Saturday, September 23, 2006

Curfews (and statutory rape)

As I mentioned in an email to the LLP group, a friend of mine was busted for a "curfew" violation, and it was strongly implied by the officer that I am a statutory rapist.

Alright, now that I have your attention, let's rewind. First, the situation. The friend of mine is a girl that I've dated off an on for the past couple of years, but at this point in time we are most definitely just friends. Very good friends, but just friends. I don't get to see her very often since I live in Ames and she lives in Omaha, so we try to see as much as possible of each other when I'm in town. Tonight we were both busy, but wanted to at least see each other for a bit. We decided to meet in the parking lot of a school near her Mom's house; she was on her way to her Dad's house so we were only going to be able to talk for 10-15 minutes. We're talking for maybe 5 minutes when a police officer of the lovely Papillion Police Department pulls up behind us and turns on his spotlight. He comes up to the car and asks for ID; my friend's ID is in her car so she goes to get it. He then proceeds to ask both of us, separately, what our relationship is to each other. At this point alarm bells are going off, but I decided to answer the question because I knew that my friend was in danger of getting a curfew ticket, so I really didn't think it was prudent to piss the cop off. Also, I had mentally drawn the line of refusal for when he asked to search my car, which as we know isn't an uncommon occurance in Sarpy County. Anyway, I told the officer we were just friends, at which point he got extremely sarcastic and stated that he finds "friends" just "talking" in places like this all the time.

Which may be the case, but it doesn't justify what happened next. He then asks my friend if there's a number where he can reach her parents. She gives it to him, and he calls her 12:40 in the morning. Now, keep in mind that my friend's mother knew her daughter was out, and knew that her daughter was going to be out until 1:00. Her mom wasn't mad at the curfew "violation," but was rather upset about being woken up to be told something she already knew: that her daughter was outside the house before 1:00.

The officer then tells my friend that he's "letting her off" and to get out of here, and comes over to talk to me. He told me that there would be plenty of time tomorrow for me and my "friend" to "talk." He also mentioned the fact that my friend was under 18 (she's 17), and I was over 18 (I'm 19), and that I should "think about that," in effect implying that I am a statutory rapist. Setting aside the fact that I am in fact NOT one, that's none of his goddamned business. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I was so pissed at this point that saying anything other "Yes officer" was likely to get me a night in jail for verbally abusing an "officer" of the "law." In retrospect, I should have asked for his badge number, but again, at this point I was so pissed that I wasn't thinking straight and was just trying to get out of the situation without spending the night in jail.

And to put a wonderful cap on the evening, as I'm driving through the neighborhood on my way home, I witnessed not one but two cars traveling well in excess of the posted speed limit. I guess that the PPD feels that harassing teenagers is a better use of its time rather than enforcing the speed limit.

That's all for now because it's late, but I am not done on this topic. I fully plan on addressing this topic much more in depth, including the folly and idiocy of curfews, and the need to be mentally prepared to stand up to police officers, because as many of us know, while there are a lot of good cops out there, there are also a lot of bad ones.

And finally, it's good to be back home in Sarpy County, the land where the police harass teenagers on a regular basis.