Reeling through sealed documents of my adolescence, I find the moment I was introduced to racism. The moon was shining above. I was drinking while being underage with a close acquaintance and two lovely young ladies. I suppose it was a time to live free with no regrets.The skies began to shade the brightness of the moon as it progressed to enlighten others with its beauty. I had to take a leak and the restaurant refused to let me use the bathroom without buying something. I should’ve figured. I should’ve brought something. I was young, naive, and careless.
There goes a small spot I can sneak a quick leak and let my bodily fluids flow through the cement. A door slams and I think, “Shit, just my luck.” I zip up, Mr. Pale Officer pushes me towards his white and blue Impala. His partner calms down the group I’m rolling with saying something along the lines of procedure. He kicks my legs further apart as if wanting me to do a split. I complied. I have no ID which puts me in a worse position I started in but I can figure this out. He slaps the cuffs on me and I scream,
“OFFICER, THE CUFFS ARE TOO TIGHT AND I’M NOT RESISTING.”
He says back to me,
“Shut the fuck up Nigger, you shouldn’t have been pissing in the street like the animal you are.”
What the fuck is wrong with this guy, my head nods left and right very quickly and twice. I let him know that I’m American with Latino ethnicity.
He tells me, “You’re not from here Nigger or Spick, whatever you are. So, shut the fuck up before I beat your ass like the good old days.”
He starts driving and looks back saying, “You’re alright back there Nigger?”
“Is this how you protect and serve under the constitution? Doing your best to belittle the character of a 19-year-old and consider yourself an officer of the law and a man at the same time under the circumstances. Calling me a derogatory term as if the Civil War never ended more than a hundred years ago and Jim Crow still lives strong. Failure is what I see officer so no, I’m not alright.” We arrive at the precinct.
Seeing my brother there felt great for only a moment. I was going downtown regardless of the verbal abuse via racist remarks. My wrists are swollen looking like the ankles of a pregnant woman in her third trimester. They take me to the midpoint called “The Hub” where I would get put together with others that broke some type of law before being taken down to Centre street to eventually see a judge.
A new officer asks, “Do you have any injuries?” and I respond, “If my wrists look this abnormal, then yes I believe I do.”
The officer disperses and argued with my arresting officers saying something along the lines of injury and not taking me in that condition. The jail cell opens and I’m lightly cuffed.
The doors close but I’m by myself with the same racist asshole and the silent partner that happen to be a man of color. Mr. Pale officer looks back and says, “Look buddy, we can take you straight downtown, push your paperwork to the front so you can get out tomorrow morning or we can take you to the hospital and process you after you get checked out which might end up being a two-day process.”
Damn, this could be my moment for retribution by simply sacrificing two days but justice is a conundrum nowadays and could end up being worthless so I sadly conform.
I respond, “Let’s go straight downtown, I don’t have time for this shit but an apology would be acceptable at this point.”
Thoughtless moment gears up as he states, “I don’t apologize to Niggers, consider this a pass for your animalistic actions dumbass and be happy I’m pushing your name to the front.”
A tear of disappointment sheds through my left cheek. The disgusting reality I was born into. I set up with the liquid courage to disobey a law that gives men of the Pale officers stature to crush my beliefs. I understood what a cockroach is to a stomping foot, nothing.
Nevertheless, I filed a police report with the backup documents provided by the hospital for my swollen wrists as soon as I was released the following morning. I have yet to receive an update on my first experience with racism. It was the first time, but not the last as proven for individuals of color. We made a Connection.