It was only a few minutes after they sat me down on a hard wooden bench when the realization set in. This was me. I was back in a place I never wanted to revisit.
I was handcuffed to a metal pie which ran beneath the bench and sat between two different types of drunks. To my right was a tall, thin, and lanky black man, feminine as could be and drunk, and complaining on a frequent basis that his handcuffs were on too tight. To my left was another man, heavyset and equally feminine, often echoing his co-defendants plea about his handcuffs being too tight. I was between them and when a brief pause of silence came to the scene, I quickly became aware of what I had done.
We are at the precinct, awaiting process, and me, I was hopefully going to be release on a D.A.T. (Desk Appearance Ticket) for brandishing a weapon, menacing, and perhaps a few other charges.
At the time, the idea made sense. At the time, I responded out of rage. I responded to the reports of a small group of older teenagers that broke into my wife’s car and stole a few items, which, in all honesty, the items were less important to me than the principle of what had taken place.
Aside from this, the group or older teenagers bullied and terrorized a local man. He was elderly and frightened, and when the police came to assist, the elderly man refused to sign a statement or enter his complaint.
His reason; he was afraid of the their response. Also, there was a girl that mentioned this group pointed a knife at her. The same group of older teenagers shot my neighbor’s house with paintballs right after the house was renewed and freshly sided with brand new aluminum siding.
After more investigation, I learned of more infractions against the members of my community. I learned that some of my neighbors were frightened of the young group and sought to retreat behind the curtains of their home, leaving them drawn, so not to witness anything that might lead to official questioning.
I had asked my neighbors about this. I asked why are we allowing this and in one case, my question was responded to by a question from a fearful neighbor that asked, “What can we do? Besides, they’re just kids.”
Along with their interaction with the families of my community and their misguided belief that they were somewhat untouchable due to a few of them with fathers in law enforcement, some of the young men believed it was a good idea to climb in the windows of homes and scare people by screaming. And although some were protected with father’s of influence, not all were quite as lucky.
As a matter of fact, one teen was caught with his friends after shooting paintballs at houses around town. Although they were released without any prosecution, due to certain political relationships, one of the teens lived in the home of a hard working father. He was a blue collar man that was heavy handed and embarrassed.
Upon learning the news of his son’s involvement, the father approached asking, “Do you know what I would do to you if it was our house and I caught you shooting paintballs at our house?”
After which, the father became physical and throttled his son a bit with hopes to put the fear of God into him. The son was frightened alright, but his response was not what the father anticipated. Instead of submit to the mild beating, the son called the police in an attempt to charge his father with child abuse.
However, since only a few hours had passed before the boy’s previous entanglement and since the other’s in the teen’s group were let go because of their family relations with local law, the father explained the story and the police left without issue.
Me, on the other hand, I had no interest in leaving these matters closed. Instead, I decided that I needed to display my intentions without any misinterpretation.
I armed myself with a one of my machetes, took a ride around the block, and then I proceeded to knock on the front door or one of the group’s louder, and seemingly tougher member.
However, his parents were not home. Instead, I hit the jackpot. Rather than tracking them all down, I was fortunate enough to find them all in one house. I will call this boy Josh. And it was Josh’s house. Josh was a frequent problem in the neighborhood, insisting that he was from “The hood,” as he explained, and that he was “Gangster.”
When I knocked on the door, angry as ever, I invited Josh and all of his friends to come outside for a brief chat. Instead, they all thought it was a better idea to sit behind the bay window of Josh’s living room.
Some of them even taunted me a bit. Some laughed until I reminded each one that they should consider one simple fact. I found them. I found them all. I found where they lived. And, if need be, I would visit each and every home until I felt justice was served.
I would not be the one to call the police. Instead, since they were “Gangster,” or so they believed, I offered to handle this in a street-minded fashion.
Again, I invited them all to come out. But yet, for some reason, none of them wanted to come out to speak with me. I mentioned how each of them were all weak; all of them were punks, frightened, cowards, and yes, I called them all pussies.
I told them I would rape them . . . not because it was sexual; but instead, I explained that I would rape them all because I owned them.
Although I made my point crystal and accurately clear, the youths still had a shred of false bravery while hiding behind the safety of a locked door. This is when I showed them my weapon and explained that if anything else happened to any of them homes in our neighborhood or if there were anymore crimes committed against the members of our community that I would return and respond without hesitation.
And when I spoke, I spoke very loudly, very clearly, and aggressively, to make sure my point was made and to act as an exclamation point, I finalized my sentiment by pointing my machete at each of them and stating, “Now stay away from my fucking house!
Admittedly, I was at a different stage in my life. I was angry, tired of feeling bullied by things beyond my control, and going through the process of a divorce.
Admittedly, this would not be my move had this been something that took place now; however, at the time, I saw this as a perfect way to plant my flag and draw the line.
Unfortunately, I might have overstated my intentions by brandishing a weapon. Unfortunately, I was taken into police custody. I was advised, however, by some of the boys in blue of their hatred towards Josh and some of his friends, to which I offered a very simple solution.
“Just let me go back and talk to them. I guarantee they won’t be a problem again.”
One of the facts, which I did not disclose is the informant that gave me all the names and addresses of the boys was also a local officer.
The officer knew me. He knew my family. He knew my brother quite well. He knew me well enough to point out the first house, Josh’s house, and then we parted ways as if the conversation never happened.
Although this helped me in a future court date, I still had to endure processing at the precinct. I had to sit with the humiliation that I was cuffed and brought in. I was cuffed in front of some of the older teens that I threatened. I was cuffed in front of a Josh’s stepfather who decided to warn me by saying, “Look, see? Now you have to jail because of the way you handled this!”
With a straight, almost relaxed face, I replied, “Well, to be honest, I expected this to happen. Besides, my wife is a bad cook. I eat better when I’m in jail. But I’ll see you all real soon when I get out.”
Josh’s stepfather was not sure how to take this . . .
I explained myself like this, “Your kids are poking their heads in people’s windows and trying to scare them. Think about this. I am a responsible gun owner. If they do this to my house or try to break in to my home, sir, the paperwork you’ll have to fill out will be unfortunate. And me, I’ll just have to sign a statement.”
Perhaps I overstated just a bit, but I do think my message was delivered very clearly.
While at the precinct, I answered the basic questions necessary for processing, giving name, rank, serial number kind of answers. I was asked to describe my tattoos for the paperwork, which asks for a description; however, when I stood and explained it might be easier to remove my shirt so they can see, the officer exclaimed how he would not have enough room on his report to detail all of my tattoos.
The tall, thin man to my right shook his head and called me a crazy white boy. Eventually though, the two drunken co-defendants were removed and the room quieted down.
It was quiet for a while until they brought in a 16 year old male, loud and complaining, screaming that the room smelled like bacon. I did not want to hear anymore, which is why I offered to keep him quiet by threatening the teen’s life.
When he complained about the tightness of the cuffs, I showed my wrists and clinched down on the handcuffs to the tightest possible restriction. I shouted, “Shut up and take the pain!” and for a while, the 16 year old was quiet.
Yes, I was humiliated. I was frightened too. I was afraid to face the charge, but fortunately, the badged informant helped me with the courts and my charges were minimized to disturbing the peace.
My courtroom visit was like an old credit card commercial. Lawyer, $700, fine, $200, surcharge, $50, the look on Josh and his friends faces when they saw me standing in front of them with a machete . . . priceless.
Coincidentally, I never had to shovel my walkway when it snowed. I never had to put my garbage pails away after the garbage men came. This was done for me by my neighbors because I protected the community. I did have a two-year order of protection against me to stay away from Josh and Co. but they never came on my block again. And for me, that was good enough
Still though, that feeling you have when they cuff you and put in the room behind a cage when they cuff you to the bar below the bench is truly humbling. Years later, I can laugh about this but I don’t ever want to find myself in a position like that again
On a side note: Josh’s mom called me a terrorist and said I was going to be in jail for a long time. She claimed her son was an innocent boy. A few years later, Josh was arrested for armed robbery . . .
Not so innocent now, is he mom?