It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to muster up any sort of rage over traffic cops. Not driving cars, we don’t get parking citations, traffic violations, or speeding tickets. So we’ve sort of forgotten what it’s like to hate on this poor, perhaps ill-advised (in terms of career choices, at least) group of people. But apparently there are still some city dwellers that harbor a lot of resentment. These are the people that gathered to witness the following series of events last month.
Traffic agent Eric Celemi spotted a double-parked car in the Bronx one afternoon and proceeded to write out a standard ticket. The owner of the car, a young woman, turned up while he was writing out the citation and tried to protest it. It turned out her boyfriend, Eladro Mata, was a cop, and he also tried to talk Celemi out of the ticket. But the traffic agent persisted — it was already written, after all — and tried to put the ticket on the woman’s windshield. That’s when Mata shoved him, and then proceeded to punch him repeatedly in the head.
Eventually, some on-duty cops turned up and tried to sort everything out. In the end, Celemi, who was waiting for an ambulance to tend to his gushing wounds, was arrested and shipped off to the station house.
At this point, the assembled crowd applauded.
To us this sounds pretty brutal (officer Mata was eventually stripped of his gun and badge but not charged with a felony), but again, we don’t own cars. Is this standard? And, by not charging the aggressive cop for beating up a traffic officer, is the Police Department quietly condoning this kind of rage? Because we get mad at people for things like walking too slowly on the sidewalk, but we’ve never beaten the crap out of anybody for it. We had no idea you could get a round of applause for it.