The Unlawful Arrest and Imprisonment of TAN Trilogy continues...
“The Tombs” are what they call the holding area downtown. And that’s where I was headed after leaving the precinct.
We drove down and basically spent the next 3-5 hours going through the criminal bureaucracy. Getting processed is essentially like going to the DMV, except there are few, if any, Caucasians in line, and instead of a license or ID card you get a ticket to jail.
After getting processed I was taken down to “the tombs.” And if I had any ambiguity or ambivalence about the racial reality of the situation, entering the tombs put the cold hard truth right smack in front of my face. There were four or five cells lined up next to each other, on both sides of the room. And each cell was filled with at least twenty young black males. I’d guess that just about all of them fit in that 18-25 age range.
Even writing about it now, a couple years later, my eyes well up a bit. It’s one thing to want to Kill Bill (Bennett) for questionable remarks. It’s another thing to see reports on racial discrimination in applying the death penalty. And of course it's something else entirely to read about the genocide still going on in Africa. But the fact of the matter is it's difficult for anyone, no matter the race, to give these events proper weight if they don't enter the day-to-day reality of your life. But that's exactly what happened for me when I entered the tombs and saw my people, saw myself, filling the cages that lie in the basement of the main courthouse building in downtown NYC. For me that's when this whole event became a palpable life-changing experience.
My actual stay in the tombs proved relatively uneventful. Most of the stories I heard were about someone holding a joint, or blunt, or little bag of buddha and getting caught. Maybe some of them had done more, and were just lying about it. I don’t know. As we learned in Shawshank Redemption, everyone in jail is innocent. But I'm pretty sure some of them had to be telling the truth, and if so it’s clearly a poor reflection on NYC police priorities, to have your quota filled with marijuana possession charges.
One note on the lighter side of things. It was amusing to watch an economy and marketplace form almost immediately after people were put in the cells. People snuck in cigarettes and matches, and they immediately were auctioned off at prices that reached upwards of $5 per cigarette at the height of the "cigarette bubble." Incorporated into the marketplace were corrupt guards who were willing to look the other way at people smoking or trading cigarettes, if they were properly compensated with cash or cigs of their own. Gotta love America.
After a number of hours in the tombs I eventually was taken to another cell to wait to go in front of the judge. It was at this time I got to consult with an attorney provided by the city.
As luck would have it this attorney did not speak English well, and really had no understanding of my particular situation. Luckily I was steadfast about my rights and not being in the wrong, but others in a similar scenario may have been coerced into accepting a deal that wasn't in their best interests.
At some time in the wee hours of the morning, I got in front of the judge. The attorney again tried to explain my options, but I couldn’t understand him. The judge ended up explaining to me that I would have the case expunged from my record if I did nothing over the next six months. There was an official name for it, but I forget it now. If I didn’t choose that option I would have to continue waiting in the cell. So I accepted that and was allowed to return home.
I would eventually file my complaints with the police. Though I don’t think they mattered. I would also eventually get a lawyer and file suit against the city. They would eventually settle, and I cleared 2K after lawyer fees.
To be honest, at 2K per night, I’d probably go through it all again. I could still use the money more than my pride and/or dignity. But regardless it was an eye-opening experience, one that altered my worldview forever.
what was the DVD? - I'm amused that so many people have mentioned this. I run through a lot of DVD's so unfortunately I no longer remember.
do you use netflix now? - yes I do. Although it wasn't until much later when I got on board the netflix train. I reference my use of netflix in my review of "crash" and my post about The Negro Sir Anthony Hopkins.
were your raped/molested/sodomized? - No. Yes. No, well not during this incident...
TAN - innocent beacon of light, truth, and the American way.
Officer Rivera - asshole wannabe clint eastwood police dick asshole.
hundreds of young black males - the apparent scourge of society.
clueless attorney - clueless attorney #1
this has been a The Assimilated Negro production. All accounts and video footage courtesy of The Assimilated Negro
holla at ya boy