First, let me say that I have people that I love and care about who are officers of the law. I know it is sometimes a thankless and underpaid job, but there are those who abuse their power and forget that the most important part of what they are paid to do is to protect and serve their fellow citizens.
I believe this to be one of those cases. I don't know why she was treated this way, but I know she shouldn't have been. Has she been in trouble in the past? I have no idea, but I don't think that would matter in this particular instance even if she had.
A friend of mine linked to a video uploaded by his friend, Erica, and I feel like it highlights one of the problems lurking within the current culture of law enforcement.
Erica told me her side of the story over a Facebook message. (Keep in mind that this is her perspective and obviously any insight or explanation from the officer would be welcome.)
The story begins on Tuesday evening when Erica is outside on a nice night, talking to her brother on New Street in Dover. Out of the blue, a woman she doesn’t know and has never met approaches and punches Erica. Stunned, Erica calls the police. She's grown up here, she knows that this woman hitting her could mean nothing or it might mean the beginning of a much larger problem for her. She's genuinely afraid.
When the police arrive, she points out the woman who hit her, but instead of arresting the woman or even questioning her - they ticket Erica for loitering.
Obviously feeling this was unfair, she goes to the police station to sort this out and to question why no one helped her after she was the one who called for them in the first place - and to dispute the citation she was issued.
The following took place on Weds, March 20th 2012. in Dover, Delaware – my hometown. Erica went to the station to ask to speak to someone about the ticket and to reiterate her need to have the woman who hit her at least brought in and questioned.
Watch the Video:
Transcript of the video:
Erica: “—cussing at me?”(As she leaves, you can see the Dover Police Department Emblem on the ground.)
Officer: “Because, I’ve told you three times. I’ve been nothing but nice to you since you’ve walked in here.”
Ericka: “But here’s the…”
Officer: “How many - Are you stupid? I’ve told you the same story four different ways, and you’re not getting it through your thick skull. Nobody is getting locked up and you are fucking leaving my lobby!”
Erica: “I don’t want to cause—“
Officer: “Get out and don’t come back out!
Erica: “Okay, but here’s…can I just speak to you?”
Officer: “I am…(inaudible)"
Erica : “Can I speak to you.”
Officer: “NO! I’ve spoken to you for fifteen minutes and apparently the only thing you understand is me standing here one foot from you, yelling. Get out!”
Erica: “Can I say one thing?”
Erica: “I can’t even talk to you?”
Officer: “No! I'm done talking to you. Five more seconds and you're getting locked up for trespassing in here.”
Erica: “What, how am I trespassing?”
Officer: “Because I told you to leave and you’re not doing it.”
Erica: “Please...But I need help, I’m asking for help!”
Officer: “If you don’t turn around and I see your back turning away from me – you’re going to have a problem.”
Erica: (Tearfully) “I’m asking you for help”
Erica: “So you’re not going to talk to me?”
Silence as he walks away
Erica doesn't know the name of the officer, and unfortunately for a society who depends on it's public servants showing us the virtue of following the law we've likely lost another who'll ever be able to count on the very people she thought were supposed to be there to help her.
Off to bed, with a heavy heart.
UPDATE: From Erica - I didn't know the woman who hit me, but I got her name from someone else. The officer lied, he did not speak to me for fiteen minutes, not even close. They have cameras on New Street where I was hit so they HAVE evidence to at least question the woman who hit me and they have cameras at the station as well, which was why he probably said he'd been talking to me.
Erica is also open about having difficulty explaining herself and yes, she suffers from mental illness. Which, in my opinion, makes having someone call her 'stupid' even more horrific.