So I am sitting in the hallway of the courthouse, on floor number 5. I have my client seated beside me and we are going over the terms of the plea bargain we are about to sign. The courtroom door is slammed open down at the other end of the hall…smashing up against the wall. I turn to my right to see a black male running down the hall, towards me in an orange jump suit….a bailiff running in chase behind him!
I sat there motionless as the orange blur ran right past me. He was gang tackled by other bailiffs before he could get to the stairwell. I sat there motionless??? I chuckled a little and my client asked me what I was laughing about. I told her…my 28-year-old self would have body checked the fleeing prisoner into the wall and I would have had my knee on his head and his wrist in a lock before the bailiff got to us!! My 48-year-old self had become a spectator…no impulse had rushed through my body whatsoever, no trained reaction …reacted. That was the day I knew I was a middle-aged attorney…I was surely not a cop any longer.
The screen fades to black.
In the next scene we see Julya standing beside a gurney in the ER at about 10pm one night. A 21-year-old is handcuffed to said gurney. Laying there he looks quite stupid in bare feet, jeans, Black Sabbath T-shirt, and with gold paint all over his face. Oh yeah, this kid had killed some brain cells, some that he did not have to spare. After running his truck into a fire hydrant he had been amazed when I had guessed that he had been “huffing” paint for cheap thrills. I told him to look in his rear-view mirror and he had chuckled upon seeing his clownish face.
He was cooperative enough and not giving me any trouble, so I took the handcuffs off. He was a local kid and he started telling me how he and his friends “huffed” or inhaled anything they could to get high…all right off of the shelf of the local drug or hardware store. For some reason it was very popular to use the metallic gold or silver paint, that was the “good stuff.” I had taken him to the hospital to have him checked out before escorting him to jail. I was charging him with DUI and he had traffic warrants out of four different agencies.
The nurse approached us with a hypodermic needle to take a sample of his blood. He screamed, “no needles!” The kid elevated off of the gurney, screaming in sheer terror…”I hate needles!!” He tried to bolt for the door and the fight was on! He was about 6 feet tall and real skinny….he tried to punch me and missed. I grabbed him by his long hair and pulled him to the floor where the fight became more of a wrestling match….the two of us rolling all over the ER floor! I clearly had my hands full, what else was this kid on I thought, he seemed to have the power of two men…I was trying to get his hands behind his back to put the darn cuffs on him again! As we rolled into trays and instruments fell about the place….two doctors and three nurses were seemingly enjoying the show. An episode of Cops right before their eyes!
This ER had a 911 red hotline phone that went right to my dispatcher. One of the doctors was leaning against the wall right by the hotline!! In between exchanging punches with the kid, I looked up and said to the Doc, “do you think you can pick up that phone and get me some back-up?” The kid wiggled away from my grip and made a dash to swinging, double doors that led into the main lobby of the hospital. Our audience was about to get much bigger…he was headed to the ER exit. I knew once he got to the exit of the hospital, he would be gone…the skinny kid was going to be able to out run me easily.
I “horse-collared” him in front of about 12 people in the lobby…grabbing the back collar of his T-shirt…just barely getting it with my fingertips. We both went to the floor again…this time mopping up the dusty lobby and smashing into the Coke machine. We just kept rolling, exchanging punches, kicks, he was even trying to bite me. The automatic doors opened to the ambulance bay and we rolled right out onto the driveway…that’s when I heard the tires screeching!! The kid and I both turned to see a patrol car sliding towards us as we layed on the ground, looking at this point like we were embracing each other. We both let out a scream as the front left tire of my back-up’s unit came withing inches of the kid’s head!
The officer jumped out of his unit, along with his rookie ride-a-long, it took three of us to cuff the hopped up kid and get him back on the gurney in the ER. The people in the lobby, that had enjoyed the show, politely applauded as I walked past them in my now filthy uniform. Lesson learned rookie….don’t un-cuff someone who is high on sniffing paint and whatever else that kid was on…lesson learned.
The training officer laughed so hard at me that night….he told me that I was really lucky that he didn’t run right over the both of us. The lighting at the back of the hospital was lacking and we both had on dark shirts. I asked him when did he notice us laying on the black top? He responded, “I saw the flicker of metallic gold paint!”
I write this blog trying to show the reader little snippets of my life. The cop stories are me in my twenties. Even I don’t agree with the way I handled some calls, but I have tried to be honest here…brutally honest at times. Readers have remarked for the most part positively, but one or two have called me a smart-ass, pig, and even a sadist…among other things. That is fine, that is their opinion and their right to not like how the twenty something me handled different problems. It is truly a “walk a mile” type scenario though…until you have been a police officer, you don’t know how you would handle certain calls. The perfect combination would be my smarter and mature self with the physical abilities of my younger self….but reality won’t abide. Reality today has me sitting in the hallway as the kid in the orange jumpsuit sprints by me.
I walked back into the courtroom and apologized to the bailiffs. For what they asked? Look guys, I used to be a cop…I should have tackled the guy, or at least stuck out a foot and tripped him!! I repeated my apology….there was an awkward moment, then the 3 officers filled the courtroom with laughter. My younger self was apologizing and they were laughing at my reality. Time to let the years roll on past me…I am fine with that…time to let them roll just like I did that prisoner, but hopefully not as fast.