WV Civil Rights Lawyer

Police Misconduct, Civil Rights Law

Yours Truly Making Law Enforcement Uneasy?

I have heard through the grapevine that certain law enforcement officers are getting “pissed off” about things that I have said on this blog. I am unsure of what specifically they are upset about, but I would urge that any readers who are law enforcement and disagree with things that I have said, to leave their comments in any of the posts that piss them off. You can remain anonymous if you would like. Or, send your complaints directly to my email at jhb@johnbryanlaw.com. I will maintain your anonymity. If you disagree with me, tell me why…

I am frequently critical of law enforcement, but I do try to give credit where it is due, and I have encountered some good people in the profession. I certainly have not been critical of law enforcement in my home county of Monroe, as I think they do a good job. They do not harass the public, nor do they abuse their badges. My only complaint would be that they do not enforce the speed limit, which in my opinion is one of the most dangerous crimes in a rural county with no four-lane highways.

In fact, I am proud that most law enforcement in West Virginia do not harass law-abiding citizens. I have lived in Florida and North Carolina, and I have driven many times across the State of Virginia. The cops in all three of these states are, in my opinion, “storm troopers.” Especially in Florida and Virginia. They harass law-abiding citizens everyday, mostly with unjust speeding tickets. Remember, in Florida you have many areas with long stretches of road that are straight-as-an-arrow, with a speed limit of 45 or 55. Of course, even the quintessential grandmother is going to travel faster than that. This is what they spend their time on. Then, when they pull you over, they are jerks. But hey, that is just my personal experience/observation.

Likewise, in Virginia, they arrest people for speeding. Literally, they take them into custody. I had a client who was a doctor driving through Virginia, and ended up being dragged out of his car and hauled to jail. I have even gotten my own tickets in Virginia, and believe it or not, I am a slow driver. For this reason, I would never, never live in that state.

Now this is somewhat hypocritical of me to include North Carolina in this, because I have prosecuted folks for speeding there in a previous life, but it was very similar to Virginia. There are more cops than you can shake a stick at, and they make a good living pulling over your grandmother.

Anyways, I certainly welcome and encourage law enforcement officers to read my blog – especially those in West Virginia – and to participate in the conversation if they disagree with things that I say. I assure you that my intent is not to attack law enforcement as a profession, as I believe it is one of the most honorable professions. At one time, I was only one of 3 people at the Department of Justice who were attempting to help law enforcement agencies across the country reform their practices and policies in order to avoid civil lawsuits. And in that same vain, I will always call a spade a spade, and will criticize that which needs criticism. For what my opinion is worth, I don’t like the over-militarization of law enforcement, I don’t like badge-heavy cops, and I don’t like hypocrisy or dishonesty. When I entered my profession, I was warned that it was now my obligation to live my life to the letter-of-the-law, and though I am a but mere mortal, I try my best to live up to that expectation, and I believe that law enforcement officers have the same duty and obligation.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney.

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July 30, 2008 - Posted by | Police

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