Trespass Without Warning

There was the time, not long ago, when I was working for Carnival Cruise Lines, and had an attack of insomnia, accompanied by an urge to get a taco at Taco Bell. It was around eleven at night, I think. I rode my bike up to the window, and the manager was very upset. I wasn’t allowed to do that. So I waited at the entrance to the driveway, hoping to persuade somebody to buy a taco for me. When that happened, the customer was turned down on the basis that he shouldn’t be helping me!

Soon a cop arrived in his squad car. We got into a pleasant conversation during which another squad car arrived. The second cop was furious from the moment he arrived. He made me lean against the car, informed me that I was under arrest for having refused to leave after being ordered to (which never happened), and arrested me. In jail, many of the contents of my wallet were stolen, most worrisomely, my pass to the port of Miami. I was scheduled to work, tuning pianos, on the following morning at the port, but wound up spending the entire weekend and Monday in jail. I called an acquaintance lawyer, who advised me to plead no contest and pay the court costs, about $110. I did, and almost got fired, and I’m sure a guilty verdict went into a permanent police file.

My mistreatment in jail is another story, but it’s something anybody who’s been to the Miami-Dade County Jail knows about already. Abuse is normal.

When I told a Quaker friend who’d worked many years in a clerical job at police headquarters that I thought innocent people (awaiting trial) shouldn’t be treated as if they were being punished, he said that if I knew who those people were, I’d agree they ought to be punished! Later, he changed his mind, but it indicated to me that the attitude that certain people ought to be punished just for existing was widespread among Miami police.

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