This is very basic, black letter law, but I feel compelled to address it in the face of completely wrong information at another website.

Charlie Grabski has stated on the PINAC blog that “A citizen may be a police officer. But a police officer is not a citizen.  The citizen has those rights. The officer does not.”  Charles J. Grabski, PINAC comment (emphasis added).  Fortunately, Grabski is completely wrong.

The Supreme Court has been very clear on this, and it is nowhere close to what Grabski says.

“We conclude that policemen, like teachers and lawyers, are not relegated to a watered-down version of constitutional rights.”  Garrity v. State of N.J., 385 U.S. 493, 500, 87 S. Ct. 616, 620, 17 L. Ed. 2d 562 (1967) (emphasis added).
In other words, although Grabski may wish it were so, police officers have the same constitutional rights as everyone else.
Other cases stating the same thing include, but are not limited to:
  • Hughes v. Whitmer, 714 F.2d 1407, 1435 (8th Cir. 1983) (“As the Supreme Court has so forcefully stated: ‘policemen, like teachers and lawyers, are not relegated to a watered-down version of constitutional rights. . . .'”) (internal citation omitted).
  • Greenwald v. Frank, 337 N.Y.S.2d 225, 231 (App. Div. 1972) (“That statement, like the Holmes dictum . . . that ‘petitioner may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be a policeman’, has been relegated to the dust heap of history. In the court said, ‘We conclude that policemen, like teachers and lawyers, are not relegated to a watered-down version of constitutional rights.'”)(internal citations omitted).
  • Driebel v. City of Milwaukee, 298 F.3d 622 (7th Cir. 2002) (“We begin our analysis by stating the well-settled rule that men and women do not surrender their freedoms when joining the police force.”) (internal citations omitted)

Look, I understand that Grabski has a bias against police, he’s had some bad encounters with them.  However, putting out information that police officers are second class citizens is just wrong.

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