After our marching band'sperformance at a football game was cancelled because of lightning, about six orseven of the band members (including a few student leaders) sat around shootingthe breeze, not fighting, not smoking, not drinking, not being loud. An unmarkedpolice car rolled up and our conversation stopped as we turned our attention tohim.
In an acrid and condescending tone, the policeman pointed a finger tothe exit of the parking lot and said, "Out."
"Okay, justgive us a moment to figure out what we can do," we replied. We wondered ifFriendly's was still open, and asked the officer, who gave us a cold look.
"You can get out now, or in 20 minutes I can start writing ticketsfor curfew, because I know you have junior licenses," he said (there wasactually only one driver in the group who did). To appease this obviously tiredand overworked civil servant, we decided to adjourn to a friend's house. We weresinging as we got into our cars, and we pulled around past the cruiser. I wavedgood-bye and we were off.
We came to a complete stop at the stop sign andwere rammed by the officer's car. I don't know how fast he was going, but it wasno tap. My friend and I, both student leaders, got out of the car to address thesituation.
The officer, frantic and quite enraged at his own idiocy,pointed a menacing finger at me, "Let me see your ID."
"Why do want to see my ID?" I asked, because I was thepassenger.
"Let me see your ID!" he demanded. I asked why again,reminding him that it was a legitimate question. Getting the same non-answer, Istarted to hand him my license. He all but ripped it from my hand.
"And may I have your name?" I asked. He is Detective X.
"A fine representation of the Marching Knights you are!" heyelled. I must have missed the meeting that decided nothing cordial will be saidby, and no questions will be asked of, an officer of the law. Even though myparents pay him his salary, he is above acting like a decent human being. Hislast name sounded familiar. I should have known better than to ask if I knew hisson. The officer's eyes widened and he yelled, "You leave my family out ofthis!" I guess that was his way of saying yes.
As three more policecars showed up, Officer X instructed everyone to go home except for me and myfriend. He said he knew everyone had junior licenses and would be out pastcurfew, when actually the only one who did was rear-ended by a cop, which causedhim to stay out way past curfew (nice irony). Officer X also suggested, veryrudely, that a parent leave because she was not a part of the situation.
Officer X had a few reasons for hitting my friend's car. First, he said Ihad been making unappreciated gestures. I do recall waving good-bye ... yeah, Idefinitely see how that could be taken as a gesture of unfriendliness. But isthat how they train officers to stop a vehicle? To whack it from behind and thenberate the passenger?
Second, he thought we were going to run the stopsign. He assumed that because we were in a parking lot after dark we were goingto make a mockery of his skills and occupation. We were going to do this byrunning a stop sign and risk getting hit by a car.
The finale: myfriend, the driver, hesitated. I'm going to let the reader decide for him- orherself why it took two different excuses to lead to this last one. We hesitated.Perhaps he took the stop at the big red octagon on a pole as a hesitation ... Icould've sworn it was one of those stop signs I see every so often.
Thisman is trusted with weapons of destruction but can't even control himself or hissensitive temper enough to drive a car. He can do nothing but harass young peoplewith bright futures because they have futures.
As a result of thisadventure I have relinquished my trust and respect for those who wear theuniform. That trust can be earned again, but the old reverence is gone forever.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.