…bad, as in “if you can’t come up with something better than this, why bother?”
Adding useful data to the time-honored debate over whether police frequently lie under oath comes this decision from 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which reinstated a 6-year-old civil rights lawsuit filed by a Vietnam veteran and former pilot John Swartz, who contended that he was unconstitutionally stopped and arrested after expressing his displeasure by extending his middle finger to a cop.
After the stop, he and the officer, Richard Insogna, got in a headed argument that culminated in Swartz’s arrest for disorderly conduct. Insogna said in a deposition that he regarded Swartz’s gesture as an attempt to get his attention, not as an insult, and he that he only followed the car to ensure the safety of passenger and driver, who, he surmised, might be embroiled in a domestic dispute. The 2nd Circuit was, we are told, “skeptical of the explanation.”
Ridiculous lies like this—the standard by which all such unbelievable lies must be judged is Lindsay Lohan’s 2007 claim, when she was caught in possession of cocaine, that she wasn’t wearing her own pants—are doubly unethical. They are dishonest, of course, but they are also disrespectful as they imply that everyone else is an idiot, since only an idiot could believe such nonsense. Moreover they literally never work, and it should be obvious that they can’t work, thus branding the liars as the real idiots.
Unless…. perhaps civility has declined so far in New York, where this episode occurred, that an upraised middle finger is now generally regarded as an acceptable and polite means of getting attention. “Waiter!” “Cab!” “Teacher!” “Your Honor!”
Next time you’re in the Big Apple, why don’t you give it a try?
Pointer: ABA Journal