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Video: Seat-belt Activist Tries To Pull Over Mich. Cop

December 03, 2012  | 

VIDEO: Seat-belt Activist Tries To Pull Over Mich. Cop

A Michigan seat-belt activist who attempted to pull over a Detroit Police officer is now facing a reckless driving charge.

Steve McClain of Southgate attempted to make a citizen's arrest and can be heard yelling, "Where's your damn seat belt?" and "Who the hell do you think you are?" during the confrontation that was captured by high-definition cameras mounted to McClain's van.

The home improvement small businessman told Fox News Detroit that he patrols for seat-belt compliance in his spare time and posts the videos on YouTube.

In the video, the officer can be seen smiling as McClain yells at him to pull over.

Police sources told the news outlet seat-belt exemptions can be given to officers who may be doing surveillance or checking out an armed robbery or a suspected person with a gun.

Tags: Detroit PD, Citizen Involvement, Traffic Enforcement


Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

D L Dean @ 12/4/2012 7:49 AM

We can debate the method that was employed by the citizen in this video, but at the crux of the issue is our image. A couple of salient points must be addressed here. One is that we "willingly" accepted our role in law enforcement and with that we accept the "fact" that we are held to a more stringent standard than our citizens by virture of the postion whe hold. We can debate and argue that this is unfair, but the reality is what it is. Secondly, and just as important is that we as officers are viewed through a prism that is skewed and perception is the standard whereby we are measured by the citizenry we serve each day. We can seek to mitigate this viewpoint or "validate" our actions through our deeds or we can dismiss or seek to find a rationalization for our failings as I believe the case to be in this situation. While I do not have direct information to say with certainty that this particular officer was doing anything to "excuse" him from compliance with the seatbelt requirements; his demeanor and outward conduct provides a window of opportunity to judge fairly that he was not "on call" for one of the exemptions stated in the report.
I have been in law enforcement since 1973 in both the military and civilian realms and continue to serve proudly in this profession. If this officer failed to comply with the seatbelt law then he should have the courage to admit his mistake rather than seek refuge behind some exemption. As well our ranks collectively should not condone such conduct when we know with certainty that we seeking to carve out an exception under the old adage of "do as I say and not as I do." Our image, reputation, and integrity in law enforcement is the currency we are able to do our jobs and the only way our citizens willingly accept the enforcement of the laws we are charged with enforcing in our cities and States.

darcmarc @ 12/4/2012 8:59 AM

police officers are exempt in some situations. They may have to exit quickly to approach and or chase suspects. You have no idea what the officer was doing. SO stop with the bashing of following the law. Of course the cops know that. Spin your wheels on bigger issues you morons

Steve @ 12/4/2012 6:11 PM

@darcmarc

"perception is the standard whereby we are measured by the citizenry we serve each day."

and

"his demeanor and outward conduct provides a window of opportunity to judge fairly that he was not "on call" for one of the exemptions stated in the report."

darcmarc, did you skim right over those two parts? Also,

"If this officer failed to comply with the seatbelt law then he should have the courage to admit his mistake rather than seek refuge behind some exemption."

I can't really think of a bigger issue than the fact that the law can so easily not apply to the law so long as the appropriate excuse is applied.

Look at the video:

If you notice the smirk on that officer's face, it's like he's amused. Amused because he knows his exemption laws. And more importantly, it is likely that he and his superiors will have a laugh about the whole situation later on. A conversation that I have absolutely no doubt in my mind will end with something to the effect of "The video in no way proves that you weren't in a situation where safety belt exemption would apply. It won't be a problem."

Whether the officer was in a situation where belt exemption would apply or not, we may never know. There-in lies the problem. What if the officer simply doesn't wear a seat belt because he can get away with it.

What we also don't know is how far Mr. McClain followed that officer before engaging. What if the officer had driven 2 miles at the speed limit obeying signals in stop and go traffic before being questioned?

My opinion is that the officer probably doesn't wear a seat belt unless he remembers to put it on like the rest of us. And will NOT be cited for his actions, UNLIKE the rest of us.

I believe Mr. McClain and I share the same opinion. Our difference however, is that I do not have video evidence of the situation.

Steve @ 12/4/2012 6:13 PM

Also, I do not believe anyone is spinning their wheels regarding this matter. I'm sure seat belts are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg regarding things that people in a position of authority can "get away with" easily.

Curt @ 12/5/2012 5:46 AM

Sorry darcmark, but the other guys are right. The lowest form of life, lower than liberals, lower than lawyers, lower than pimps, even lower than politicians, is the hypocrite. We are in the public eye and honor and integrity, both personal and departmental, dictates that we hold ourselves and our brothers to a higher standard than we hold everybody else. We must set the example that we want others to live by. I had no problem doing this for 30 years and anybody that can't (or won't) do it is unfit to be a cop.

Damon @ 12/17/2013 8:17 PM

The fact that the officer didn't stop or pull the driver over suggests that he did have something more important to do. Most officers not otherwise occupied would have words with someone ranting and shouting abuse at them while driving along. So he could well of been on some duty that exempted him from seat belt wearing.
Whatever the reason, the cameraman was presenting a far higher risk by filming the cop when moving and yelling out of the window.
If he had simply filmed the officer and used the video as part of a complaint that would have been fine. But his own actions caused far more of a danger to other road users than failing to wear a seat belt. Not much point in trying to do something about failing to wear seat belts if you are going to risk safety and lives by doing so.
A lot of these cop watchers just go too far, fine to film cops doing their job, but when they intrude and demand badge numbers, ask why someone they don't know is being arrested or searched, not good.

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