Cops are bound by the law, but sometimes, even they know the law can be ridiculous. Cops shared their stories of instances where they would have rather let someone go, but couldn't.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
An old roommate was a police officer and once she had a shopkeeper detain a shoplifter.
When she got there it was a young kid, 11 or 12, stealing a carton of eggs and a couple boxes of cereal.
He looked totally malnourished and unwashed. She eventually got it out of him that he didn't have food at home.
She called social services, of course, but she asked the shopkeeper to just let the kid go so he could deal with CPS without this added stress or a spot on an otherwise clean record.
The shopkeeper insisted. Wouldn't let up. She didn't know what happened to the kid after that but didn't think it could be anything good.
Found a couple homeless teenagers in a park after dark (which is illegal in my area). They had bicycles and a trailer with them. One of them lied about his name because he had a warrant and I arrested him when I figured out who he was. The second was chill the whole time. Didn't lie and wasn't a problem. I was going to cut him loose.
My Sergeant shows up and notices that the park has some graffiti on the tables and accuses the chill kid of doing it. The graffiti wasn't wet. The kid said he didn't do it but he still had art materials in his bag. Some markers and a sketchbook. The Sergeant made me take the markers and book as "evidence." The kid says, "Dude!! That is my only art outlet and the only thing that makes me happy right now!" The sergeant didn't care. I had to follow orders. Sometimes the job just sucks.
I got a call once to a Burger King and it was an anonymous tip that someone there had a warrant. Ran the info given by the caller and confirmed the warrant. Arrived at the Burger King and found the guy. Talked to him and asked if he knew he had a warrant. She said he didn't think he did. Normally I'd be like "yeah sure ok dude" but this guy was super nice and literally only been at Burger King for like 5 minutes on his lunch break. The warrant wound up being l 3 or 4-year-old probation warrant but because it was still active I had to take him to jail. I felt really bad about doing it to him since he was genuinely taking steps in the right direction to turn his life around and STILL wound up going to jail.