Monthly Archives: May 2012

1000 ledes n + 24: A Stone for Breaking Souls

The problem with betrayal is that it takes a long time to recognize if you’re not the sort that does it. Even then, it’s impossible to to take it in all at once, like fitting a strangely shaped and inscrutable stone into a place a little too small for it.

As with so many things, those who spot betrayal at once tend to be practitioners.

Dear SFPD Motorcycle cop on 3rd Street, yesterday:

Here’s what you should have done. You should have said, basically, “Oh, don’t worry, this is a just a motorcade coming through in a few minutes. Go on back to your car, and you’ll be out of here in a jiffy.” You could have even added “Hope you feel better soon!” if you wanted to be cordial. I kind of remember police officers doing that, when I was a kid.

When I left my daughter and walked across 3rd Street I clearly didn’t know what was happening or why the street was closed. I didn’t pull out and just drive away as a courtesy to you, by the way, a courtesy I won’t make the mistake of extending to you again. I came up and told you I had a medical condition and I was worried about getting to a doctor’s appointment. Instead of telling me it would only be a few minutes, or even why the street was closed, you grabbed my arm and tried to hold me down. My concern immediately went from making my appointment to my scared shitless 9 year old, watching me struggle with the police across 3 lanes of 3rd street.

I told you my daughter was across the street; you ignored me, and while you told me to stand still, you still didn’t bother to tell me why you were tightening your grip on my arm and yanking me away from my daughter. I admit that when I told you again that my daughter was across the street from me I was probably getting louder. I don’t like being forcibly separated from my daughter when I don’t know what’s going on, and neither does she. Eventually, as this was turning into a full blown physical altercation, and my daughter was panicking and trying to figure out whether to run to her mother, I was reduced to screaming that I had to get back to my daughter before whatever was about to happen on this street happened, which you still hadn’t revealed to me. You let go, pushed me, and told me to stay with my daughter. I did in fact run over to my daughter and stay there.

Once again, all you ever had to say was “Don’t worry, this is only going to take a couple of minutes.” You certainly never had any reason to lay hands on me at all, much less in response to a worried question.

Now my daughter is terrified of you. It’s frustrating to know that if she’s ever lost or in trouble, instead of going to the police, she’s probably going to run and scream if an officer approaches her to help. All because she’s watched the police start physically assaulting and screaming at her mother for asking a question. Not a crime, or a crime scene, or even a protest, just asking a question about getting to the doctor’s office.

This feels like it should be a parody piece, some extreme of what policing would be become if it were not merely out of control, but non-sensical and random. Instead, it’s just a record of Tuesday.