I have sat on this one for a quite a while, exposing the police officers I have encountered exposes myself just as much. While my crimes were never serious, I experienced great shame in what I have had to go through. As a matter of fact, I have begun to write this piece several times, have a few Word documents saved that are just sitting there, gathering dust if they could, but I haven’t yet captured how I want to say it. But I said that I would, and someone told me the world needs to hear this, bringing me to sit down and try and do this again. Off I go.
I have changed the names of the people who were in these situations with me to preserve their privacy.
When it comes to talking about police officers there is so much to consider, it is not just skin deep, there’s so much more than just the blue uniform. Your actions, how you engage an encounter is going to determine how the other person reacts as well, if you have resentment and it is showing with hate, then the other person will have to respond to your hate. Where we are limited, is in our knowledge of the law. This was done on purpose yet is something that can be overcome. There is much hatred as it stands, and I understand that hate well, it’s hard to talk about without talking about what I have been through. To really understand the way that I see the men and women in blue, let me take you through what I have been through, who I was that made me who I am today, for who I am today recognized both the error of my ways, and knows how unfair most of these situations were.
My first experience with a cop I was 5 years old, I got separated from my parents at the store and was terrified. I saw a police officer and walked right up to him, I told him my full name, both my parents full names, maybe even my siblings too, I gave him my address and phone number and begged him to help me find my parents. My parents were called over the loudspeaker, and within minutes they were there to retrieve me.
The police officer took my parents aside, and said that he had to scold them for having lost me in the first place, they needed to pay closer attention even though he knew and understood what it was like as he had children too. He also said that he had to commend my parents for having educated me so well, the fact that I knew all my information made it so I was certain to make it home that day and that deserved a pat on the back. I needed help that day, and the uniform was as ingrained to me as was my address, that this guy was someone who was meant to help me. I had no bias at this time, and in my moment of desperation, the uniform was a beacon of hope.
The second time I had an encounter with one of the cities finest was when I was in the 7th grade. The teacher said it was time to pair up for whatever project we were to do next, so I turned around to Anthony, who was sitting behind me, and said “Move.” He squinted his eyebrows, likely he did not appreciate my rudeness and replied, “you move.” I said it again, “move”, and, of course, Anthony said “make me”, so I did the only thing I could think of and I bit him on his arm that was resting on his desk.
I was sent to the Principal’s office, and then to the office of the campus cop. It was fairly small, but that was the first I knew this woman had an office at all. I thought she was pretty but very mean looking, and actually was very stern too; in all fairness she was the only policewoman to all the 7th, 8th, and 9th graders, and yes, she was respected. She scolded me for my actions, said she hadn’t seen anything like that in all her years, that dogs and cats’ mouths are cleaner than ours. What was I thinking? Did I know the bacteria I could spread by doing that to someone? Why would I do something like that?
Needless to say, I was thoroughly embarrassed. More than by my actions too, though I was ashamed of biting someone, I wasn’t an animal. But I was a kid, I was 13, and I was getting a ticket by a police officer for having harmed someone else, this moment shaped a lot in me. Being responsible for my actions is much more than how I act, and I wasn’t going to get a free pass just because I was a kid. Naturally, my response was to rebel against being who I was “supposed to be”. I lived on the edge, behaving somewhat only to the point of pushing my teachers to see how far I could go, I always finished my work quickly giving me time to see what buttons I could push. My worst crime after my animalistic act was rarely being to class on time, so I spent a lot of time in detention, my rebellion was all for naught, or so I thought. Looking back, I have to note the pantalones this woman had to have to have had my respect, maybe she didn’t’ have everyone’s, but she had some. We were tough kids, a lot of our older brothers and sisters were gangsters, some of the kids were themselves, and there were fights constantly. And there was this older white woman, trying to keep these kids in line.
How do I justify my embarrassment? I don’t think I do, but I have to recognize who this woman was up against, though I disliked her tactics. I was never much of a fighter and never had to engage in one but I did stand up for myself and for my sister. Had I not bit Anthony, would I have not contained myself at some other instance and fought someone? Violence does escalate.
And on the other hand, where were my parents? Why was there no one there to advocate for me? Why was I being questioned and treated like an adult when I was not one?
The next time I came into contact with a police officer I was 15. My friends and I were quinceniera hopping, Moira was driving, she was the only one among us who was 18. It was maybe 11 pm, and a policeman drove right by us. Moira got scared and let off the gas, her sister Sandy was in the passenger seat and started screaming at her right away, “Keep going Moira, go the speed limit!”. But Moira was scared, I can only imagine now, the feeling of your blood turning cold, your stomach dropping to your feet, your hands sweating, and you are not even doing anything wrong. At the time I was in the back seat with Humberto, he was generally a quiet guy, didn’t say much the whole night, he was Sandy’s friend. I, on the other hand, couldn’t shut up. I was right there with Sandy screaming at Moira to keep going, not to slow down, but she didn’t listen, and the cop started to slow down too. Moira slowed down even further, then the policeman slowed down even further, and soon his lights were on and he was right behind us, the sign for us to pull over. It was cold that night, and we were dressed for quincenieras in dresses with thin fabric, and so, we froze.
Two police officers came with their flashlights, pointing at everything, we had nothing, just our underage selves which is plenty. They took Moira first, she left the windows down in the car that she had turned off after the policemen asked her to. I can’t remember exactly the sequence of the events of that evening, but I remember being loud and that Sandy was begging me to shut up. Since I was so loud, I know I was complaining about how cold it was and if I got sick it would be their fault, they had me come next. I learned that night that it is the way of policemen in Odessa, TX to make you stand in the cold for hours at a time. They also travel in packs, soon there was at least 6 or 7 police cars there.
Moira was standing off by herself, and two or three of them were talking to me. Why were we out, did my parents know? Where were we going? Where did we come from?
My parents were out of town that night, so I had to call my brother to come and get me, but I feel as though it was hours before I was in my brother’s car. I stood there in the cold while the cops talked to Sandy next, while I randomly shouted how unfair I was being treated, with Moira now begging me to shut up. I said why? What else can they do to me? I was already frozen stiff.
Eventually I did make it to my brothers car, and he tried to scold me but I felt like he had no grounds to do so and was only doing so because he was in place of mom and dad. It was so unfair, Moira got so scared simply because it was a cop. She basically had a panic attack because a cop drove by. I was so angry, angry at Moira, angry at the cops. We were not doing anything wrong, we weren’t drinking or doing drugs, we just wanted to dance. Sandy, Humberto, and I all got curfew tickets that night, and we gave Moira a lot of crap for it, she didn’t get anything. That wouldn’t have made it fair, but what is fair anyway when there are statutes and codes to abide by.
When my brother got there the cops asked him a few questions, my brother was very respectful so they let us go quickly after. Why was I questioned at all, again, without a guardian present? Why were all these cops talking to these kids at all without a parent or a guardian, making us freeze at midnight in the cold? It’s not right.
We are considered animals in law, I’m not making this up nor am I using a word to describe the verbiage they use, they actually call us animals. If we are not knowing, if we are not educated in our rights or in God’s law, then we are animals. Statutes and codes are on the Public side of law, where Congress has plenary power that they have granted themselves. Cops are the foot soldiers insuring Congress’ laws are abided by. They work for the Public, that is, the state and the citizens, a citizen has a Social Security number making him or her a slave and bound by the power Congress have given themselves. Ergo, cops work for Congress, as they have all the power over us citizens. I have heard them be considered money collectors, that’s what they do, they have a quota to meet. Regardless of the level of high or low crime, as long as a ticket was handed out to someone, a fine for someone to pay, cops have done their job. What do we learn from this action? We have to pay for our crimes, literally, there is a dollar amount placed on every crime. Does this curb violence? Does this help the people? Do you never speed while out on Public roads? Do you always use your seatbelt and turning signals with enough time? Should you have to pay money if you don’t? Who is currently getting all this money and what are they doing with it? If cops didn’t have quotas to meet, would they be different?
We are raised to be animals in poverty, we think gang violence is our fault as humanity but what if no one was without? What if we all had the opportunity to a proper education? Would we act as animals?
I leave you with a quote from Danielle on Ever After:
Danielle: A servant is not a thief, Your Highness,
and those who are cannot help themselves.
Prince Henry: Really? Well, then, by all means… enlighten us.
Danielle: If you suffer your people to be ill-educated
and their manners corrupted from infancy…
and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them,
what else to be concluded, Sire,
but that you first make thieves and then punish them?
#calixtosgarden #plantingseeds #reformnotdefund #whoyagonnacallghostbusters