- The Washington Times - Friday, March 9, 2001

An interesting item to contemplate, especially if you have recently been issued a traffic ticket: A D.C. police officer was suspended without pay this week for 75 days because he issued a traffic ticket to a fellow officer. That's a real no-no. Only people without badges, it appears, have to pay attention to speed limit signs, or stop for red lights. If you're a cop, no stop.

Officer Curtis Reed witnessed a car run a red light and pulled the car over. Despite the flashed badge presented by Sgt. Demetrius Givens, the officer decided to write up the infraction and gave the sergeant a ticket.

The ticket was later upheld by a traffic court judge however, Sgt. Givens gave it the full court press and made allegations that the other officer issued the citation out of vindictiveness. The officers apparently knew and disliked each other. The sergeant had apparently intended to discipline the more junior officer prior to the ticket incident and subsequently claimed that Officer Reed was simply trying to "get" him. An internal investigation later determined that Sgt. Givens offered to "cut a deal" agreeing to forget about the disciplinary action if Officer Reed would agree to drop the ticket.

Still, Sgt. Givens did, in fact, run the red light. Accordingly, the fact that Officer Reed may not have liked him especially is beside the point. It's also pretty egregious that these two cops can haggle over a ticket and grant each other favors an option not available to ordinary violators. Try "cutting a deal" with an officer and you might find yourself facing more serious charges of attempting to bribe a police officer.

Traffic enforcement is not supposed to be about personal issues. If Sgt. Givens ran the light, then he ought to pay the fine and accept the demerit points assigned by the motor vehicle department.

Instead, he apparently expected what is known in the business as "professional courtesy" a euphemism for special treatment cops afford one another. It is an unwritten maxim that one does not ticket a fellow officer. Officer Reed found out the hard way. He got suspended by his own department, lost more than two months' pay and has received a possible career-ending (or at least stunting) censure on his record. All because he had the temerity to subject another cop to the same laws as anyone else. All of this is not news to most people but it is a sad indicator of the double standard.

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