WASHINGTON — “If you don’t want to get shot, Tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you,” Los Angeles police officer Sunil Dutta writes in a controversial new editorial for the Washington Post.
“Don’t argue with me, don’t call me names, don’t tell me that I can’t stop you, don’t say I’m a racist pig, don’t threaten that you’ll sue me and take away my badge. Don’t scream at me that you pay my salary, and don’t even think of aggressively walking towards me.”
Dutta is an adjunct professor of homeland security and criminal justice at Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs, according to the school’s website. The newspaper pointed out Dutta’s editorial does not reflect the opinion of the university or the LAPD.
The editorial, in which Dutta argues that “in the overwhelming majority of cases” the subjects of police force brought the harm upon themselves, is causing fiery debate on the internet amid police action in Ferguson, Mo. Early response to the piece was mostly critical, but there were some supporters.
I challenged Officer Sunil Dutta. Hopefully he won't come hurt me. http://t.co/d04RPnJ34M
— Benjamin Freed (@brfreed) August 19, 2014
— Alex Chompff (@achompff) August 20, 2014
Dutta: Do what the officer tells you to and it will end safely for both of you. We have a justice system in which you are presumed innocent
— lukewarm takes (@antistuff) August 19, 2014
Dutta goes on to argue that most citizens have no idea what cops go through on a daily basis, and fictional depictions of law enforcement are part of the problem.
“Hollywood and television stereotypes of the police are cartoons in which fearless super cops singlehandedly defeat dozens of thugs, shooting guns out of their hands,” he writes. “(In real life,) an average cop is always concerned with his or her safety and tries to control every encounter. That is how we are trained. Show some empathy for an officer’s safety concerns.”
Next op-ed piece by Sunil Dutta: if you got raped, you shouldn't have dressed that way.
— Ian Easton (@ianstalk) August 19, 2014
Policing isn’t in the top 10 of dangerous jobs. By Sunil Dutta’s insane logic, we should take unquestioned orders from commercial fishermen.
— Quinn Norton should be writing right now (@quinnnorton) August 19, 2014
Great article in the @washingtonpost by Sunil Dutta about being a cop and how to interact with cops. Use common sense folks.
— Joe P 🇺🇸 (@ChicagoJoe10) August 19, 2014
Dutta slightly tempers his argument, saying he knows there are a handful of bad cops out there, but that the time to take action against them is after the incident, in court.
“I know that some officers engage in unprofessional and arrogant behavior; sometimes they behave like criminals themselves,” he writes. “I also believe every cop should use a body camera to record interactions with the community at all times.
“But if you believe (or know) that the cop stopping you is violating your rights or is acting like a bully, I guarantee that the situation will not become easier if you show your anger and resentment.”