The Good News: At Least The Cops Didn’t Shoot Anyone In This Traffic Stop, And No One Got A Ticket For “Driving While Black”… The Bad: What They Did Was Still An Abuse Of Authority

Pop Quiz: How many idiots in this photo?

Pop Quiz: How many idiots in this photo?

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.

17 thoughts on “The Good News: At Least The Cops Didn’t Shoot Anyone In This Traffic Stop, And No One Got A Ticket For “Driving While Black”… The Bad: What They Did Was Still An Abuse Of Authority

  1. Can you imagine if this trend were continued? Maybe a doctor could diagnose you with cancer – just kidding! Or the irs could call and say that you owe 30k in back taxes – just joshing you, but you’ll need that money for your nuptials!

  2. Early in my career (nearly 40 years ago) I had a bridegroom approach me on duty to suggest that it would be a real hoot if I followed him to the church to “fake arrest” him in front of the bride, handcuff him, put him in my patrol unit and drive him away, taking a lap around the block before returning him to the church. My refusal was immediate, direct, and I am sorry to say, loud and laced with mild profanity. I think he finally understood at least a few of the many ways such a thing would be wrong. I was surprised to encounter this same and/or similar suggestions several other times during my tenure in patrol, and I have seen such idiocy immortalized on Facebook and YouTube in recent years. These incidents illustrate a less-than-comprehensive understanding of public service ethics by the police as well as those who would encourage such conduct ; also perhaps a lack of common sense that is hard to “train out” of people.

  3. The kids in Fourth Grade sixty-some years ago used to mimic “Officer Friendly” after his school visits. Parents and teachers gave a different impression and those weren’t necessarily respectful either. What happens when carrots and sticks are used together is dis-trust, and maybe a sense that kids can get away with so much more than grown-ups can. In general, it seems to be counter-productive for an authority figure to make a fool of her or himse…. Oh, I forgot, we’re in an election year, aren’t we.

  4. This cutesy kind of stuff is egotistical one upmanship crap. What the hell have we become?

    Marriage proposals are a private thing between two individuals and no one else should be directly involved.

    Put down your pompously self-centered video/still cameras people and live life instead of pre-planning to broadcasting every freaking detail of your life!

    Again; what the hell have we become?

  5. Hey guys I think all you pple talking about some random guys proposal who you don’t even know is kind of pathetic! I mean is there nothing else going on in your life that you have to be talking about this? You should all be ashamed of your selves….in other news though a beautiful young couple got engaged last week, maybe we can be excited for them instead of talking crap on them…grow up! Grow up!

    • I think I’ll leave this embarrassingly low-level, ethics-ignorant, rationalization-based comment up as an exemplar of a reaction by someone who either needs to learn something from this blog, or shut up until they do. I think I’ll trash this comment, by someone named Shimon Yehuda Friedman, which is just as foolish and ignorant but not as good a template, instead:

      U guys are a bunch of bored soals with no lives! These cops were off duty and did a nice thing to help someone out. And its a amazing beautiful thing. But u bored people always find the bad in everything cuz u are the bad in the world. Get lives people.

      …although “grow up!” and “get lives, people” are equally condemned here as lazy, non-arguments that are the best the biased and addled often can muster.

    • Do you have nothing else in your life to do bc I don’t so I can write this comment. If there is an important issue at hand then there is nothing wrong to rant about it like whether faded jeans are cool or not. You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to make light of the situation.

  6. A couple of things (which I might be wrong on)

    Is it a fake traffic stop if the driver knows why he is being pulled over? I know the passenger didn’t, but not sure that holds with this.

    As for risk, I don’t see the risk for the police department, though certainly on the driver and passenger. But really, if she WAS a drug runner or something, then it seems like a good thing police are on the scene to arrest a person committing a criminal activity *grin*

    Are ALL PR moves done by police/fire/etc a waste of tax money then? What about showing up at a hospital to cheer up sick kids? Appearing at schools for school fairs? Parades? Is there a line where it’s ok to do things that are mainly PR stunts not related to their job?

    As for marriage proposals and how they’re done? Why are some ways appropriate and not others? I didn’t know we got to be the final arbiter of the “proper” way to propose. Sorry, it doesn’t have to be a private affair if the people involved in it don’t want it to be. That’s just personal opinons here. Or should they be banned and a law passed against it?

    • IANAL, but I read a blog written by one. If they pulled over someone to give them ice cream and then discovered they had drugs on them or something, I don’t think they would be able to prosecute, since I am pretty sure “I wanted to give her ice cream” is not probable cause.

      • I’m sorry, I was obviously thinking about the other post here about the police pulling people over to give them ice cream, not this story. Still, I think my point stands. “I was pulling them over because I was part of their wedding proposal hi-jinks hardly counts as probable cause either.

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