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eipsa
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28 Jun 2006, 2:52 pm

I live temporarily in an african country, and I'm white so I stand out. There are street cops on every corner but it's still supposed to be a 'democratic' state.
Anyway, the other day, me and my friend walk out of the supermarket with our shopping only to be flagged down by two streetcops in uniforms. They do this to foreigners *all* the time, they want to see ID, they are not allowed to do this unless they have a 'reasonable suspicion' that you're a criminal, but they do it anyway to harass and to maybe fish for a bribe in case you've forgotten your ID.
I have my ID in my pocket but my friend forgot his (inknown to me at that time), so I ask the cops to see *their* ID, because they have to show me according to the law. There is no ID number on their uniforms and anybody can just go out and sow a uniform and pretend to be a cop and kidnap you. So (as I expected) they don't want to show me any ID, so after long discussions with them I take their photo with my camera-phone (heh heh) which only makes them really upset (oops). So now they call their friends so they've multiplied into 4 or 5 suddenly.
We still refuse to show any ID because they still have not identified themselves, and I have my principles (silly me 8) ). So the next thing that happens is they start to push us and pull out their hand-cuffs, at that point my tae kwon do training kicks in and I push (firmly but not to hard) with a flat hand into the one cop's chest whereafter he and his buddy pull out their police-sticks.
I am *so* ready to wate these guys (which would be my right). They're very small in stature and weak looking and totally untrained and have no guns. It wouldn't have been difficult. Flashing before my eyes was a block to his strike with his stick, followed by a hard punch to his solar plexus, a front snap kick to his belly and followed by a sidekick to his buddy cop standing next to him slapping cuffs on my friend. After that if attacked by the other cops I'm sure I would have wated them all. This is not bragging, I'm just worried about what could have happened, they're small untrained guys, it would have been excellent training. Anyway, I restrained myself because myfirend (who's 50 but in good condition) got struck by the stick, and I decided (in 20 milliseconds) I couldn't involve him in something that would land me in jail for several days minimum. Damn and blast.
Then we got marched cross town to the policestation, handcuffed together, and the cuffs were *tight* and cutting off bloodsupply and I was worried about nerve-dammage.
Ok, to cut a long story short. We were vindicated and the chief sort of apologized (before showing us *his* ID) and letting us go (turns out, they *dont* even *have* any official IDs....! !!).
The thing is, I was right, they were wrong, but we still wasted 3-4 hours going through this. and whats worse, if my friend hadn't been there I might have completely lost it and wasted these cops, which would have landed me in jail for sure and maybe worse (allthough I would have been released eventually because it was my right to defend myself).
Anyway sometimes my principles are a bit too much but I just can't help myself! I guess having strong principles is an AS thing. Anybody else got in troubble due to AS related excentricities?



steveM
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28 Jun 2006, 3:20 pm

I'm not sure that I'd peg this up as "strong principles". It sounds to me more like a combination of typical AS behaviors: impulsive behavior (doing something before you've thought through the consequences completely) and lack of empathy (being unable to put yourself in the cops' shoes and predict what they are going to do).

Ask yourself...would you handle it the same way now if it were all to happen again? If you are willing to endure three hours wasted and the discomfort of the handcuffs for your right to demand ID, then it is strong principles. If not, then you've learned something about yourself and maybe about the cops. Either way, you've gotten sometihing out of the experience.

Small men working as cops are typically insecure. They need to bolster their security by showing off how powerful they are. If you want to avoid trouble, you should avoid provoking this type of person. You are no less of a person for showing your ID and avoiding trouble.

Maybe I'm just a wimp. But the advice I remember is to pick your battles. Your experience is not a battle I'd choose.


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eipsa
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28 Jun 2006, 3:35 pm

steveM wrote:
Maybe I'm just a wimp. But the advice I remember is to pick your battles. Your experience is not a battle I'd choose.


No not a wimp, just someone not with that particular compulsion (of claiming your right) I guess. The problem is that I *want* to pick that battle... but intellectually and logically I *know* that it's a bad battle with no winners. :?



donkey
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28 Jun 2006, 3:40 pm

yeah strong p[rinciples, im with you there dude......
this is how aspies are made and we cant change this, no need to dissect it, but think a little deeper here..self awareness is a great thing, avoid these things in future, rigid adherence to principles is a good thing but being able to be aware of your aspiness and deal with it is abeteer thing, i would have love to have got out my light saber and waste a few cops with you...yeah man, just like in viet, frickin ' nam. man.....



pineapple
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28 Jun 2006, 4:02 pm

It's hard to tell whether AS got you into that situation, of if it's a cultural thing. The part about how the cops wouldn't show their ID to you is beyond me. If they had done that, the whole thing would have been avoided. *is confused*
Well on the flip side...you did get a pretty good story out of it. :wink:



wobbegong
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29 Jun 2006, 12:51 am

eipsa

I think it might have gone worse if they had been fake cops. They'd have just beaten you up and taken everything you've got.

I'd much rather hand over a bit of cash to someone who asks for it politely than get belted over the head and lose everything I've got.

What I'd be thinking is what is the quickest way I can get out of this situation with the least amount of trouble. And the first thing I'd do is suck up to the bad guys and tell them how important they are and what a wonderful job they're doing keeping the muggers down. And I'd also try to be really boring and uninteresting. And I'd tell them I have my ID but it isn't handy and it's going to take me a while to find it, in the hopes they think of something better to do. My ids are usually in a black wallet in a black bag inside a bigger black bag full of stuff and they are really hard to find.

If I was doing something good to help the community, I'd also tell them that - ie that I'm working at the local free clinic if they've got any warts they want checked out. And then I could tell them a really gruesome and detailed story about removal of warts...

It's a wonder your phone didn't get "confiscated" permanently.

Don't go near Zimbabwe, I think you'd not survive long being pedantic or principled.



Aeturnus
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29 Jun 2006, 2:15 am

I have never been in that severe of a situation. I have never physically attacked anyone.

With that said, I hate cops. They should mind their own business. In my area, they seem to spend more time harrassing people who appear to be suspicious more than anything else. This goes on even at a train station. I avoid crowds and hang around in places where very few people hang around. I've had occasions where cops have come up to me and asked what I was doing and so forth. They say it's a free country, but it's turning into a police state.

- Ray M -



dgd1788
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29 Jun 2006, 12:22 pm

I don't understand why a cop would need an ID, I guess its because I am not used to that type of government.



Bland
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29 Jun 2006, 10:20 pm

Yes, I have been overly rigid in my life; although, without a story quite so dramatic as yours.

When I was about 10 or so, I was a classic fanatic. I thought that everything was strictly black or white, right or wrong. I asked my Mom if God favored Rock-n-Roll. She said "probably not". So I started my campaign to "preach" against Rock music (even though I loved it) and I promptly ceased to play it on my record player. (yes, I'm that old) I made a real fool of myself for about a year, berating everyone: sister, brother, cousin, aunt, friends, neighbors, for listening to something so evil. It finally wore off as I began to realize that not all Rock songs are particularly sinful.
I also went through a period of wearing dresses only because my aunt and uncle told me that God wanted women to wear only dresses. I wore only dresses even though I absolutely hated dresses and skirts because I couldn't stand to feel my legs brush past one another as I walked. Boy was I one grouchy fundamentalist whacko!

Also, the pastor at the church we attended at this time, preached that God did not approve of the mixing of races in marriage. Well, my mom is caucasian and my dad is hispanic. What do you think I asked them?

There are numerous examples of this rigid behavior and belief systems but as I learned to reason things out a bit more, and saw that life is much more complicated, I began to "lighten up" a bit.


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Tekneek
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30 Jun 2006, 6:34 am

I could not live in a place like that. If you can get out, you probably should. It sounds like a very unreasonable place to be.



grameyer
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30 Jun 2006, 2:11 pm

I am glad your story ended like it did. That was pretty bad and it could have really been worse if they had mistreated you after they had you handcuffed...you know how little guys can be when their authority is challenged. Thanks for the story. I liked Donkey's
reply...what a card!



Xuincherguixe
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01 Jul 2006, 1:07 pm

dgd1788 wrote:
I don't understand why a cop would need an ID, I guess its because I am not used to that type of government.


How do you know they're not just some thug pretending to be cops? Granted, it could be fake but if you copy the numbers or the like, you could then at least contact the real police.

The idea of police without identification seems like a very strange thing to me.



eipsa
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01 Jul 2006, 3:42 pm

Xuincherguixe wrote:
The idea of police without identification seems like a very strange thing to me.


Yeah! very strange! I found out that the going rumour is that there are so many cops on the streets because the governement might need them in order to turn it into a dictatorship one day, but if they all had nice ID badges, there would be too many people knowing just exactly how many cops there really are (and there are *lots*), and then too many questions would be asked by the wrong people etc etc...
Corrupt government is *discusting* :x

But the fact that even if they had had badges they wouldn't have shown them, is beyond reasoning alltogether..., my AS brain simply can't deal with that :D



beentheredonethat
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04 Jul 2006, 12:38 am

Probably won't do any good, but you should complain to your embassy.
In no circumstances, unless you are being attacked, is it a good idea to get physical with the police of another country. That is asking to be killed. Just a thought. Having been trained by one of the best murder and mayhem outfits in the world (the U.S. Army in vietnam), I would never go up against the cops. Just a suggestion.