Tag Archives: crime

And then the cops broke in my door: My experience of America’s Culture Wars, Part 4.

All five foot one-ish of my dangerous self hauled off in cuffs. 11pm, November 9th, 2021

The day I described in my last installment of this series, and the citation I received, were not the end of my former neighbors’ abuse and harassment. But let us rewind a bit.

I had managed to get the male neighbor cited once by a nice young officer who was very sensitive and well trained. The neighbors were outside doing this elaborate, loud play acting…about me. They mocked my disability, accused me of being a “Welfare Queen” — thanks for that Ronald McDonald Reagan. It went on for a while, so I called the police.

I had gotten mostly the same responses from the other officers I met. “He’s got free speech.” 🙄 Yes, freedom of speech. The First Amendment, and the least understood. Folks are fond of saying “Freedom ain’t free.” And I suppose they imagine bravely standing up to tyranny. To me it is basic causality. Sure, you are free to holler insults at your neighbor from your yard, but it does not mean that speech is free of consequences.

We all know there are exceptions to free speech. Usually when words can cause harm: a panic, violence, lies about others, etc. So this bright young cop was fantastic! Finally, right? He came, talked to them, then left but told me to call again if they said anything about race, or threatened me.

Oh, my neighbor obliged. As soon as the cop left, he helpfully shouted at one of my security cams “she’ll wish she were [ducking] dead.” Bam. Harassment and Terroristic Threats.

The day I described last time, with my loud mouth and criminally awesome dance moves, was a week before his hearing on that charge. He had pleaded not guilty. So, when the cops came, the female neighbor and pals went to work!

The next evening, Stanman and I were sitting on our couch, around 10ish. Watching Star Trek: TNG on Netflix. Again in my pajamas. And then this knock. The one you hear in every crime show. The “It’s the police, open up!” knock. I went out onto the porch to talk to them. It all seemed wrong. There were four cops on my stairs. They looked like the SS. Black outfits, all holstered up. One particular future Einsatzgruppen member did the identification thing and told me I had to come with them on a 302 Emergency Commitment Order.

That is when I knew the whole thing was Baloney  Sandwich. A 302 is a court order that allows a person who is a physical threat to themselves or others, or cannot take care of themselves to be committed to a mental institution against their will. They are difficult to obtain for the obvious reason that it is a power that could be abused (eh-hem). Normally, a social worker, someone from CRISIS, or a therapist/psychiatrist would initiate or weigh in on this. My therapist was not contacted. Often they are requested by family. And you cannot break into someone’s residence for a 302 unless there is an emergent situation, such as screaming or fighting. We were watching Trek. Mox nix, right?

I had been 302’d once before. I attempted suicide by taking a ton of NyQuil and Benadryl. My Mom and sister found me and took me to the hospital. I came around. I was still free. Not in restraints. But I was so angry, I hissed “I wish you let me die!” at my Mom. My Mom was a social worker, who worked with probation or parolees with mental health, drug/alcohol, or developmental disabilities. All minor offenders, but she knew the system.

Mom looked at the ER doctor and nodded, and then I was restrained. The place I went was more One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest than Girl, Interrupted. But basically, you have 3-5 days to be seen by a doctor and case worker, and have a meeting to judge whether you are still a threat or not. If you are calm, do what they say, and stick to yourself, it is not hard to get out of. You have to be very badly off to be committed in the long term.

So I knew how it worked as well. I knew the mental health system in general. I had been in it since about 19. My female neighbor wrote up something that basically said I had mental health issues and broke things on her lawn. (Because she called our house “the tenants’ house,” remember?)

It was delivered by Officer Einsatzgruppen to a Crisis worker, with access to all of my health records including my current treatment, whom I had never seen before or spoken with, and was a prison secretary to sign. And then the head of the County’s mental health board signed it without seeing or speaking to me either. (I see you Angie Krepps Alvarez! Sharon Harlacher! mwah!😘)

After hemming and hawing for an hour, and mentioning my neighbors on the darned Ring cam in plain sight (shrewd!). Then they broke down our door. Stan had already called 911 because he didn’t think they were real police either. They cuffed Stan, cuffed me, almost let our dog and cat out, and took me to a cruiser. Or some kind of car, it was dark. And I just resolved to stay calm. Losing my temper, being cranky, anything could have led to my actually being committed or jailed.

It is one of the odd consequences of PTSD that in the worst moments I don’t feel much. It seems like I am not me. I am somewhere floating above, or buried deep inside, or watching a movie of a life. So it was with this. I began to go down a thought hole of what may have happened to Stan. I pulled hard out of that downward trajectory. I could not think of anything else but breathing and remaining calm.

The doctors were confused from the beginning as to why I was there. They asked about my neighbors, and I said we had an ongoing dispute but I had no idea why I was in the hospital. And neither did the doctors. They couldn’t even find the legal order to commit me. From the hospital where the thing was written. Why they did not ask for it when I arrived is a question. But by 6am I was in the jeep back home with Stan, who they uncuffed and left to call every hospital looking for me.

We were home as the sun came up, we had a beer and went to bed. When we woke up it had sunk in. The extent of the violation. The broken door. The fact that four cops could be spared to take me to the hospital on a vendetta. But that night our neighbors effectively said, “We can touch you anywhere.” The same chill, creepy, skeevy feeling crept over me as other times with them.

We realized we were not safe in our own house. We couldn’t even call the police. So we packed a few important things, got our dog and cat, and drove to my Great Grandma’s house where family still lived, across the bridge in Lancaster County.

I took a selfie that next day.

Stress rashes around the mouth are sexy.

The male neighbor changed his plea to guilty (freedom is wasted on him), so I couldn’t give this information as testimony that next Monday. He was fined $50.

So, yeah, that is my story of how far my neighbors and my community went in their hatred of I do not know what. Stan and I spent the next month and half packing and cleaning for dear life. He started looking for new jobs far away. We looked at a couple of states before we decided. But he had to empty his retirement fund to finance this move, start a new job, find a new house, and sell the old.

The funny thing this whole time is that the male neighbor used to sit up by his garage (the better to see me from) and listen to John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” I love that song! Who doesn’t like John Denver? He hung out with muppets!

The irony is that I AM from the country. My sister and I mainly grew up on two different farms in New Jersey. We had lots of acres, and would ramble about with our big white Lab, playing pretend. I collected the eggs. My sister tossed in scratch. We had turkeys. At one point we had a goat. I am a country girl, who spent a chunk of time in cities and abroad, but I am still as outdoorsy as ever.

They hated a phantom of their own imaginings. An idea of me. Not me as I am. And they would have gotten around to hating us for something if their Rottweiler had not have killed my duck.

They took nearly everything I loved: my chicken ladies, my ducks, my gardening, my peace, and they reached right in that house and tried to take my freedom.

So, we left that house at 6pm on New Year’s Eve to the booming of fireworks. Hours later, we checked into this hotel. And here I have been. But it will not be for much longer. I have had some time to process, through these blogs partly.

The harassment continued until we left, with gems like this:

Mmmm! Defamatory! You cannot even get cash assistance in that state if you are not a parent or a primary care giver. Stupid will stupid.

But here is the actual tragedy. While those four cops were busy sending me to the hospital, a bare week later they let a mother of two’s Emergency Protected from Abuse order wait 24 hrs before acting on it. And that night her ex-husband (and ex-cop) kidnapped those little girls. He eventually shot them and himself in a ditch on the side of the road. And that mother has not received any response or justice that I know of since. They had officers enough for me, but not to enough to save that woman’s babies.

I had that sign down after some phone calls. My life has sucked for so long. But things are happening. Soonish. I should have the tools by now to heal and reframe the stories I tell myself, question the words and names used to describe me, maybe that is why I made it out. That same mechanism that kicked in when I was being cuffed and taken to the hospital. Or maybe I am finally letting it sink in that it was them not us. Not me.

– JL ✌🏼💚🖖🏼💐💪🏼🕺🏻🎸🦀

Check out my Instagram!! And connect with me on Facebook here and here.

Got a COMMENT? Click below! I love the feedback. If you like what you’ve read, TAP the Star LIKE button below. LIKE and SHARE on Facebook. Follow and share on Twitter


BLOCK: Pilot First 7 Pages

Meet CK Block: a modern, female Sherlock Holmes

BLOCK: Pilot “THE HUMAN EQUATION”
EXT. HOLLYWOOD BLVD – DAY

Clayton “Clay” FORRESTER wears a modern desert fatigue jacket with a Marine Corps badge, jeans, aviator shades and cowboy boots. His last name is stenciled above his jacket’s front pocket and across its back. He’s built like a cowboy, lean. He takes long strides, but keeps his fists balled up in his pockets. He’s into his thirties, but his hair has already begun to grey at the temples. His face is handsome, changing from stoic, stone-set jaw, to “aw shucks” charm.

If he walked down the street in any American neighborhood, you’d peg him as a survivalist and try to avoid conversation. But here he blends right in with the rest of the freaks: tourists in loud Disney shirts, guys dressed as Superman, women dressed as Marilyn Monroe in the white dress, X-men and Storm-troopers, junkies, hippies, street performers, tour guides, the occasional ‘incognito’ celebrity, and a dozen other wannabees walking down the street full of people past ‘Old Hollywood’ hotels in varying states of decay or gentrification, garish store fronts and souvenir shops.

CLAY (V.O.) People ain’t born in this town. They all just kinda pour outta the sticks and crap towns. Drain here like a giant toilet. Wanderin’. Looking for somethin’, someone, anyone to notice. Stand out from the herd. Show them the way.

INT. CLAY’S RENTED ROOM – EVENING

A toilet FLUSHES. Clay sits down at an old formica-top table in his Spartan, shabby rented room. All his gear is stowed in a sea-bag with his name stenciled on it. The tiny bed is made to military precision, a military-issue handgun by its side. He looks like he could move out in a minute. He pours some cheap brandy into a bottle of chocolate milk, shakes it up and chugs it down.

Before him lies a sketchbook, pencils and a set of Rapidiograph pens. He has sketched out a page of panels, as in graphic novels, depicting himself on the street amid the sea of people and his room as already seen. He inks in a panel of himself sitting alone at his table with this caption:

CLAY (V.O. as he works) There was this poem we learned back in school. ‘I am nobody. Who are you? Are you nobody too?’ Hey, I’m nobody…

Clay’s writing trails off. He leans back in his chair and closes his eyes.

EXT. VENICE BEACH – NEXT DAY

Clay, in his get-up, stands out from the crowd by how much clothing he is wearing. In a place where everyone is showing off their body, their tattoos, piercings, hairstyles, etc. he looks as though he had been dropped into the scene from some other world.

He watches a legless Vet begging from a distance. A VOICE CALLS HIM back to the world.

MAN’S VOICE (O.S) Forrester! Forrester! Yo, Clay!

Clay turns and focuses his eyes on MIGUEL, a young man about Clay’s age wearing cargo shorts and combat boots. Miguel approaches Clay, who still seems lost. Clay submits to a ‘bro-hug’.

MIGUEL Clayton Forrester, what da fuck?

CLAY Aw, hell. Rodriguez? Miguel? Jeez, I thought I was seein’ stuff.

MIGUEL Well there’s no mistaking your dumb, hick ass.

CLAY Yeah, I guess.

MIGUEL So, what landed you in this shit-hole?

CLAY I dunno. I got stuff…things, ya know.

MIGUEL No man, I got no fucking idea what you’re saying, as usual, right? Come on. Let’s get a beer.

CLAY Alright.

INT. BAR – LATER ON

Clay and Miguel sit at a darkened bar having some beers.

MIGUEL You just dropped off the earth, Clay. Med-vacced out. Shipped home. Fucking Keyser Soze-ed, just, poof, disappeared.

CLAY Yeah, I had some…

MIGUEL Stuff?

Clay smiles.

CLAY Yeah…spent some time out ‘Twenty-nine Stumps’.

MIGUEL Just what you needed, more desert.

CLAY Don’t I know it. It was ‘observation’ and all that. Half-way between here n Vegas. Figured I try my luck here.

MIGUEL Your family?

Clay shakes his head.

CLAY Nah…

MIGUEL Sorry dude. I hate to say it, but I had the same idea as you.

CLAY Oh, yeah? What’s that?

MIGUEL Combat engineer, right? Thought I could like be some kind of military adviser or do pyrotechnics for the movies. Turns out you need all kinds of civilian certifications and shit. Besides, well hell, you know what it’s like. The looks, like they think you’re gonna have some kinda Nam flashback any second. ‘But thank you for your service.’ Assholes.

CLAY Yeah…

MIGUEL So at least I figured I got the Bill, right? I never cashed out my benies. So now I’m going to college.

CLAY That so? Good for you.

MIGUEL So, how you doing?

CLAY I can’t afford where I’m stayin’. Seems like you can’t find no place to stay here that’s decent that don’t cost a million dollars.

MIGUEL Huh. That’s funny.

CLAY What?

MIGUEL Nothing, I just heard someone I know on campus say just the opposite.

CLAY Oh, yeah? What’s that?

MIGUEL That she found a decent place cheap, put down the security and all, but can’t find someone to split the rent with her.

CLAY I could.

Miguel turns quiet.

MIGUEL I don’t know, Clay.

CLAY Why not? There something wrong with her?

MIGUEL Not really. She takes a lot of non-requireds. Out of the way stuff. Nerdy, I guess. Sticks to herself.

CLAY To tell the truth, quiet and nerdy seem about right to me just now.

MIGUEL Yeah, well, you don’t know CK Block.

CLAY Why? She some crazy chick? Guys? Drama? All that stuff?

Miguel laughs.

MIGUEL CK? No way, man. She’s just kinda…weird n’ …

CLAY Stuff? Well, I guess I’m ‘weird n’ stuff’ myself. Set up a meet.

MIGUEL Alright, I’ll text her. But whatever happens is on you, got it?

CLAY I got it. Always were a jumpy sonofabitch, ya know that?

EXT. CAMPUS TEA & COFFEE SHOP – SAME DAY

Clay sits waiting on a bench. Miguel shows up.

MIGUEL Glad you found it OK.

CLAY Got here faster’n you.

They walk towards the entrance to the shop. Miguel stops and turns to Clay.

MIGUEL Man, I gotta just tell ya. She beat a dead pig with a baseball bat.

CLAY What?

MIGUEL In the Criminal Science lab.

CLAY Well maybe it was like school stuff…homework. Just quit making excuses n take me to see her. Can you do that?

MIGUEL Right on. But I warned ya…

CLAY I know, wash your hands an’ all that…may we?

MIGUEL Fine.

INT. TEA & COFFEE SHOP – CONTINUOUS

The bright, smartly decorated shop is full of students talking, studying, playing on tablets. Clay takes off his shades. Miguel points to a high, long bar-table against the far wall.

MIGUEL There she is.

Clay moves through the crowd with Miguel following. CATHERINE KINCAID BLOCK has her back to him. She has several cups of tea lined up in front of her on the bar. She studies them intently. Miguel steps up behind her and taps her on her shoulder.

MIGUEL Hey, CK. This is Clayton Forrester? The guy I texted you about?

A pale but animated face turns towards them. CK Block is diminutive with short hair, dressed in vintage/thrift store cast-offs. She has sharp features and an ageless, pixie look. Her eyes are intense and beaming.

CK I have found it! Here. Take a sip.

She pushes one of the cups of tea into Clay’s hands. Clay gives his ‘aw shucks’ smile, shrugs and drinks some.

CK That’s enough. What do you taste?

CLAY Tea? Some kinda orangey flavor?

CK That’s bergamot. Anything else?

CLAY Honey?

CK Thank you! I have to send a quick text.

CK whips out her phone and dashes off a text. As she finishes, Clay mindlessly raises the cup to his mouth again. CK’s hand darts out and grabs the cup from him.

CK I wouldn’t do that.

CLAY Why not?

CK Nothing. Not to worry. Unless you’ve been drinking.

She takes a sip of the tea, smiles, and sits it down on the table.

CK I’m sorry. It’s just impossible for the average individual to poison another anymore. Homeland Security and all that…and the lily of the valley. But you…I’m sorry, who are you?

MIGUEL This is the guy I texted you about the apartment.

CK hops from her stool, wipes her hand on her shirt, and extends it to Clay. He towers over her.

CK Catherine Kincaid Block. I think people call me CK.

Clay takes her hand.

CLAY Pleased to meet you. You can call me Clay…

CK quickly withdraws her hand from the embrace.

CK (interrupting) Lance Corporal Clayton Forrester. US Marine Corps, Combat engineer, specializing in Explosive Ordinance Disposal and Battlefield Clearance. Three tours in Iraq. Diagnosed PTSD. Divorced. (in response to Clay’s questioning look) You should change your social media passwords. ‘Monkey’ is one of the most common, and a fair bet if you use one as your profile pic.

CLAY Hold up now, you hacked…?

CK’s face doesn’t register having committed a violation.

CK When Miguel texted me, I thought it prudent to learn who I’d be living with. Let’s see, you’ll want to know about me: I use an e-cigarette,spend a lot of time on my work. If you find me lying on the sofa not speaking, don’t worry, it’ll pass. I like music. The place has two bedrooms and two baths. I already moved in, but we can swap rooms if you’d like. All you need is half month’s rent, and you can move in tomorrow. Sound good?

CLAY Half month’s rent. Sounds good.

CK Then it’s settled. Give me your number, and I’ll text you the address.

They exchange numbers.

CK Until tomorrow then. Oh, love the Travis Bickle look.

CK turns back to her ‘tea’ before Clay can respond. Clay and Miguel turn towards the exit.

CLAY She just poisoned me.

MIGUEL I’m sorry, man. I’ll make up some excuse for you.

CLAY Why? I’m taking the apartment.

MIGUEL You’re kidding, right?

CLAY She’s the first stranger in this town who’s even looked at me twice. Besides, it’s half-rent.

Clay puts his shades back on as they exit into the sun.

 

Block: The Human Equation, TV Pilot WGA registration: I267101

Jessica Lakis, 2015


%d bloggers like this: