Jan 08 2008

To Kill A Mockingbird


I see it’s been almost a month since I’ve posted here.

The harassment and abuse continues unabated. We had a big storm Friday. That would be four days ago. The power went out in the morning and by noon everything had closed and the streets were abandoned. Pergolesi’s was probably the last place to close.

I made it to the awning of Shay’s Flowers, a block away, and resolved to stay there until things cleared up.

They’re saying it was the storm of the decade in Santa Cruz; gusts of wind of to 80 miles per hour.

My cell-phone had been taken several days previously and I had just received a replacement. Fortunately, I was overdue for an upgrade, so I was able to replace the phone at no cost, except to commit to two more years with AT&T. And, having nothing else to do, I read the manual and figured out how to use the phone.

I hadn’t eaten all day, and with the power out and everything closed I was wondering how long it would be before I could eat, and if I would be able to eat that day at all.

I was truly miserable, alone on the deserted streets in the howling wind and driving rain.

And then someone shouted from a passing car, “Is that medical?” and flashed a badge.

And then pulled over next to me. I got my paperwork out, in the storm. But they weren’t interested in that. At first they told me it was illegal to smoke marijuana in pubic. To which I replied, “No it’s not.”

I suppose I did it with such assurance that they decided to change tack. In any case, their next assault was that I was on private property and had to move.

They were so hostile I don’t think I ever got to the point of explaining to them I didn’t have any where else to go. I know I did mention I was there to stay out of the rain, and they were throwing me out in the rain, and they were harassing me.

I woman arrived, to return videos I think. I explained to her what was going on and she did say, “Don’t you have something better to do, like cars crashing into telephone polls and stuff?”

Two police arrived, and Baker said, “That’s so you know we’re real cops.”

They asked me what my disability was and I believe I said, “What business is that of yours.” because I had the sense they were hoping to escalate me to the point they could 5150 me. One of the police put on gloves and I said, “Are you going to arrest me?” and he replied, “No, it’s cold. My hands are cold.”

That seemed to diffuse things a bit, but as escalated as I was I couldn’t continue to deal with them, and then an old man came out from behind the businesses and said, “Will you arrest him, he’s causing a disturbance”, so I said, “Am I free to go?”. Baker quickly said, “Now we’re getting somewhere.” It was clear to me then their whole point was to harass me and drive me out in the rain.

I posted a thread on the local paper with a brief description and two photos I took.

I had just gotten the replacement phone, and wasn’t sure how to work it. I remember I took it out and Baker asked what I was doing and I said, “Trying to call a friend for help”. But I realized I would never manage it without my reading glasses, I didn’t really know how to work it, but I could get a picture of them. So I took pictures of each of them. Baker said, “Did I authorize you to take that picture” and I said, “Am I under arrest, Am I free to go?” And he said, “Now we’re getting somewhere,” and I beat a hasty retreat into the rain, screaming “Rot In Hell Damn You” several times before they escalated me to the point the would have an excuse to 5150 me.

Here is what I posted on the Sentinel’s forum under the title
Heroes of the Storm.

Pergolesi was probably about the last place to close in town, after the power went out. They closed about noon, best I can recall. When the storm was still at it’s height.

I made it to the awning of the flower shop on the next block, and resolved to stay there until things cleared up.

I hadn’t eaten, and I remember wondering how long it would be before the power was on and I could eat.

I was just finishing a bowl when a someone shouted something from a passing car. They said, “Is that medical” and showed me a badge. I said yes.

They stopped got out, and informed me I was on private property.

They told me it was illegal to smoke in public and to do it in private.

I told them it wasn’t.

They ran an ID check on me. I got out my paperwork, but they didn’t want to see that.

The whole point was to run me out in the rain.

So I hope you will help me salute these heroes of the storm:

And let’s also salute Ryan Koonerty and the City Council and the Downtown Association, who have lead Santa Cruz to surpass the Old South in downright cruelty and meanness.

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