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OpinionColumnistsLane Filler

Cop should've known better

Chris Rock posted this selfie on Feb. 13

Chris Rock posted this selfie on Feb. 13 when he was pulled over by police. Credit: Instagram / chrisrock

Chris Rock takes video recordings when he gets stopped by cops, something that he says has happened three times in the past two months.

On Long Island, an off-duty Suffolk County cop is accused of beating a bar owner, and the beating and the cop’s apology were recorded. And Sayville resident and NYPD Det. Patrick Cherry is now famous for his maniacal rant at an Uber driver that the driver’s customer recorded.

In an ideal world, people would understand that the best reason not to act like bullies and fools is ... because we shouldn’t act like bullies and fools. But if people can’t learn to curb their rage and treat each other within the bounds of decency, maybe they can do so out of self-preservation — particularly if they’re police officers. Because there are cameras practically everywhere, people in public get away with less than they used to.

After the Uber incident, the customer posted the recording online and complained to the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board. Cherry has had 13 such complaints, several involving abusive behavior toward civilians.

That board and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau are investigating. Everything about Cherry's behavior in the video was unacceptable.
Why do bad actors think they can get away with such behavior? Too often, perhaps, they have. It isn’t clear whether Chris Rock broke rules of the road. In any case, not every targeted minority person is as famous as Rock. Not everyone who runs into bad actors makes a stink.

But things are changing. There are cameras in many public places now. If they’re not mounted up high, they’re in an onlooker’s hand.

You cannot get away with horrifying behavior in public, even if you’re a cop, especially if you’re a cop. Ideally, you wouldn’t want to.