Today marks the inaugural entry into a sporadically updated segment called “Ask Robbie”. It’s like Dear Abby or Ask Ashley, only better.
Yesterday as I was walking down the street, I was confronted by the police for something I had no idea even happened. They told me there were a string of burglaries in the area and I needed to provide an alibi for Saturday night. They made me sit down on the curb of the shopping center I was walking through, and while he dicked around in his squad car, I was being eyeballed by everybody who walked past me. Even some of the employees at the store where I had just applied for a job saw as well. Eventually, the cop let me go, saying that I kind of matched the description of one of the suspects involved, but he didn’t think it was me. Robbie, what do I do? Can I sue the police department?
— Anonymous, Lewisville, TX
Well, Anonymous, unfortunately there isn’t much you can do. For whatever reason, there’s an epidemic of cops in the North Texas area just flexing their muscle and using their badge as an excuse to think like Neanderthals. Lewisville’s finest are no exception.
I’m sorry to tell you that, unless they cuffed and processed you at the station, you have nothing, and even then, wrongful arrest is kind of a stretch, since they were pursuing a lead and all. However, you’re not the first person to have been accosted by a local police department for no damn reason. Anonymous, let me tell you a story:
One cool summer’s eve, my friend Ben and I rounded up our gang, including Jay and new-girl Jamie, and hit the road, cruising around the Lewisville-Flower Mound-Highland Village area, talking and drinking Cherry Cokes under the moonlit summer sky. In the vicinity of a yuppie neighborhood named Lantana, the reds and blues suddenly filled the rear-view mirror of Ben’s early-90’s Ford Bronco. We veered to the side of the road, and waited for the Highland Village 5-0 to tap our windows and harass us.
So, we all pull our identification out of our wallets, purses, pockets, etc. and hand the plastic cards to the man we’ll refer to as Officer Hank for processing. Officer Hank’s flashlight molests each and every one of us, stopping for a moment on Jay. What sets Jay apart from the rest of us? He’s black.
No, I’m not being racist. It’ll make sense soon.
Anyway, after Officer Hank’s flashlight has nearly blinded the poor guy, he gets on his radio and says some inaudible shit, then goes back to his vehicle to process our cards. All of a sudden, two more Highland Village squad cars are rifling toward us, literally screeching to a stop. Two more officers exit the vehicles. One of them is a fatty fatty two-by-four cop who we’ll refer to as Officer McDouble and the other one is a bean-pole, redneck looking cop who we’ll refer to as Officer Cletus. While Officer Hank is in his car doing God knows what — we joked later that he was jerking it to Jamie’s picture — Officer McDouble and Officer Cletus had their flashlights on Jay the whole fucking time!
I was confused, because honestly, I looked a bit more sketchy than Jay did, but alas, after a moment of thinking it over, I realized there was some racial profiling going on. When Officer Hank returned with our state-issued “Jude’s”, he informed Ben that there had been several acts of vandalism in the area and he thought Ben’s vehicle matched the description. Since it didn’t, Ben was apparently speeding, despite the fact his car never went above 30 and the speed limit was 35. A ticket and a reprimand followed, but the icing on the cake was what Officer McDouble did as the police were leaving. He took his flashlight off Jay — finally! — but mouthed something I wish Jay would have had a nigga-moment over.
“Good night, nigger.”
I was shocked! Flabbergasted! Dismayed! The first time I had ever seen a black guy turn red was when Jay pent up his racial anger that night. The police went about their business, leaving us a disjointed mess on the side of the road, a mere four hundred yards from FM 407. The rest of the night was quiet, and spent at the lake.
Anonymous, I hoped my story helped you make sense of what happened to you yesterday. I feel your pain, as do many, many other people in the area. In the words of the immortal Jello Biafra:
I’m the new folk hero of the Ku Klux Klan
My cop friends think that’s fine
You can get away with murder if you’ve got a badge
At this moment, there is no better way to sum up the police.
Of course, I did figure out something you could do. You can always create an anonymous persona, write about it as if you’re sending it to a conveniently made-up advice column, then give yourself the advice and make the jokes and tell the stories so you feel better about the incident. That’s what I’d do anyway.