In an ideal world, people would understand that the best reason not to act like bullies and fools is . . . because we shouldn't act like bullies and fools.
But if people can't learn to curb their rage and treat each other right just to live within the bounds of decency, maybe they can do so out of self-preservation. Particularly if they're police officers. Because there are now cameras practically everywhere, people misbehaving in public get away with practically nothing.
This week, NYPD Det. Patrick Cherry, of viral Uber/cop/customer video fame, probably has come to understand that. Cherry is the cop who erupted at an Uber driver in the West Village Monday afternoon after the driver reportedly drove around Cherry, who was parking an unmarked car. The Uber driver gestured to Cherry that he should use his signal.
A customer in the car's backseat recorded Cherry, who is with the department's Joint Terrorism Task Force, as he unleashed a long, profane, threatening and racially tinged rant at the driver. The customer who recorded the exchange can be heard sympathizing with the driver, who was being unfailingly polite to the cop, as the officer walks away.
After the incident, the customer posted the recording online, and made a complaint to the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board. The rest is well-documented, seen by everybody.
That Civilian Complaint Review Board and the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau are both now investigating. Everything about Cherry's behavior is unacceptable. But just as bad as Cherry's arrogance and mistreatment of the driver is his belief that he could get away with it.
There are many, many cameras in many public places in big cities now. If they're not mounted up high, they're in an onlooker's hand. You cannot get away with horrifying behavior in public, even if you're a cop, especially if you're a cop.
And ideally, you wouldn't want to.