Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Time I Got Arrested For Holding A DVD (Part 1)

So it was a fine summer day when I was coming out of my apartment building. I was heading to Blockbuster to return a DVD.

After walking a few blocks three plain-clothes NYC police officers approach me. They quickly make their presence known by getting presumptuous with my civil rights and forcing me against a fence. They search me while demanding information about something I know nothing about:

“What did you get from the store?”

“Let’s see what’s in the bag you have.”

“What is it you were shopping for?”

Unfortunately for me I had not been in a store, I was not carrying a bag, only the DVD I was returning, and I wasn’t shopping or planning to go shopping anytime soon.

So my answer was, “What the fuck is going on here??!!? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Meanwhile these guys are not acting like they’re actually curious about my response. No, they’re acting like they got the answers from god himself a few hours ago and the questions are merely a formality. After forcing me against the fence, frisking me pretty physically, and looking in every nook and cranny you can find on a DVD case, there’s now a crowd beginning to form on the street.

Undoubtedly spurred on by the lack of material evidence, they continue their informal interrogation.

“what were you doing coming out of that store?”

“what store?”

“look. You know what store. What were you doing?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I just came out of my house and I’m going to blockbuster. This is my first time outside today”

The officers pause to consider this unexpected fact.

Meanwhile I’m beginning to piece it together. Next to my apartment building there’s a bodega, and very often bodegas are fronts for weed-shops (something I, of course, know nothing about, other than they may exist). Anyways, I figure these officers thought I was coming out the store instead of my apartment. I relay this revelation to them.

They are not eager to reevaluate their situation but they do eventually back off me a little. At which point I get a little more assertive in expressing my dissatisfaction. I sort of play to the crowd and talk about how a “black man can’t even return his DVD on time no more.” I’m jabbing at them, but nothing too inflammatory.

The officers are talking amongst themselves, presumably trying to figure out how they botched this situation up. They’re also telling me to calm down, which of course only gets me more fired up. They’re the ones in the wrong, I have full right to be causing a ruckus, plus my ruckus was fairly tame all things considered. The crowd on the street formed because of their actions, not mine.

After some more back and forth I eventually raise my hands, one of which is holding the DVD, and declare, “I can't believe this is happening! This is ridiculous!!” I say it loud, but I’m quite certain that harsher, more threatening words have been used in similar scenarios. But apparently that’s not what the officer in charge thought, because upon hearing that he looked at me and then at the DVD case and said, “you’re threatening to assault a police officer.” He then tells one of his partners to cuff me and take me in.

In shocked disbelief, my hands are cuffed behind my back. My tone immediately changes from challenging to compliant. I apologize and say I got out of line. But the head guy is no longer listening. Still his order to take me in was so preposterous that a couple of his partners made an effort to verify that he genuinely wanted them to take me in. He did.

I was cuffed and taken to a minivan that was parked around the corner and down the block a bit. And that’s when this unfortunate misunderstanding evolved into an incredible educational experience ...

To Be Continued

Part 2

Part 3



  1. What's popping TAN MAN. I was linked to your site from and I'm feeling what I see.

    Hit my site up at

    and let me know what you think.

    Keep it up.


  2. Anonymous11/02/2005

    dude, this is why you have to be polite to policemen, even when they're being stupid. If you want to complain, do it officially; shouting with a constable is totally pointless.

  3. That's so messed up. The police officer was absolutely wrong. They just arrested you because you were going to make them look bad. How long ago was this?

  4. Be careful man. DVD's are dangerous. You could have thrown that disc and given someone a pretty big welt.

  5. Serials are the SHIT!

    In the interest of thorough reporting, please tell us in Pt. II what DVD it was...cause it's one thing to go down over "Crash," but if it was "White Chicks," that may indeed have been a crime.

  6. Nobody likes the fuzz.

  7. You've gotta be fucking kidding me...
    I'm shocked, yet not shocked.

  8. You should have held the DVD high aloft and proclaimed, so all could hear,

    "I may be dark, but I AM ASSIMILATED!"

    Perhaps things would have changed then.

  9. TAN despite being assimilated, you still need to remember to keep your Negro Traveling Pass on your person at all times....

  10. That is just all kinds of wrong, TAN. Have to agree with anonymous, though: There's no percentage in expressing indignance with the police, no matter how justified it is. And boy, was it justified here. (I'm not the other John above, by the way.)

  11. Whoa, that pissed me off. Some of the commenters here cracked me up. But aside from that, this is sooo wrong. Society is going to take forever to change, I swear.

    I kind of agree about the politeness issue. They're looking for reason to arrest you, don't give them one.
    But even then, this is wrong, wrong, wrong.

  12. Anonymous11/03/2005

    What do you mean to be continued? I want to read the rest of the story.

  13. i can't believe that! well i can, but that enraged me. nice blog, btw.

  14. Just a thought, have you ever considered renting your DVDs through Netflix?

  15. Anonymous9/16/2006

    Only white people get to talk shit to the police, you stupid fuck. Just because you chase their women doesn't mean you're in their club. You are brown, asshole.


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