At the end of Casablanca, Rick shoots the Nazi trying to prevent Elsa's plane from escaping. At that moment, Louie, the semi-collaborating French Officer, has to decide whether to turn Rick in or let him go. Faced with this choice, Louie says “round up the usual suspects.”
How Does This Apply to Our Modern Lives?
Many police officers fail to consider alternative explanations that tend to show a person is not guilty of a crime. A perfect example is a case I had recently involving a student who was doing “rounds” for her physical therapy program.
She told the officer she was coming from work. It was late in the evening, and he was not willing to listen to her and accused her of being dishonest. The officer would just not listen to my client; and eventually, because of his abusive behavior, she refused testing. He charged her with DUI "Less Safe" due to the refusal. He made his assumptions, and the entire investigation was a search for a justification for the arrest. The officer's behavior was appalling, to say the least.
Why Does This Happen in 2016?
Police officers have tough jobs. They are trained to make quick decisions and react on a microsecond's notice. It is a matter of their survival. The problem is that the mentality to act, rather than to reason, can lead to incorrect judgments. Had the officer described above asked one simple question, he would have understood my client was a student working in a hospital. He might have then not escalated the situation by calling my client a liar multiple times. My client may have then cooperated and had never even been arrested for DUI.
Can We Private Citizens Do Anything to Not Become One of the Usual Suspects?
Of course. The lesson here is that some police officers assume criminal behavior first and use reason and logic second. We private citizens can combat this by being calm and collected during a police encounter. In the face of accusation, we have to allow the police officer to accuse and then question the charge. Never question or appear to challenge the officer's authority. Assert your point of view politely and firmly. If on video, speak into the camera and assert it there. Then, if being falsely arrested, go willingly and as Doug Llewelyn from The People's Court once said, “take it to court.”