Is this really what we are going to put up with now—city police departments so desperate for love (and not to have their members picked off by snipers) that they start pandering to citizens in idiotic ways? That’s not the way to earn anyone’s respect and trust. It is, however, a good way to lose it.
Three NYPD officers from the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway cops pulled over the car being driven by Yehuda Coriat, 22, with his 20-year-old girlfriend, Sorah Oppen as a passenger. The police accused the couple of transporting weapons and drugs in the car.
Then they grilled Oppen about her boyfriend, ordered her out of the vehicle, and told her to open the trunk — and out came balloons! That was the cue for Coriat to get down on his knee and propose!
This is wrong, wrong, wrong; an especially horrible example of the “Awww!” Factor, in which conduct that makes sentimental souls get all gooey inside is mistaken for ethical conduct.
Police may not make fake traffic stops, which are illegal, dishonest, and an abuse of authority. Apparently the unit involved has had recent public scandals, so some idiot thought agreeing to abuse police power to help this guy propose was good public relations. It’s good public relations for dumb members of the public, perhaps. For anyone capable of critical thought, NYPD police acting like this makes the department’s judgement appear worse, and the its trustworthiness seem minimal.
In addition to being an abuse of power, the stunt was a misuse of tax dollars and risky. What if, unknown to the boyfriend, Oppen was carrying contraband, or a small gun? What if she panicked? What if the officers saw evidence of a crime during their fake stop? Don’t tell me nobody would be so stupid as to ask the police to stage a vehicle stop and allow any of that to happen. If Coria is so stupid that he thinks asking cops to stage a stop to give him a cute proposal op that he can tell the couple’s kids about, assuming she said yes—she shouldn’t have, you know, because he’s a jackass, like all men who do this sort of thing—then he’s stupid enough to forget to make sure his honey isn’t a drug mule or a hit-woman.
I hope this is just an isolated incident, and that departments aren’t considering capitulating to inappropriate requests like this—Hey, would you “arrest” my friend and take him to his surprise party? Hey, would you go to this address and scare the crap out of my cheating husband? to improve community relations. Even less outrageous examples of police being “nice,” like bringing soup to elderly shut-ins or picking up kids from school, is ultra vires.
Police no longer know where and what the ethical borders of their authority are. This incident is only one of the more harmless symptoms, but the problem is serious.