Fear Of Whales

Tales of a reluctant minister

Dear California Police

with 2 comments

Dear California Department of Justice, Local Police Departments including especially CHP and La County Sheriff, and the State Legislature: Dear California.

Three generations ago my great grandfather crossed the Brooklyn bridge by foot. Coming to America he got the best job that a young Irish Immigrant could hope for. Police Officer.

I never met him but I did meet my grandfather, who followed in his father’s footsteps in joining the NYPD, eventually becoming captain In Staten Island.

His son, my uncle moved to the great American south, and became Sheriff in Alachua County Florida, where he is now among the best bomb experts in the south, training teams in explosive ordinance disposal.

I say this to illustrate a point. I’m not an enemy of law enforcement. I come from a line of men who from a certain perspective, had every reason to expect me to become an officer myself. Growing up I played with toy police cars, and understood intuitively in my large imagined universes, that cops were always good guys.

There was a time when I used to see a squad car in my neighborhood and be thankful. I would think “Oh cool, the cops are here” or later (as I became more articulate) “It’s great that these cival servants are here to make us safer”

Those times are gone.

You’re disgusting to me now. A symbol of oppression and corruption that used force and coercion to harm decent people while doing little to reduce violent crime.

Now, as a Law-abiding citizen, when I see a squad car while I’m driving somewhere, I panic.

CRAP! Was I doing 66? Is my registration up to date? Oh No, Oh No! “Hands on the wheel, 10 and 2” Oh No! Is my seatbelt securely fastened? Is my Tray Table up? SHOOT! Is it March Already? My new proof of insurance is still sitting on a desk at home. Please don’t pull me over, please don’t pull me over…

…And of course they do pull me over, and I wind up with a “fix it” ticket for about $150, which I can get resolved with a series of bribes and a day off work.

I have to get my proof of insurance (that he already knows I have because it’s in the system) and take it to a local station, where I have to wait in line bribe the officer at the front desk to do their Job, so I can get the ticket signed off that “yes this is actually an insurance card”

Then I have to drive to the county courthouse… being careful not to run into any other cops, and bring the signed off ticket to the courthouse, where I have to bribe them to process it. And they don’t take cash, or credit, checks only.

This is the case with any ticket. The best-case scenario. This is what happens when the cop that pulls you over I nice. And I describe it using the term “bribe” for a reason. Because this activity takes place independent of any crime that has taken place. They want to it “fees” but that doesn’t make any sense, because I don’t just have to pay the fees when I’m guilty, I have to pay the fees no matter what, just to get the ticket fixed.

Once I got a Fixit for an expired registration, that wasn’t expired at all. I had an up to date registration that was up for renewal, and I’d played it before the deadline but the DMV (California Government) didn’t send me my tags until it was a month late. So in that month a member of the CHP (California Government) gave me a ticket for not having a sticker on my license plate in time.

So I had to wait online at the DMV to find out what had happened, learn that I had had up to date registration all along, and wait for them to send it to me, meanwhile I’mdriving my totally legal car as if I’m loaded down with illicit substances, trying to avoid getting another ticket. Then when It arrives I have to drive to the Irvine Police Department (California Government) where I had to pay them to agree that the first cop had been wrong, so that I could go to the Court (California Government) and pay them to process the ticket.

There is a word for this. When an agency (such as the California Government) charges you for a service which is actually non-existant or which they themselves created the need for. It’s called Racketerring. The most common type of which is the “protection racket” whereby a thug informs you that you will need to pay him a sum of money for “protection”… the monies payed out to said thug are called bribes.

You’re the thug, California

You force me to appear to break the law, which you then accuse me of, and charge me to get it dismissed without fair trial.

And trial is even worse!

Don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m upset about fees. Fees are a symptom of a corrupt system that incentives punishing good people for crimes that don’t exist.

Once I got a ticket for running a red arrow, at an intersection where no red arrow actually existed. I had proof that this was the case (I took video) I was happy to get take it to trial.

But in California you cannot contest a ticket until it’s “in the system” which takes a few weeks to a few months depending on how much they feel like screwing with you. You know it’s in the system when they mail you a copy of your ticket, but they never did.

Instead they waited six months and mailed me a notice that I had been charged with a misdemeanor “failure to appear in court” Well I didn’t fail to appear in court, because I didn’t have a court date, because they didn’t give me one, because when I called they told me to wait until it was in the system. But to be fair.. the ticket had a date on it, and that date had passed.

Well I got this ticket in LA, and the officer had the prerogative to choose which court he would like to try it in, so he put it in Santa Monica (about 3 hours away from where I live) And I can’t drive there because I’ve been accused of a misdemeanor and my license has been revoked.

I go to court to be arraigned and find that the date had been shuffeled, and that my failure to appear was therefore (FTA) was therefore illegal. So I was invited just to pay the ticked (about $250)… but since I wasn’t guilty I didn’t want to do that. I requested a trial by written declaration, but doing that would have required me to pay the ticket up front and wait for it to be refunded. Well the San Diego PD was already holding onto about $200 of my money that I’d had to pay them for Felony Not Speeding and they hadn’t refunded me yet, so I wasn’t going to hold my breath and I made plans to appear personally. I figured it was worth the tank of gas, to be able to keep what money I still had.

Big mistake

Well I had to bribe the LA court to give me proof that the FTA had been dismissed, which I then had to take to the DMV so I could bribe them to give me my license back, now that I had proof they never should have taken it in the first place, so that I could drive back up to court with the video I’d taken of the intersection where I was purported to have run a red arrow that never existed.

Well the weeks passed, and my court date arrived. I woke up, grabbed my summons, and started walking to the car when a sudden chill or horror ran down my spine, I looked at the trial time 7am… I was sure it was 1pm, the same time as the arraignment. It was already 8! What was I going to do.

I called the court. I had missed my trial, so in my absence I’d been found guilty. Guilty of the Red Arrow, Of the FTA, and charged with an additional FTA for that morning. No more opportunity to contest.

So I had to drive up to the court again anyhow. Get the slip that said I was guilty or two misdemeanors. Pay them off. And then take the proof to the DMV again so that they wouldn’t take my license away.

And that’s how you work, California. That’s what it costs to not run a red arrow on your watch. $1,100; plus fees; 2 tanks of gas; $80 to the DMV; and plenty of pain and suffering.

But at least I’ve learned my lesson.

When a thug in uniform accuses you of something you didn’t do and let’s you pay $250 to take care of it. You should just pay the $250!

It’s just too bad though. I really wanted to like law enforcement….


Written by RyanGaffney

March 2, 2011 at 6:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. This might be one of those times where Jesus would totally get behind the use words like “bullshit,” “motherfucker,” and “douche bag.”


    March 2, 2011 at 7:23 am

  2. I dunno.

    Jesus was nice to the corrupt tax collectors extorting people.


    March 2, 2011 at 7:28 am

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