Cop Reprimanded for Repeating N-Word Shouted at Him

denver_pd_body_cam_vid_3-2-15-1 Click to watch video at Denver CBS affiliate's Website.

Gentle reader, I hope you’re sitting down.  In fact, I hope you’re near some piece of furniture that will accommodate your lying down, for you may soon feel the need.  As befits the fashion in academia these days, I present you with a trigger warning.  Presented below is a discussion of what we are told is the most vile, the most offensive, the most unspeakable word in the English language.

I refer of course to the N-word.  And for those of you who have not heeded the trigger warning, for those of you so stout-hearted as to venture on with me into the second paragraph, a further warning: Not only will we be discussing the word, if you dare to watch the accompanying video, you will actually hear the word spoken and see it fully spelled out.  Read on at your peril.

Last October 18, Denver police officer Adam Paulsen was among a number of officers monitoring activities at the city’s “Zombie Crawl,” an event that, for reasons beyond my understanding, many find diverting.  As often happens when crowds gather -- this is no reflection on the Zombie subculture -- a fight broke out, leading Officer Paulsen and his colleagues to take action and restore the peace.  Pepper spray was used, with some of the substance affecting not only the targeted brawlers but also some zombie bystanders.  There was a brief period of tumult, during which the officers found it necessary to block off a portion of the street and prevent people -- both living and dead -- from passing.  All well and good so far, the type of situation that can arise at any large gathering regardless of the participants’ stage of animation.

Officer Paulsen was wearing a body camera that captured events as they occurred, and the footage released by the Denver Police Department shows that he conducted himself professionally, if occasionally sternly, in dealing with what must surely have been a chaotic and stressful situation.

And then along came one man -- cops know there is always at least one -- who saw that the shortest distance from where he was to where he wanted to be was a straight line directly through that section of the street Officer Paulsen and his colleagues had sealed off, and who felt he was under no obligation to deviate from that path just because some cop was telling him he should.  We pause here to establish the racial calculus so as to better understand what followed: Officer Paulsen is white, the man he confronted is black (as the more astute among you may already have guessed).

In the video shown by KCNC, Denver’s CBS affiliate, the man can be seen walking directly up to Officer Paulsen, all but inviting a confrontation.  Officer Paulsen places a gloved hand on the man’s chest, a signal to the citizen of even modest prudence that further forward progress will be opposed.  The man tells Officer Paulsen he wants to walk through the area to meet his family, and Paulsen replies that the man will have to walk around.  “[N-word],” the man shouts, “I’m trying to get through!”

“I’m not a [N-word],” Officer Paulsen replies.  “Walk around to your family.”

“I’m trying to get through, homie!” the man shouts.

“I’m not your homie, either,” says Officer Paulsen.  “Just walk around.”

No further footage of the incident was shown in the news report, but we are told the man did not file a complaint against Officer Paulsen.  We may presume he heeded the officer’s instruction and walked around the closed area.  Which, as far as Officer Paulsen is concerned, should have ended the story, right?