Following (a cop) Too Closely Again

Last Tuesday, I received a citation from a Prince George’s County police officer for “following too closely,” which I think is one of the more bogus citations a person can receive especially if there no was resulting accident because clearly the vehicles were both able to maneuver and operate safely.

I was on my way to class, behind the police officer for a while on Powder Mill Road for those of you familiar with my section of Maryland. There was a farm tractor on the road, moving slowly of course, and I wanted to pass it but didn’t feel comfortable because that would have meant that I would have had to pass both the cop and the tractor and I’m sure the cop could have found some other excuse to pull me over. So a back up of cars formed behind the tractor, the cop, and I, as no one was willing to try to pass the cop.

Then we moved onto 197 (another roadway) still behind the cop, going slower than the usual rate of speed for the road. At the flashing red light, left turn onto the campus, the cop stopped for an exceptionally long time before proceeding and then I stopped and pulled into campus. Then he pulled me over.

Cop: “You seem to be in quite a hurry this morning.

Silently, thinking to myself, “Yeah, I was trying to be on time for my class at 9:30.”

Cop: Is there any reason why you were pushing me down the road?

Me: I was not pushing you down the road.

Cop: You didn’t stop at the flashing red light.

Me: Yes, I did stop.

Cop: No, I stopped and you stopped behind me and then I went and you went as well.

Me: No I stopped behind you, and again after you went.

Cop: Well, I had you under visual observation the whole time.

Silently, thinking to myself: Oh really, as you were driving forward towards the campus, you were looking in your rear view mirror and could see the stop line and gauge whether I came to a complete stop or not. We’ll see how that stands up in court.

Me: Well, I believed I stopped.

Cop: License and registration.

After a few minutes the cop, came back with a $110 citation for “following too closely”. None of that bogus not stopping at the flashing red light business.

Hopefully, the cop won’t show up in court but if he does, maybe I’ll get to use the defense quoting Abdullah ibn Az Zubayr (May Allah be pleased with him), which I learned in my first AlMaghrib seminar, Conquest: History of the Khulafa that I had prepared a few years ago when I got my only other “following too closely” citation. You can read about that here: Parking Ticket

Prayers and duas always appreciated.


  1. Bogus perhaps, but if this is your second time, why don’t you give a police car, a police car for God’s sake, a lot more room…. lol My prayers are with you 🙂

    Ya Haqq!

  2. That’s what my sister said but police officers are just human beings like other humans and unless they are responding to an emergency I don’t see any reason to treat them as if they are a special class of tyrannical citizens that I should be afraid of.

    Abdullah ibn Az Zubayr had it right when he declined to make way for the Khalifah, Umar ibn Al-Khattab:

    “O Ameer al Mumineen, I did not commit a crime to be afraid of you nor is the path tight so that I may make way for you.”

  3. As Salaam Alaikum,

    While it is true that police officers are human beings like the rest of us, they have been granted certain rights and responsibilities by the local governing folks. Those of us who are not police officers cannot write $235 tickets, arrest people or have general policing duties. So next time give these human being and their special cars the room they feel they need. It will save you time (sitting their exchanging words, waiting for them to write the ticket and then appearance in court)since you were obviously in a hurry.
    Just slow down Ify and stop tailgating police officers.

  4. Wa alaykum salaam Jams,

    I guess it might be somewhat of a character flaw although maybe not but I just find it beneath my dignity as a human being to be inherently afraid of police officers that are ostensibly there to “serve and protect” us.

    Ali Asad said something at his re-sentencing hearing a few weeks ago that stuck in my mind. He said that in speaking about the time of his alleged crimes that he was only afraid of his Creator and his parents and that now after his incarceration that he is still afraid of meeting his Creator and of his parents. And I understood that.

    And besides, how I am supposed to know how much space each individual officer “feels” he or she needs?

  5. Salaam alaicum.

    Sorry for the strongest LOL… 😛 I can’t take a certain The Simpsons episode from my head now. Remember? “Hello agents” “Oh, chief Biggum, this guy is too nice, he must be suspect from something”.

    Following too closely. You need that t-shirt saying “Go ahead, profile me”, sis! :DDD

  6. As Salaamu Alaikum,

    PowdaMeel (I like to say it that way. Makes me feel a little Southern) is one of the MANY roads on my daily commute to work. Be careful back there, it is the USDA – those cows aren’t just any spotted cows, they are being trained – injected and who knows else. Since the road is a LOOONG one lane road, I can imagine your frustration with being caught behind a slow-poke cop. Even doing 60 mph, I have had my share of tailgaters – solution widen the road!

  7. Asalamu alaykum ummbinat, haven’t seen you in awhile, hope you and the binats are doing well.

    I’ve started taking Beaver Dam road off a Kenilworth and Springfield as an alternate on my way back from school. It is super scenic and gorgeous, also a one-laner that runs parallel to PowdaMeel, the pace is slower and it has more bends, twists, and turns but the amazing views well make up for it and I can say salaam to the cows as I pass by and I rarely see another vehicle on that road.

    I was behind this particular cop from Sunnyside Road all the way until I turned into my school on 197 and it seemed at each intersection on 197 he was just waiting to the last minute to see if I turned off so he could stay ahead of me and pull me over.

    Alhamdulillah, school is over for this semester so I won’t be driving up and down Powder Mill as regularly as I had been.

  8. AsSalaam Alaikum,

    Police are sketchy characters if you ask me. Sometimes they’re needed but for the most part, the Police are a big gang. If not checked, they will definitely abuse the power given. InshaAllah you won’t have to go through that again inshaAllah.

    AsSalaamu Alaikum

    Abdul At-Tawwaab

  9. Wa alaykum salaam,

    In sha Allah, I hope I don’t have to go through this again. I have had positive and negative experiences with police officers, it seems to be a high-stress job, one I couldn’t see myself doing so I am glad someone does it, hopefully honestly.

  10. I had the SAME EXACT THING happen to me! I was atleast 3 car lengths behind a cop (going about 50) and he said I was tailgaiting! BULLS***!

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