American Justice is a Joke
The justice system in America has become an absolute joke. I have watched in horror as incident after incident has left people dead in the street, and no one is being held accountable for it. That really bothers me. You see, I too have been subjected to less than professional treatment by many men and women who had sworn to protect and serve the citizens of this nation. Some of it was petty. Some of it was down right illegal and no one was ever held accountable for a single bit of it. Thus, I feel the need today to stand up for those without a voice, and this is the best way I can think of to do it.
I've had an uneasy feeling around police officers since I was a small child. My first experience with the law is the first memory I have of my entire life. My mother took me to a prison farm to visit my father, where I looked at him through a plexiglass window and cried because I couldn't hug him. To a toddler, it just doesn't make sense that they can't touch their loved one, even if he was rightfully incarcerated. That is, if possessing a small amount of a natural plant should be an offense punishable by prison time, which I will have to discuss in a different hub should I ever decide to approach that subject. Just do me a favor and make sure you don't hold your breath waiting for it. For now, I'll just say he broke a law, and had to pay the price for doing so.
From that day forward, I have always looked at the police as a threat to my safety. Even long after he was released, my father never returned home. The boys in blue had unofficially helped my grandfather persecute a man he didn't see fit to marry his daughter, and it worked like a charm. You see, both of my parents lived a less than pristine life in those days, but that didn't matter. The same type of double standard bologna that is getting so much attention these days has been in place for ages. Even though both were guilty of the same crimes, my mother walked free while my father went to prison. She took custody of me and spent the rest of my childhood belittling the man she married and had a child with. I'm guessing that was the only way she knew how to excuse her actions. If he was a p.o.s., then it didn't matter what she, her father, or the police had done to him. It didn't matter that many people guilty of the same offense were released without serving any time, as long as the locals got what they wanted at his expense. And, in that very moment, a civil rights protector was born.
was an interesting journey to say the least. Come to find out, the man my mother began dating while my father was in jail loved all the same things, except for me. When he left his wife to start dating my mother, he left 3 children behind with someone who was emotionally distressed, who were in turn emotionally distressed. Soon afterward, she had a breakdown and they came to live with us. Well, since kids aren't so good at talking through their feelings, they just beat the shit out of me. In case you don't already get where this is going, that treatment didn't exactly leave me with a healthy respect for authority or my community. Honestly, it left me mentally in the same place so many of you are, with a not so small distaste for those who would abuse their authority.
That continued for the rest of my childhood, with no one even attempting to protect me from the vicious daily attacks (mentally and physically) I received at their hands. Whenever my new stepfather did bother to speak to me, it was usually with his big leather belt with the huge buckle. Over time I became anti social, self loathing, and suicidal. The worst part is that not a single one of them knew or cared what I was going through. If they did, I never heard a word about it.
Becoming a teenager
was when the proverbial crap hit the fan. I began behaving like someone who had been abused does, and that started to cost me. I began acting out and getting into trouble. My first personal run ins with the law were completely my doing. By the time I was 15, I had been in juvenile detention and placed on probation for stealing, which I can't blame anyone for but me. Yet, being imprisoned with the baddest kids on the street did only one thing. It made me meaner. From that day forward, the rest of the time I lived in the home with my family was absolute torture. No one listened to or cared about what I was going through, and quite frequently when I talked about it the only response I heard was if you don't like it, then get out. It didn't take too much of that for me to take them up on the offer. By the morning of my 16th birthday, I slept alone in the woods and almost burned alive in a fire pit that was my only source of heat through a long winter night in February. Thank you God and science for flame retardant sleeping bags. Without such, I probably wouldn't be alive today.
Through that time, the guys in my neighborhood who were looking for trouble began to attract the attention of the local PD. Even though I was definitely not a law abiding citizen at the time, I, personally, never went out looking for trouble. But, it came all the same. My younger stepbrother had become a target for the police, and so were the guys he was hanging around with. The first time I really began to see how corrupt the police and the courts could be was during this time. For months they chased that same step brother, because he wouldn't go to school. Their chase eventually lead to his capture, which is where things started to get bad. The first time they picked him up, the officer didn't cuff him and let him out of the car at the station without shutting the bay door. He promptly took off down the road and jumped into the river, escaping from custody and embarrassing the arresting officer.
A few weeks later my mother and the woman who lived in the home where all the kids went to party, decided to seek out a safe way to get him into custody. So, while he was sleeping at the party house, one of them called the police. They later regretted that decision. When the first officer showed up on the scene, he didn't attempt to arrest him. Instead, he waited for the officer who had been embarrassed, which didn't go over well for my step brother. They entered the home and room he was in while he was sleeping, and soon had him in cuffs. This time though, there would be no escaping. The officer drug my then 15 year old brother into the bathroom of the home, closed the door, and beat him severely. It was so bad that the CO's at the Juvenile home took several pictures of how badly he was injured.
Of course this angered my parents, and a criminal case was filed against the officer. Do you care to guess what happened? Would you believe that an officer of the law, sworn to protect and serve, beat a handcuffed child and walked away without a single penalty? He busted his head, bruised his ribs, and scraped him up all over and never served a day of probation, much less incarceration. That, folks, is why I am writing this hub. Over and over again since then have I seen policeman after policeman break the law and not even be prosecuted, must less convicted.
Beginning to see the truth
It wasn't much more than a year later that I finally moved out of the home for good. I carried with me a good dose of hatred towards authority figures, and these days, I'd say it was rightfully so. Authority figures had failed me in every way imaginable, and I was about to begin paying for it.
When I finally left home, I wanted to get as far away from my abusers as possible. Thus, I hopped into the little $300 Mazda hatchback I had scammed my way into and drove south without a clue where I was headed. After getting a tip on where to find work in Georgia, I headed to Panama City Beach. Hurricane Opal had just destroyed it, and they needed unskilled laborers, which I was definitely one of. Even though I initially found work, it didn't take long till my self destructive habits left me without a car, a place to stay, or a dime to my name. A year past with me hitchhiking around the country, and I began missing those same people who had torn me to shreds. So, I went back to my hometown for Christmas with a good woman in tow. It didn't take long for me to regret that decision.
Less than a month later I was homeless again, had sent the girl back to her hometown, (I couldn't care for her, so I sent her back to her grandparents. At least she'd be safe there.) and was on my way to prison for stealing a purse.
Of all the things I never thought I'd say, I'm grateful for that trip to prison. It kept me alive, both literally and figuratively. I was in a bad place, and was headed for worse. The 3 years I spent behind bars left me with one distinct piece of information. I wasn't cut out to be a criminal and needed to change my life.
Changing my life
wasn't easy, but I have been on that mission everyday since I was released. Yet, I can't count the number of time I have been harassed by a police officer since. I've been illegally searched in 4 different states, assaulted while sleeping, drug from my vehicle on private property, arrested on false charges, lied to, threatened, ridiculed, and shoved while walking down a flight of stairs because I called for assistance. The officer who responded to my call for help was busy screwing her boyfriend while on duty, so it pissed her off that she had to come help (threaten, harass, and assault) me.
When I watched the Eric Garner video, I knew I had to write this. It reminds me of an incident I was very close to that occurred sometime between 2000-2001. A man who worked for my father, that became a good friend of mine, was killed by police officers in Gainesville, FL while in police custody. He was a mentally ill alcoholic and the police knew it. He was also a war veteran who struggled to stay clean and sober, but, he done his best none the less. One night he got into a fight with his wife, and once the police had him in custody, he was never seen alive again. Rest in peace JT. You are missed.
This is a community service message that I may be persecuted for writing. But, I'll have to take that chance. Someone has to speak up for JT and all the other people who have suffered his same fate without having someone to stand up for them
In closing I'd like to make sure I put a disclaimer in here. There are a lot of good men and women who wear a police uniform. I know some of them. They are family oriented, community serving, brave people who protect us all from those who would do us harm. To you sir, I take my hat off. Thank you for your service. You deserve a raise. However, if the rest of you want to be respected by the men and women who built and build this country, you will give them that same respect in return. The blue code is shit. Protecting an officer who has broken the law or violated an American's civil rights is despicable. The American justice system that is designed to convict every single person who walks into a court room before their story is every heard with the exception of a police officer is shit, too. Police quotas, rewarding officers for arresting the most people, and losing sight of being humane is also shit. You are a peace keeper, sir or madam. You are a community leader. You are supposed to be my hero, not my enemy. I've needed your protection for my entire life. What were you doing while I was being beaten? If you were arresting people who were no threat to anyone, then I must ask you a question. Which is more important, prosecuting the ignorant or protecting the innocent? If the latter is your answer, you guys need to find a better way. God bless you all.