Not many of my Facebook friends have ever been arrested. I have, four times actually, but only one of them was legitimate. I doubt that there are many of you who have been pepper sprayed either, but I have. Finally, I feel certain that none of you have ever been beaten up by the police, but I’ve had that experience as well. The trifecta!
Because I have, I’m writing this, even though it’s embarrassing. I think my experiences might help you understand some things.
My only legitimate arrest occurred in the 70s. It was for drunk driving in Santa Barbara, California. I blew 1.9 blood alcohol level, which means I was well over the limit. At the time, the legal limit was 1.5. Now, it’s just .8 in most states.
When I was arrested, I was taken to the Santa Barbara County jail. While handcuffed, two County Deputies beat me up. They were very rough with me. I doubt I was singled out for this though. I suspect this happened to many others. They shouldn’t have done this but, because I was a drunk driver who cussed them out while they were throttling me, I put myself into a vulnerable situation. I almost lost my driver’s license for this, which would have cost me my job and my ability to provide for my family. I had behaved like a fool. Needless to say, I learned a valuable lesson from this.
Decades later, a U.S. Postal Worker pepper sprayed me at a gas station. He had parked his truck in the shade while he was eating a sandwich, but the truck blocked my ability to put air in one of my tires. When I asked him to move, he assaulted me. The police were called. To my surprise and to those who witnessed the incident, I was the one who ended up getting arrested. I was charged even though I never assaulted him or threatened him in any way. I never even lost my temper.
Later, after the episode was over, it took me nearly a half hour of shower off the pepper spray. It burned badly. Fortunately, the postal worker missed my eyes. Since I did nothing wrong, the case was eventually dismissed.
I deserved to be arrested for the DUI but not the other three times. Nevertheless, even though I was falsely accused and wanted to protest, I didn’t. When told to put my hands behind my back, I did so immediately. I complied, knowing that to resist would only make matters worse for me.
I have no illusions about how rough the police can be. I’ve seen it and experienced it, but I’ve never had to walk in their shoes either. I haven’t had to deal with things they are forced to confront routinely. They have a tough job. What they don’t need is for arrestees to act like fools. When this happens, when someone resists arrest, it’s predictable that all hell will break loose and a bad outcome will occur.