Thursday, March 27, 2003

A NYC police officer does the right thing, & is promptly punished for it. The officer felt there was no legal justification for the arrest of a homeless person, so after he refused to arrest the homeless man he was suspended without pay. He may be fired depending upon the results of a hearing.
Obviously what is of immediete concern is whether or not he did in fact disobey a lawful order. After that question is resolved then one is left with the question of whether or not a state or city has the authority to arrest people for being homeless if he is committing no other crime.
Aside from all that we have another issue to deal with: whether or not it is ever proper for a police officer to refuse to follow an order for the sake of conscience. It is general said that no civil servant or military officer is obligated to obey an unlawful order, such as one that would violate a persons' constitutionally acknowledged Rights. I know a lot of cops who swear that if they are ever ordered to confiscate all civilian weapons, they'll quit, yet they still enforce firearms laws which are blatently unconstitutional. It's relative to some what is unconstitutional. But here we have a case of an officer who refused to do something he thought was improper for him or any other cop to do & he is being punished for it. Yes, he will have a hearing but suspension without pay is a punishment, & a bit insulting when you hear of police misconduct that is potentially criminal that results only in paid leave or administrative duties untill a hearing or trial commences.
Admittedly I do not know all of the facts surronding this event, but on the surface it does seem like the NYPD is attempting to make an example of him simply because he chose to obey his conscience rather than his superior.

No comments: