So I was checking a local park one day when I saw a lone car parked way off in a remote parking area. Being the curious sort, I coasted over to it and saw on my approach that it contained two people. I parked behind it and got out and walked up on them just to say hello (because I’m really working on my “Officer Friendly” people skills), make sure that everything was all right, and see what they were doing.
As it turned out, they were high-school-aged teens and they were drinking beer. Additionally, his pants are open and he’s exposed. It looked like he was getting some action before I rolled up and killed the mood.
So I pull the male driver out of the car and get his ID. He’s actually being fairly cooperative, so I sit him down on the grass ahead of and to the left of his car where I can keep an eye on him, and then I go around to have a few words with his girlfriend and fellow underage drinker in the passenger seat. And here’s where it started to get stupid.
I get her out of the car, noticing that she has just set an opened beer can on the floor by her seat. I ask her for her ID and she replies that I don’t have any probable cause to ask her for her personal information. I let her know that I don’t need “probable cause” to request her ID and that me seeing her in the car with the beer is more than enough reason for me to ask for it. Then she starts trying to break this down, telling me that she doesn’t believe that I had any probable cause (that phrase again) to even approach them, and therefore I have no grounds to ID either of them. I let her know that I have every right to walk up to anyone sitting in a public place just the same as anyone else does and I tell her to come up with her ID.
Now all this time, her boyfriend is sitting peacefully on the grass, not causing me a bit of trouble. But this one, she’s giving me more than enough for both of them. And as it turns out, she’s just getting started.
Next she tells me that she had no ID with her. I tell her that if she wants to stick to that claim, I’ll just figure out who she is after I arrest her for minor in possession of alcohol. Then she smugly tells me that without proof that she’s a minor, I can’t arrest her for that.
I debate just locking her up right there, but I really don’t want a juvenile arrest, so I have her sit down on the grass and I ask her boyfriend if he minds if I take a look through his car. He quickly says that he has no problem, even as she’s trying to tell him that he doesn’t have to let me (I’m starting to suspect that she’s some sleazy defense lawyer’s kid by now) so with his consent, I reach in, pick up the purse that’s sitting on the seat, open it up, and extract a pocketbook with a driver’s license clearly visible in a plastic holder on the outside. “Well that was easy enough,” I say as I take the license out of the holder.
She’s on her feet in a flash. “You have no right to touch my purse!”
I explain that the owner of the car gave me consent to search the car, and the purse was unattended in the car, so yeah, that means that I get to look in there. And since it means that I don’t have to take her to jail, she should count her blessings and sit back down on the grass. She backs onto the grass but remains standing until I tell her that if I have to tell her again, she’s going in cuffs. Now she sits.
I give the car a cursory once-over and take the beer out. Both kids come back clean on the record checks so I tell the boy to call his parents and let me talk with them. He complies and in short order, I have his parents coming down to get him. Not a big deal at this point—he’s just getting a juvenile cite for the beer and I’m not letting him drive. He’s actually fine with that.
But then I get back to her. She won’t call her parents. She tells me that she doesn’t know their phone numbers. Her newest claim is that they refuse to give her their numbers, because they belong to a bike gang and travel around the country. Going on, she tells me how they only call her from pre-paid cell phones with blocked numbers so that she can’t even see their numbers on her caller ID.
I’ve had enough of her so I go back into her purse, take her phone out, open it up, and check the directory. As expected, there are listings for both “Mom” and “Dad”. She now gets upset and jumps up, launching into a profanity-laced tirade, so I grab her and cuff her and put her in my back seat, explaining as I do that she’s not under arrest yet but that she is being detained “for her safety and my own”. (I’ve never understood how that’s for their safety, but then I’ve never really much cared.)
Before I can even get the tickets finished, his parents show up. They seem like decent people and mom tells me that the problem is his girlfriend. This of course elicits a shout of “Fuck you!” from my partially-opened back seat windows. Mom look back at her and replies: “And that’s right where you belong, Jennifer! The back seat of a police car on your way to jail!” Jennifer starts to curse some more, but I slap the window with my hand and tell her to knock it off, actually silencing her for a minute. After I give him a quick PBT to make sure that he’s not totally drunk, (he wasn’t), Junior’s mom and dad took him and his car away. And since he had been nothing but cooperative I didn’t even bother bringing up the lap action that he was getting.
And then Jennifer’s parents showed up.
With no leather or chains or visible tattoos, they sure didn’t look like bike gang members. What’s more, they were very polite and apologetic and struck me right off as normal, decent people. And when Jennifer started to run her mouth again, her own mother told her to shut up before I could. I talked to them out of her earshot for a bit, explaining things. This time I did mention the lap action, and I got the impression that if Dad ever saw the boy again, the boy wasn’t going to come off too well. Mom was very apologetic and thanked me for not arresting their daughter, who, as it turned out, had already been arrested and convicted twice for underage possession.
Well that explains all of her “legal knowledge”…And to make it better, Jennifer was now 18 years old, so she got a ticket for grown-up court this time.
I took her out of the car, uncuffed her, and told her that she was going to get to go home with her parents but only if she cooperated with the PBT. As expected, she tried to fake blowing into it, but eventually I got a sample (and a result for my court case) and I set about finishing up her ticket and my notes. She began to argue with her mother at this point, and in no time at all, she yelled “Fuck you, bitch!”
Her mom immediately and without hesitation slapped her face. Hard. I mean, that slap cracked so loud that it produced an echo.
Jennifer gasped, then turned to me and screamed: “That’s domestic abuse! You have to arrest her right now! I demand that you arrest her for that!”
Nice kid, trying to get her own mom locked up when Mom was only here to keep her from going to jail.
But I told Jennifer that I’d been looking away and hadn’t actually seen the slap. I also told her that I’d heard something, but that it just sounded like a parent giving her kid some basic discipline. Mom looked at me, grinned, and mouthed “Thank you” and I gave her a wink as Jennifer ran to their car and got in the back seat, slamming the door shut. I looked over to Dad and he gave me a “thumb’s up”. Both parents told me that they don’t let her run wild and that they try to keep control on her, but she’s been running wild and threatening to call Social Services and claim abuse whenever they try to punish her. They were ecstatic to see that Jennifer’s first actual attempt to get them in trouble had failed spectacularly.
They took her away, and I didn’t see or hear from them again until her court appearance, when the mother came up to me, shook my hand, and thanked me again for not taking either her or Jennifer to jail. I already knew that the boy had pled guilty in Juvenile Court and gotten a deferred sentence and a driver’s license suspension until his 18th birthday pursuant to state law, but when Jennifer’s case was called in regular (adult) court, and after I’d testified, the judge gave her 120 hours of community service. The judge asked her if there was anything that would pose a problem with that sentence, and Jennifer exclaimed that she’d planned on spending the summer at the beach with her friends. This judge is a funny judge though, and he told her that if she was lucky, perhaps the city would let her work on their golf course because the sand traps have sand so it’d be just like the beach.
It’s not every day that you hear people laughing in court, but that one had everyone except Jennifer cracking up.
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