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Friday, March 13, 2009

one thing and then another

Early Wednesday morning I was awakened by Michael on the phone calling to tell me he was picking up Rachael at the JAIL! Talk about being shocked awake. RACHAEL?! In JAIL!! What on God’s green earth was going on!

Driving home Tuesday evening Rachael had hit the back left side of a car which had swerved into her lane. The events following were like something out of a Godfathers movie.
You know, we kind of turn a deaf ear to many of the reports regarding the behavior of law enforcement personnel that we read in the paper or hear in the news. Usually I think we assume that it is the criminal element exaggerating events involving arrests or other interactions with Police Officers. After all, our police have more integrity that that! Well, not me! I will never assume that again. In fact, I might tend to err on the side of the criminal.

After these last 48 hours and the actions of one frouzy female cop, I will never again disbelieve such reports. In fact every ounce of respect I had for law enforcement authorities has drained out the bottom of my bucket into the sewer. Just listen.

It must have been a pretty hard crash, both of the Honda’s airbags deployed. Here’s the wild part. Rachael was arrested for drunk driving and JAILED. How amazing. I have known verified, repeat drunk driving offenders who were not jailed for accidents. For whatever reason (I have my own thoughts on it) this “female officer,” after having Rachael blow not one, but TWO, breathalyzer tests (both of which were negative) arrested her and falsified information on the accident report.

Michael was there to see the woman cop (I refuse to use any politically correct designation for her job) having Rachael do the “walk the line” test. He said the cop kept the flashlight focused in Rachael’s eyes, blinding her and part way through the test, she yanked Rachael’s arm, spinning her around. She jerked her arms behind her and ‘slapped the cuffs” on her with enough force that Rachael’s wrists were still swollen yesterday evening. All the while Rachael was cooperating. Michael told me later that she was in no way resisting or even struggling or yelling (lol Kind of a unique behavior for Rach, who ordinarily has no compunctions about speaking her mind! By that I know she was definitely cooperating. )
As he followed along, trying to get information, Rachael was put into a police car. He was standing just a few feet away as Rachael, with her hands cuffed behind her, tried to get her long legs into the limited space in the backseat of a cop car. He SAW the cop kick Rachael’s feet into the car and SLAM THE DOOR on her knees before she was in. Both tried to get information from the cop who refused to tell either of them anything- not where she was taking Rachael, not even her name!

(Somewhere along here I should say for anyone who doesn’t know Rachael, or even me very well, Rachael wasn’t drunk. She had proven this not one, not TWO or even THREE but FOUR times—twice at the scene and twice more at the jail. The first two, the cop said she ‘refused’ The second two they said she ‘wouldn’t cooperate’ Rachael blew ALL but the first one. For that one she didn't have enough breath and ran out of air. She had to take a second breath to finish. When the result was negative, (NO alcohol in the sample) the cop said that wasn't the way to do it. So Rach said, "Okay, I'll do it again." The cop fiddled around a little bit and then did let her do it again. Guess what. Another negative sample! That irked the cop just a bit and she reported that Rachael "refused" the breathalyzer. if you 'refuse' the brethalyzer in Columbus, it is grounds for arrest. Isn't THAT convenient.

Michael, with no other recourse, came home for a few hours, I believe, I was asleep by this time. At any rate he was awakened at five-thirty AM and told to come and pick up his wife. He rushed out of the house, locking the dogs in the bedroom. He rushed out to pay the fine or bail or something and go get Rachael. After paying the fine, he was sent to get her, but not to a holding area or even a “drunk tank” Oh no. The cop had taken her to the County Jail for honest-to-goodness offenders-prostitutes, druggies, assault offenders, and so forth. He told me he sat in the parking lot for a minute thinking, “What in the world IS this!”
He went inside and told them why he was there. They were oh-all-right-we’ll-be-through-in-a-little-while. The one officer at the desk told him frankly that he didn’t understand why she hadn’t been released to him at the scene! Three hours later he ran home to let the dogs out because he knew I couldn’t get upstairs to do it. He still hadn’t been able to see Rachael or have her released to his custody.

The story goes on and on, one unbelievable event after another. And all because of a traffic accident and a cop who decided to demonstrate her authority. The same cop gave her only one out of three onsite sobriety tests. The first she passed, the second she hadn’t been allowed to complete. The third hadn’t even been administered, although the cop filed a report stating she had administered all three.

I later found out that if the breath test fails or is in question, the accused is supposed to be given a blood test to prove the DUI. It wasn’t done. Nor was any medical assistance given or even offered. It turned out that Rachael had a concussion. (I later thought, “No wonder she was being so calm. She was only half conscious!” What an awful thought for a mom, but as I said, Rachael has never been timid about speaking out.) About noon Michael succeeded in picking her up. She rode along while he made arrangements to have the car brought to the house and then brought her home. They had only bits and pieces of information. Michael went immediately and called an attorney. Then he took Rachael to urgent care to be checked out.

On Thursday morning, armed with a dose of valium and vicoden, Rachael went for some advice from her attorney and her hearing. That’s when they discovered all the mis-stated (I’ll be nice and call it that) information on the police report. Michael was livid. Rachael wasn’t happy but she was pretty laid back about it. That, too, was strange for Rachael. She pled ‘not guilty’ and had the case remanded for a court hearing. And get this, her driving privileges have been suspended until after the court date because of the dui charge! Amazing. I, personally, have known CONVICTED dui’s who still had driving privileges for work. Ab-so-lute-ly surreal.

By Thursday afternoon, Rachael was having trouble remembering the events of the previous day. Her short term memory was poor and in the middle of a sentence she would stop because she had forgotten what she was talking about. She was having trouble breathing. Michael called urgent care back and they advised that she go to the emergency room for X-rays and Cat scans.
He took Rachael to the ER. She had a concussion and whiplash and something else she couldn’t remember. This was in addition to the bruised chest and collar bone and probable cracked ribs the urgent care doctor had found on Wednesday.

I got a little bit of a chuckle out of the concussion diagnosis because the injuries negate the lies the cop put in her report. She was trying to fabricate information that would corroborate her DUI allegation. Instead she added fuel to Rachael's allegation that she wasn't drunk. Any confusion she was claiming to see because of alcohol is explained otherwise. The lack of coordination she attributed to alcohol is attributed to the concussion. Even the accusation of not properly completing the breath test by ‘blowing incorrectly” is canceled by the cracked ribs. In fact rather than make Rachael look guilty, she convicts herself of dealing inappropriately with an accident victim. Instead of conducting herself honestly and correctly she gave sobriety tests to a concussed victim in order to demonstrate she was 'drunk'. Had she not falsified the report, her failure to provide medical attention would have gone unnoticed.

What is scary is the amount of power we have given our police. This babe of a cop ( short and frouzy, Rach said.) had, I think, made up her mind out of pure jealousy that she was gonna nail her for something, as soon as she saw Rachael sitting in the car (or "wandering around in the street" as she stated in her report.) Why? Quite honestly Rachael was everything she wasn’t. Tall, attractive, long flowing dark hair, self confident. (plus, you know what, she looks exotic—maybe Hispanic. Oooooh! many Hispanics are illegals and cause a lot of grief. Time to prove a point! And chalk up a couple brownie points with fellow officers.)

It boggles my mind, not just that Rachael should be “railroaded” in this way, but that ANYBODY CAN BE TREATED THIS WAY, without any defense or recourse. Rachael had an absolutely clear driving record, running back ten years. (Ten years ago she had an accident) No DUI’s, no speeding tickets, no reckless operation, not even any parking tickets! She was driving home and had a TRAFFIC ACCIDENT. And for some reason the cop decided she must be drunk. I was just talking with Kerra and we said that with a concussion, Rachael may well have been confused and some what incoherent leading the cop to conclude she was drunk right off. Slam dunk. Easy conviction.

The thing is: it was a crash severe enough to deploy the airbags. This isn’t the same as stopping someone for erratic driving and giving them a sobriety test. Any negative results there ould be attributed directly to alcohol. In a crash, the first consideration would logically be whether or not there is a medical reason for the results.

I don’t know, maybe I’m overreacting.
Maybe I sound like a mother hen flying to the defense of her chick.
Maybe I sound like a crazy old lady.
But I’m still amazed at this cop’s behavior and attitude— rude, abusive, arrogant And it is not that I’m taking Rachael’s word for it, because that could be construed as "of course she is going to believe her drunk kid mothers always do."
No. I’m going on Michael’s eyewitness statements regarding the woman’s actions, as well. Is this really what America’s law enforcement officers are like? If it is our country is in much worse shape than I ever suspected.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not one to holler "sue" but in some cases I wonder if that might be the only way to rid ourselves of incompetents who are obviously not doing their job in the way they should. It gives a bad name to all... even those who don't deserve it.