Back to it: if you have not read part 1, go here.
Ummm, so! This part was so surreal, that I am having a hard time telling it and it sound believable. Hell, I read what I wrote and I DID NOT EVEN BELIEVE IT. But here goes.
So I told the police that I did not have any drugs. They turned their backs to me again and began to confer for a couple minutes.
And I became enraged.
They had no reason whatsoever to pull me over other than the fact that I was black. I knew it. And they knew it. And now they were trying to figure out what to do to not get in trouble for pulling a student over for no reason at gun point. So I asked again, “Sir, why have you pulled me over? I haven’t broken any laws and there is nothing wrong with my car!”
To which he responded by turning around and asking me, “Do you have a weapon?”
And I rolled my eyes. Because yes. It was sitting right there on the passenger seat. In plain, well lighted view of both officers.
And before you start making excuses for these two officers, I knew the law. At the time, Missouri had a carry permit but not a conceal and carry. Therefore, the nickel-plated unloaded .22 that belonged to my dad was sitting on the seat. I had a permit to carry in both Mississippi and Missouri (I travelled a lot by myself). I had my permit with me. And I told them so. More importantly than that, my rage increased five-fold because had they not unfairly pulled me over, we would not have even been having that conversation. So miss me with that “safety of law enforcement officers” mess, please.
The female officer walked back around to the passenger side and picked up the gun. She asked me for the rounds, which were locked in the glove box.
“Listen. I am not moving my hands. You can get the keys and open the glove box yourself.” She took my keys, opened the glove box, and took out the clip.
And she then proceeded to put the clip in the gun. Really!?! What was worse, she “claimed” to not be able to take the clip out–then proceeded to try to hand me this loaded gun to take the clip out.
“Absolutely not. You put it in there than want to hand me a loaded gun? No MA’AM.” The female officer took the gun with her as she and her partner walked to the back of my car. I grabbed my purse, took my cell phone out, and called my dad. I cannot recall what all I said to him; I just remember him frantically getting me off the phone to begin calling for help. Since he was a state trooper in Mississippi, he knew many other law enforcement officers in other states. He was desperately trying to get me out of the situation.
I watched in disbelief as the officers pulled out a book that I knew to be the handbook that had arrest codes in it. As they conferred, flipping pages and discussing my fate, I called a friend who was in law school at the time, explaining to me the situation and giving her my father’s telephone number.
I ended up in the back of a police car, no Miranda rights, on my way to jail–where I was booked on Statute 57130: Willful unlawful use of a firearm. A felony charge. Fingerprinted for all times, an arrest record that it costs massive amounts of dollars and an attorney to get expunged (which I do not have because I teach). That pops up every time I apply for a job that uses arrest records to determine your worth. And because MISSOURI: the charges were dismissed but there is NO DISPOSITION ATTACHED TO MY RECORD. So every time I have to explain this to a potential employer, I have to submit a written request for the certified copy of the disposition: that I was not prosecuted, that the charges were dismissed, that I NEVER stood before a judge, that no case number was even created–that doesn’t even exist because MISSOURI.
That’s it. That’s all I have to say because I am dealing with the ramifications of this moment now in my real life some 13 years later. And the taste is bitter in my mouth after all these years. I have never forgotten, and as I read this I realize that I have never forgiven this place, those people for this moment in my life–and I am not quite sure why.