Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Last European. Chapter Two.

Previous: Chapter One

The weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
-- Shakespeare

I was in danger of becoming a Bartleby-type figure, unable to leave my room, so it was probably a good thing I had a job to go to. It's amazing that once you've absorbed some Shakespeare into your system, how often his lines come to mind. As I went to work I couldn't help thinking of those words of Hamlet: "If it be not now, then it will come; if it be not to come, then it will be now. Since a man has naught to leave betime, what is to leave betimes? The readiness is all."

I worked the 4 PM to 12 AM shift the day following Rankin's visit. Sean was the other officer on the shift with me. I'd like to work with him every shift, but the way the schedule works out I generally work with him about six shifts per month. Even though he's in another patrol car, it's good to know I've got him for a backup and vice versa.

We had an incident on that shift that I thought was Rankin-related. Sean said (yes, I had told Sean and Mary about Rankin's visit) that it could be just a coincidence. But I wasn't buying the coincidence theory.

What happened was this: six weeks prior to the incident one thousand black Africans were imported to the town of Lancaster. They were imported to Lancaster by the Federal government under some kind of refugee plan. Their own country was embroiled in some kind of civil war where unbelievable atrocities (what else is new?) were being carried out every day. So, a number of small towns throughout the U.S. were selected as new homes for the refugees.

At the risk of sounding prejudiced (and God forbid any of us should be prejudiced), I must say that I don't think the injection of one thousand black Africans into a town of ten thousand white New Englanders is a very good thing. The fabric of every community in America is already fragile enough from the ongoing cultural wars between the New Age zombies (the majority) and the remnant of individuals from the Christian era. To throw one thousand Africans, practitioners of voodoo and cannibalism, into the mix is to pour fuel on the proverbial fire.

But of course the social fabric of our nation is not something our Federal or local governments are concerned about.

I don't say that Rankin used extraordinary means to infest the town of Lancaster, but I do think that he whispered a timely suggestion in some bureaucrat's ear that resulted in Lancaster being selected over some other U.S. towns.

At 9:30 that evening, Sean and I received a call from the radio room reporting that a domestic dispute was in progress at one of the apartment complexes in town. I was closest to the apartments, so I got there first.

It is best, when handling a domestic crisis, to wait for backup if at all possible, the reason being that more times than not there is an aggressor-victim-rescuer scenario that is played out. It goes like this – the police officer arrives on the scene, and the husband is beating his wife (it could be the other way around and it is the other way around more times that is generally known, but let's stick with the slightly more typical scenario). The husband is the aggressor, the wife is the victim, and the police officer is the rescuer. The police officer starts to wrestle with and or punch the husband; now the police officer is the aggressor and the husband is the victim. What role is left for the wife to play? Yes, you guessed it, she now plays the role of rescuer and tries to stick a knife into the arresting officer.

So, I waited for Sean and he pulled up about three minutes after I did. I knocked on the door, keeping my body clear of the door.

"Police, open up, we've had a complaint." There was no answer, so I knocked again and repeated my demand to be let in. This time I got a response. The door was opened a crack, and I saw a black face peering out at me. I didn't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that the apartment was occupied by one of the new African refugees.

"What want?" a masculine voice asked.

"We are the police, and we've had a complaint about a disturbance in this apartment, and we need to come in and check it out."

"No disturbance here, you go away."

"I'm sorry, sir, we must come in. If everything checks out, we will leave. But you must let us in or we will have to break the door down."

The door opened, revealing a very large black man wearing khaki trousers but no shirt. He was sweating profusely which indicated to me that he had been doing something physical in the last half-hour, because it was still winter in Maine during March and the apartment was not excessively heated.

I don't intend to write an essay on police procedures, but I must clarify a few things in order to make what follows intelligible to those unfamiliar with the rules and regulations the police work under regarding domestic violence cases.

The law involving domestic abuse has changed in the last twenty years. The law used to allow for police discretion; if the abused spouse or girlfriend did not want to press charges, no arrest was made. But under the new law, the police officer, if he sees signs of physical abuse, must arrest whether the injured spouse or significant other wants to press charges or not.

In this case there was indeed evidence of physical abuse. When the Mogombi native opened the door to the bedroom, we found a young white woman. I won't describe the bruises. Let's just say they were severe. It was a sickening sight.

When I informed the African that he was under arrest, he went berserk on us. Eventually Sean and I got the cuffs on him but not before we had sustained some bruises and inflicted a few as well. The young woman pleaded with us not to arrest her dream man, but I explained to her why we had to. She didn't seem to comprehend anything I said. I thought she was either on drugs or in a state of shock. Sean suggested that she get some medical treatment for her injuries, but she refused. I didn't like leaving her like that but she was adamant about no medical treatment. What could we do? I put the Mogombi in the back of my patrol car and headed to the station to process the prisoner.

Without the woman's testimony, it was not likely that the Mogombi would spend more than a night in jail. The judge would release him when he came in the morning. But he didn't even spend the night in jail.

At 11:30 p.m. a cadaverous white man in his late forties entered the station. He said he was the Mogombi tribe's lawyer. Where the tribe got the money for their own lawyer is something I'll let the reader speculate on.

"I understand you have Knana Kowanna here under arrest," was the lawyer's opening gambit. "Well, I spoke to the woman involved, and I spoke to Judge Grady. And Judge Grady has signed a release order for Knana. You now have no legal right to hold him.

I wasn't all that surprised. Judge Grady was known around the police station as "Come with the Cash Grady." I once went before him with a D.U.I. arrest. I had the blood alcohol reading listed in my report; it was way above the legal limit, and I had crossed all my Ts and dotted all my Is in making the arrest. But the verdict came back, "Not guilty." When I asked one of the veteran officers what had happened, he just rolled his eyes and said, "Somebody came with the cash."

I knew Knana should not have been released that night. There is supposed to be a cooling off period when a domestic erupts in violence. But Mr. Cadaverous had a signed release form.

"Okay, you've got the release form so we'll cut him loose. But I think it would be advisable for him to go somewhere besides the apartment to sleep tonight."

"My client can sleep anywhere he likes tonight or any other night, Officer…"

"It's 'Duncan'."

"Officer Duncan, then. He can sleep anywhere he likes."

"Yes, he can. I was only making a suggestion."

"My client doesn't need your suggestions."

"That's fine. There he is." I opened the cell. "Take him out of here."

"What's this? He looks like he has been beaten."

"Hardly beaten, he gave as good as he got, but then I guess you're not concerned about our bruises."

"Is that why you beat him, because you claim he resisted arrest?"

Since I was the arresting officer, Sean had been trying to do some business at the other end of the office, but he heard everything that was said. He couldn't keep quiet any longer. Striding quickly across the room, he addressed Mr. Cadaverous, whose last name was – I'm not joking – Brinkerhoff.

"Officer Duncan explained to you that we didn't beat him. He resisted arrest and we did what was necessary to arrest him. Ask him, he'll tell you."

Knana started to talk, but Brinkerhoff silenced him with a gesture. "We'll see about this."

I could see Sean was at the boiling point, and I should have tried to stop him from speaking, but I didn't. Just as Brinkerhoff and Knana Kwanna were opening the door to leave, Sean called after them, "If you go back and beat that woman, we'll be back for you. And no liberal A.C.L.U. lawyer is going to save you."

Brinkerhoff turned away from the door and walked toward Sean. "I'm beginning to suspect that this arrest was racially motivated. Your concern for the woman in question, who has lodged no complaint herself, probably stems from racial prejudice. You object to interracial couples, don't you, officer?"

"Don't bother answering him, Sean, he's just trying to get you in trouble."

"No, I'll answer him. Listen, Mr. Big Shot Liberal, if the man was a white beating a black girl or if he was a green man beating an Indian girl, or whatever, I would treat it the same. But as a matter of fact, I don't approve of interracial marriages, or interracial cohabitation, or interracial anything. And you know what else? I'd like to stuff all the slimy A.C.L.U. lawyers into trash cans and ship them back to hell."

"Thank you, officer, for that most edifying and illuminating speech. Good night."

"Now you've done it, Sean. He's not going to let those remarks slide. There's going to be trouble."

"Let there be trouble then, James. How far are we supposed to crawl for dirtbag lawyers and filthy savages?"

"I know, Sean. But I'm worried about your job. There isn't a lot of work out there for either of us."

"Well, let's see what comes before we panic."

"Okay, Sean. Are you staying the night with me or heading back to Linwood.?"

"I'll stay with you tonight if it's all right. Maybe I'll get lucky and see your buddy, Rankin."

"Very funny."

Continue to Chapter Three