Vigilante or Snitch?


Carpool Lane Sign

Carpool Lane Sign

It’s 1245 on Saturday afternoon. My fiancee and I are driving on I-405 in suburban Seattle, on our way home after my physical therapy, conversing like usual. Then…



A police office rolls by in the carpool lane. What’s a guy to do?

Aren’t we a “Nation of Laws?”

I’m as law-abiding as the next citizen. My fiancee fights the slog every morning driving to work from our condo. Unfortunately, several times per week a police car with one office in it whizzes by in the HOV lanes on I-5, I-405, SR-520, you name it.

It really irks us. No lights. No siren. No emergency. Just a police officer cruising along, breaking the law. What makes him above the law? In my opinion, nothing.

A Mission for Justice

We had to do something. After all, anything is possible now (you didn’t see the pigs flying over the White House with the Black First Lady?). We hit the gas, [safely, yet judiciously] weaving through traffic in search of the license plate of the offending cop car so we could report them via the HOV Violator Hotline: (206) 764-HERO.

Am I Wrong?

Should I still get stitches for snitching on a law-breaking cop? I respect the lane, why shouldn’t he? I’d love to drive past people every morning, pointing and laughing as they sit morning rush hour traffic, but I don’t. I suck it up like everyone else that has moral gumption.

Again, if it’s an emergency, no problem. However I’ve yet to encounter an emergency vehicle in the HOV lane with their lights & siren on. Look at the picture again. Does it make a “police exemption?” I don’t think so.

What would you do?

One Love. One II.

P.S. None of this would be an issue if we had Mass Transit in Seattle…

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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora and am a National Campaign Director at I currently live in Washington, DC with my beautiful wife Ellen. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. Today I work at the crossroads of traditional political organizing and online activism. I speak before diverse audiences on empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation though emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet.

2 responses to “Vigilante or Snitch?”

  1. steven m devougas says :

    At least in Milwaukee they turn on the siren and lights and then speed around people. Then they turn them off once they have a choice spot.

  2. Kina says :

    Call em in- do they thjink twice when we break the law?- There is no way to issue him a warning for his offense now is there? Go for it :)

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