“Professional Courtesy” Captured on Video

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Christine Phinney of North Charleston, South Carolina apparently had a bit too much to drink last Christmas Eve. After a cop spotted her driving 65 mph in a 40 mph zone, Phinney led several officers on a fairly lengthy chase, driving onto the median in order to pass several cars before finally pulling over.

Despite her reckless driving, “glassy-eyed” appearance, and foul-mouthed refusal to cooperate with the officers, Phinney was not Tasered, beaten with a flashlight, or threatened with a firearm. She wasn’t even required to undergo a Breathalyzer test. She was briefly handcuffed, but eventually permitted to go home, rather than spending the night in jail.

The relatively delicate treatment extended to the 41-year-old woman was an act of “professional courtesy”: The truculent suspected drunk is an eight-year veteran police officer married to Lt.  Tony Phinney of the North Charleston police.

As documented in a video record of the incident, Phinney was astonished that her comrades in blue didn’t simply give her a free pass.

“I’m a police officer, and I’ve been doing this for eight years,” Phinney harangues Dorchester County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Files.

“I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and you have no excuse for the way you were driving,” replied Deputy Files.

As Files attempted to arrest Phinney the off-duty female officer put up a fight.

“You threw my head on the ground — for what?” she is heard to exclaim at one point. “I’m a cop! I’m a police officer!”

During the brief scuffle, Phinney’s lip was bloodied, prompting her to name-drop her husband, smugly warning that “he’s gonna love it when you get sued for a f*****g fat lip.”

Had Phinney been a Mundane who put up a similar struggle, a bloody lip would have been the least of her problems. She is informed at one point that she is being arrested for resisting arrest, but that charge was never filed and she was permitted to leave.

Despite her favorable treatment, Phinney believed that she was entitled to even greater deference from her fellow tax-eaters.

“You know, I pull over people for driving 100 mph — you know what they say? `I’m a narcotics officer in an unmarked vehicle.’ ‘Great, well slow it down, have a good night,'” she informs the deputy. “As long as they show a badge, I don’t care.”

Ah, the mystical, all-sufficient power of that government-issued talisman; don’t leave home without it.

12:35 pm on January 15, 2010