The following story is about the way I was treated by two police officers in the Los Angeles County. I have not written this document to start any kind of campaign against any police department at any given place in this country, nor to form any kind of hatred or disgust toward any police organization. This story is merely my own words on what I personally went through in April of 1998. I have not fabricated, lied or exaggerated anything in the following story. I have written about the events and what happened to me to simply express my own frustration at those who are supposed to serve and protect. I feel that what happened to me was unjustifiable and that the officers had no probable cause for searching me, going through my belongings and treating me the way they did. Once again this story is only my side of what happened and please keep in mind that there are always at least two sides to every story and I'm sure that these particular policeman saw this from a totally different point of view. But this is how "I" saw and "personally experienced" what happened. If you continue to read through this document, I thank you for time.
Please keep in mind that as you read through this story, I do not live in a city that is high in crime and nor is it a student town where bicycles are stolen on a daily basis.
I was cycling down a very quiet residential street around 12.20 in the afternoon. When I turned a corner to enter an even quieter street, in the distance I was a cop car coming toward me. It was the only other vehicle that was moving along this road. I had never seen a police car on this particular street before and minding my own business I continued cycling along. Within 5 seconds my whole reality had changed. When they got parallel to me their car veered toward the center of the road and stopped. The driver's side window rolled down and my first thought was that the officer was going to ask me if I'd seen anything unusual in the neighborhood. "Stop!" were the drivers first words, barked at me in a very arrogant manner. I did exactly as he had asked and nervously sat on my bicycle. Their motto is, "a tradition of service." Well watch out, here comes some real policing service as you read on! (The driver, the one who was nearest to me, reminded me of the actor Kris Kristofferson as he looks today, but was a little thinner. His nametag read "Chavias" and his attitude was simply to intimidate.)
Now remember I've done nothing wrong. I wasn't on the side walk, wasn't carrying a bag of stolen goods, wasn't holding an open container, didn't have anything on me or in my possession to give these individuals any reason whatsoever to treat me like they did. And believe me, when I say I was treated with total disrespect and made to feel like "I had" done something wrong, I wouldn't be lying to ya.
I was told to get of off the bicycle and this was followed by some questions. "Where did I live, where I had come from, what was my name and how long had I been in the States." His nametag read "Chavias" and I answered every question almost immediately and without hesitation. And every question that I answered I was never in anyway sarcastic or disrespectful to these two officers. Chavias then asked me if I had anything illegal on me, like drugs or a gun. Answering no, he then asked me for some form of ID. Letting them know that this was in my pouch I then proceeded to slowly open it up. As I was doing this, Chavias' eyes focused on it intently. Suddenly my bag was grabbed from me. As my hand was still attached to it I automatically pulled it back. "Excuse me," I said, "that's my bag, you have no right to look in that." (Once again please keep in mind that this is not the Bronx, Compton or South Chicago where an officer would have much more reason to act in a more aggressive manner. This is a quiet suburb to the north of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley.) "Don't you tell me what to do, I'm in charge here," he snapped, virtually spitting the words out of his mouth at me. His aura was that of an absolute power trip. I felt totally violated by these two men. What they were doing was so wrong as I stood there in the middle of this street, being intimidated and now having my belongings gone through by two officers of the so called law. When Chavias had yanked my pouch from me, some of my belongings had fallen to the ground below. After I had picked these up, his partner "Maicas" then went through all of my pockets pulling out a few dollar bills and some paper. (If I can call this a violation, which I personally feel like it was, was being carried out) I was then asked the same questions again from earlier, to which I gave the same answers. Finding no gun or any drugs on me, Maicas then put my hands behind my back. Holding my wrists together he then escorted me to the back of the police car. I was told to get in and the door was closed, locking me inside. What for, I have no idea?
Chavias and his partner then did a through search of my pouch on the back of their car. I first became aware of this when I heard several objects being placed or dropped on the trunk and their individual sounds echoed through the hollow trunk's interior. That was when I looked into the mirror and watched as they continued their so-called justifiable search. Chavias at one point even looked over the bicycle, lifting it up to search under the seat. I presume that this was for any hidden drugs. This whole affair went on for about five minutes and it was totally intimidating. The mail lady, neighbors and occasional passing car all went by and looked at me like I was some kind of criminal.
A while later Maicas got into the front of the car and asked me the same questions again. I answered exactly as I had done before. Although humiliated, never once did I show any kind of anger, make any threatening advances, and was in any way sarcastic to these two individuals. Maicas then got on the radio and spoke to who I would imagine to be dispatch. He gave my name and other information about me and waited for a response. Not getting back what I'd imagine he wanted to hear, he got out of the car.
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