So here's a citation I received from a DeKalb County Police officer (just outside Atlanta) a few days ago.
Oh boy, where do I start?
OK, first of all, I wasn't doing anything. I wasn't flying a sign for a ride, nor was I flying a sign for money, nor was I displaying my thumb to passersby. All I was doing was sitting on a guardrail near an on-ramp (I-85 northbound exit from US 23) with my backpack on my back (about 20 feet from a bus stop).
Like always, most of the on-duty cops drove right by me, not at all worried about the harmless, clean traveler who just wanted to make his way up the road. But one cop, seizing an opportunity to make a huge positive impact, stopped to hassle me.
After asking me what I was doing there, the cop told me I wasn't allowed to be there and I wasn't allowed to solicit. Cool enough; I'm used to being told to leave spots like that. But as I prepared to leave my spot, I wanted to make sure she knew I was not doing everything she implied I was doing. I told her, "I understand if you're going to tell me to leave, but I'm not soliciting."
She didn't like that.
"Yes, you are soliciting. You already told me you're trying to get a ride."
"No, I'm hoping to get a ride. If I was soliciting, I'd be holding up my thumb or a sign, or I'd be talking to people. But I'm not doing that; I'm just sitting here, and sitting here is not soliciting."
After a few rounds of disputing my claim, with me maintaining my stance, she got pretty pissed, I guess because some people just know they're right about everything, even when they are 100 percent wrong. (Or, most likely, it was a case of "You must respect my authoritah!)
Steaming, she turned around and stomped back to her cruiser. Sitting in the driver's seat, she kicked the inside of the door a few times to make it spring back and close. (I guess it's too difficult for some people to just pull the door shut.) Inside the car, she wrote up the citation. After giving me the citation, she continued throwing her fit, then sped off, simply because I dared challenge her authoritah.
And that's the only reason why she wrote up the ticket. It wasn't about me breaking the law (because I wasn't breaking ANY laws); it was about her authoritah and her fragile ego. She's one of those people who just wants to go out an bust people she deems unworthy of sharing this planet with her. And instead of taking the time to learn from someone who knows her job responsibilities better than she does, she felt compelled to show me who's boss by writing a bullshit ticket for something that never happened.
To support my point here, I've included a picture of the citation in this post. If you are able to zoom in close enough on the picture, you might take notice of my alleged offense: "Solicitation in Right Away." I guess that is similar to "Solicitation in right-of-way," but I think it's probably just the gibberish of an ignorant, power-mad cop who doesn't know how to do her job.
Although I'm supposed to be back in DeKalb County for court on October 27, I will not be there unless I just happen to be near Atlanta at the time. Instead, I plan to write a letter to the court, in an attempt to get this bullshit citation thrown out.
Here's one of my main arguments for having the citation thrown out: Since the officer doesn't even know the name of the law I allegedly broke, doesn't it kinda make sense that maybe she also doesn't know what the law means? There is a huge difference between the meanings of "right-of-way" and "right away." If the officer doesn't know the difference, there's a good chance she also doesn't know how to do her job.
In the United States of America, when accused of committing any crime, the law says you are innocent until proven guilty. It's not "innocent until proven guilty (unless you don't show up for court when there is no evidence showing you did anything illegal)."
If I was doing anything illegal (however petty and victimless), I was loitering, not soliciting. But the police officer did not write me a citation for loitering; she wrote a citation for soliciting, which I simply was not doing. It's this simple: Hoping to get a ride is not solicitation, nor is it in any way illegal, even when you admit you were hoping to get a ride.
I'm not going to pay a fine for something I didn't do, even if the court refuses to throw out the citation. Living in a free country means not having to prove your innocence when bad cops make up new rules and cite you for breaking laws you didn't break. But we don't live in a free country anymore, and killing thousands and thousands of mostly-harmless brown people is not going to change that.
As Americans, our freedom is not threatened by foreigners. Our freedom is threatened by our own government and our complacency. You can keep letting them take away your freedom if you want, but I'm out here fighting for it, even if you can't figure out what I mean by that.
What puzzles me most about this episode is that the cop was a black woman. Why does that puzzle me? Partly because I usually get along very well with black women. Also, I would expect her, like most black Americans, to have a very strong sense of empathy for the little guy (or the underdog or the poor). But she was just a powermad bitch who's probably going to end up finding out the hard way that her badge doesn't mean shit.
If you're lucky, maybe I'll write about some of the other stuff that's happened recently. I probably won't, but it's some interesting stuff.
Now I'm in Mount Carmel, Tennessee, staying with my great aunt and uncle Allan and Ann for a few days. It's nice to get a break with some good people.
Happy birthday, Luke.
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