The Trip- Chapter 4
I was treated with dignity and respect as promised. I was allowed to maintain possession of my cell phone and permitted to call my wife. There wasn’t much of a discussion when I called my wife
“Stephanie listen: i’m in the back of a police car, I’ve been arrested for a warrant from six years ago. Keep in touch with Eric for more details. I love you - I’m sorry”
I hung up the phone before I could hear her reaction. I was permitted to call her and have my cell phone but because of whoever the cop was talking to he told me to get off the phone.
The drive to the precinct was short and uneventful. Couldn’t have been more than 15 minutes with so much on my mind I’m not sure if I would’ve noticed much. I was, however, quickly reminded the police cars are not meant to be comfortable. Especially for tall people in the backseat. Not only was I severely crammed into a small space, my cuffs kept getting tighter since they were never double locked.
The ride was short and uncomfortable. I can’t recall the exact time it took but I can recall a unique feeling. I recall the look on society’s face. As a police car passes them, people often look at the backseat. It could be conscious or unconsciously when they look. Everybody looks. After they noticed someone in the backseat their face changes instantly.
Some try not to look you in the eye. The profile of their faces a mix of empathy and victory that another “criminal “has been taken off the street. Their children Press their faces against the window like an animal in the zoo. Who is actually being observed here? Any other adult in the car will try to look at me but again try to avoid eye contact. Some people would maintain eye contact. I feet compelled to confuse them. If they stared at me, I mouthed the words “help me” and glared at the police officer as we drove away. That should teach them! I’m not sure it made a difference but I know they won’t forget me.
We arrive at the Suffolk County Police Department. The police officers told me I had to give up my cell phone. I stepped out of the car and turn my back to the police He asked for my phone and I tell him I’m grateful. It was a bit of a “thank you” or a bow of gratitude for allowing me to have my cell phone. I’m assuming this is not normally permitted. I asked for a cigarette but that was definitely not permitted.
The police officer grab my left elbow and escorting me the 40 to 50 feet to the “prisoner entrance “ door. He presses the circular button on the square box to the left of the door. The box made a clicking noise than the police officer barked some combination of police jargon and then the box clicked again. three seconds later the security bolt buzzed and a police officer grab the door and opened it.
The police station from the “prisoner entrance” door was not as welcoming as you would assume. Cold, steel, brick and more locked doors. This is like a strange hospital. The normal hustle and bustle of people coming and going but the side of activity that you never see. Maybe this is meant to confuse and disoriented. If it is or isn’t it worked. I was confused.
I was asked to put my back against the wall. I stood there as the arresting officer took a left and began talking to another police officer. I was approached by a sergeant who bombarded me with questions. Questions about my address, wife, children, work and more. See what I mean, confusion.I guess this is normal.
Basically I was arrested for a warrant. A bench warrant requires me to see a judge immediately in the county that issued the warrant. Six years ago, I missed court. Someone called in a favor and told Suffolk County Police Department that New York Police Department was looking for me. That’s why I’m here now standing here in this police station, in handcuffs, with my back against the stone wall watching all these cops come and go answering all these questions
“Mothers maiden name?”
“Mothers maiden name?” The sergeant repeated. “ why is that important? Is this a job interview? Can’t we get these cuffs off?” I replied sarcastically
The sergeant tossed his clipboard onto a desk and said “sure we can “as he grab my left elbow again.
We turn right and the blue sign on the wall reads “No weapons beyond this point. Please secure all weapons before proceeding”
The sign was next to a 4 x 4 bank of wall lockers. These lockers were no longer than a shoe-box and about as deep as one. the Sergeant opens one of the lockers, unholstered his weapon and placed it in the box. He close the box remove the key and we proceed through another security door
BUZZ- we open the door and walk in.
This next room contains four benches, desks and plastic partitions. From where I stood, all I saw were benches but then I realize this was a booking room. I realize it will be in this room for a while we have to do fingerprints and other pedigree processing. I was told to sit down at a bench then the Sergeant grab some paperwork off the desk to my left and came back to me.
“ I am going to take off your handcuffs. When they are removed, standstill and do not make any sudden movements. If you make any sudden movements, it will be interpreted as aggression and will be dealt with accordingly.”
“Yes, sir” I replied.
I was turned around I am now staring at the wall. My arms are contorted so the handcuffs can be taken off. This hurts a bit since the handcuffs have been on for about 45 minutes and constantly getting tighter. Left hand first then right.
“Put your hands against the wall” the cop said. My hands went on the wall.
“Take a few steps back”. I complied. I step back very slowly so this would not be taken as aggression.
The sergeant patted me down. They did this part to me before I got in the police car but that was a basic search. The search was to make sure I really wasn’t hiding anything. He grab my pants and shook them while they were still on my waist. I was told to remove my belt. I took off my belt held it out with my left hand. I was wearing a hoodie and I was told I had to remove the string from my hoodie. I then had to remove my hoodie so It can be search to make sure I have no drugs or weapons.
Although a “basic” search , it was so uncomfortable. Stripping my layers of clothes strip me of my dignity. I’d like to believe this is as uncomfortable for police officers as it is for the people standing in front of them. No one wants to see a grown man and his underwear then be forced to watch them get dressed again.
The arresting officer now had come in to the room to now watch me finish putting my boots back on. He now took over the responsibility of booking me into a system. I was grabbed by the left elbow again and asked to proceed a few feet. I was an asked to make a left. Then the wall was the new color. This is where they will take the infamous mug shot they always have to take. This is also where they took my fingerprints.