First of all, the Jeep wasnt going to make it over the hill to the new place. I was pulled over on Cahuenga at Mulholland, waiting on traffic to get a little lighter before I turned around to head home when two officers from the LASD pulled up behind me and got out of the car. Officer #1 asked what the problem was, and I told him. He told me to close my eyes, then immediately asked me how long Id been doing speed. I was dumbfounded. So then the partner comes up to the passenger side, and O1 tells me to close my eyes for his partner, which I do, now paying attention to the fact that my eyeballs are moving behing my eyelids. Is this a sign of speed use? The officers certainly wanted me to believe that it was. O1 pointed out that my pupils were very small (it was sunny, so I dont doubt that they were), and asked me to step out of the car.
Outside the car on the side of Cahuenga, things went from bizarre to bad. O1 had me lace my fingers behind my back and then squeezed them with one hand while pulling my wallet with the other. He continued to ask me how often I did speed, when I started, what other drugs I did, what drugs Id done in the last 24 hours, etc. etc. etc. O2 was going through my wallet and pulls out my movie money and asks "Why do you have a counterfeit $100 bill in your wallet?" I replied that it wasnt counterfeit, that it was movie money, that it even says on there that its NOT legal tender. He just scoffed and asked the question again with the same intonation and emphasis. I repeated that it was not counterfeit, but that it had been a gift, etc. etc. As if my beat up, taped up old bill could pass for spending money. Come on. O1 asked me if I had any sharp objects in my pockets, which I did not, and then they escorted me back to their car and immediately put me in the back. O1 told me to put my hands on the grate and not move them for any reason. I dont remember exactly the wording, but the phrase "not to scratch your nose or to scratch your balls" was definitely in there.
Inside the car, there was more repetition in terms of questioning, in terms of talking about people who work in movies as "you people" and how "all you people are on something." Then O1 offered me what he saw as options for the way "this thing" would end – first option would be to impound the car (O1s estimate: $1500 to get it out in a month), arrest me for DUI (O1s estimate: $8000 – $10,000 in court costs, bail, etc), take me downtown where Id lose my license and be subject to drug testing and then, on "our trains and busses" (said with more than a hint of irony) Id be subject to random searches any time they wanted. Or, O1 says, I can just admit that I was doing speed earlier and they can call my friend and have him pick me up. To whom would that sound like the BETTER option? Thats almost a coerced confession, given that Im in the process of being threatened in the back of a police car by an officer who has plenty of guns AND my cell phone.
At this point, Im CERTAIN that Im in the middle of a shakedown, and started to wonder just how far they would go – Im alone, they have all of my identification as well as my cell phone. Theyre both interrupting me when Im trying to answer in a clear attempt to fluster me, and theyre actively misconstruing the answers that I gave before to seem like theyre incongruous when they actually werent.
Long story short (as now Ive come back to this story three times over the course of seven hours), I started to get very nervous because O1 was up "getting my cell phone" and was actually going through my car (which I did not authorize), and it occurred to me then and there, as the drug conversation turned to "if we find drugs in your car, they belong to you then, right?", that O1 could easily be planting something in my car and planning to frame me with it. How do I know that these cops arent corrupt? I mean, they threw me in the back of the car without a shred of evidence or cause, as I was polite, calm and lucid throughout the process. They were deliberately inflating the threat and potential for damage to me (a month for drug test results? taking me downtown for DUI?) – how do I know if Im in the hands of concerned (if a little overzealous) cops or corrupt assholes ripped from the cut scenes of CRASH? O1 calls W, who doesnt answer, and then comes back into the car while O2 tries to give me a hard time by asking "hes your friend and you dont know his phone number?" which is a stupid thing to say because NO ONE knows their friends numbers anymore. Whatever.
Okay, so after that, theres more threatening, including "if we went over to your house at Whitley Avenue and searched there, we wouldnt find drugs there?" Which also annoyed me because what ever happened to warrants? Not like Im going to ask when the nice men with the guns are so belligerent and so extremely likely to haul me downtown if I annoy them further. So Im sitting in the back of the car, freaking out because who knows what these guys are going to do, and then theres an interlude while O1 talks to O2 about their schedules and about O2 could take five hours of the proposed extra time which would get him off at 5am, and O2 was dubious because he was coming off some other shift or something. O1 won, though, and O2 said that hed definitely like to have the hours. Then they pulled me out of the cop car and BOTH took my pulse, which they said was at between 100 & 110. Yeah right.
Im back to finish the job, even though it was almost done yesterday. Read on for the surprisingly-boring conclusion of my story.
So there Im standing, outside the cop car now, with officers flanking me as if I might cut and run at any second. "you must have a pretty guilty conscience to have your heartrate this high, huh?" was O2s suggestion as O1 pulled my sweatshirt off my right shoulder to check my forearm for track marks. Im happy to report that there were none to be found and that my forearms actually looked pretty good (all the lifting and carrying might make my forearms hurt, but at least they were ripped). At this point, they both take a step back and O1 says, "we dont have enough to hold you, so were going to let you go now, but weve got your number now" to which I reply "what?" and his explanation is "Any time we see you, were going to pull you over." "Fine with me," I reply as Im picking my personal effects up off the trunk of the cruiser (I curse myself now for not looking at the number, but Im still not comfortable taking my eyes off the officers, actually). "Are you going to try to make it the rest of the way?" O2 asks me. "No, Im going to turn around and coast back to Whitley. Mind if I make a U-Turn here, or should I go up to Mulholland and turn around there?" O1: Its not very safe here, youd better go up to Mulholland."
So thats that. Fascinating story, right?