Cop speak

G S C gscole at ARK.SHIP.EDU
Sat Jul 24 17:26:20 UTC 1999

Don't recall that the military ever used the word battery, just the word
assault.  In fact, MP trainees were told to avoid the civilian uses,
since the UCMJ only referred to assault, in the physical touching
sense.  The UCMJ did not contain a reference to battery.  The use of
language could show disrespect for the uniform (and, thus, the person
who was wearing the uniform), but language alone could not be used to
assault a person.  Verbal attack was actionable to the extent that it
demonstrated disrespect for the uniform, but in no way could it legally
be termed assault, under the UCMJ.

Perhaps the difference stemmed from the existence of other military
conventions at the time (mid-1960s).  Training instructors, DIs, could
yell at, and otherwise use language to instruct/insult a trainee, but
they could not (at least, they weren't supposed to) touch a recruit in
an aggressive, non-training related, manner.  Technically, even the
salute was a demonstration of respect for the uniform, not necessarily a
sign of respect for either the person or the rank.  Many officers had
trouble understanding that fact.  Not sure that times have changed.

George S. Cole   gscole at
Shippensburg University

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