Who’s that in your rearview mirror?

The police are who protect you from criminals and absolve you from the responsibility of doing it for yourself, right? Well, how many more Officer Kris Smith‘s are out there? And who will protect you from them?

“It’s alleged he knocked a motorcyclist off his motorcycle, causing him to fall off and almost be run over,” Columbus Police spokesperson Sherri Mercurio said.

You might object that the system works, as demonstrated that Officer Smith is now in custody and has actually been charged with the appropriate crime: felonious assault. Read the whole article again, more carefully. Here’s the important bit:

The Pickaway County Sheriff says Smith recently tried to stop another man in [sic] near I-670 and I-71, but that man turned out to be an undercover police officer. A report was taken, but no charges were ever filed.

Say what? It should have been obvious to anyone that this guy wasn’t just accidentally a bit outside his jurisdiction. Neither I-670 or I-71 pass through the town he polices, and although the article doesn’t indicate that he was actually on the interstate, that intersection is miles from the small town he patrols, and well into downtown Columbus. He was clearly up to no good. This is likely a case of the undercover officer utilizing extremely poor judgment and extending “professional courtesy” to a fellow officer–the same way that they let each other out of speeding tickets. Also:

There’s yet another incident that dates back to September of 2000, when Smith was working as a Valleyview police officer. The Columbus Dispatch reported Smith was charged with assault, accused of pointing a gun at another motorist while he was off duty. The following May, the newspaper reported prosecutors reduced the charge to criminal mischief. Valleyview Police fired Smith.

At least there were some consequences for that one, although one has to wonder how he got another job as a police officer after that incident. Jeffrey “Hunter” Jordan received far harsher treatment for carrying a gun in his car through Ohio, and he never even pointed it at anyone.

So, next time you see the flashing lights in your rear view mirrors, is it prudent to assume that you’re being pulled over “for your own good” by Officer Friendly, or is it Kris Smith, or perhaps Stanley Street, Robert Smith, Ervin Myers, Billy Ray White, or maybe even Frank Wright?

If you call 911 and one of them shows up, are you any better off than if you had tried to handle the situation yourself?

3 thoughts on “Who’s that in your rearview mirror?”

  1. Yes, I live in Columbus and commute on I-670 daily. About a month ago there was a large grouping of sherrif deputies parked around the airport and the Cassady Ave/I-670 interchange, which is where I get on the freeway. The on-ramp has a somewhat awkward fork before you get on 670 (the other lane goes to the airport) and there happened to be a sherrif’s car parked as close into the angle of the fork as possible. It’s also on a hill so this car suprised the hell out of me. If he would have parked there for long, someone would have clipped him.The cops have generally been non-confrontational to me here but they do pull some dumb stunts.

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