Prime Time Crime

(Prime Time Crime exclusive Aug  5, 2015)

Pants on Fire


By Bob Cooper

Caught this on the news ticker this morning Police dash-cam debunks professor’s racial profiling claims.   Short version is that a Connecticut State Trooper stops a woman for an improper lane change.  A month later she complains that the Trooper had ‘racially profiled’ her because he asked her if she could speak English.   Oh, by the way, the woman happens to be a Community College professor and presumably, a member of a visible minority group of some sort. 

Complaints about anything to do with race that don’t come in for a month after the fact deserve to be viewed with a good degree of skepticism.  Usually these people can’t wait to get in front of TV news cameras, hyper-ventilating, crocodile tears, wailing about police oppression & how they’re scarred for life & will never be normal again.  You seldom hear them say things like “It kept slipping my mind”, “the kids needed help with their homework”, or “I just didn’t get around to it”. 


Things became problematic for the absent-minded professor a short time later when the Trooper’s dash cam footage was reviewed as part of the investigation and revealed the trooper to have been courteous & professional.  Despite her claim, the Trooper never asked her if she could speak English nor was there a hint that race played the slightest part in the encounter.  In other words, she lied.

Now the dullest inmate in any prison knows that more and more cops, especially in state agencies, are equipped with dash cams, body cams and often both.  Audio & video.  Everything is recorded.  Either this didn’t occur to the prof or perhaps, being a member of the liberal elite, she thought she was entitled to some literary licence in her statement.  She was disabused of this notion in short order and slapped with a criminal charge of making a false statement, the American equivalent of Public Mischief, making the whole thing even more delightful. 

I may be wrong but I can only recall one case in Vancouver where someone complaining about a police officer is found to have lied and been prosecuted for it.  If I am in error it’s not by much.  The rationale was always that the Crown didn’t want to discourage people from filing complaints.  Neither did we but we did rather want to discourage them from lying when they did it.  Now to be clear, I’m not talking about shading their story, minimizing their own behavior, or a subjective difference of opinion.  I’m not talking about the difference between grey and charcoal.  I’m talking about bald-faced lying about an issue which is black and white (if I can say that here). 

The other side of the coin is how a policeman would be treated in the same circumstances.  Look no further than the witchunt into the 4 Mounties in the Dziekanski case (Robert Dziekanski Taser incident) who were charged with Perjury on issues that were anything but black and white.  After lengthy trials 2 were acquitted while the other 2 are facing prison terms which will hopefully be reversed on appeal.   ‘The system’ expects police to treat citizens fairly and then shows them examples like this. 

Back in the early 90s I had an open and shut case against a woman who’d accused a policeman of sexual assault against a third party and told a pretty convincing story when she first came in.  Investigation revealed the complainant’s story to have been a total fabrication and I recommended she be charged with Public Mischief but Crown declined to prosecute claiming there was ‘no public interest’.  In a phone call with the prosecutor I pointed out that had the police officer not been cleared early on, he’d have faced public shame, financial ruin, loss of his job and pension, not to mention incarceration.  His family would have been devastated and the public’s confidence in the Department would have been damaged.....Didn’t matter.   As Basil Fawlty would say, ‘you may as well talk to the cat’.

Those whose malicious lies could result in devastating consequences are deserving of the same.  Good for Connecticut for going the extra mile and doing the right thing.


Bob Cooper is a retired Vancouver policeman.  He walked a beat in Chinatown and later worked in the Asian Organized Crime Section and the Homicide Squad.



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