-staged gatherings, even relatively small ones, without a permit. The Park Police may have, therefore, had a reason for telling these people to move on. Then again, I’m with Megan McArdle in thinking there are probably better uses for police manpower at midnight in DC.
Regardless, I’m concerned with the increasing friction between ordinary citizens and the police. The days when the police spoke to the general public — whom they are paid to serve — with polite deference are long gone. Instead, most have adopted a bullying attitude and demand to be treated with unearned deference. We’ve gone from Joe Friday and Andy Taylor to “Cops” and “The Wire.”
The latter, incidentally, is a terrific show that my wife and I are now catching up on via DVD. The series, which depicts the Baltimore Police Department as consisting almost entirely of thugs, reprobates, and incompetents, is apparently a big hit with police officers themselves. Indeed, former Baltimore Police Chief Ed Norris calls the show “the most realistic police drama I’ve ever seen.” That, folks, ain’t a good thing.