Remember that Seinfeld episode where they all go to India for the wedding of the candy bar heiress? I think maybe we're going to try that here with my story about getting arrested. Since I've already pretty much started with the ending. One benefit will be that when it's all done, people can read my blog entries in reverse order (that's how the blog entries normally show up) to get the straight story. Let's see how it works out.
I had been spotted by an old Faculty of Education classmate who was having a cigarette break outside the Ellice Avenue doors on that little smoking balcony. I'm leaving out his name because I don't want to cause him any trouble. He seemed pretty glad to see me and so I joined him for a little catching up. Just then a group of security men came out the back doors and told me I'd have to go inside with them. I told them that would be no problem, and they escorted me to a little holding cell at the far end of campus (by the security office). It turns out one of them was an old Videon employee from the days when I was a Community Accesss TV celebrity in the early nineties, and we chatted about the old days for a while.
After about 20 minutes the police showed up, and the first thing they asked me was what was going on here. I told them I wasn't interested in talking to them. They insisted they wanted my side of the story and I told them I had nothing to tell them. They didn't like that so they told me to get up against the wall. They did a full body pat down and asked me if I was carrying any concealed weapons. I told them to go ahead and look and they said they didn't want to get poked with anything sharp, so they put on gloves and emptied my pockets. They were pretty annoyed that I wouldn't tell them anything.
After awhile the U of W head of Security came and told me that I was being charged with trespassing. I asked him why, and he told me that a professor's wife had called the University two weeks ago and reported that I had tried to force my way into her home. And so the Univerisity had issued a barring notice against me.
(EDIT: The second time I was arrested, three days later, Mr. Grainger apparently had second thoughts about the reasons he had given me for the trespassing order. It seems after all that the original order of January 2012 had a small error: it included an expiry date, which was not called for in the Petty Trespassing Act. The updated order of January 2013 was issued merely to correct this discrepancy in the original order. Nevertheless, when the police showed up six hours later to book me, after talking to the security night shift, they told me in response to my protests of abuse of power that the University had every right to to bar me from the campus because what business did I have calling on professors at their homes? I guess Mr. Grainger had forgotten to inform the night shift of the new reasons.)
But let's get back to the first arrest. The police told me to follow them, and they led me outside. When we got to the cruiser, they asked some more questions and I told them I had nothing to tell them. So one of them said something to the other about putting me in the back of the car while he went inside to get some more information.
At this point I had been deprived of my freedom for about 45 minutes and I did not see any reason why they should be taking me anywhere in their car. So I told them I wanted them to just go ahead and charge me with trespassing so I could leave. They got pretty mad and told me not to tell them what to do. So I asked if I was under arrest? They said I wasn't. Well, it felt like I was under arrest. So I pressed them and they told me to keep my mouth shut. That's when I told them if I wasn't under arrest and wasn't being charged, I was leaving. And that's when I started to walk away.
I got about three steps when I was spun around from behind, grabbed by the throat with one hand and the arm by the other. "Take your hand off my throat," I said as calmly as I could. They pushed me to the back of the cruiser and put handcuffs on me from behind. "The right cuff is a little tight" I told them and they ignored me. "I think you should loosen the right cuff". Then they stood me up and pushed me towards the back door of the car. I did not want to get in the car like that, so I said "Loosen the cuffs!" They ignored me so I started to shout "LOOSEN THE CUFFS! LOOSEN THE CUFFS!" as loud as I could. When stopped to catch my breath they shoved me in the back seat. At the last minute they gave one more hard tug on the cuffs so they were REALLY tight.
In the novel "Our Man In Havana" by Graham Greene, set in the years of the Batista dictatorship, the protagonist, a dealer in vacuum cleaners, finds himself being interviewed by the notorious Chief of Police. "Are you going to torture me?" he asks. "Oh, no", the chief replies. "You are not of the torturable class." It seems that the dregs of society may be tortured with impunity, but there is a gentleman's understanding that with the better elements of society, it is just not done.
I mention this because I don't want anyone to think I really consider this to be an outrageous example of police brutality. I never thought I was in any real danger of physical harm, because I am not of the "torturable class". My point is that if I can be treated this way, just imagine what they do to a drunk Indian who talks back to them in a crowded bar. It is the utter pointlessness of the gratuitous brutality which should disturb you, not the degree of injury suffered in this instance. (And by the way, I can assure you that those handcuffs really hurt, in case you have any doubts.)
It was only five or ten minutes before they finally pulled me out of the back of the car to loosen the cuffs, but one of them still couldn't resist calling me a "suckhole" as I lay prone on the ground begging for relief. I stood up straight and got about six inches from his face and said as in a complete deadpan: "Don't you dare call me a suckhole". Then I stared at him until he looked away. They were undoubtedly waiting for me to say anything more that would give them the excuse to beat the crap out of me, but I didn't give them that satisfaction.
They put me back in the car and we chatted for about 20 minutes while they decided what to do with me. In the end they wrote me up a ticket for $113 for petty trespassing....the same as a traffic ticket, that I could pay by mail. They assured me that if I chose to fight the ticket, they would be their in court to testify against me. I wonder just what facts they plan to testify to in court?