So I promised the officer I’d call back. With trepidation, I promised him. I shut the door. I looked around me. And waited. I knew he’d be back. Call it my psychic sensor telling me. Or let’s just say he liked his games. Or maybe he just wasn’t finished for his day’s work. But he’d be back. The question at hand was, what did he have planned this time?
I let Thor out for a quick run in the yard. Watched him do his sniffing. Brought him back in. Locked up. I walked around the house, checking the locks again. Checking the windows. I knew all was in order. Made myself a cup of tea to bring upstairs. Did a few stretches. Went back upstairs with my dog, turned on the tv, cellphone next to me. And waited.
Sure enough, as luck would have it, not an hour later, I went to the window to look out over my backyard. And there was Daniel. Actually in my yard, already. So I go through the routine again. Hit 911. Report Daniel loitering in my yard. Yes, I have a PFA against him. Yes, my doors are locked. Yes, I’ll stay on the phone. My only concern at this point is who will respond to this call. I couldn’t be so lucky as to have knowledgeable officers respond.
I was right with my thoughts. When I heard the cars pull up, I went downstairs. I opened my front door to see a burly, overweight officer barreling his way towards me. I knew this wasn’t going to be good.
This time, a sergeant responded. A big, burly, gut hanging out sergeant. Two cars responded, and two cars were at the front of my home. Only two officers had come out of their cruisers. This belligerent man and another officer that was staying back for some reason. No cruiser was searching at the alleyway behind my house.
Now this sergeant starts to interrogate me. He begins talking in a rather loud and caustic tone. I close my door, leaving Thor inside. I lean back against my door, arms folded. He obviously feels that he is going to intimidate me. Does he really think this is possible? After all I have been through, after the night I have had, does this over-bearing man think he is going to frighten me?
I look him squarely in the eyes. I do not waver from my stance. I was tired. Tired of Daniel. Tired of the Police Department’s attitude towards domestic abuse victims. Tired of ignorant police officers that don’t know the psychological aspects of criminals. I am just tired.
Sergeant Bubba (not his real name) begins with in his loudest voice designed to wake up my neighbors, “I’ve had about enough of you. If you continue to call this city’s Police Department with false reports of this man coming onto your property, I will arrest you. Make no mistake about it. I have had enough of you calling us and wasting our time!”
I am tired, yes. I was angry, yes. Now I am infuriated. How dare this insipid human being treat me as if I was a simpleton playing phone games with 911?
I am not an easily flustered woman. At this point in my life, I was getting stronger by the day, by the minute it seemed. Men were becoming more and more annoying with their chauvinist, arrogant, antiquated attitudes towards me. I stared evenly at this man, listening to him blow his steam, scream his worthless words, while I was calculating my response to what he was saying.
Then he ended his blustery attempt at trying to intimidate me with this question, “I want to know what psychiatric drugs you are on?!” And then it hit me. I knew all along from listening to him that he didn’t believe in domestic abuse victims. That was obvious. But there was more to his words. This officer’s posturing and stance were completely off-balance for a responder.
“Psychiatric drugs?” I shot back, with eyebrow cocked. “That’s right,” he countered. “I was at Daniel’s house just now, and he and his mother were quite comfortable, in their living room, watching television.” he said. I started to smile, quite sardonically. He had let the wrong information out. He had just made the biggest mistake by telling me he had gone to Daniel’s house first instead of responding to the original call placed to 911.
“Let me guess, you were talking to Sandra, weren’t you?” I said. “She must have explained a lot of what’s going on to you.” That’s right,” he continued to scream at me, “Like I said, I’m tired of all these false reports of you calling 911. I’m going to arrest you for falsely reporting him in your yard and on your property tonight. Sandra told me a bit about you.” Now I was angry. This officer, who didn’t know me at all, had never met me, had taken the word of the mother of the man who I had a Protection From Abuse Order and believed every single story she had told him. He had gone to her home first, instead of responding to my call and my home immediately. Something was very wrong.
Now it was my turn to lash into this sergeant. “Let me tell you about psychiatric drugs. Let me tell you about Sandra. You had no right to go to her home first. She lives 3 miles away from this house. You were to respond to the original call. By going to her home, you placed my life in danger. I have a PFA against her son. A legal document. Do you understand what a Protection From Abuse Order is?”
The other officer was still standing back, off my porch. He was just watching this scenario. Now this sergeant seemed to realize he was dealing with someone who was not whom he thought was going to answer the door. Perhaps as an abuser he was accustomed to having others back down to whatever he said. This time, I wasn’t.
“Sandra was admitted to the psychiatric ward 5 times since I’ve met her. But she told you differently, didn’t she? Would you like proof? Call the Valley Network of Hospitals and verify it. You asked if I’m on psychiatric medications. No, I am not. But she and her son certainly are. Here are the list of medications that both of them are on….” I continued with my barrage at this man. I named every medication that these two people were on. I named the two psychiatrists that were treating them. I named the judge that had signed the PFA.
Then finished, I looked at him with narrowed eyes, and said, “Different story than what she told you, isn’t it?”
“The two of them were watching tv at home,” he countered. “Daniel was in his bathrobe.”
He was losing some steam, not much, but some. I wasn’t about to back down. If this man thought he was going to win, he could think anything and call himself delusional. At this point, at 5 a.m. in the morning, after living the nightmare of the past few years with the Smith family, there wasn’t any way this man was going to tell me that mother and son were resting comfortably in their living room watching television in their toasty pjs.
“I’m not done. ” I said. I never raised my voice to this officer. I knew that if I did, he would arrest me for disturbing the peace, at the least. “You claim the two of them were in the living room at their home watching tv? And that Daniel was in his bathrobe?” I wanted to verify everything he was saying to me. He nodded and was vehement about what he had just witnessed at the earlier home.
“Then let me tell you a few things about that family that you don’t know. Sandra doesn’t watch tv in the living room. She has a special bed in her bedroom with a tv on a shelf angled to her eyesight. It’s too uncomfortable for her to sit anywhere in the living room. Daniel would never be sitting there with his mother, but that’s beside the point anyway. Daniel doesn’t own a bathrobe. He never did, he abhors them. He wouldn’t wear one. But I would bet my life that if you were to go back and check that bathrobe, it has a huge “L” on it for Lester, his deceased father. I’d also bet that if you were to check underneath that bathrobe you’d have found Daniel fully dressed in his street clothes, but you didn’t, did you?”
He started to sputter a bit, began to pace a bit, and coughed out, “I had no reason to look under the man’s bathrobe.””
“Sandra had him put it on as soon as he returned, just as she had her little television party set up. But you can’t see that. One more thing. Did you check the hood of his vehicle?”
Now Officer Bubba was quite red in the face, sputtering more than I thought he would, and had backed away from me. “Check the hood of his vehicle?”
“Yes,” I said. “”Because if you did, you would have felt a warm hood.”
He began to walk off my porch at that point. I asked him his badge number. He was mumbling his name at me, and three times I had to ask him for his badge number. He was on the sidewalk before I could understand what the numbers were clearly. Guess he didn’t want me to know what his real name was, because the city’s finest didn’t have an Officer Bubba. Although in my mind, they had quite a few. This time the Brotherhood was not going to win.
This officer’s behavior was tantamount to Daniel and Daniel’s mother’s behavior. I had made a call to 911 for a Domestic Abuse Violation and the officer that responded was an abuser himself.
He was verbally accusing me of acts that were not true. He was blatantly lying to me to cover his own insecurities. His comments about the whereabouts of Daniel were an attempt to try and discount my phone call to 911. He was trivializing, judging, criticizing and threatening me. He was attempting to order me by telling me he was going to arrest me for something that in his eyes I had done.
However, at this point in time, I knew I was right in what I was doing. I knew Daniel had been at my home again. I also realized that this officer must have been an abusive man in his personal life. That could be the reason for his behaviour towards me.
The response I took to him would be crucial. I needed to focus. I needed to be strong, assertive and calm. I needed to be repititious in my arguments to him. I realized he wasn’t being rational from the moment he arrived. An officer doesn’t respond to a 911 call concerning a PFA order stomping up the steps of a porch yelling at the woman that made the call threatening to arrest her. If he was alone, I may have been in trouble. There was another officer present. Watching that officer stand back was a clue that something was wrong with this man’s behavior.
When I responded to him, I needed to respond with authority. I knew I must stand my ground, not waiver and look him directly in the eyes. I needed to be calm but forceful and make him understand that I was not going to go away. He needed to understand that he was not going to bully me, even if he made idle threats about arresting me in his superior position as a police officer.
After all was said by him, he needed to be responsible for his statements. That is why I wanted him to not necessarily understand the impossibility of Daniel wearing the bathrobe, but to put that question in his mind. It’s also why I commented about the hood of Daniel’s truck. Now I had put two questions in his mind that he never thought about, were perplexing him and he could not counter. At this level of verbal abuse by a police officer, I had to find ways to stop the discussion and end it as quickly as possible without any harm to myself. I was becoming adept at handling abusive people. There were more than I believed possible in my world.
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