An off-duty Texas police officer caught a teenager smoking weed in front of a movie theater. The cop decided to resolve the situation in an equally off-duty, macho, paternalistic way that only police officers can get away with these days.
He told the boy to do 200 pushups, right then and there, or he’d book him for weed possession. The teen, of course, did the pushups.
Good thing the young man was in good shape. Not every teenager could pull off that many pushups on demand and on the sidewalk.
According to an ABC affiliate, someone ratted the teen toker out. So the police officer apparently saw it as his civic duty to get involved.
When the cop, identified as Eric Ball, saw the boy finishing off and tossing a “cigarette,” he recognized the telltale aroma and knew he had an incident on his hands.
“Marijuana gives a distinct odor. He knew what the teen was up to,” said Arlington Police Lieutenant Chris Cook, who clearly has a flair for the obvious.
Cook said the teen responded respectfully and recognized that he’d “made a mistake.”
Yes, young man, it is a mistake to smoke weed in front of a crowded movie theater in Texas, which has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country.
Let’s not forget that some cops in Texas are prone to warrantless roadside body cavity searches if they think they smell something skunky during a traffic stop.
“He could have very well arrested this teen, but instead he tried to do something better,” said Cook.
Obviously Ball, who played high school football where push-ups are often meted out for discipline as well as conditioning, thought he was doing the right thing. Certainly most of the media reports appear to agree.
But the incident begs a question: Why are teenagers, even ones silly enough to smoke a joint in public, subjected to the threat of having their lives derailed due to a criminal conviction for possessing a substance that is safer than alcohol?
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