The New Year hasn’t been very good for my ribs so far.
Cops in many countries seem to think they can do as they please and that the law is above itself.
Friday afternoon two weeks ago found me looking for public transport back home after work. I had my day pack on my back as usual and was carrying a small shopping bag with a few groceries. I do admit I was in one of the most eye pain inducing streets in the city: filled to the brim with street hawkers, street barbers and minibus taxis, but I’m quite used to the kaleidoscopic chaos that is Cottrell Street.
Opposite a large private hospital, which for some inexplicable reason was built years ago in the form of an immense circle amidst all the calamity around it, I noticed a car across the street: a maroon Chrysler with a light attached to the back window by means of a wire from the dashboard. In other words, not an “official” blue and white cop car. As I was registering this, a cop crossed the street like a bolt from the blue (literally, as he had a blue uniform on) and brusquely asked to search my stuff and my pockets. Not surprisingly I was suspicious and upset. Supposing someone had sneaked some white powder or hot goods on me? What if these cops were bogus and obtained their blue outfits by dubious means, such as a corrupt buddy in Stores? Such a thing is not unheard of in our neck of the woods…
It all happened so quickly: my protests were ignored as two other uniformed cops, one a female constable, and a plain clothes guy surrounded me. They did shove an ID card towards me to show they were apparently for real but it was already too late to defuse things there as I couldn’t think straight anymore. They dragged me to their car and the plain clothes guy threw a punch at my chest, which I barely felt with the litres of adrenalin which had metabolized in my system. With screeching tyres they drove off towards the police station.
So they had already decided I was a suspect!
The driver was saying something about my thinking I’m above the law. Had I felt like it I might have come up with a well known name or two to whom that dictum aptly applies.
After a few minutes we arrived at the station (in dismal surroundings but with a stunning sea view) where they could conduct their desired search in peace in a secure area (luckily not a strip search but still not my idea of Friday afternoon fun).
Upon realizing my medical condition and finding nothing illicit on my person they calmed down and agreed to drive me back. There were a couple items in my pockets that probably made them scratch their heads, such as a white pebble, as I collect various assorted items for my pot plants from time to time.
I waited in the car with the plain clothes guy until the rest of the team was ready to drive me back to catch a bus. By this time they were pretty friendly and we traded a few casual remarks as they raced back through the late afternoon traffic as if they were trying to evade a rapidly advancing pyrotechnic flow from Mt Pinatubo.
That evening my right ribcage began expressing distress and I battled to sleep, calling my friend at 11:30 to lament my aches. However I managed to work the next day and after a weekend rest I worked on Monday, but by Tuesday had decided I was miserable enough to see a doctor. X-rays revealed to him three fractured ribs, so rest for the balance of the week and suitable medication to alleviate the aches was prescribed.
I can think of worse places to get klapped… but this isn’t a BDSM dungeon we’re talking about, where such stuff can enliven proceedings if consensual, but the open street where they want to show off the strong arm of the law instead of using their brains to negotiate with…
I feel these guys overstepped their boundaries and should be seeking real criminals rather than harassing a guy who just happens to be passing by in his usual routine. If they don’t pay the medical bills, then at least they can give me a plate of spare ribs on the house… and not just three, either…
I’m aware their task is sometimes difficult and that they’re accustomed to dealing with hardened thugs with tough minds and bodies, but this doesn’t give them the right to harm others. Thankfully this isn’t the USA where worse things frequently happen between cops and others. They need to do more serving and protecting, and less tough-guy tactics. A suspect isn’t a criminal, unless you’ve actually seen him doing something that’s against the law.
That’s why not everyone goes to the police when they have a problem that the cops should be dealing with, but prefer to suffer in silence rather than report rapes and other crimes. Thus crime is not curtailed effectively when by no means all crimes are reported due to a negative view of the fuzz.