Well, well, well..... There I was at the Artesian Well talking to folks about downtown issues when a 6' motorcycle cop pulled up and stood over a man sitting against the wall. The man had been there for at least the half-hour since I got there. I walked over towards the cop and the man and when I had got within about 20 feet the cop yelled at me to "Back off!" I said I wanted to ask him a question but he said matter of factly that he was arresting the man for drinking in public and I should stay away. The man was not visibly inebriated, nor had he made a sound or interacted in any way with the rest of the 20 or so people who had come and gone.
After a few moments of observing the interaction, I asked, from my 20 foot distance, if I could help in any way. The motorcycle cop said, "You talking to me." I said, "Yes." He said, "Yeah, you can leave me alone."
He could have said, "No thank you, I don't need any help."
He could have said, "No thanks, I can handle this by myself."
He could have said, "Thanks for asking, but I've got it under control."
He could have said any number of things with some civility.
Now I know this will initiate all sorts of responses about how the cops don't know who their friends are, that they might feel threatened, that they may not know who's around them. All sorts of excuses. ( I'm not sure if some of them want to be friendly.) This was broad daylight. I was in slacks and a shirt. I was being pleasant. I did nothing to warrant his macho attitude and glaring stare.
I was at the meeting with the chief last week during which he mentioned wanting to find middle ground in our community. Maybe he wants to have some of his officers take a basic course in manners. That would be a start.