… My bad. Or am I?
Whilst ‘Under the Clock,’ which is
a euphemism for being in city jail, I experienced some of the
greatest terror and trauma up till then in my life. My repeated
queries as to why I was being detained were only answered with
“probable cause.” Being the law-abiding citizen that I am I
didn’t know what that meant. Now I know it means that any and all
law enforcement can pick you up for no other reason than they feel
Just because. Because there was a lull
in arrests and the officer was getting bored and didn’t like the
look of you; because someone did something somewhere and the vague
description is most likely you especially if you walk around being
brown, black and not-white. Because of false accusations that are
probably a cause so you get taken downtown cuffed up in a cop car in
a state of utter panic and disbelief. Because I found myself wearing
big white underpants in orange scrubs and some type of plastic
sandals on my feet carrying a small toothbrush and toothpaste, a thin
mattress and blanket and later at some point I got a nubby pencil
with no eraser.
Later I found out I was placed in the
less-violent cell block so my new companions were prostitutes,
junkies and women who committed misdemeanors (I guess). I shared a
cell with the trustee; I had the top bunk and tried to sleep with the
light that never shut off. No sleep was to be had anyway as I had no
actual contact with guards at all in order to question them. There
was only a slot just big enough to slide food trays through and that,
except for a static voice that gave orders or reprimands on the
intercom was the only contact to be had with the outer world. The
large windows were frosted over too.
It was Saturday afternoon when I got
there and time as I knew it became very, very different. Really
different from what my plans had been for sure! I had been napping
because I was out the night before and later I was gonna shop at the
Super Ghetto-Mart for necessities. Then I answered the door wide open
to the cops and I even had a chain-lock! Over and over in my head ran
the same reel: I know very well I didn’t do anything that could
probably cause my stay in jail; I had not been read my rights; no one
knew I was there; WHY was I there? WHY DID I OPEN THE DOOR???!!!
I was overcome with anxiety and panic.
While sitting on the hard, cold floor I wanted to start banging my
head on the cement walls just for a reason for my agony and one thing
stopped me, the vision and comforting love of my Grampa who had
passed on and was one of my rocks. Paw was laid-back but had a keen,
dry wit, he was a center of calm in an insane world so I channeled
him, began to breathe again before the next round of unanswered
questions began again.
Of course I blundered through jail
protocol. The guards come and count you in the mornings and during
the day. I was bathing when there was an inspection and had to slide
through toward my cell door and mate in wet, soapy, soggy underpants.
The guards would revoke privileges if we inmates were not in order
and if anyone was the cause of such loss? Well I don’t actually
know but how can you shun or shame anyone who is being subjugated
with loss of freedom? I was humiliated each and every time this
occurred but had no recourse to stop it.
One time during a meal I was asked what
did I do? I replied that I am a writer and the woman looked puzzled
for a moment then said, “Oh! You forge checks and things!” I was
aghast and said no not like that! LOL I was replying to a normal
question as if I was at a ladies luncheon! And I was struck by the
fact that I could not possibly be innocent of anything if I was in
that place now could I? Ennit?
Come Monday morning names were being
called and then mine was … finally. I met a sheriff and he asked me
what had happened? I cried telling him the story and he sighed then
said, “If I had been here none of this would have happened.”
Hearing that I completely broke down and sobbed uncontrollably. The
officer gave me a ride home and asked me how I had been treated in
jail? Furious I said well I didn’t get beat up if that’s what you
mean but I’m gonna sue for false arrest!
My mother had a friend of hers who
worked in the courts try and get the arrest records. He said well she
hasn’t been charged with anything and in further research there
were no arrest records at all, no proof whatsoever of my being
detained so de facto it never happened!!! Well played crooked cops,