Last night was surreal. I tweeted about it seconds after it happened, when I was back safely inside my home. I can’t say as I felt that my life was threatened, but I was made to feel startled, scared, upset, like I was a criminal, and totally creeped out.
Right now, I don’t feel particularly safe in my own home.
Why do I live in a world where I have to feel a sense of relief that I wasn’t shot dead, or assaulted or beaten or sexually assaulted? – Feelings that interfere with the feelings about being pretty much stalked by a police officer.
I’ll admit to the crime that put me on this individual’s radar – I’m guessing here – in the first place. The tags on my car are not up to date. I have full insurance coverage that is though, just my vehicle registration is expired.
I’ve blogged about how I never get pulled over in this red border state that is focused so much on immigration, but as I traverse the streets, I’m fully aware that I need to get my tags up to date – and should I get pulled over, I’ll know why, for the most part.
I’m too exhausted to go into details of what happened, but the gist of the matter is, I was noticed by a police officer as I was driving late at night – around 12:30 a.m. – and instead of pulling me over on the main street I was driving on when I passed his vehicle parked at an intersection, he decided to pull up my plate, get my information and lie in wait for me at my home.
I don’t know WHAT THE ENTIRE FUCK THAT IS but it doesn’t sound like normal procedure to me.
He concealed his presence to me, so that neither the security motion detector light nor my car headlights picked him up as I pulled in along side my place to do my three point turn to park my car alongside my home like I usually do.
I saw a shadowy figure out the corner of my eye as I was completing the 2nd part of my turn and I jumped, startled, slammed on my breaks, and threw my hands up in a defensive gesture to protect my face – it was pure instinct, because I was in my car with the window up, but you dunno what your body is going to do when it’s startled within and inch of it’s life. Let’s also not mention my heart murmur and my behavioral health status that doesn’t work well with being scared to death.
So a second after this figure looms up next to my car a flashlight pops on and I’m about to start screaming, looking through my fingers – remember my hands hand gone up automatically to protect my face – and see that it’s a fucking cop.
I wasn’t thinking clearly at all, because aside from the initial scare, I had no other fears for my life at that point, which is completely weird, bc normally I’m completely sketched out worrying for my life whenever I have to deal with cops. I hit the window button and I said very clearly: OMG YOU SCARED ME TO DEATH! WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?? WHY DID YOU POP UP LIKE THAT?
He sort of laughed and said he was sorry and then went into cop mode, asking me to put the brake on my car and do that thing where they look into the back seat of your car with the flashlight, like I’m transporting bricks of heroin or bags of cocaine or WHATever.
He then goes around to the back of my car shining his lil flashlight all business-like and then comes back to the window and mentions my expired tags. I say yes I’m aware of that, and I’m working on it. He then makes it clear by the things he says next that he’s the cop that I drove past like 10 mins ago. I said yes, I noticed his vehicle, and complimented him on the fancy paint job. It was an SUV type dealy with POLICE painted all big on the side with swooshing whorls of color around it.
He’s rolling in a pimped out vehicle – not a regular squad car – but I’m the super criminal here. So much so that he chose not to pull me over on brightly lit main street, but pull up my address and hide out and wait for me to come home.
I’M STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW THAT MAKES ANY FUCKING SENSE.
He then inferred that when I’d noticed his vehicle, I took off – peeled away – and zoomed past him all SUSPICIOUS LIKE. I said: I’m a forty-six year old woman, I drive a family sedan, I really don’t think I’m going to go around peeling away in general, and certainly not when I see a police car. I said to him that his car could have been that one – and I pointed to my neighbor’s SUV, it wouldn’t matter, I wouldn’t change my driving habits. I don’t peel out, sorry dude, you got the wrong person.
He then kept insisting that’s what he saw me do. I then said, ok then why didn’t you pull me over? Did I surpass the speed limit on _____ Avenue? And if so, again, why didn’t you pull me over then and there – WHY ARE YOU HERE AT MY HOUSE?? He indicated that I had not broken the speed limit, he started stuttering a bit, because he began to realize – it took him awhile, but it finally dawned on him – that I was not the one to fuck with. I’d been nursing one of my migraines all dang night, and that’s why I was up past midnight driving to get some stuff at the convenience store.
None of his damn business, but I told him that’s what I was doing and if he wanted to pull me over for tags he shoulda done it. I said it’s not a good look for you to popping up all at my house, I’m a single woman, living alone, I had no idea who or what you were and YOU STARTLED ME AND SCARED ME TO DEATH.
He mumbled something about making sure I got my tags up to date and then left.
EDIT: I’m putting couple of my series of tweets RICHEA so I have a cotdang time stamp. (and also to show exactly how this incident made me feel directly after it happened) I started tweeting about it 5-10 mins after cop left & my hands stopped shaking enough to type on my computer. I figure this whole thing happened – if you count my driving time as well as the conversation at my home – around 12:10 a.m. – 12:45 a.m.
So I call the precinct earlier today around 1pm – around 12hrs after the incident. I knew I’d be speaking to a cop, so I kept that in mind. I think I wanted to file a complaint, or I wanted someone to tell me that lying in wait at someone’s house in lieu of a traffic stop was standard procedure. I wasn’t sure what I wanted, really. I was still shook. Still upset. Still wondering WTF.
The conversation was interesting. And by interesting I mean completely strange and weird and utterly filled with neck-high stacks of manure. I think he found out my info or pulled up the incident, while speaking to me, because the first half of the conversation was very different from the second half. He was a bit brusque and all that – I expected that, from me having to call precincts often during my years in LA – but he was polite, and he was helpful. Up until he got the info that I was a Black person. I’m just guessing, but it was like night and day.
Remember, I “sound white” on the phone. He went from being informative – he even gave me a brief explanation (that I thought was utter bullshit btw) from “the cop’s point of view” on why Officer StalkaSista was behaving the way he did, and he listened to my account of things. But suddenly he was ultra defensive, and started saying things like, “well if you are going to infer wrong-doing on that officer’s actions, I’m going to end this conversation” and then offering me the phone number to Internal Affairs if I wanted to “complain about the incident”.
When all I’d ever said up to that point was express my confusion on why the officer was at my home, why he didn’t identify himself, why he concealed himself from my view, so much so that I was heavily startled when he showed himself. And why didn’t he pull me over if I’d done all those law-breaky things he said I did.
There is the edge of my neighbor’s place and two cars parked that he could have hid behind, and I looked out there today in the bright sunlight, and there was no way I would have missed seeing him unless he’d hidden himself.
So I was basically told by the officer on the phone that:
1. I was driving the wrong car. Did you know that family sedans are the criminal’s choice of vehicles? Because they blend in and don’t look conspicuous. Horseshit! You and I both know if I’d been driving a tricked out sports car with a rear spoiler and spinners, he’d have said the exact same thing only opposite. Flashy car = criminal.
2. I’m the awful person who did all that SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR that prompted Officer McCreepy to go all stalker on me. Victim blaming 101. When I said ok me driving my car is suspicious? Because that’s all I was doing – the cop on the phone for the 2nd time said ok this conversation is over, I’m not going to speak to you any more – his voice all raised and upset sounding. I literally took the phone off my ear and stared at it like WTF did I say?
3. Officers sometimes opt NOT to pull people over because (garbled weird sounding reason that flew out of my brain 2 seconds after I heard it – in other words more bullshit) and that’s why he was at your home. I’m sorry, but I see no reason why pinning someone at their residence is (safer?) or (more efficient) or (WHAT THE FUCK EVER) than doing a normal traffic stop.
Intimidation tactics pure and simple. All this over some expired tags. Which he never actually ended up giving me a ticket for. Just a mumbled verbal warning as he walked away. And I’ll tell you what. The only way this makes sense in any way, is that he saw I was a Black person behind the wheel. Because they had to go stake out my home and see if they could find ANYTHING on me.
Listen. I know what info comes up when you pull someone’s plate on the police vehicle computer system. You get my name. My date of birth. My address. ALL the info on my car and driver’s license including any wants, warrants, parking tickets, criminal record – alladat.
I have none of that THOUGH. They let me coast on by without a pullover because well the only thing wrong with my picture was expired tags, and this guy seemed like he was itching for something more dramatic. He should have pulled me over, written a ticket, or gave that verbal warning or whatever, and let me go on my merry way.
But I had that SUSPICIOUS BLACK SKIN so I must be up to SOMETHING so let me go TO HER HOME and ROOT AROUND THERE and LIE IN WAIT and PUSH HER AND BLAME HER FOR SPEEDING WHEN SHE DID NO SUCH THING
You tell me.
I wasn’t even tempted to call Internal Affairs – which seemed a really weird overkill thing to do when I just wanted to file a complaint – because this CRAY CREEP COP knows where I live. Both officers – the creep one and the one on the phone – behaved in such completely strange and weird ways, that I am for sure not going to put more of a target on me – retaliation is the word that comes to mind.
HE KNOWS WHERE I LIVE.
And after I finished that call – on my cell phone (no camera or vid or internet) – 10 seconds later my land line phone rings. Did I pick it up? HELL NO I DID NOT. Whoever was calling opted to not leave a message when the machine picked up.
I don’t feel safe in my home.
Thanks a fucking lot.
Fuck The Police.
Lucky me I had a head shrinker appointment already scheduled today. So I went after that strange phone call to the precinct. I got to talk it out a bit, and I feel a tiny bit better.
I cried. A lot. I hate crying.
But. I’m still not feeling all that secure in my home.
I just don’t know.