Monday, September 15, 2008

Civic-gate: Part 1

The house is mostly set up now, so we're getting to those last few boxes...picture frames, wall art, candles, etc. Each box is like a project in and of itself. While rooting through one of these Project Boxes I found a manila envelope labeled "Legal Case 2004." It contained many handwritten notes, legal correspondence and even a warrant for my arrest. It's the four year anniversary of what I like to call "Civic-gate."

I've told the story of my criminal charge numerous times over the past four years, but just yesterday, I found that my story has been inaccurate. For some reason, I thought that the charge was falsifying a police report. But no. The warrant was issued for my attempt to resist a police officer. Here's the real story.

In September of 2004, I was living and working at a local recreation center as a lifeguard. One particular day, I left for work during the dark hours of the early morning. I parked my car in the rec center lot and went into the building. I did not leave the building until the late afternoon. As I approached my car in the lot, I saw a long scrape, parallel to the ground on the driver's side. I immediately surmised that my car had been hit in the lot and no one reported it. I followed my instincts and went inside to tell my supervisor. She suggested calling the police to file a report. Once the police had been called, I went back out to my car to wait for the officer. Once he arrived, I told him that when I went to work, my car was fine. When I came out, this large scrape was on it. He looked at the car and asked for my license and registration. He then began to question me. Here's a basic idea of how the conversation went:

Police Officer: Did you leave work at all during the day?
Me: No.
PO: Did anyone else have keys to the car?
Me: No.
PO: Did anyone borrow the car?
Me: No.
PO: Was I sure that the car had not been moved at all?
Me: Yes.
PO: You're a liar.

That was when things started to go awry. I told him that I was not a liar. I did not know what else to say. I had told him all that I knew and I had no other story. He continued to insist that I was a liar and that he was going to put a warrant out for my arrest.

I panicked.

The only contact I had to that point with an on-duty police officer was the D.A.R.E. program in fifth grade and being pulled over for running a red light three years prior. Being told that I was going to be arrested was a whole new experience. I knew I needed help so I ran into the building to get my boss to back me up. I thought, "She's a city employee. Maybe he'll listen to her."

By the time I tracked her down and we went out there, he had snapped photos of the car and left with my license and registration. I ended up having to drive down to the precinct to pick up my paper work. I asked to speak to the officer, but he refused. The only advice/help my boss would give me was, "If I were you, I'd get a lawyer."

I laid awake for a long time that night, waiting for Officer X to bang on my door and haul me away in the Paddy Wagon.

To Be Continued...

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