Mississippi Burning up the road

And people think we have problems with our troopers. I happened to be driving across Mississippi yesterday, on Hwy 78 between Tupelo and Memphis.

I was just tooling along, getting in touch with my essential Elvisness, and the road between those two foci of the Elvis universe is a perfect place to do it. Hwy 78 is now an interstate-like four-lane with a huge median, rolling across the Delta with almost no traffic, unlike, say, I-20.

So I’m cooling it, with the cruise set exactly to the speed limit (don’t tell Samuel), when suddenly "Whoa, Daddy! It’s the Man!" — a Mississippi state trooper blows past me like I’m standing still.

He was not in what one would call "hot pursuit." No lights, no siren. He was just moving from point A to point B at a high velocity.

OK, fine. Stuff happens. But about 20 minutes later, another Mississippi state trooper flies past me going just as fast.

But get this: This one finds himself blocked by a superannuated RV in the left lane doing about 60, about a quarter-mile ahead of me. So does he sweep around it on the right, seeing as there was no traffic in that lane? No. He tailgates for a seconds, as I start catching up.

When the RV doesn’t immediately pull over, he turns on the blue light. The guy in the RV doesn’t see him right away, and I pass the two of them on the right, still on cruise.

The trooper edges over into the left shoulder just as I’m passing, so the guy can’t possibly miss him. Shortly thereafter, I see the RV pull over in my rearview.

Did the trooper continue on after some felon? No. He turns off his light, engages the afterburner, and zooms past me doing about 90.

He disappears off ahead of me, apparently in a hurry for a donut.

Yeah, we’ve all seen cops in S.C. seeming to use their de facto immunity to speed needlessly. But in Mississippi, such heedless arrogance seems to be Standard Operating Procedure.

25 thoughts on “Mississippi Burning up the road

  1. slugger

    You better get on back home now. There are things going on in Mississippi that might be detrimental to your health. They might even arrest you and put you away just when a Hurricane is about to hit New Orleans and they will not let you on the bus to get out of town. You might be caught in the football stadium or someplace even worse. For sure they would take your gun away from you. They might even make you eat some of them crawfish while they have you all jailed up and no place to go.
    Heaven forbid if they find out that you are the Editor of The State Newspaper with all your liberal stuff. They could even hang you since you are the first cousin of Mr. Clyburn.
    Get home boy. Now. We might not always agree with your editorials but it gives us something to talk about.

  2. David

    From your description, it sounds like the RV was in violation of being in the left lane needlessly. However, I agree that the trooper’s excessive speed without emergency lights and tailgating is pretty bad. By the way, US-78 is not in the Delta, it’s in Hill Country.

  3. David

    I wonder if the troopers in Mississippi actually attempt to run down lawbreakers that are fleeing on foot? Surely our state can’t be the only one with that distinction.
    I heard on the news today that the upstate trooper who got fired and charged for hitting the kid who was fleeing is now going to make sure his case gets into court. Given what I’ve seen from the dashcam video, I don’t see how he can win. To me it’s perfectly clear this trooper was attempting to stop the kid by whatever means necessary, and that clearly included putting him at the bottom of a tire rut.
    I have a lot of respect for highway patrol troopers. Theirs is a job I wouldn’t do. Unless one is taking fire from an armed offender however, I can’t support running people down.
    That’s just me. David

  4. brian

    “I don’t see how he can win…”
    Put me or any one of the hundreds of thousands of normal SC citizens on that jury and you will watch him win.
    I don’t care if he was drunk and a KKK member, he had every responsibility (not right; responsibility is much more important) to stop that thug.
    If a criminal is wrong, there is no such thing as too much force.

  5. David

    Wow. I disagree, but wow.
    I think I understand what happened here. I think the trooper was probably in a very intense couple of moments, functioning on 110% adrenaline and very determined that these criminals weren’t going to get away. The trooper was “in the ZONE” so to speak, and I can understand that at a point like that poor, over-the-top decisions can be made.
    As I said, I couldn’t do this job, and I have nothing but respect for those that do. But I maintain that when a trooper is in a non-lethal, non life threatening situation (which he clearly was…he’s in the cruiser and the kid is running…AWAY), his training must take over and, whether he’s in the zone or not, he must decide to stop before he uses lethal force against a non-threatening subject.
    He’s already been dismissed from the force hasn’t he? I think so. I don’t think that bodes well for him at trial. I think he’s probably going to lose. He won’t (and probably shouldn’t) get much in the way of punishment, but I think he’ll lose and getted spanked a little.

  6. David

    And Brad, it just occurred to me that you actually used the word “foci” in a sentence as a part of an otherwise normal sounding conversation.
    That’s quite an accomplishment, but it’s actually these little things us conspiracy watchers pick up on. I am absolutely convinced that it’s evidence that you’re a member of an invading force from another planet.
    Only a Cyborg with a vast vocabulary imbedded in memory by aliens who don’t really understand what is ‘normal human speech’ would use a word like this and pass it off with such contrived nonchalance.
    I think you may be a Conehead…do you come from Remulac?
    I’m just sayin. David

  7. Brian

    You haven’t really looked closely at the video. The trooper was chasing the guy down a narrow alley when they guy cut right in front of the trooper. The trooper didn’t hit the guy on purpose at all. The guy was trying to get away and ran right in front of the car.
    As far as the case, when it gets to court, the trooper has a very solid case. There are many things on the video you don’t see that will favor the trooper. There are also many aspects of this case not in the public domain that will help the trooper.
    There are several instances where the comments the trooper made appear right next to each other when in fact they were made several minutes apart. There are several minutes of that video not made public. The video was edited to what you have seen in the media.
    All these things bode very favorably for the trooper who did nothing wrong other than making a stupid comment.

  8. David

    Brian, if the trooper is not guilty, he’s not guilty. I don’t doubt that there is much about this particular case that I don’t know, and it is true that I haven’t examined the video as closely as you. In other words, you may be right in this particular case.
    I think my follow-on point would be that one primary reason there has been so much public outrage about this case is that whether or not it happened this time, there have been other cases in which there was CLEARLY horrible abuse of and threatening behaviour/brutality towards a citizen by a trooper. And not an obviously dangerous criminal either, but simply a citizen that got caught speeding, or otherwise happened to cross paths with an abusive and jack-booted thug law officer. This kind of abuse DOES happen in South Carolina, and law enforcement leadership had better get used to the idea that it has some crow to eat, some explaining to do, some people to fire and prosecute, and some changes to make to stop the abuse.
    And I still think you are dead wrong about at least one part of this: Law enforcement officers most emphatically DO NOT have the responsibility to “stop that thug…there is no such thing as excessive force” as you stated above. This is an astonishing endorsement by you of unlawful and immoral violence and brutality on the states’ part, and I frankly don’t think you really believe this way. I am hopeful for you that this is merely hyperbole.
    And I still don’t support running down a crook who is no threat and is clearly fleeing on foot. I know lethal force is sometimes required, but not in cases when it is clear the criminal is no threat.

  9. David

    Lee, not really. I just thought it would be interesting to know whether this was a black-on-black crime or a black-on-white/other.
    I have observed that the amount of coverage and inflamation a story like this gets by the MSM is directly proportional to the degree to which the story involves people of differing ethnicities. In other words I submit that if this story had been about blacks lynching whites or hispanics, the story would probably have been completely spiked.
    If it had been about whites lynching blacks, the story would be the lead headline on the evening news for the next two months, with periodic and breathless interruptions of regular programming AND a completely dedicated news set at CNN with 24 hour covergae for this story by itself.
    Since it was black-on-black, it apparently got the news blip you cited and hasn’t been heard of since.
    I’m just sayin. David

  10. Lee Muller

    You’re right, David. It makes a BIG difference to the media in determining if they will report the crime and how they will report it.
    This is the usual black-on-black crime.
    Liberal media can report it as, “Two Black Women Victim of Another Lynching is South Carolina”, if they report it at all.
    I have seen on national coverage, of course.
    South Carolina TV has covered it, because they love the Jerry Springer aspect. THE STATE has not covered it at all, as expected.

  11. David

    Lee, in fact, if this story had been about whites lynching blacks, we’d have had race pimps like Al “I Don’t Pay Taxes” Sharpton and Jesse Jackson camped out down here demanding “justice” for the victims (meaning they want a cut).
    We’d also have had Barak “Typical White Person” Obama pontificating and bloviating about racial injustice and getting full page spread newspaper coverage and non-stop TV MSM coverage from now until this November.
    McCain, being a starchy looking white guy, would be hounded relentlessly to denounce these racists and meet with Obama, Sharpton to engage n the racial “discussion” we supposedly need so desperately.
    Again…just sayin. David

  12. David

    Sorry, I was typing passionately and quickly, so I made some typos…but you catch my drift.
    I’m pretty much all hunt and no peck when it comes to typing. dave

  13. Brian

    First, I never made any reference any reference to “excessive force” so I have no idea what you’re talking about. I never said the trooper had a right to run the guy over just because he ran. He ran because he did something wrong which has never been mentioned in any media sources.
    You mention past and present transgression by the police. I have no doubt that policeman have overstepped their bounds in the past and the present. But we’re talking about this one case against this one trooper. What’s being done to this trooper and his family is just plain wrong.
    He DID NOT hit this suspect on purpose. The local officials, the state, and SLED investigated this incident an nauseum and found absolutely NOTHING wrong with the troopers actions other than a careless and stupid comment.
    Then the black caucus got involved and Jim Clyburn pushed this case to the justice dept. The black caucus wants their “pound of flesh” for past transgressions. These things did happen to black people in the past and were reprehensible. But this is now and this trooper had nothing to do with the past.
    Two wrongs do not make a right. Trying to crucify this trooper is just plain wrong. The is just a typical knee jerk reaction to trying to tie together things that happened in the past to the present.

  14. David

    Don’t try to be naively innocent Brian. You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
    Technically you are correct. I misquoted you. I thought you had said essentially that there was “no such thing as excessive force.” What you actually said was:
    “If a criminal is wrong, there is no such thing as too much force.”
    First of all, a criminal by definition is wrong. So I don’t know what you meant by that…it doesn’t really make any sense.
    But to say that there is no such thing as “too much force” (your EXACT WORDS) is just wrong. YOU Brian, are WRONG! I may have gotten a word or two wrong quoting you to begin with, but the exact words you used are exactly what I am telling you amount to a ridiculous and dangerous endorsement of state sanctioned violence that is just flat-out wrong. So your fake naive act doesn’t cut it. It is immoral to use unnecessary lethal force against a non-threatening criminal. Period. There IS such a thing as too much force!!!
    THERE IS SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH FORCE! And unfortunately, our troopers have used too much from time to time, and now must bear the public distrust and disgust that comes with it. Like in this case.
    The sneaky little fact is that this trooper and his family probably wouldn’t be going through quite so much hell right now if he weren’t reaping the harvest of a legacy of law enforcement abuse in South Carolina. I am not saying it has been widespread, but there doesn’t have to be much of it to cause a LOT of grief.
    I know my points make me seem like a bleeding heart lib, but I promise you I am not. I fully support law enforcement. However, I in no way support the notion that there is “no such thing as too much force.” This is a ridiculous position and you ought to know better. Shame!
    Of course the way we make this country a better place is to aggressively go after the bad guys. But becoming bad guys ourselves while going after bad guys doesn’t make it a better country. It makes it like Germany in 1939.

  15. Robert

    A similar thing happened to me in Atlanta on 285 about 20 years ago. This was when the double-nickel was the posted speed limit on that raceway. I pulled into the far left lane at about 75 to pass someone. Right about the time I’m looking to see if I’ve passed the slower car, I see blue lights. Thinking that 75 might be the threshold that the GSP pulls one over on that road, I begin looking to see how soon I can get to the far right. As soon as I get 2 lanes over, I see the same trooper racing along. I wasn’t speeding (at least not enough to make said trooper go to work!) I just happened to be in his way in getting to the Clermont!

  16. Brian

    I have been very polite in talking with you but you must be a freaking idiot. Go read through ALL my posts and tell me where I said anything remotely similar to what you’re saying. I never said anything close to what you’re saying about excessive force or anything even remotely close to it. Go read my posts and then come back and apologize to me for being an idiot and not even reading what I said.
    Another poster you were talking to said those things and not me. Geesh, how can you have intelligent conversation on here if people are not even going to read what what you’re writing. I never said anything about they’re not being a such thing as excessive force. Of course sometimes police do overstep their bounds. I’m not debating that.
    I’m talking about this one case. This trooper did nothing wrong. So you’re saying he and his family are paying for past transgressions and that it is ok for that to happen. If you really belive that, then you’re just not a very intelligent person. What if someone researched your family history and found somebody in your family had wronged someone terribly in the past. You think it’s OK for you and your family to pay for that now even though you had nothing to do with it.
    That’s exactly what you’re saying now.

  17. Brian

    For the record, there are two Brian’s posting on this blog. I’m Brian with a capital B. I’m not the other brian with a lower case b.

  18. David

    This is tiresome and not worth the effort.
    There are apparently two people named Brian posting here. One of these Brians (aka BP) has argued that there is no such thing as too much force when stopping a “wrong” criminal. At THAT Brian I have thrown the bullsh*t flag. If you aren’t that Brian, then never mind.
    My real problem is that my posts on this subject have made me sound eerily like Tom Turnipseed. Now THERE is the stuff of which nightmares are made.
    In any case, I have said what I believe with all my heart is true. I said it with passion and I’d do it again if I thought it’d make any difference. Some joker named BP said above that he thought there was no such thing as “too much force.” I violently disagree. ‘Nuff said.

  19. Brian

    This has turned into a pissing match and that is unforunate. If you can’t debate intelligently, then stay off these boards. You jump to conclusions, didn’t actually read the posts, and then diverted the subject.

  20. Brad Warthen

    Here’s a footnote, to bring us back to the original topic.
    I drove back from Memphis yesterday, and it happened again. As we were traversing northern Mississippi on 78, going right at the speed limit (70), all of a sudden, WHOSSHHHH! A state trooper goes past us going somewhere close to 100 mph. It startled my wife who was reading a book, because it rocked the car when he went by.
    No lights. No chase in sight. Just the way these guys drive, obviously.

  21. Herb Brasher

    Oh the feel of the German Autobahn!
    But you proved two things: 1) When you need to get somewhere, 55 is way too slow; 2) Bud ought to keep his silly comments down about your family vacations, or anyone else’s for that matter.

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