Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Welcome to the land of the Free. Papers, please?

In the wee hours of the morning, I'm getting up hours earlier than I need to...so I can deal with a four month old puppy, a 92 year old grandmother, and a girlfriend trying to get to school an hour away.

I had to run out to my Jeep for something (I honestly can't even remember what it was, now)...but I inadvertently locked my keys in the vehicle. About the time I realized this, it had begun to pour down raining. It was also right about this time that I realized I had left my jacket in the passenger seat the day before. So there I am, with a window cracked open 2”, trying to manipulate a bent coat hanger between the window and my Vent Visor...without having to rip the Vent Visor off the side of the Jeep.

Wasn't happening. I ran back inside, grabbed something a bit more rigid (this time, a wooden yardstick), and also ripped a “head hole” and a pair of “arm holes” out of a large trash bag. So I run back outside, wearing a black trash bag (and a ball cap, because the rain keeps getting on my glasses), and try to use the yardstick. No avail, it's flexing too much and it's too long.

So I go for round three. I'm out there with the fireplace poker. Yes, I've literally wedged a fireplace poker between my window and my plastic Vent Visor. Right about this time, “Angleton's Finest” decides to show up. “Hey, you got a slim jim?”, I ask. “No. Can I see your driver's license?”, she replies.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm in no mood to deal with the police, EVER. Reason being? Personal experience shows that, at best, they're useless. Most likely, they're there to cause problems.

So, naturally, I said “No.” Not forcefully, not in an impolite tone of voice, just an assertive “No.” I waved her on, because I had popped the door lock switch open, and had gone inside to discard the fireplace poker and trash bag.

She again asked for my identification. “My name is Barry Hayes Rhodes. That's my Jeep. You're in my front yard.”.

We go back and forth. She informs me that she needs to be absolutely positive that I am who I say I am, and she has the authority to do so because she has witnessed me “with my hand in the window” of my own vehicle.

She tells me that she's going to take me to jail, if I don't produce a state-issued piece of plastic...because, apparently, the reality of the situation isn't quite good enough for her. Nevermind, of course, that she has no legal recourse to take me to jail, and doing so would be a violation of both state law AND my civil liberties. She goes on to threaten my own grandmother, who is now standing in the doorway, with jail for “interfering with an investigation”...which also would have been against the law, because my grandmother did nothing but assert facts (facts that did, in fact, point out the obvious...the officer was trespassing on private property, I did own the vehicle, and I did in fact live at the house).

She kept it up. “Show me your ID, or you're under arrest for Failure to Identify!” Well, having known the law for quite some time, I informed her that she was not in compliance with the law...but, fuck it, LET'S RIDE!

So I get cuffed and stuffed, and she's still trying to act like a hard-ass in the car. I informed her that I'm not going to hold court in the back seat of some half-ass wanna-be cop car...and if we're going to jail, we should be on our way. “This is MY arrest! You don't get to tell me what to do!”

Oh, wow, where have I heard that one before? Oh yeah. It's that last state trooper that arrested me (charges dropped!). At least this dizzy bitch had the nerve to at least arrest me before saying it, but I digress.

So we get to the jail. Cops are crowding around. I finally get out of that pansy-ass halfway cop car they've got me shoved into, and I ask her. “Can you get these handcuffs off of me now?”

Once again, forever being Betty Jane Badass, she replies “Not while we're in the sallyport!” All the while, I'm just thinking...WTF are we waiting for? We finally get inside the city jail, and some guy who insists on perpetuating the stereotype of “overweight and overpaid city cop” starts booking me in.

He sees my name, and asks me if I'm related to a man commonly known as my father. “You're goddamned right, he's my father. Does he know you?” Said man goes on to ask me various questions, and gets to the part where he asks me where I work. “That's not important”, I reply.

At this point, he asks me something along the lines of “What, are you one of those 'Republic of Texas' guys?” “Come again?”, I ask, not sure where he's going with that line of questioning. “Those guys hate everything about me.”

I inform said cop that I don't hate him, I just don't quite understand his motivations. He asks me why I do what I do for a living. I tell him that I'm good at what I do, and I enjoy helping people. Tells me that's why he became a cop, because he likes to help people. I look down at the very prominent red ring on my wrist, left behind by the handcuffs, and set my gaze there for a few moments...long enough so he has to look at it, too. I ask him, “You're helping me?”

“Well, when I have a murderer, I don't help him.”

That lasts for a few questions, and then he turns it over to the woman who arrested me in my own front yard. She gets to the property confiscation section of booking, and brings up the issue of jewelry. “I know you've got a chain around your neck, I'm gonna need that.”

I'd give my third nut to be able to capture the look on her face, when I took it off and handed her my handcuff key that was dangling from that chain. Then came the part where I was supposed to sign for the property they received. She handed me a digital keypad (screen was broken all to hell, I might add), and said “Sign this”. I informed her that I would need to see what I was signing for. She pointed at my belongings, and said “You're signing for all of that.”. I told her that I would need a list of all of the belongings that were being logged in, prior to signing anything. She tells me she can't give me a list, it's on the computer. I point to the printer to her right (my left), and inform her that I can't see the screen she's looking at. She takes the touchscreen away and signs (unlawfully, of course), “REFUSED”.

Then we did mug shots, and she got to the tattoos section. She asked where they were, what they were, etc. Then it was to the cell. Then out of the cell, after hearing my name called. And being told to step back. And then to step back further. Wow, control issues much?

Then it was to the fingerprint machine. We apparently didn't do this earlier, because she couldn't figure out how to work it. That kinda made me laugh. This broad arrested me for a crime she thought I might have committed, and then couldn't figure out what to do after she arrested me.

Six hours later, I finally get released after having my father come up and piss away a day's wages on a cash bond. This is, of course, after I've already burned a day of vacation on JAIL TIME for a crime that I've neither committed or been convicted of.

After receiving my property (and yes, I made it a point to prominently display the handcuff key that I'd EARNED on my previous experiences with unlawful arrest), I asked her to tell me specifically which particular section of the state penal code I was violating.

“Well, it's on your citation”. No, actually, it's not. It's the local PD's code. I want the specific state law you kidnapped me at gunpoint over.

She didn't know it. She had me locked in a cage for SIX GODDAMNED HOURS, and threatened to arrest my grandmother for “interfering with her investigation” of it, but didn't know it. She told me to take a hard left and walk through that door....and she'd go look it up, and provide me with it.

Eventually, a city clerk provided me with a Post-it Note that had the particular penal code statute number on it. Big surprise, nothing in this morning's actions ever came close to violating that statute.

This is what I'm paying you for, OFFICER JANA BLAHA? This is what my family is paying you for? For you to act like a bully? For you to threaten a 92 year old woman with arrest, because she points out your failures? I'll see you in court, dear. Toodles...

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