I was taken to the porch and asked leading questions such as “did an argument just take place here?” I gave the most honest answers I could then I was asked to turn around to have handcuffs put on. I was completely placid, in a state of numb disbelief. When things start moving fast like this I get completely calm, If I have to ignore what is happening then so be it. In handcuffs I moved toward the door while asking about shoes for my bare feet and the older less spry and therefore most fearful of the officers put his mouth about 3 inches from mine and screamed and spit about how I am not supposed to move autonomously at this point. It was as if he had said nothing and I said nothing else until I asked what I was being arrested for. You see I have dealt with this kind of goading behavior from law enforcement officers before. Here you have a group of men who know nothing about me or N on arrival. Here I am a young black male, the “type” they have been conditioned to expect crime from accused of a crime. No one could see the education I had fought for or the career I was building for myself, the artistic visions taking form in my mind or the gentleness of my nature for the melanin in my skin. This fellow was sure I would have some sort of emotional response to him screaming in my face that would make the day more exciting and make him feel less useless in his aged state. The best thing to do in situations like this is remain silent, instigators cannot escalate situations with a silent adversary. An adversary being just what these people saw me as.
I asked why I was being arrested for the second time when I was in the backseat because the first person I asked apparently didn’t even know. This time I got a much better explanation. This is when I was informed of what she had accused me of. I asked more questions that led the police officer to explain to me that because I and N lived together the incident was a “domestic” one. This meant that according to the law in our area someone had to be removed when the police arrived. I was informed that had I accused N of brandishing a weapon or physically assaulting me we would have both been arrested. I had been arrested for an event that did not happen because I lived with someone I hardly knew and they had made an accusation. This was horrifying to me! Deep down I knew that I would be vindicated because said accusation would have to be proved but in the following days I kept thinking about how many people in the city where in an Identical situation to mine. Boston has the second or third highest cost of living in the country and many colleges in and around. Everyone I know lives with roommates and a quick look around will prove this is how most are surviving and getting through their education without family. Luckily I had cultivated a friendly relationship with my ex but someone else who’s family springs from SC would have sat in jail for who knows how long.
Around the middle of the year long fiasco I obtained all documents related to the case. I read the wording and it was clear that N is a much more sinister character than I ever imagined. You see N was well aware of the credibility her european features and home ownership bought her. The description of me was quite strange. The person she described was 6’2″ or 6’3″ and “black black black” this is quoted from the 911 call transcript in which N used the word black regarding my appearance 8 times. She was asked for my description once. This was a perceptual distinction she wanted to make crystal clear before the police even arrived for the most obvious reason. I am of african decent but just about 5’11” weighing in at around 140 lbs. My willowy build and androgynous looks and voice don’t typically inspire fear, reading the transcript it is obvious that N agreed. It seems she felt projecting me as the big black bogey man archetype would bolster the believability of her tale. Along with implying heavy drug use and details about my sexuality, even dragging a friend she met once into the fantasy by name.
During the conversation in the car on the way to the county lockup I noticed a change. As I began to speak for myself and become a real person instead of a projected image the relations shifted. At the house when I was being as quiet as I knew was necessary I was shuffled around and looked at like something without a brain. When we were in the more intimate setting of a sedan I was asking relevant lucid questions, ones that suggested I knew at least the basics about my rights and probably that I was pretty well educated. This was these people’s first opportunity to get a read on my character my temperament and it did not add up. By the time we made it to the station I was being referred to as Mr. Ocean and sir, I was being respected and treated gently. I remember having my handcuffs adjusted and my comfort being a concern. I cannot know what anyone was thinking but I sensed what seemed like sympathy in the officer who was there from beginning to cell. A look in his eyes and behavior that seemed to give away his instinct that this was not right. The police are you me our neighbors and family members only guided by entrained blind allegiance to law. The problem being that the legal system is flawed tainted by racism classism and financial motivations. I had forced him to see me as an individual human not a black criminal. Never forget your humanity and no one else save sociopaths will be able to ignore it.
Know your rights and never be afraid to ask questions or remain silent as you see fit. Remember that when police arrive on the scene there job is to find reason to arrest you, calmly cooperate but do not help them. You have the right to protect yourself from legal trouble. It is scary being arrested but right now you are innocent until proven guilty. Make people who accuse you of shit prove it without your help. Under stress innocent people can say very damaging things to our own interests without realizing it. ♥