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This Story Has A Punchy Beginning

, , , , , , | Legal | May 23, 2021

While I am trying to get out of a parking lot, a young man gets upset that I have gotten “too close” to his car. He sucker-punches me in the face through the open window of my car. I have a good description of the suspect, a good vehicle description, and the license plate number of the vehicle he was in. There are multiple witnesses and even surveillance video of the incident. The police are duly called and I am given a case number and told a detective will be contacting me.

A week goes by without any information, so I call the police department’s non-emergency number and ask about the case, using the case number provided.

Receptionist: “The case hasn’t actually been recorded yet because it’s only been a week. Call back next week.”

I call back the next week and learn that the report has been filed, and I am (eventually) put in touch with the appropriate office for investigating assaults. I speak to a detective.

Detective #1: “We haven’t had a chance to look at the case yet. Please call us back later.”

I wait a week and call the detective office directly, with the case number.

Detective #2: “You’ll have to talk to our lead detective, [Lead Detective]. But he’s in court all week, so you’ll have to call back next week.”

We are now a month past the date I was assaulted, and no one from the police department has apparently even looked at the report since it was eventually filed. I call back and talk to the lead detective.

Lead Detective: “We don’t investigate misdemeanor assault.”

Me: *Shocked* “Why not?”

Lead Detective: “It’s too hard to get a conviction for stuff like that, so it’s not worth our time.”

Me: *Peeved* “I have five witnesses, security camera footage, a description of the attacker and his vehicle, and his license plate number. I absolutely want to press charges against the idiot who slugged me.”

[Lead Detective] is silent for a couple of seconds.

Lead Detective: “You… you have the license plate number?”

Me: “Absolutely! [Number]. It should be in the police report, too, because I gave it to the responding officer.”

There’s another brief pause.

Lead Detective: “What was that case number again?”

Me: “[Case number].”

Lead Detective: *Furiously typing* “Can you give me a description of the attacker?”

I give him the description from my notes.

Lead Detective: “Huh! I think I know who this person is. Can you come to the station and do a photo line-up?”

Me: “Sure.”

A week later — now FIVE weeks after the assault — I pick the suspect out of the photo array, and it turns out to be the guy [Lead Detective] was thinking of. I am escorted to the prosecutor’s office where I swear out an official complaint, and I am told a warrant will be issued for the young man’s arrest. I am asked if I am ready to testify at trial, and I emphatically agree.

EIGHT MONTHS LATER, the young man who attacked me gets arrested for something completely unrelated and is charged with assault due to the warrant. I am notified by mail of the court date for this case… scheduled for five months later.

More than a year after the actual assault, I finally stand up in court, identify the young man who attacked me to the judge, and describe what happened. [Lead Detective] actually shows up — surprising me — and tells the judge the surveillance video corroborates my story. The judge wants to see the video, but it turns out that the police video system is not compatible with the court’s video system, and the video won’t play. (Seriously?)

The suspect’s defense attorney is diligent and tries hard but keeps getting undercut by her client’s perpetually-changing story.

Suspect: “It wasn’t me.” “The car was being borrowed by my mom, and it wasn’t there. My mom took the car to work.” “Someone else was in the car.” “I was in the car, but in the front seat. I never got out of the car.” “I got out of the car, but I was not the guy who hit [My Name]; that was another guy… who was riding with us… and I don’t know who he was.”

The judge didn’t buy any of it, and the suspect was convicted. He was sentenced to ninety days in jail and given credit for time served for the OTHER criminal case he was involved with, and we went our separate ways having learned our lessons.

I’m not sure what the suspect learned, but I learned that anything short of a felony is fair game in [Town]. Even when given the suspect description, vehicle description, license plate number, surveillance video, and multiple witnesses, the police can’t be bothered to even look for people committing crimes unless those crimes are felonies.

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