Cop Beats Up Judge, Goes Back To Work Because “He has broken no policy.”

The facts:

[State trooper Eric] Shonfarber initiated the stop after spotting [District Judge Lewis] Sams not wearing his seat belt. The trooper followed the judge into the parking lot and informed him of the violation. Sams admitted to the violation and told Shonfarber to write the ticket.

Ought to be it, right? Judge admits he was wrong and, rather than use his own authority to weasel out of the ticket, asks the cop to go ahead and write it. But the cop needed more:

When Shonfarber asked Sams where he was employed, Sams identified himself as a district judge. Shonfarber asked to see Sams’ identification and badge, which Sams declined to produce as a means of getting out of the ticket.

Again, ought to have been it. The judge doesn’t want special treatment, just the ticket. But the cop keeps pushing and then the real fun starts:

Both were insistent on their positions and that’s when Shonfarber threatened the judge with a Taser and threw him onto the hood of the patrol car. Shonfarber released the judge and issued the ticket.

For all you authoritarian apologists out there, explain to me what reason, legal or otherwise, the cop had to ask for the judge’s work identification? And if he had no reason for it, why the hell should the judge have had to produce it?

Sure, the easy way out of the situation would have been to just do what the cop asked. But that’s also why some of them think they can do whatever they want. No one wants to call them on the limits of their power. Good for the judge.

And shame on the state troopers for not firing this guy. Here’s hoping his criminal trial for aggravated assault, simple battery and false imprisonment results in guilt.

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