I was walking my dog, as I am prone to do. Often very late – sometimes at 1 or 2 am. Today it was at 11pm.
I passed a parked police car on a quiet residential street. He had his engine running and headlights on, and appeared to be busy. I waved as I passed, but I didn’t really pay much attention.
A half block later I saw a Marlboro cigarette pack laying in the road. I picked it up and put it in my pocket. I often pick up trash on my walks and dispose of it when I get home.
But suddenly the police officer pulls next to me and asks what I put in my pocket.
“A cigarette pack”, I answer.
“What is in it?”, he asks.
“It is just trash. I was picking up trash, I respond.
“Can I see it?”, asks he.
Now here I could have been smarter, or more capitulating, I suppose. But I am neither.
“I don’t know – why do you want to see it?”, I ask.
“I could get a warrant”, he says.
“For what?”, I ask.
“It looked suspicious”, says he.
“Picking up trash looks suspicious?”, I ask.
“Cigarette packs are often used to transfer illegal substances”, he says.
“And they are often thrown out of car windows into streets”, I reply.
“Can’t you just let me see it?”, he inquires.
“You can follow me home, and watch me throw it in my trash can – then you are free to do what you want”, I say.
“I can’t look in your trash without your permission either”, he states.
“You have my permission to look at my trash, just tonight, ok?” I state/ask.
“Why are you being stubborn?”, asks him.
“Why are you abusing my rights?”, ask I.
“Look, don’t be stupid – this could be easy – if you have nothing to hide, why aren’t you cooperating?, he questions.
“Cooperating? I am walking my dog, and picking up random trash. Why aren’t you being as productive as I am?”, I argue. (I admit, this might not be a good move on my part. But anyone that reads my blog over time realizes that I have had an odd set of experiences with members of law enforcement – to include them running over my mailbox. It is not that I do not respect them – I just do not fear them).
And then I notice this is not even a cop from my town! This is a cop from an adjacent city that has absolutely ZERO business asking me ANY questions here. I pull out my cell and start dialing.
“What are doing?”, he asks.
“Calling MY cops”, I answer.
“Fuck-head”, he says as he races off – looking for easier prey, I think.
My youngest brother just recently became a Police Officer. I hope he is a better one than the one I met tonight. I figure he has to be. And since I know him, I know he will be.