“This is my friend”

I recently had a completely new experience. I was offered a bribe. I’d like to think it was meant to be a joke given the circumstances, but in retrospect, I’m not so sure. I’ll tell you what happened…you tell me what you would have done. And when you comment, let me know if you’re an LEO or not. I’m curious about the differences, if any.

I stopped a car full of teenagers. The driver was speeding. Not terribly or anything, but still…above my threshold of tolerance. The driver had a definite, shall we say, “entitlement” attitude and acted like you’d expect of someone of that caliber.
MC: Do you have your driver’s license?
SLP (Smug Little Punk): You know…my wallet got stolen just last week.
MC: That right? How about a school ID?
*SLP digs around in the center console and extracts…gasp…a wallet.
MC: Didn’t you say your wallet was stolen?
SLP: This is my Dad’s.
MC: Fair enough.
SLP: Officer, can I ask why I was stopped?
MC: Do you know what the speed limit is back there?
SLP: 35.
MC: It is indeed. Do you know how fast you were going?
SLP: 39, 40.
MC: 48.
SLP: C’mon, officer. The car in front of me wasn’t going that fast…
*There was no car in front of him…at least not after he made a lane change and accelerated. I should also add that there is a lot of subtext going on that is difficult to paint in a post.
MC: I got you on lidar. You were doing 48.
SLP: Don’t you mean radar?
MC: No, I’m pretty sure since I said lidar, I meant lidar.
SLP: Oh…I thought you were, you know, making a play on words. Like “liedar”…like I was lying.
I cited the kid for speed. He made some crack about knowing the judge and his son, but I chalked it up to him trying to be funny in front of his friends. I can dig it. I’m not a complete square. I try to ham it up in front of the guys, too.
Then, he thought it’d be a good idea to up the ante.
After he flipped a U-turn, he stopped across the street from me and made some comment. I don’t recall exactly what it was, but it sounded like a joke of some kind. There happened to be another car behind him, so I jokingly said, “If you don’t move your car, I’m gonna have to cite you for impeding traffic.”
SLP looked back and said, “Oh, that’s my friend.” Then he said, “Actually, this is my friend.” In his hand he held a $100 bill. “Whadda ya say? Think my friend can take care of this ticket?” All with a shit-eating grin on his face. Mr. Cool to his buddies and the girl in the front seat.
I know what I did. I was there. And I’ll tell you all about in an upcoming post. But for now, what do you think? We’re dealing with a 17 year old kid with a car full of similarly aged kids. What are your options? What is your demeanor? How would you handle this situation?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

41 thoughts on ““This is my friend”

  1. "Get the **** outta here." is probably what I'd have said.

    It sounded like it was a joke… but one of those jokes where if it was taken seriously, would have been done.

    My response is based on how I'd know I'd respond without too much time to think about the situation.

    If I had time to think, I'd probably come up with something funny to scare the crap out of him with though. Maybe take my cellphone out and take a picture of him holding out that money or something heh.

  2. First, I am not a LEO, so with that being said I will proceed, punks like this just grate on my nerves. If I were in law enforcement I would have exercised my right to detain him and the automobile would have been emptied of all his snickering friends. Hopefully this would have gotten their full attention. My second move would have been to make a phone call to his parents to alert them of the conduct of their son. After that I probably would have notified SLP of the consequences of his actions that day. If he is allowed to get away with this kind of behavior who's to say what he will do next. Besides that if you do nothing it is as if you may condone this. Stick to your principles.

  3. Not a LEO, but I would certainly have done whatever was in my power to knock that little snot off his high horse. Honestly, call me jaded or cruel at the ripe old age of 27, but joke or no that's BS.

    Talk about defining much of what is wrong with not just our society, but 'kids these days'. It seems many have very little respect for authority, or their elders.

    Even at my most arrogant as a teen I would never have dreammmmed of even joking about something like that with an Officer. I won't continue to rant, but I very much hope you took him down a notch.

  4. He's across the street, so slapping his smug ass right here and now is out of the question. I think I'd play coy.
    I'd look up and down the street, then wave him over, meaning to advise him the dangers of what appears to be bribery.
    If he drives away, oh well. If he turns around and comes over, keep your recorder going and just ask him about what he's doing, about the money and if he really does know the judge.
    Not to "nail him" for bribery, if you even can. But just to pull the "Oh, I don't want your money, I just wanted you to say that into my microphone."

  5. Ideally, Happy's right. Scare that smirk off his face, without getting all huffy. As I'm not all that quick-witted, I'd probably fall back on "The Look." Not fierce, just steady, then I'd totally ignore the punk. Not a cop, Dad was, sister is.

  6. I'm not LEO, but am a) a wife of LEO and b) a mom. If that were my son, here's what I would have wanted you to do in that situation:

    Scare the living shit out of him. If he has that little respect for authority and law enforcement, he deserves the kind of smack down that should render him in need of a new pair of pants. I won't pretend to know what you can and can't do legally in this situation, but if it's within the law, haul him and all of his smug friends out of the car, hook him up, search him, and explain to him that he should be on his way to jail. Maybe even take him to jail.

    Sure, he's young and stupid and you probably don't want to ruin his life for what was probably a joke, but at some point the little punk needs to learn that just because he's privileged does not mean he's above the law. And clearly his entitled little butt is in need of that kind of a tough lesson in respect.

  7. I'm sure he was just trying to look cool in front of his friends but there's a certain line you dont cross & trying to bribe a LEO, even if it is joking around, is crossing it. I have to agree with The Ogre, I would have done something of that sort. And if this kid was my kid, I would definitely kick his butt for being disrespectful.

    I'm not a LEO but my brother is & I work for a PD. Cant wait to hear what you actually did 🙂

  8. I'm a cop. We hand out little 'how to pay this ticket' fliers with our local ordinance violations.
    If I was still at the drivers window when the kid flashed the cash and asked if $100 would 'take care' of the ticket. I'd simply say "Why no it doesn't," as I pointed to the fine schedule.
    In my town 48/35 is $225. 🙂

  9. Not a cop, and I occasionally comment on cop blogs in a manner that could well be interpreted as antagonistic.

    Not this time, though.

    I'll trust your on-the-scene judgment that it was probably a joke, but I wouldn't at all have objected if you'd dragged him out of his car at gunpoint, searched him, cuffed him, arrested him for whatever charges you could think of, including for whatever contraband you found, had his car impounded, and either made his buddies walk home, or gotten them transported to the station for mommy and daddy to retrieve.

    When I have a beef with cops, it has to do with my perception that the officers involved think themselves above the citizens they are hired to protect — Peelian principle #7 and all that.

    It works both ways, though. Non-badged citizens who think they are above the law are scum of the same kind.

    Those who use their position or wealth to buy or bribe their way out of the law actively corrupt the whole system.

    The kids learn they can buy their way out of a speeding ticket, they ratchet it up until they're buying their way out of fraud, rape, or murder.

    Slam him early, nip it in the bud. Make him an example to discourage his friends.

    Yeah, I know. Paperwork. Bitchy parents. Lawyers. Oddly, I think kids like this might actually be worth it, more than your usual ghetto drug dealer, precisely because it's the ones like these that will grow into positions of power and influence.

  10. Not an LEO. Pull him over again and write him a ticket for impeding traffic. After all, you warned him.

  11. I'm not a LEO, but as a visa officer with experience in various countries I've had people attempt to bribe me on various occasions. I haven't been stopped for any traffic violations in the US since the mid 90's, but isn't $100 more than the fine for this offense? I'd think that it's a joke given that, unless maybe he's used up his chances at traffic school and is worried about his insurance rates. If he is, certainly in many of the countries I've been in it's local standard practice for LEO's to take bribes rather than do the paperwork on minor traffic offenses, though this is probably more related to their poor pay than that they are actually bad persons. I've always found bribes to be insulting to me personally, and I'd be especially insulted by one as low as $100. If I thought it was anything but a joke, I'd slam them as hard as possible, regardless of the paperwork. I presume that there is some appropriate statute against bribery attempts.

  12. I'm not an leo,
    but I'd say I'd do what I could to knock the cockiness out of him, give what he deserved….from a 19yo

  13. I'm not an LEO and I don't know what your powers are –

    I suspect I would go for something along the lines of;

    "You don't pay the fine to me, you pay it to the court, and I'm assuming you're trying to pay your fine because attempting to bribe a police officer is a very serious offence, which only a total idiot would try, and you don't want to get yourself in more trouble than you're already in",

    But if it lies within your powers, and if he didn't back off at that point, I would be tempted to then arrest him for attempting to pervert the course of justice / attempting to bribe a police officer. Even if he wasn't ultimately prosecuted I would guess that getting hauled off in the back of a police car, finger printed etc might focus his mind a bit.

  14. Look the little punk straight in the eyes, walk over to the car in full view of his friends, and calmly say, "That's cute little man, is that all you can afford? The last bribe I took was at least ten times that much. Get out of here, small time."

  15. Not a LEO here, but I work with both LEO and .mil.

    I'd have swung around and pulled him. Emptied the car of him and all his friends, since it was a possible attempt at a bribe, gives you more than enough reason to do a search. Since there are several persons in the vehicle that means pulling out additional officers. NOW the kids embarrassed and scared s***less. If he is one of those 'privledged' kids, he's probably enraged right now.

    Take it to the full limit. Show him it's not a 'joke'. Don't know how long you'd be able to hold him on something like this, but I'd push it as far as possible "if you had the time". I understand you've got better things to do than deal with some 17 year old snot nosed shit, but if you've got the time to scare the bejezus out of someone, he may learn his lesson and turn around.

    just saying.

  16. I’m not a LEO and so I’m not sure what the legalities would be but I feel as the bribe was made after the ticket was issued and after he had moved to the opposite side of the road that it couldn’t be taken seriously. The fact that he moved away from you before mouthing off speaks volumes. His courage probably multiplied as the distance between you grew. His show was more for his friends as well as his own ego and although I’d like to take him down a peg or two I don’t think there is much that could be done. I guess I would tell him to move on before he talked himself into something more serious, watch that he did so in orderly fashion and expect to see a lot more of him in the future. He may or may not know a judge and his son but I am certain that in the future he will bond more with defence lawyers.

  17. You know, if he were under 18, I would consider calling his parents and pointing out that bribing a police officer is a bad, bad thing.

    Assuming the parents of this delightful waste of humanity would give a crap, of course.

    I suspect [hahaha no pun intended! I crack me up!] that the reality is closer to giving him that patented Cop Stare of DOOOOM and icily saying something like, "You really don't want to do that, son."

  18. I agree with Ogre as well. My tolerance threshold is low however for punky attitude (my teenage sons can vouch for that). I always heard " if you don't want to do the time, don't do the crime". Bribery is just particularly disgusting and denotes a mentality of " I can get out of anything for the right price or everybody has a price" Irk! Can't wait to read the next blog MC!!!!!! Get writing already 😀

  19. Not an LEO, but am married to one. (The rest of the public thinks that makes me some expert or something)

    "Yes, that will take care of most of it, go down to the court house with that and $50.00 more, and things should be paid in full."

    But Like I said I am not an LEO, I just hear about all the BS he puts up with and would rather be a smartalec back from time to time.

  20. Not a LEO but if I could I would have hooked him up and at the very least made his parents come pick him up from the PD. Let one of his friends drive the car back and tell his folks what he'd been up to.

  21. Little punks like that need to be taught a lesson in my humble opinion. I saw enough of them when I was a paramedic to know that sometimes a little special treatment is all it takes. Not being a LEO or a lawyer I'm not sure if I would be able to do the following but this is what I would do.

    I would have told the young lad to pull over and swung around to meet him. I would tell him to step out of the car and hook him up as I began to inform him of California Penal Code Section 67. I would ask for consent to search the car because in my mind a 17 year old flashing a $100 either sells drugs or has enough disposable money to consume drugs them. If consent is denied I would detain him and his friends while a K9 does an exterior search. If he alerts, BINGO! If not, oh well, the youngster just got an education while wearing some nice jewelry.

    To top it off if the U-turn was illegal I would cite him for it.

  22. I agree with Ogre and BP- Scare the every-loving crap out of the little schmuck. I don't care who he thinks he is- his attitude needs an adjustment big time.
    Joke or no- he needs to learn the boundaries of proper behavior, and if you leave him to go on as before, he'll only get worse with time. Not to mention the message sent/not sent to his little friends.
    This is strictly from a Mom of 2 teenagers, and one pre-teen. If it were my son in that car- I sure as hell would want to know about his little "joke". It would be the LAST one he'd pull in this life. Respect for authority is something I've tried ( and so far as I know I've accomplished) in drilling into my kids. ( and I have no law-enforcement connections what-so-ever, just respect for those of you that are.)

  23. Not a LEO – civilian intel analyst.

    A few months ago, a couple patrol officers got offered $5.00 (yes, five dollars) to make some dime bags go away. They booked him on Bribery 3rd… and the dime bags.

  24. Not in LE.

    What good reason would we ever have to wave a $100 bill at an officer? If I got a ticket and had $100 with me, I'd go pay the ticket.

    I read this post to the family and they said, "Oh, oh!" meaning "oh yeah! That's a bribe!"

    There's no reason to flash money at an officer except if you're making a donation to a LE cause.

  25. I'm just a regular Joe Civilian, but god help that stupid punk if I had a gun and a badge.

    As the saying goes, there two kinds of crimes in America: misdemeanor bad attitude and felony bad attitude. A little attitude or a slight problem with authority is one thing, but outright in-your-face disrespect plus a half-hearted attempt at a bribe is definitely felony bad attitude in dire need of correction.

    As for what sort of attitude adjustment needs to be administered, a few things come to mind.

    -Use the Maglite or the butt of the gun to smash a taillight on the car, and then write them a fix-it ticket for driving with defective equipment. Also, if they didn't signal while pulling over, that's another charge on top of that.

    -Walk up to the car, sniff loudly, and then announce that you're detecting an odor of marijuana. Then, go ahead and have them sit on the curb as you take their car apart piece by piece. Odds are, you'll find something good too.

    -I've read a story on another blog about a cop taking someone's license, setting it on fire with a lighter, and informing the driver that the officer COULD have the car towed for driving without a license unless the customer's attitude improved fast.

    I could go on and on… The bottom line is, if some asshole insists on picking a fight, they have no right to cry when they finally get themselves one along with their ass handed over to them.

  26. Not an LEO, obviously, but I would not have been surprised if this kid spent a night in jail.

    This story sounds so unbelievable that I'm thinking "Hey, is MC pulling a fast one on me?"

    Let me see if I remember the details right so far.

    The minor had no drivers license.
    Where's registration and insurance?

    Is the car even his? Supposedly his dad's car, but without ID, how can MC tell? (ran a check on the plates maybe?)

    Some details missing as far as establishing just who this guy was.

    Then attempting to bribe an officer. Joking or not, it was an attempt in my opinion, and I don't think any career LEO would risk a job they've had for years for just 100 bucks, and that's BEFORE their sense of justice and right/law kicks in.

    Sorry MC, I think you're pulling a fast one. Nothing about this story makes sense.

  27. Not a LEO, but my dad was and its something I aspire to be after I graduate college in a few months.

    That being said, after reading through the comments it amazes me some of the things other non-LEOs would have done in terms of pulling the kid out of the car, searching the car etc… I think that plays right into the whole "cops just abuse their power at any chance they can get"

    In my opinion, I would have just kept up my professionalism. Perhaps made a sarcastic remark and then went on with my day.

    If the kid did press on, then I'd proceed with perhaps arresting him or whatever the procedure is.

  28. Not a LEO Smart assed attempt at cool with implied bribe after the stop, I would do a full search with hand cuffs. Not sure about legal standing but you get the gist.

  29. I would opt for the good ole butt chewing. I would channel my Marine Corps Drill Instructors and give the little self absorbed snot my best snarky, low volume butt chewing.

    Yelling is counter productive in some circumstances and I would punctuate it with a very few choice expletives.

    IMHO to few kids today have realized that they can't just do/say whatever they want without consequences.

    Oh, and someone else made a good point about the ID issue. No ID? And you still just scratched a cite? Very uncharacteristic of you M.C. old boy………..

  30. A little off-topic here, if I might.
    Is my understanding correct that it is not usual and normal for ppl to offer bribe to policce officer and for policemen to take?
    In my country this is just about "normal". Some people (mostly those who are considered to be reach) offer bribes to minimize their time losses, when they know they really broke a rule. But in most cases officer stops your car for whatever reason he can think of, and literally tries to extort money from you. People even manage to shoot the video and upload it to YouTube every now and then, but those dirty officers don't even get fired from police department in most cases, and that's the real problem, aside from the fact policeman themselves consider it proper to take bribes.

    *Sigh* God bless America!

    P.S. Sorry for my English.

  31. And could someone please tell me what does LEO stand for? Tried hard but couldn't figure this out.

  32. Not a LEO, but I'd say arrest the little shit for bribery if that's on the books in your jurisdiction. Otherwise, cite him for everything you can and maybe impound the car for good measure.

  33. Alex8…

    LEO stands for Law Enforcement Officer.

    …and I thought your English was just fine! Where are you from?

  34. Thanks for explaining that abbreviation for me, MotorCop! I thought that's something more complicated 🙂
    I'm from Ukraine, eastern Europe. Seems like we've been under USSR control for too long. Our system is corrupted to the backbone.
    It's really nice to read your blog and to feel the spirit of another, more advanced culture. I hope we'll learn from you over time…

  35. I'm not a LEO.

    I think he's trying to flex in front of his friends. At the same time, he might be a little curious.

    Were it I, I would inform him that his coldhearted friend could not get him out of a ticket, but it could get him into jail. If he tried laughing it off, I'd tell him I was serious as a heart attack, and if he thought he wouldn't go to jail over an attempted bribe, just try it again.

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