2015.01.24 broken watch

With famously low crime rates and an honest society that returns wallets full of cash, Japanese cops usually have it a bit easier than their overseas counterparts. But while they may have some extra time on their hands, Japanese police officers still are put in the line of danger catching the bad guys and keeping Japan safe.

One cop in Saitama Prefecture was reminded of this reality when he was got banged up pretty badly and broke his expensive Rolex watch a couple of years ago while pursuing a man suspected of exposing himself to a young girl. This cop shocked his colleagues and the public last week when Japanese media reported that, after arresting the suspect, the police officer took the man to court and sued for him for damages including more than 700,000 yen (US$5,949) to repair the watch!

Back in November 2013, the police officer was investigating an incident in which a man had exposed himself to a high school girl in Hasuda City, Saitama Prefecture. The cop suddenly spotted the suspect who tried to get away in a car and pursued him by grabbing onto the car’s windshield wiper. After being dragged a good distance, he managed to stop the car and arrest the driver.

According to the lawsuit, the officer sustained significant physical injuries and is left with psychological scars from the wild chase and is asking for about 2,500,000 yen (roughly $21,000) from the suspect. And while suing a suspect for damages already shocked his fellow police officers, the cop further surprised his colleagues when he tacked on a 736,560 yen bill to fix the expensive Rolex watch he was wearing at the time.

The suspect’s lawyer has criticized the police officer’s decision to wear such an expensive watch on duty and questioned whether his client should be required pay for its repair. The lawyer also argued that the damages for mental injuries are much too high since police officers should be used to working in a riskier work environment. The cop of course disagrees saying, police officer or not, he was injured because of the suspect he arrested and deserves the full amount.

While the Saitama Prefectural Police Department told Japanese media it wouldn’t comment on the cop’s “personal” matters, some police officers anonymously said they were embarrassed of their colleague and had never heard of a lawsuit like this. Many Japanese netizens thought wearing a fancy watch to work, especially as a cop who might have to chase a criminal or two, showed poor judgement and sympathized with police officers who might feel ashamed.

“I’m amazed that a police officer would wear a Rolex to work. What sort of cushy job did he think he was going to that day?”

“Of course this suspect was probably a bad guy, but I’m not sure he’s responsible for this cop’s decision to wear an expensive watch!”

“How did this guy become a police officer without any common sense?”

Should the perp be required to foot the bill for the Rolex, or was the police officer crazy for wearing such an expensive watch during such a hands-on job? As ever, let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Source: Yahoo! Japan News
Feature Image: Flickr (col_adamson)