I got pulled over the other night.
Reason I thought about that is that Mannion - whose opinion on cinema I just cited - has a post up about being jacked around by cops.
The thing about my experience is that it was clearly a bullshit stop. I was under the speed limit, in a very quiet street, and other than that these gomers had no real reason to pull me over. The excuse the sheriff's deputy used was that I "had a headlight out", which is something you can see every night you drive around here - we have no annual state inspection, so there's no real pressure to replace a dud headlight - but the real reason is that I was tired and driving cautiously which to these jokers probably meant "this guy's probably had a few, so let's stop him and see what we can find."
They went into full-on "Cops" mode; lit up the searchlight, came up on both sides of the vehicle...and suddenly realized that 1) I was a white guy wearing a safety vest 2) driving a pickup with a company logo on the side. They did the usual ID check just because otherwise it would have been WAY too obvious that is was a bullshit stop and then let me walk even though the insurance card I presented was expired (I had the current one in the key-pouch but had forgotten that was where it was).
I didn't get jacked around...other than 15 minutes of my life that I'll never get back. And I was very polite and cooperative, so there were no other consequences. But I drove away swearing a blue streak at the Washington County Sheriff's Department from the Sheriff himself to the lowest garage mechanic as a bunch of ticket-happy officious assholes.
There's been a lot of coverage about "militarized police" and the like in the wake of fairly obviously moron-grade fuckup shootings by trigger-happy cops. But IMO these sorts of bullshit traffic stops are just as bad for the coppers' standing in the public eye. They're so obviously about "we can fuck with these peons so let's do it and find out what happens" that it's difficult for the citizens involved to walk away with much respect for the cops. Which is pretty crucial, given that when the impartiality of the enforcers of the law becomes obviously questionable respect for the law itself comes into question as well.
So much for Officer Friendly.