COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND (UMPD)
I think every officer who does this job have cases in the back of their mind that they don’t think about much. My case for this one is no different to that statement, but I can’t tell you what made me remember this brief case. This is one of those cases that kind of sticks out because I’ve never had this happen before it happened and haven’t seen it since. On this particular night I was on patrol on one of our busiest roads cutting through the city, University Boulevard. I don’t remember, and I don’t think, we had assigned sectors yet, but I tend to hang around on this road looking for people smuggling drugs and/or weapons. Sometimes I would just get lucky and get something else I wasn’t looking for, but that happens in police work.
While I was sitting on the side of the road, a car came traveling by me at a high rate of speed, and I think the car had equipment issues also. However, after the car went by me, I pulled out from the shoulder and began to pursue the vehicle. By the time I caught up to the vehicle, it was approximately one mile away from the time I spotted the car first passing me. I don’t remember the final speed I was at when I caught up to the car, but I do remember by the time I did pull the driver over it was two people in the car, not just one. Once I called out the traffic stop, and my final location to the dispatcher, I stepped out of my patrol car and started my approach. What happened next completely took me by surprise and got me to react very quickly. As I continued my approach, I probably got to about the “kill zone”, where the space lies between my cruiser and the violator’s vehicle, when I saw the driver punch the passenger dead in the face.
I immediately responded and rushed the rest of the way up to the car and pulled out the driver. Of course, I immediately placed him under arrest for second degree assault. By this time my back up responded and helped me contain the scene from getting any worse, which I didn’t think would happen anyway. After getting the passenger out of the car, I realized that it was a female that he hit in the face. What words were exchanged between them I don’t know, but while investigating the situation, I found out that the driver, who was the either the husband or boyfriend, was probably cheating on his wife or girlfriend. She was more up front with her explanation of the situation then he was, but he seemed to be more upset with her then being placed in silver bracelets. This was something that I had never experienced before, but I quickly squashed the situation before it got worse.
My explanation to the girlfriend or wife, who is now the victim of this situation, was that he was going to jail regardless of how she felt about it. I certainly expected her to give me some grief about it or her opposition to the disposition of him getting arrested. She never once gave her opinion of why he should not be arrested and was very cooperative throughout the time I was there. He was cooperative as well, but tried to give me some attitude, which didn’t carry him very far. Not much was said on the way to the county jail, and not much was said when we got there. However, he was released on personal recognizance and don’t know what happened to him after that. Court for the stop came up weeks or months later, and he didn’t have to serve any more jail time, but was apparently served with a Peace Order from the female.
I can only anticipate that they got a divorce, but that would also be wishful thinking. You have to be aware of your surroundings, and especially when the police are stopping you for a simple traffic violation. We are all being watched by either Big Brother or by some self-aware citizen who wants to be on top of things that are happening in our society today. We didn’t have body cameras at that time, and not all of our cruisers were equipped with vehicle cameras too. I would’ve like to watch this video of how things played out and my reaction to the situation, which suddenly turned south. Again, be aware of your surroundings and you never know when and where the police will be, so you don’t have to punch yourself a ticket to jail.