This RDR cartoon references the nasty incident involving Sonic employee Isaac Briseno who was pissed off at RPD officer Chris Moreno for a previous arrest according to Moreno.
Roswell citizens not familiar with the drink spitting event that took place at a Roswell,NM Sonic, might be quite offended at this cartoon that depicts spit all over a police officer badge. Without context here and just a cursory glance at Keith Bell’s drawing, a portrayal of extreme disrespect for police is being possibly conveyed here. In fact, this is one of the reasons Keith takes a lot of heat state wide for his cartoons. Folks make snap, knee jerk, judgements on his work because they don’t go to the trouble to become familiar with every day life in Alien City. Recall the Larry Bird street sign cartoon that agitated so many.
In what is now considered the “official truth” on this matter(the matter being saliva and mucous), Officer Moreno spit in his own drink and then reported that the Sonic employee was responsible for the disease spreading lugie(composed of human saliva and mucous-nice working definition of a lugie that gross bully tactic you dreaded in middle school) in the cop’s drink. In this day of DNA testing, one easily concludes that Moreno could not be too intelligent or maybe he was betting something this coarse would never make it to the forensic stage of an investigation.
I do believe that this was the actions of one “I have had enough of this crap” underpaid police officer. Policeman have to put up with all kinds of subtle to direct abuse from the people they pull over(Read this piece about Deputy Paul Schene for more insight), especially in this era of police scrutiny based on all the unarmed Black men being gunned down. I believe most law enforcers try to do the right thing without any corruption.
Corruption is present in all institutions and the spit on the badge might send a message that the entire Roswell police department is corrupt. I doubt that the affable cartoonist meant this, but just endeavoring to be that fair balancing force. The risk of being misinterpreted is an occupational hazard of a cartoonist and Bell proudly takes on that challenge.