A quiet friday night in, or how I learned to love the feeling of cold steel biting into my wrists.

September 18, 2007

Ok. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to post the story. Your relentless requests have become enormously tiring, so here it is: How I got arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.


It’s Friday night. I’m at home assessing a freelance project I’m working on. I’m doing this because I don’t have much money, and because I wanted to get started on this project. But, mostly because I don’t have much money.


At around 11pm, the hunger pangs kick in. I peek into my fridge and quickly realize that any meal I could coax out of it would take at least half an hour of my precious time to prepare. No deal. I reach into my pocket and, much to my surprise, I pull out a 5 dollar bill instead of a handful of moths. Given my sloth-like appearance and complete lack of motivation to do much of anything, McDonald’s was decidedly my destination.

I walk out of my apartment, into the elevator, and then into the lobby of my building. There’s a rock about twice the size of my head sitting on the tiled lobby floor amongst a newly-formed blanket of glass shards. Coincidently, the previously glass doors no longer hold any panes. It takes a moment to compute, but it occurs to me that someone had thrown this massive stone through the lobby doors.


I could have left through the back doors, but that was beside the point. I try to open the doors, but the scattered shards make that impossible. I consider crawling through the door’s new speed-hole, but the few remaining, barely-attached pieces and the thought of being decapitated when passing through was more than enough to keep me considering other solutions. I think to myself “if I kick the door, the remaining glass will fall off and I’m free to leave!” So I do just that – kick the door, then crawl through.


Once out, with my head still attached to my body, I see a police car drive by. I wave my arms to get his attention and he slows to a stop. I lazily jog over to the car, and when about 10 feet away, he drives off. Confused, I look around, and see a bunch of people on the patio of the Korean restaurant next to the entrance of my building. I approach a young man who was closest to the front door of my building and ask him if he saw what happened. He stares at me blankly.


“Did you see what happened?” I repeat.


He blinks and stares some more.




“No, I see nothing.”


“Ok, thanks.”


Just then I see another police car drive by. This one stops when I wave him down. He rolls down his window and I lean over to talk to him.

“Hi Officer. I just walked out of my apartment and it appears as though the front door’s been smashed by a large rock.”


“Yeah, I know. I was called to check it out.”


I put my hands in my pocket while he talks on his radio and another officer approaches.


“Put your hands where I can see them.”


I oblige and stand there while they chat. He asks me another question that I can’t quite hear so I crouch down so that I’m at eye level with him, when he suddenly shouts “I SAID put your HANDS when I can SEE them.” Without thinking, I had put my hands in my hoody’s pocket again.

The officers continue to chat when I hear the dispatcher over the radio say “We have a description. White male. About 6 feet tall. Grey hooded sweatshirt and camouflage shorts with a tattoo on his left leg.” Apparently the perp looks JUST like me. Wait. That IS me.


“That’s him. We got our guy.” Says the cop in the car.


“Are you sure?” Says the other officer.




At that point, I’m being cuffed against the cruiser.


I say “This is fucking ridiculous. I LIVE there. I was going to get food! And I waved YOU down.” After taking down my information (name, address, etc), they read me my rights. I opt for city-provided council. I again say that I didn’t do it and that I was trying to report it, then decide to keep my mouth shut. After about 10 minutes of standing around, handcuffed for all my neighbours to see, I politely ask if the officer would put me in the back of the vehicle to save me the humiliation of everyone in the world seeing what an invalid I am until the situation is cleared up. They don’t.


Then, the person who originally called the police to report the crime shows up. Police ask “Is this the guy that did it?” He says “No. Definitely not.” They ask again “Are you 100% sure?” He says again “110%, actually.” And they un-cuff me, apologize explain that they were obligated, by law, to detain me. They gave me their cards, badge numbers and incident number in the event I had any follow-up questions or complaints.


It gets better.


They find the guy that called in the description and decide the little fuckface is due for a lesson. One of the officers asks me to stay for this, and, realizing what they’re doing, gladly agree.


“Sir, do you realize that the person that you called in a positive description of wasn’t the right person?”

He blinks.


“Sir, do you know that we just arrested this person, who lives in the building, for doing absolutely nothing at all?”


More blinking.


“Do you know that we could arrest you for doing that? According to his record, he’s clean as a whistle. Now, no matter what happens in the future, he’s always going to have at least a slightly different opinion of the police. You’ve also wasted nearly 20 minutes of our time while the real offender got away.”


Blinks again.


“We want you to apologize to him.”


“I sorry!”


I stare at him and say nothing. More than anything in the world I want to punch a hole through his face. Why? Well, he was the young man I originally asked if he had witnessed what happened. Something tells me that if I had hit him, the cops wouldn’t have done a thing about it.


That’s what happened on Friday night.


I learned a couple of things about encounters with the police that night. First of all, be courteous. Even if they’re infringing on your rights, you’ll get a lot further with them if you’re not a dick. The moment I showed a little bit of sass, they doubled it. They were within their rights to do what they did, but I didn’t realize it at the time. Being arrested for something you didn’t do feels like the greatest injustice in the history of mankind. But it really isn’t.


Secondly, keep your mouth shut no matter what. If you didn’t do it, it’ll be cleared up. If you did do it, well, anything you say can and will be used against you.


Thirdly, keep in mind that most of these guys are just doing their jobs. They go out, everyday, risking their health and lives. So, they have to take precautions. Sure, some use excessive force, or worse, their authority for personal gain – but that can never be assumed. Making their jobs easier in these situations will make your life easier overall.


7 Responses to “A quiet friday night in, or how I learned to love the feeling of cold steel biting into my wrists.”

  1. mensamuse said

    Well, they were right. Your opinion of the police has certainly changed. Being arrested for nothing is always.. hilarious.

  2. jayphill said

    well it’s good to know that you got out of that situation. I was once handcuffed and put in the back of a cop cruiser in North Bay cause someone saw me running, mind you 5 blocks away from the scene, and because my hoodie was the brightest decided to pin the whole thing on me. Ultimately i was let go, and they apologized as well.
    Regardless, this situation should make you never think of eating mcdonalds at that time of night again. hahaha

  3. Cherie said

    I think it’s funny that you justify eating mcdonalds by saying “i dont have much money”.

  4. I think it’s funny that you think I justified eating McDonalds because I said “I don’t have much money.” When I actually justified it by saying “Given my sloth-like appearance and complete lack of motivation to do much of anything, McDonald’s was decidedly my destination.”

    How’s that remedial reading comprehension class coming along for ya, Cher?

  5. Cherie said

    wait, wait, that was a little harsh. and you know I justify my mcdonald’s consumption by claiming YOU made me do it.

    i love you like a father.

  6. two gurus in drag said

    Great story Andrew! I’m not convinced that you didn’t do it though.

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