My Personal Soap Box; The Police

The recent events in the news have gotten me thinking about my dislike of the police.

All of my prejudices have been learned. This one, in particular, has had a couple of powerful lessons to have fueled my feelings.

First the positive. I have had a few positive interactions with the police. The first was when we got caught drinking in high school. I know, "bad boy." We had to pour it all out and he watched until we switched drivers (to the most sober). We then left feeling a bit ashamed.

I was driving up to Lost Almost and switched off the cruise control when I came up on an section where the speed limit was lower. However, I didn't pay attention to my speed. Well the car didn't slow down going down the hill and I was stopped for speeding. The State Police Officer was all business and stated why I was stopped and what she was going to do. I signed the ticket at went on my way kicking myself for having my head elsewhere.

Most recently, I was coming into Fort Sumner and not paying attention. It seems like a recurring problem of mine. By the way, the speed limit through Fort Sumner is 30 mph. I was pulled over and the Sergent was, again, all business. He told me why I was being stopped. I signed the ticket. I had screwed up. I then proceeded home with my head into driving a whole bunch more.

If you like the police, please stop reading here. You really don't want to read what I have to say from now on.

Now the negative. I was stopped by an APD officer and nastily asked what I had done with all the cans. I became annoyed and asked "what cans?" He then told me that he had seen me drinking and throwing the empties in the back. I told him it wasn't me and he let me go, because he didn't have any proof. He had managed to lose an ancient VW bug. The one I was driving was rated at 40 hp at sea level. I still can't believe he lost a bug and was pissed at me.

Next is the very first time I yelled at a cop. I was riding an old Yamaha RD 350 motorcycle on Morris in Albuquerque. The stretch is only 30 mph. I was trying to clear a fouled plug in one of the cylinders, so I wouldn't have to change it. The technique was to run the engine at red line to knock the carbon fleck off of the plug. Sometimes it actually worked. At any rate, I arrived home and pulled up in the driveway and took my helmet off only to hear a siren turned on and then off. I went down the driveway to talk to the APD officer and he told me I was speeding and that he had troubles catching up with me. I thought that was a bit odd, since I only had one functioning cylinder. I really didn't have a clue if I was speeding, or not. My eyes were glued to the tachometer and not the speedometer. I told him that I was probably was. He wrote the ticket and I signed it. As I turned around, the cop said, "you must have some reputation in this neighborhood." I wheeled around and told him that he had no right to make any comments as to my reputation. He then turned on his tape recorder and told me about some kids cheering him on as he chased me. There were a couple more exchanges and then he said, "I don't know what your problem is. Why don't you just leave." I replied, "I live here. Why don't you leave." He switched off his recorder and left with his ride-along.

The next week, I was in Albuquerque due to my brother's death. I went downtown to the court to pay the ticket and I was informed that the cop had made a mistake on the ticket. I was now even more disgusted with this cop. It was suggested that I go to court and ask the judge what I should do. So off to court I went. When my case was called, the cop stood up too. I plead guilty with a question. That must not be common. The judge asked what my question was and I told the story of there being an mistake on the ticket. The judge told the cop, "You, sit down." and gave me some options. I took traffic school and no record.

Now, the event that has taught me to loath, disrespect and fear the police. I was on my way to pick up my daughter in White Rock and I managed to not pay attention, again. I was driving a truck with an automatic transmission and it doesn't like to slow down. I didn't apply the brake like I should have. I was angry with myself for being such and idiot, again. Anyhow, the spotlight hit all of those mirrors on that truck and I couldn't see a thing. For some reason, I have always had trouble with bright lights at night. I moved to the right, until I heard shrubs rubbing on the side of the truck and hit the brakes hard. I didn't know what was in front of me. I was really pissed at the cop for blinding me. Spotlight still on, the cop came up to the window and asked for my driver's license and proof of insurance. I still couldn't see and had to find my license by feel. I demanded she turn the damned light off, so I could see. The light was still on, so I apparently made a huge mistake and got out of my truck and yelled for her to turn on the damned light. She told me to get back in the truck. Being really riled up by now, I asked why. She told me for her and safety. Now, that made sense, so I got back in and called 911 to yell at them to tell the cop to turned the damned light off. Another mistake on my part. Four other cops showed up and I was ordered out of the truck. I asked why and told them that I had just been told to get in the truck for my safety. I was told to get out of the truck because the cop had told me to. I have never found that a good excuse to do anything and I didn't budge. So I was dragged out of the truck by the cop. Now, I was beyond pissed and loudly asked what the hell was going on. To that one of the four asked, "should you be driving?" I didn't know of any reason that I shouldn't be driving, so I answered, "Yes, I could be driving." I kept asking, why and what was going on. I was then spun around and told I was being arrested. I hung on tho the truck and kept asking why and what was happening. When they broke my grip, they threw me to the ground and all four piled on top. I couldn't breath at all. They kept yelling at me to put my hands on my back. One was easy, the other was under me and with four cops on top of me, I could get it pulled out. I couldn't inform them of anything without being able to breath. Finally, one of the cops was able to get my arm out with my help. When they finally go off of me, I couldn't catch my breath and the paramedics were called. The paramedics asked me if I was going to cause any trouble if I was uncuffed. I told them no. They weren't trying to hurt me. A little oxygen and calming words from the paramedics, I finally started breathing normally about the time we arrived at the emergency room. Some IV drugs later, I was fairly calm. The attending physician told me that he would help me the best he could. I didn't understand the statement at the time. Just before being escorted to the cell, I was handed a stack of papers. I was NEVER told what the hell was going on. I was told that I would see the judge the next morning. The next morning, I finally figured out that I wasn't going to see a judge. I also saw a phone on the wall of the cell. It had a dial tone and I made a collect call to my parents 100 miles away. They said that they would come up and try to get me out. I didn't have my glasses. They had departed my face during my trip to the ground. While reading without my glasses isn't easy, I managed to read the stack of papers I had been given. It turns out that they were the criminal complaint against me. I was shocked at all of the things I had done. News to me was that I didn't have a valid driver's license and no valid insurance. News to me was that I had assaulted a police officer. The list continued and the only thing that I knew about was the speeding. That I had done. My parents did get me bailed out and we found a lawyer.

My lawyer got copies of each cops statement. If those didn't carry such weight, they would have been a humors lesson if fiction. Apparently, I told one of the cops that I had chest pains. I never said that. I couldn't breath. The other rest of lies are too numerous to list. The list of inconsistencies was interesting as well.

My lawyer wanted to file abuse charges, but I declined. Los Alamos is a small community and the cops are known for being a vindictive bunch. I would have been harassed for the rest of my time in the county, not just when I drove the same truck.

One fine LAPD officer pulled in behind me in his personal, turned on his high beams and followed. I slowed way down to get him to pass and he wouldn't. I finally turned off the road and he didn't continue to follow me. My lawyer wanted to deal with this as well, but I didn't think it was too safe for me to make a stink

It turns out that I had done several things wrong. I had not called the State to make sure that my check was united with the speeding ticket. Apparently, making sure that the check cleared is not adequate. It, also, turns out that you can buy two vehicles with and invalid driver's license. That is in no way proof that your driver's license is okay. Don't ever raise your voice to a Los Alamos Police Officer. They will over react and charge you with assault. Obey all commands, even if they are contradictory. Each cop has the power to hurt you and not get punished and they don't have to talk to each other. And, even if you are completely blinded, make sure to find your current proof of insurance.

My lawyer said that it was a sign that the LAPD didn't have a case, when they wouldn't supply the district attorney with any requested materials. After presenting the court with proof of insurance and a letter from the State indicating the ticket payment mistake and reinstating my license, those charges were dismissed. In short, I have an effect on my record, but nothing else from this incident. Fortunately, I am not searching for a job and the arrest has not negatively effected me that I know of.

I have also had some personal interactions with LAP officers. A friend of a friend, who was a member of the LAPD, grabbed my handheld radio and announced that he could use it in an emergency. I attempted to tell him that the FCC would have to declare an emergency for him to use it without me present as a control operator. I was not successful. He was very arrogant and uninformed.

My final story involves an LAPD cop that found an excuse to approach my then wife, concerning learning how to ride a horse. They became friends. I tried to like him. It was difficult for me. One day he turned to me and said that he thought his next girlfriend would be a red head (like my wife). Well, I am divorced and they are married. There are some other sordid details, but I won't include them here.

Police officers lie through their teeth. Police officers are control freaks. Police officers won't explain themselves. Police officers are above the law. Don't expect them to be "better" than anyone else. In fact expect their arrogance and feeling of self importance to make them behave poorly. Then be pleasantly surprised if you find a decent officer.