Police

"Snowboarding with the NYPD" Video Proves Cops Have Discretion, Can Be Cool

Casey Neistat's viral clip features two "awesome" officers who let the fun happen.

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Viral videomaker Casey Neistat's clip of him and his friend Oscar Boyson snowboarding through the streets of Manhattan during last Saturday's blizzard has been viewed nearly 6,000,000 times on Youtube as of Monday afternoon. Set to a remix of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York," Neistat and Boyson shred the streets of Gotham while holding onto jet ski ropes tethered to the back of a Jeep.

As noted at the start of the video, a city-wide travel ban on cars went into effect at 2:30pm on Saturday and although a behind-the-scenes video indicates that much of the urban extreme winter sporting was done before then, Neistat and his cohort were still on the road for a while after the ban went into effect. 

Using GoPro cameras and a drone floating overhead, Neistat and company capture some spectacularly fun footage of weather-weary pedestrians cheering with delight (one even gets to take a brief ride) as these two goofballs risk life and limb to do something deliberately silly and almost certainly in violation of any number of laws. But perhaps the most life-affirming moment of the video comes at the very end, when the riders pass an NYPD vehicle which promptly pulls them over, lights-flashing and sirens-blaring.

Just when you're expecting the record to scratch and the party to come to a bruising halt, one of the officers (whose face is unseen) tells Neistat, "Someone complained about you, so we're just gonna act like we're talking to you, alright?" To which Neistat replies, "You guys are awesome." 

This is a far cry from the NYPD officer who gave Neistat a ticket for riding his bike on the street but outside of a designated bike lane (which is not illegal), an incident which inspired the 2011 viral video of Neistat strictly adhering to bike lanes and thus violently crashing into several impediments (including a police cruiser). 

The officers who did not arrest (or even so much as hassle) Neistat this past Saturday provide a living example that cops have discretion over which petty violations they choose to enforce, and that they also have the autonomy to choose how and when to escalate a potential confrontation. Sadly, the NYPD officers who detained Eric Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk over his alleged sale of loose cigarettes chose the opposite tack: to vigorously enforce a "low-level offense" and use violent force to neutralize Garner's non-violent non-compliance, which led to Garner's death. 

The surprising tolerance of joie de vivre wasn't confined to New York's Finest, the blizzard brought out the fun in at least one of Washington DC's police officers, who played some pretty rough-and-tumble sidewalk football with the citizenry.

In Gainesville, FL a few weeks back, a police cruiser's dashcam captured an official response to a neighbor's noise complaint that some kids were playing basketball (loudly!) in the street. The officer who responded casually approached the kids and proceeded to play ten minutes of pickup hoops with them before going on his way. The Gainseville PD edited the video and posted it to Facebook (where it has been viewed more than 15,000,000 times) with the added message that "We're going to let kids be kids. We're going to focus on the ones that commit crimes."

NEXT: How Long Could the U.S. Go Without Electricity?

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  1. The cop in Gainesville went back and challenged those kids to a rematch. He brought backup this time.

    1. Why do I keep having a creeping suspicion that the whole thing was staged?

    2. Awesome.

      1. This. May have been staged, but I doubt it, no way the bed wetters De Blasio and Coumo would have allowed it during this serious crisis that shows how important government is.

  2. I make $82h while I’m traveling the world. Last week I worked by my laptop in Rome, Monti Carlo and finally Paris?This week I’m back in the USA. All I do are easy tasks from this one cool site. check it out,

    —————– http://www.richi8.com

    1. Surprised that the Brazilian doesn’t have a…Brazilian…

      1. I believe that the Brazilian hair removal job is named for a salon in NY run by Brazilians.

  3. Hiring cops who aren’t racist aggro bullies and training them to use some discretion and common sense when enforcing petty bullshit laws is a good first step. A good second step is to get rid of the petty bullshit laws that give the racist aggro bullies pretense to stick it to people they don’t like.

  4. Damn that looks like fun.

    Also, he would’ve been shot if he were black, etc. etc.

  5. Personal cop story:

    Saturday night, on the way home from snowboarding, I was cruising along 4th Ave south of downtown, talking with my daughter when I saw the red-and-white flashing behind me.

    I knew right away it was for speeding because that stretch of road as an unnaturally low speed limit (kind of like the rest of Seattle).

    Cop came up to the window, and in a friendly, chipper voice told me he had been pacing me at 45 and there were a lot of transients in the area who like to wander out in the road at night. After taking my license and reg, he said he was just going to give me a warning but he had to write it up because of ‘rules’ (these rules are the ones where he has to record my race and sexual orientation because ACLU).

    When he returned we got into a discussion about the transient issue (that stretch of town is chock full of Seattles (newly minted?) homeless people, with tent encampments under every section of roadway and greenspace you can possibly stick a tent in…

    Then we got discussion the state of speed limits in the city. He started talking about 35th Ave which has been lowered to 30 and that it used to be his patrol area. I interrupted him and said, “Right, now everyone does 17.” He busted out laughing and said that they were supposed to do ’emphasized speed patrols’ there, and he said he could never write any tickets because no one ever got up to the limit.

    So yeah, good experience. White privilege.

    1. My white privilege cop story:

      Pulled over for speeding, going 60 in a 45, late at night while on DUI probation. This happens in the town I am residing in, which is a quota town. I tell the cop I am on probation, he doesn’t say or register a reaction and comes back with a ticket. I say “thanks” and he just walks away.

      In traffic court I witnessed every fairly well-dressed, clean-cut white person pay a $180 fine in order to not have points on their record, and every brown, black or poor-looking person receive points on their license for expired tags, or not wearing a seat belt, or expired insurance, etc. It was crazy.

      1. Here is my Soldier privilege story. I was driving US 93 from Phoenix to Bullhead City out on one of the stretches of road where you’ll go 30 miles between groups of 3-4 mobile homes off in the distance. There is NOTHING out there. I’m doing at least 90 in a 55 and I get stopped by one a deputy. He comes up, I give him my license and military ID (I’m a Texas resident so I need my mil ID with me for my DL). He chats with me for about 3 minutes concerning his time in the Navy and gives me a verbal warning to slow down.

  6. The NYPD’s Twitter feed prior to the ban: “After 2:30, if you’re on the road, we arrest you.”

    Fuck you, cop.

    Am I the only one mad-out-of-my-mind pissed the fuck off that they’ve even got the authority to ban automotive travel like that?

      1. What a bunch of proto-Soviet, nanny-state bullshit.

        Visiting cities like Seattle and New York will probably give me strokes and heart attacks. I’ll stick to flyover country.

        1. Luckily, they shut down the program due to budget “cuts”. Budget cuts which apparently didn’t include cutting Seattle’s famously “underutilized” bike sharing program or utterly useless, under-ridden street car system.

          What was infuriating about it is that if you actually lived on a blocked street, you were straight up fucked. Your car wasn’t leaving your garage or driveway. And people who needed people to drive to them were also screwed, blued and tattooed. There were old people that needed visiting nurses and what not. Not for you, bitch, ’cause the environment.

          1. I’d love to see some big-city cocksucker cop arrest a homeowner for driving through a closed street against the day’s restrictions to reach a loved one in a medical crisis purely for the clusterfuck that (I hope, at least) would ensue.

              1. You’re today’s harbinger of misery and sorrow. What the fuck?

                Fuck the police. Seriously. I sincerely hope the cops responsible in those events die of debilitatingly painful, torturous diseases.

  7. Cops Systemically Given Too Much Power Theory plays second fiddle All Cops Racist Theory.

  8. “The officers who did not arrest (or even so much as hassle) Neistat this past Saturday provide a living example that cops have discretion over which petty violations they choose to enforce, and that they also have the autonomy to choose how and when to escalate a potential confrontation.”

    One of the things I learned from living in Mexico is that there are downsides to zero corruption and the rule of law. When the government illegalizes something in Mexico, people don’t get too bent out of shape about it–specifically because they don’t have the rule of law. For instance, in the Yucatan, where I lived, it was common to see a family of four on a moped or motorcycle. Dad would wedge a seven-year old between himself and the gas tank, and the mother (who rode side-saddle on the back out of decency anyway) would be holding a baby in her lap. I’d see it ten times a day at least. Anyway, they passed a law while I was there saying that everybody on a motorcycle or moped had to wear a helmet–but no one paid any attention to the law. The cops didn’t pay any attention to that law either. And their world was probably a better place for it.

    1. Anyway, they passed a law while I was there saying that everybody on a motorcycle or moped had to wear a helmet–but no one paid any attention to the law. The cops didn’t pay any attention to that law either.

      Unless you were a gringo college student down there on spring break, then their eyes would light up with dollar signs. My roommates my freshman year went to Mexico for spring break and came back broke. They spent all their cash bribing the federales to not hassle them over petty bullshit. For instance, one of them took the distributor cap off their car so it wouldn’t get stolen, only to have some cop claim that it was illegal to walk around with a distributor cap in your pocket there. $20 made that problem go away.

      1. I was away from tourist areas the whole time. Mostly in Merida.

        Tijuana and the border towns tend to be more like that than they are in Cancun or Cozumel. In the Yucatan, they’re obsessed with keeping gringo kids safe since that’s where so much of their tourist dollars come from.

        Border towns are different. Even so, would you rather be able to pay off a cop not to take you in for being punk in drublic? Or would you rather spend the night in a Mexican jail?

        I like having more options.

  9. I think about summers in Southern California, getting chased around by the police either on the beach or cruising. Underage drinking was common. The law would have required the police to arrest us, identify who sold us the alcohol, and take us back to our parents since we were minors. They never did that. They’d make us pour out whatever we had, and then they told us to get lost. If we were on the beach, they wouldn’t even bother with that. They’d just check to make sure the girls weren’t too young, etc., but the bonfires and the parties would rage on.

    We think of the rule of law and equal treatment, etc. as freeing us from the whims of the authorities, but it isn’t always like that. People who think of equal treatment and the rule of law as paramount probably shouldn’t complain too much about minimum sentences. Giving somebody the sentence required by law–regardless of extenuating circumstances, common sense, or practical discretion–is what equal treatment and the rule of law is all about. Equal treatment and the rule of law don’t necessarily mean more freedom. It can also mean suburban white kids getting treated by the police like they’re hardcore, heavily armed, violent gang members fighting over drug distribution turf. And who wants that? I want to get rid of the law so it doesn’t hurt anybody–not make sure injustice is served out in equal portions to everybody.

    1. When I was a small kid, if a Moscow cop caught us buying alcohol and cigarettes for adults (parents, cousins — whatever), they’d scold us mockingly, take us back to our parents, openly solicit a 100- to 300-ruble bribe, thank us, and leave.

      1. The purchases weren’t ever confiscated, either.

      2. Yeah, when the cops have more discretion, it’s generally better.

        If we want to take their discretion away, it should be to arrest us in the first place.

        Get rid of the laws against marijuana–don’t make sure that they’re equally enforced.

        I used to think about that in Mexico. If you’re somebody that isn’t out robbing people, assaulting people, etc., then generally speaking, it’s better if you can make the cops go away for a hundred bucks.

        It may be a freer society, I should say, if you can make the cops go away that easily if they’re hassling you for something that shouldn’t be against the law anyway.

        One of the problems immigrants have when they move here is understanding the culture that way–at least coming from Mexico. It takes them a while to understand that the law actually matters. If the law says you need a license to operate or a certificate of occupancy and all that goes into getting one–they really mean it. In Mexico, police interactions with non-drug industry people really are mostly isolated to keeping the peace. Not checking to make sure that everything about you, your car, your house, your business, and your kids is technically not in violation of every federal law, state law, and local ordinance. When Mexican immigrants look at us like we’re crazy for adhering to every aspect of law, maybe it’s because we’re crazy to tolerate such shit.

        1. Funnily enough, in late-1990s Moscow, and in sad contrast to many American locales today, the average citizen wasn’t a hapless pussy. If a bunch of cops shows up and started hassling you for nothing, even aggressive, rude-ass drunken Russians tended to instantly clump together, and the cops either got beaten to death, beaten to near-death, or told in no uncertain terms to fuck off and stay away.

          A perfect example is when we saw two cops get out of their patrol car, march up to a lady in an SUV with her kids, and start loudly harassing and verbally attacking her for being disrespectful and violating some bullshit traffic rules he probably fabricated on the spot. She got out of the car at their command, and was visibly distraught, crying, and pleading with them.

          A few seconds later, five guys in leather jackets get out of their black SUV, ram the cops into their own patrol car, and launch an avalanche of skull-fuckingly colorful threats and profanity (all rightly, by the way), occasionally.

          Half the cars in this jam rolled down their windows and started sort of disjointedly chanting for the cops to eat shit and fuck off, laughing, and hooting.

          1. *showed

            *occasionally throwing a punch

          2. That’s awesome. Here those guys would all end up shot, and nothing else would happen. Proggies like to advocate for the disarmament of the population, but the people who really need to be disarmed are the cops.

            1. I don’t know about them all getting shot. One at a time, they might be. But a group like that, that obviously has the support of most of the onlookers, wouldn’t, I don’t think.
              Of course, that is unlikely to ever happen here. Too many people think that government authority is a good unto itself.

        2. You have to remember that whatever the rules and regulations are, the fact that so many of us are now such unbelievable pussies is what emboldens the pigs and allows them to misbehave. If there were any serious risk of so much as a possibility of getting into a fight, especially an armed one, with determined citizens, 99% of this shit would disappear. But people just watch like pussies. Nobody intervenes.

          1. Deference to authority is a real problem, and so are cops who think they can’t be held responsible for what they do. There have to be consequences for misbehavior.

          2. But people just watch like pussies. Nobody intervenes.

            That’s because in these days of absolute officer safety combined with zero tolerance for non-compliance, intervening is suicide. Literally.

    1. This is excellent, because I’ve been asking for years (and years) if a Windfarm can can be built, service itself on wind power AND provide power to the community– this kind of suggests that’s a big “no”.

      1. Windfarms are a tool of self-delusion for totalitarian environmentalists — they convince themselves the turbines’ existence are symbolic of the righteousness of their cause, and of their power to effect authoritarianism in the name of environmental stewardship.

  10. The videographer was smart editing out anything identifiable about those policemen.

  11. How does police discretion jive with rule of law? I mean, how can it be called rule of law when the mood of the cop determines whether or not the law will be applied?

    1. SPOILER ALERT: there is no rule of law.

    2. Laws are there… just in case.

    3. “How does police discretion jive with rule of law? I mean, how can it be called rule of law when the mood of the cop determines whether or not the law will be applied?”

      What, was my post too long?

      The rule of law is better than the whims of tyrants–to the extent that the law isn’t being an ass.

      We don’t want tyrants violating our rights at their whim, but we don’t want the rule of law violating our rights either. Certainly, an unjust law isn’t justified because it’s applied consistently and without discretion, and, unfortunately, we have a lot of unjust laws on the books. A policeman’s discretion to let you out from under the thumb of unjust laws may undermine the rule of law, but in those cases, the rule of law needs to be undermined.

      I think I prefer a cop with discretion to the an unjust rule of law that can’t be avoided. With the rule of law consistently applied, there’s no way out.

  12. The NYPD is still not cool.

  13. “”Snowboarding with the NYPD” Video Proves Cops Have Discretion, Can Be Cool”

    The method of conveyance in the screencap looks an awful lot like skis.

    1. I haven’t watched the video yet, I’m assuming a snowboard pops up in there at some point. But I noticed that too.

  14. has anyone had Greasonable/Reasonable/Fascr working lately?

    Mine (g) pooped out a while back. assumed it would update. anyone know whats up?

    1. Reasonable seems fine.

  15. Sadly, the NYPD officers who detained Eric Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk over his alleged sale of loose cigarettes chose the opposite tact tack: to vigorously enforce a “low-level offense” and use violent lethal force to neutralize kill Garner’s for his non-violent non-compliance, which led to Garner’s death.

    I see no reason to slather about the murder of Eric Garner with linguistic mush.

    1. ” linguistic mush.”

      Look, i’m not the resident cop-apologist… but Garner died of cardiac arrest due to chest compression, not “asphyxiation”.

      He was never choked out. He was lucid and conscious and complaining of chest pains before he croaked. I think what the NYPD did was horrible and stupid beyond imagination (*tackling a guy for selling loosies), but the idea that they murdered him via choke-hold is a media-myth.

      1. but Garner died of cardiac arrest due to chest compression,

        And how did this “chest compression” happen? Do you think Garner just decided to lay down in the street and have a couple of people just sit on him for some fun?

        Garner’s death was directly related to the aggressive actions taken by the NYPD. His death was a homicide. Period.

      2. but Garner died of cardiac arrest due to chest compression,

        Yeah, the chest compression of having cops kneel on him. I don’t see how being killed by a chokehold v. somebody kneeling on you while you beg “I can’t breathe” is a distinction that makes a difference.

        1. ” I don’t see how being killed by a chokehold v. somebody kneeling on you while you beg “I can’t breathe” is a distinction that makes a difference.'”

          “Facts! (handwaves) who cares about facts?! We have indignation to express!”

        2. my point was not about the rectitude of the Garner killing as much as your pretense to be “making linguistic mush more accurate“. The “linguistic much” was actually closer to the facts.

          1. Both versions are accurate. I think mine more succinctly presents the moral and ethical dimensions:

            Saying someone had violence directed at him, which leads to his death, is just kind of mushy passive way to say the police used lethal force to kill him for non-compliance. To me, it was his notifying the police that he couldn’t breathe, and their disregard of this, that makes it lethal violence, rather than merely violence that led to his death.

            1. I don’t think this was the best example to pick on. The original statement wasn’t passive. It said the police used violence on him and that led to his death. Which is what happened.

  16. Question apropos of nothing: Why does Kathryn Jean Lopez still have a job at National Review? I just looked at her archive because I was amazed she still works there and everything she writes is a) about Catholicism, b) about stupid pop culture shit, including an article on Full House (which she only writes about due to a weird abortion connection), and c) random links she found on the internet, generally related to Catholicism or stupid pop culture shit.

    She has no fan base. People do not go to National Review to read her writing. All of her articles I clicked on had like 6 comments, which is ridiculous for a site with the traffic of NRO. What on Earth does she add to that site?

    1. Does she have pictures of Rich Lowry cheating on his wife or something?

      1. My guess: Rich Lowry got her pregnant and forced her to have an abortion.

    2. I just looked at her archive because I was amazed she still works there and everything she writes is a) about Catholicism, b) about stupid pop culture shit, including an article on Full House (which she only writes about due to a weird abortion connection), and c) random links she found on the internet, generally related to Catholicism or stupid pop culture shit.

      How is this a major distinction from pretty much every magazine looking for a hip, younger, socially-networked, tech-savvy, tuned-in audience?

      *clears throat*

      1. Hip 20-somethings love nothing more than Full House and the Catholic Church. That is true.

        1. I didn’t say they were doing it right.

        2. I mean, based on your description, she seems to fit the profile that fits in well with a national conservative rag. Writes about Catholicism, shoehorns in abortion, but wrapped up in a rambling, broken-field-running pop culture patois. She sounds like the professional “blogger”.

          1. National Review tends to hire a better class of talent though. Going from a Williamson or Cooke article to one by Lopez feels like going from a legitimate, professional writer to a confessional diary of a 19 year old, guilt riddled Catholic girl.

            1. David French writes there, too. As does Dunphy.

              That site has Cookie, Williamson, and Goldberg.

              1. French isn’t a bad writer though, he’s just in love with every cop in America.

                And people actually read David French, so I see his value.

  17. Casey Neistat’s viral clip features two “awesome” officers who let the fun happen.

    I’m sure their captain will give them a talking to about that.

  18. “Someone complained about you…”

    That person needs a swift kick in the nuts.

    1. “Hillary Clinton ally David Brock is acquiring a media outlet, sources involved in the negotiation and sale of the site tell The Huffington Post.

      True Blue Media, a newly formed company incorporated by Brock, has acquired progressive news website Blue Nation Review. BNR’s previous owner, MOKO Social Media Limited, will retain a 20 percent stake in the new entity while Brock will hold the remaining 80 percent equity balance. The sale was finalized Monday night.

      Peter Daou, digital media strategist for Clinton’s 2008 campaign, will serve as the new CEO of True Blue Media.”

    2. IOW, that publication is basically the Committee to Elect HRC

      i liked the footnotes following the story

      “UPDATE: Dec. 1 — A source tells HuffPost that all of BNR’s remaining staff has been let go.

      UPDATE: Dec. 3 — BNR politics writer Shawn Drury and social media staffer Daphne Zhang have been offered jobs at the new entity. ”

      Basically, David Brock bought a media-site… fired everyone…. and then hired 2 more Hillary-campaign-staffers.

  19. Actually they were using hdmi cables. Casey left the tow ropes in Connecticut when he went to get the jeep.

  20. I feel a bit conflicted about this.

    Why not allow bicyclists and skateboarders to ride behind buses and cars once the snow is gone? This cop would be a total hypocrite if he pulled over others who tried similar stunts under more ordinary circumstances.

    The cops says “someone complained about this, so I’m just gonna act like I’m talking to you.” This is feels less about a cop exercising discretion and more about him trying to avoid troublesome scenario. Just because he can. Violent crimes are ticking up in some cities.

    No one minds cops not busting lemonade stands, because they hurt no one. The guy in the video wasn’t wearing any safety equipment and came fairly close to making contact with parked cars twice (although the car dragging him wasn’t moving fast).

    1. Casey also rides an electric skateboard and flies a drone in the city which are both totally illegal. He even used the drone for this shoot.

    2. The rules are just different when it’s all snowy. This seems to have worked out fine for everyone. Doing something similar in regular NYC traffic would be very likely to end in serious injury and property damage. I don’t have a problem with treating things a bit differently in the very rare situation where there is almost no traffic on Manhattan streets.

      1. In fact, just a few days ago, there was a guy who was hanging onto a truck while skateboarding, IIRC, and he fell and got crushed by another vehicle. I think in general the cops should back off over minor stuff, but I don’t exactly see a rule about not hanging onto another vehicle in traffic as a gross violation of liberty.

        1. There is also a big difference between being towed by someone who wants to tow you, using a rope, in a fairly well planned way and hanging on to the back of a stranger’s vehicle. As long as everyone is a willing participant, I don’t care one bit if people want to kill themselves doing dangerous things.

  21. Of course, you can probably add, if I recall the statistics correctly, this sort of thing, or the basketball cop before, constitute better policing than the “You will respect muh authoritah!” variety. If the public sees the police as allies, they’re more willing to cooperate voluntarily. And the ratio of police to public is ultimately too small for the to police to be successful by forced compliance.

    1. “And the ratio of police to public is ultimately too small for the to police to be successful by forced compliance.”

      Not really because the cops act as a gang. If one needs help they all come running. That doesn’t happen with strangers on the street.

      1. I was afraid I’d be misunderstood there. I was talking about the idea of police trying to solve crime (yeah, yeah, naive, I know) not to protect themselves from the public. Generally, if they don’t have the public’s support and cooperation, they’re not going to be terribly effective in solving crimes. Despite what we see on television, most police aren’t the next Sherlock Holmes. More often than not, the crimes they solve – the real ones – are either by accident or getting tips from the public. And if they don’t have a public willing to voluntarily cooperate with them, they aren’t going to have much luck.

  22. This is what white privilege looks like.

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