Robbed Of Their Chance To Rob The Place

, , , | Legal | January 6, 2020

One day, while I am standing on the sidewalk, waiting for my ride, I see some junkie pull a knife on the cashier of a nearby pharmacy. Now, this wouldn’t be that surprising, except for the fact that there’s a police station right across the street from said pharmacy, just behind me. 

I don’t even get out my cellphone; I just tap on the window and point when a couple of the officers inside look up from their paperwork.

They realize what’s happening, bolt out of the door, run seven yards, and tackle the would-be robber. Idiot.

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The Year Ended With A Karmic Bang

, , , , , , | Legal | December 31, 2019

I am working at the main railway station in Helsinki during New Year’s night when I spot two teenagers lighting up firecrackers and throwing them onto the street where people are walking. I approach them and sternly tell them to stop as they could hurt someone.

While I approach, they are still lighting one up. They throw it without looking, and where else would it land but next to a police car that has just arrived on patrol?

I leave the kids to discuss their actions with the police.

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Making Them Mad(rid)

, , , , , | Legal | December 28, 2019

(I rejoin a website that is for language learners. I have a couple of people say hello. One introduces himself as the head of a large bank in Dubai. My profile indicates that I am fluent in English and learning Spanish. His says he’s fluent in Arabic and is learning Turkish. His profile picture reveals that he’s a whiter shade of pale than even I am. On a whim, I do a Google search for his name and the bank. He turns up in every legitimate place a man in his position would be in: LinkedIn, Facebook, the list of the directors for the named bank, and high-profile interviews in business magazines. But I already know what’s coming even before I find the website describing a scam where someone claims to be him. I’m ready when this line comes through:)

Scammer: “Bien. Tengo una propuesta de negocios para usted que será de gran beneficio para nuestras dos familias, ¿qué dice?” *Good. I have a business proposal for you that will be of great benefit to our two families. What do you say?*

(Before his text arrives at my computer, I have already visited a gibberish website and pasted in a few paragraphs from a Spanish business news website and generated some Spanish gibberish:)

Me: “Casa de trabajo hasta la residencia de la jornada, añadieron las Palmeras, saludando a quienes estaban allí, y para iniciar sus actividades se irán conociendo el aire acondicionado de su domicilio en el titular de la madrugada de hoy y, en una agenda de hoy no finalizaron.” *Work house until the residence of the day, added the Palmeras, greeting those who were there, and to begin their activities they will know the air conditioning of their home in the holder of the early hours of today and, in an agenda today they finished.*

(He launches into his whole spiel after that. It’s the old Nigerian banking scam in a different guise. After he gets a few more garbage lines from me, he doesn’t reply.)

Me: “Estas allí?” *Are you there?*

(Yup. Gone. I can’t stop them, but I can have fun making them miserable.)

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They Were Tow-tally Annihilated

, , , , | Legal | December 25, 2019

(I drive a tow truck for a living. One night at around seven, dispatch notifies me of a call from a client who has a strange vehicle in his driveway. I drive over and find the client standing directly in front of the SUV, still short of the sidewalk and thus on his property, waiting for me. It should be noted that this client has a standing contract with my employer due to repeat problems like this — resulting in our company posting several signs warning not to park here and how to contact us if towed, “several” because they are frequently torn down — and that the property in question is his home. After I get him out of the way, I take my photos and  write down the make and model of the vehicle as well as the license plate. Just as I go to hook it up — and before I actually manage to do more than approach the car — six people jump out of the house next door. The client promptly retakes his position in front of the car, and two more people come out of the house across the street, phones in hand.)

Woman #1: “What are you doing? That’s my car!”

Client: “You parked it on private property.”

Woman #2: “What are you talking about? We parked in a community spot!”

Client: “No, this is my driveway on my land. You parked here illegally.”

Man #1: “Fine. We’ll move it. Now get out of the way!” *turns to me* “And you get lost!”

Me: “The order came through dispatch and the photos and information are in the company’s cloud. I can’t call off the tow without a drop fee.”

(For clarity: I could always try to convince the client into waiving the tow, but between the vandalized signs and the attitude the random person gave me when instructing me to leave, I am not about to do this group any favors.)

Man #2: “Okay.” *to the client* “Pay the man!”

Client: “You pay him. It’s not my car that’s illegally parked.”

(At that moment, one of the other men starts wildly gesticulating, turning back and forth to the client and myself, while rapidly speaking Spanish; I would translate if there had been an actual sentence rather than a string of obscenities. While he’s doing that, the first woman runs onto the driveway and gets into the car. She starts the car and begins honking the horn and revving the engine.)

Woman #1: *with her head out the window* “GET OUT OF THE F****** WAY! MOVE!”

(The client, unfazed, remains in place for a solid thirty seconds. The fourth man then rushes at him, shouting more obscenities with his fist held high, and still the client doesn’t budge. The fourth man then stops short of actually punching my client, despite no efforts from anyone to stop him.)

Client: “Are you going to fight like a man, or are you looking for a few bruises for when you cry ‘hate crime’?”

(I’ll take this opportunity to point out the client is white and the six of them are Latino. Anyway, the fist in the air was enough for me. Before he had even stopped his approach, I had already reached into the cab for my radio and asked dispatch for a police presence due to a violent outburst. The shouting and violent gestures continue, with no meaningful changes, while I wait for their arrival.)

Officer #1: “ENOUGH! Everyone take a breath and step away from each other! Ma’am, turn the engine off and step out of the vehicle!”

(He proceeds to talk to the client, who is still unmoved from in front of the car, while his partner talks to me. Once that’s done, the first officer goes across the street to the folks with their phones out while the second officer talks to the six friends. Despite my distance, I can overhear some of the questioning from the second officer, all of which is done in Spanish.)

Woman #1: “I thought it was a communal spot! I’m from California! There are no driveways in California!”

Officer #2: “Be that as it may, this is not California. He had every right to have you towed.”

Man #3: “Well, now he won’t let [Woman #1] get the car out! He keeps standing in front of the car and won’t move.”

Officer #2: “He’s standing on his own driveway. I can’t move him from that spot unless I arrest him, which I currently have no reason to do.”

Man #3: “We paid the drop fee! He’s just trying to help the driver screw us!”

Officer #2: “My partner’s looking into that now.”

(While he is doing that, his partner collects the video from one of the bystanders and, apparently, starts watching it. As they compare notes, it starts again.)

Man #2: *to the client* “The officer said you can’t stand there and we can get our car. Now get out of the way.”

Client: *in Spanish* “Is that what he said? I could have sworn he said I can stand wherever I want on my own land. But if I’m wrong, he can tell me himself in English. And while he’s doing that, you can try thinking of something more believable.”

(That brings the situation to a full stop until the officers are ready. Be advised: the breaks between the officer’s sentences are longer than they appear, because his partner repeats each one in Spanish.)

Officer #1: “All seven of you agree the car is parked illegally. You six say is it was a misunderstanding. And after reviewing the video, we know no money has changed hands and there have been no actual attacks. So, I propose one of you six pays the driver the drop fee, and then we will personally make sure the car is allowed to be relocated to a legal parking spot. After that, you can all go home. Agreed?”

Man #2: “F*** NO! This guy’s been harassing us for months! He doesn’t have any problem with anyone else! Just us! Do something about this b****** or get some real police who will!”

(The officers then exchange a look that said, “Was he really stupid enough to say that?”)

Officer #1: “Just to be clear: you don’t want police who make sure everyone goes home tonight. You want police who make arrests, ensure 100% compliance with the law, and make the streets safe. Is that correct?”

Man #2: “Yes! Real police work!”

(He then proceeds to read out the Miranda rights, in English and Spanish, while his partner reaches into the car. First, he fiddles with the radio, and then he pulls out a bunch of handcuffs and they go to work cuffing the six friends.)

Officer #1: “We have video of you running into your car while it was illegally parked. That’s trespassing.”

Officer #2: *to [Man #4]* “We have you on video rushing towards the homeowner with your fist in the air. That’s assault.”

Officer #1: “Neither of them would have had the courage to do that without you four backing them up, so that makes all of you accessories, so you’re all under arrest.”

Officer #2: “Since the car is still illegally parked and was used during the commission of the trespass, we can have it towed to our impound lot, so we no longer need a search warrant to tear it apart and look for any other crime you may be involved in.”

Officer #1: “Regardless of what we find, you six just earned a night in lock-up and a bail hearing tomorrow. Once we’re done processing you, we’ll be calling ICE to see if that could impact your bail.”

Man #3: *in English* “WHAT? WHAT DO YOU MEAN, ICE? THIS IS A SANCTUARY CITY!”

Officer #2: “Oh, you speak English!”

Officer #1: “Our sanctuary city laws are that we cannot question people about their immigration status, cannot detain them solely because we suspect they’re undocumented, cannot arrest them solely because we know they’re undocumented, and will not cooperate with ICE if they’re after people whose only crimes are being undocumented. However, when we make arrests based on other crimes, ICE is a phone call away and completely allowed.”

Officer #2: “And our desk sergeant is usually pretty lax about it, too. Even though we’re supposed to call for all crimes, he only enforces it on violent felonies and leaves it to our discretion otherwise. However, you guys wanted the real police, so I’m sure the sergeant will understand why you all are worth a call to ICE.”

(Once the six of them were detained, the officers verified my name and statement and sent me on my way. What happened next to those six, I can only imagine.)

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The Grinch In Disguise

, , , , , | Legal | December 23, 2019

(It’s my first year patrolling alone around Christmas and I have been warned that I might meet the Grinch one of these days. Well, today I did. We have just had a heavy snowstorm with icy roads. I pull an elderly lady over for a traffic infraction: going too fast for conditions. Though she was only going 70 in a 65 mph zone, the roads are very slick and we have already responded to several accidents because of cars going off the road. It’s just two days before Christmas. She is very pleasant and talkative about her evening and upcoming Christmas Day plans and makes a few funny jokes as I’m running her details. When I first approached her car, I noticed she was decked out in Christmas attire, wearing a sweater with a light-up Christmas tree, a blinking Rudolph nose on her nose, and reindeer antlers with bells on them. This happens at the end of the stop as I’m letting her go WITHOUT the possible $250 ticket, instead giving her a warning.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am.” *jokingly* “Dispatch didn’t find you on the FBI Most Wanted List, so you’re free to go. Here is your paperwork back. Drive carefully and Merry Christmas!”

Elderly Lady: *screeching that sounds like nails on a chalkboard, sending chills down my spine* “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY TO ME, YOUNG MAN?!”

Me: *taken aback by the sudden shift in attitude, thinking she didn’t get or took offense to my FBI joke* “I’m sorry, ma’am, yo—”

Elderly Lady: “How dare you?!”

Me: “Ma’am?”

Elderly Lady: “How dare you wish me a Merry Christmas! How do you know I celebrate Christmas? How do you know I’m not Jewish?! I want the name of your boss, and give me your name and badge number! I am going to file a complaint for discrimination; this is unacceptable!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sor—”

Elderly Lady: “Listen here, young man! You need to learn to respect people and not assume they celebrate whatever you do. The world doesn’t revolve around officer [My Name] as much as you’d like it to think it does!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any offense towards you. I’m sorry I assumed you celebrate Christmas because you just told me you were so looking forward to Christmas and how you were going to your daughter’s Christmas feast. You are wearing a sweater with a lit-up Christmas tree on it, a blinking Rudolph nose, and reindeer antlers on your head, but again, I’m sorry.”

Elderly Lady: *slowly reaches up only to realize she is indeed wearing reindeer antlers, then looks down at her Christmas sweater and slowly removes the blinking bulb from her nose* “I, uh… Um, are we done here, officer?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, you’re free to go. Drive safely as it is supposed to rain and snow more later on today.”

(After she pulled off, I just sat in my patrol car for a few minutes trying to figure out what had just happened. I told my bosses what had happened and they congratulated me on finally getting my very first Hypocritical-Politically-Correct-Happy-Holidays-Do-Gooder. Apparently, they ran into several every year, some of whom got mad at them for saying, “Happy Holidays,” some of whom over, “Merry Christmas.”)

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