Fuck the Police--Part VI: The One Where They Give Me a Ticket and I Get Legitimately Pissed Off

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 3 Comment(s)

I had just finished writing Fuck the Police Part V.  Just.   After getting my verbal warning on Sunday, on late Wednesday afternoon I was driving home to post my recent police encounter on the blog and then be done with it. You know, cause, fuck the police.

When the now ubiquitous blue and white lights began flashing behind me, I was on the same road on was on the last time I got pulled over.  I was going 30 mph, just like the last time I was pulled over.  Three days ago.

When the short stocky police office sauntered over to my driver side window, I figured, "Yay, this again. What a waste of time. At least I can just explain to the guy what happened and this experience might not even be worthy of a blog entry."  As you are reading this, you understand that this is not how things went down.

"License and registration."  I had them at the ready and handed them out the window.

"Do you know why I pulled you over today."

"I've got a pretty good idea. My inspection sticker has expired.  I know this because I was pulled over three days ago for the same thing.  But see, can you see my "Check Engine" light."  I point to the illuminated words on my dash.  "See I can't pass inspection until that gets cleared, and the mechanic's earliest appointment is Monday morning, which is when I'm bringing it in."

I tell him all of this, unsolicited.  I still think this will be a quick in and out.  No problem.

"Ok, gimme a second," TV's Commish's little brother tells me, and then walks around my car looking for any other sign of contraband or who knows what.

I should include the fact that I drive a 2004 Volvo that is in remarkably good shape.  This is obviously not me bragging, cause, like, it's a Volvo -- not a Miada)  I don't wax and buff it by any means, but the paint is still evenly applied without any real dents or damage.  I'm just trying to convey that I'm not getting pulled over in some rusted P.O.S. with different color doors than the body.

The cop goes back to his car to play on his computer and, if the amount of time he's back there is any indication, to masterbate at least once.

When he comes back, he hands me back my license and registration and then hands me what I assume must be a written warning.  Something a little more official than last time.

"I wrote you a ticket for a expired inspection sticker," he begins, and my mouth falls fully agape. "You gotta get that fixed up as soon as possible or get it off the road."

I'm still shocked at this point, but the tide of feeling is already beginning to turn towards anger.

"Officer, I feel like I just explained to you that I got a warning just 3 days ago and since then I have taken every step to get this rectified as soon as possible, I don't understand why you feel I deserve a ticket when I was just warned a very short while ago."

"Actually," and he says actually in that douchey cop tone that I only ever hear from people who have been given authority, never from those who have earned it, "I'm giving you the ticket because when I typed it in the computer it said you had gotten a warning already and therefore had a chance to fix the situation. And you still didn't do it."

"To be fair," I am now 70% angry 30% shocked," I told you I got pulled over before your computer did."

"That's true," he conceded.

"And I told you that I got this warning three days ago, and have taken every step to getting it remedied. What I don't understand is how it now warrants a ticket.  I was only warned 3 days ago, and I've spelled out the steps I've taken since then.  What is a warning if, even when you heed it, you still get penalized?"

He literally looks down on me as he says,"Well,  actually, we can keep pulling you over for a violation like this.  Even after this ticket, if you get pulled over by a cop further down the road, they can give you another ticket for the same thing."

I didn't correct his misuse of pronouns.  This is one of the Police ("capital P") strategies when pulling over a vehicle.  Make sure the driver knows the furthest extent of the law.  Make the driver feel grateful they are getting off with only the ticket you are giving them, and not some imaginary worse penalty the law allows for in the event of the worse possible circumstance.

Essentially, it is Police policy to bully you. Or threaten you, if you prefer that term.  But either way, they are making sure the big bad bogey man of major fine-age is always forefront in your mind.

I don't take kindly to bullying anymore.  It does not make me feel grateful.  So I reply, "Yes they could legally pull me over down the road, but they shouldn't because it would be obviously unreasonable . . . which is the point I'm trying to make here."

"You are welcome to appeal the ticket," he says, backing off his righteousness a bit, but not the ticket.

I decide we both need a recap.  I oblige.  "So, just to be clear, I told you I got pulled over for my registration on Sunday.  I showed you the "Check Engine" light preventing me from getting an immediate inspection. And I told you when my appointment at the mechanic is, and you still feel that I deserve a ticket three days later."

The recap has done its trick.  I haven't told the cop he is wrong, I've told him that it seems clear that he's being unreasonable.  He doesn't have a good retort, so he digs down deep to the bottom of his training manual and pulls out the lamest line in that friggin book.

"Well, you know, I have no way of knowing whether or not you're telling me the truth," he pulls out of his derrière. "I don't know what you told the cop a few days ago . . ."

I interrupt. "I told the cop the truth last time too, I said.  I told him I had absolutely no idea it had expired.  And I told him I would get it fixed, which I am doing."

"Oh, ok," he says in acceptance of the fact that I didn't lie to the last officer, but somehow he doesn't incorporate that information into his explanation.  "I just, don't know what's true so I have to just do my job, you know, and give you the ticket. "

I have learned, from history, that when an "authority figure" gets to the point in a discussion where they start using some form of the phrase, "I'm just following orders," you have come to a dangerous tipping point. A precipice where them knowing they aren't right meets the fact that everything they have created for themselves in life depends on them being right.  This is the most dangerous time for the person without authority.  As we've seen over and over again, this is where things can get deadly if the person without power is, god-forbid, a minority as well.

I'm white, so the cop just gets more defensive and restates, "Like I said, you can appeal."

But here is the thing.  You can't really appeal.  I mean, literally, you can appeal, and I will.  Because an expired sticker is a moving violation and affects your insurance rate, so I have to appeal.

The catch?  It costs $25.00, checks only, to appeal a ticket.  The ticket itself, in this case, is $55.  Either way they're making money.  The minimum the police station pulls in for every ticket given, regardless of the reason or the validity of the charge, is 25 dollars (and that's before we get into the "do you have any large amounts of money in the car?" situations.)  And you have to pay by check, which is just an extra bonus "fuck you" to the less affluent, who might not have a checking account and therefore have no readily apparent way to contest the ticket.  Not to mention that nobody has an extra 25 dollars and a half day to burn explaining to a judge how a police officer, when given unchecked power, can tend to be unreasonable.

If a police officer's point of view is that you can't believe a word out of a person's mouth, then we might as well start building our robot police force.  I'm sure we can already program dispassionate authoritarianism, and those bots will be a lot cheaper over the long run.  It pains me that the default excuse for our actual human squad is to claim that their job description insists they down-power their ability to access personal judgement.

In short: What A Dick.  I hated him in that moment.  Seething. 100% anger.  I began wondering how the hell I could go five mouth without anyone noticing my expired sticker, and then in three days time I'd gotten pulled over twice.  Was there some kind of unpublicized crime spree going on in the Pioneer Valley, run by a gang of thugs known for the signature failure to renew their inspection stickers? Am I the person the police are here to protect and serve against?  When did forgetfulness become such a volatile demographic to crack down on?

Well . . . my birthday coming up?  Maybe that's it? Wait . . . maybe that is it.  This being the last week in October, and every ticket given being 25 dollars in the bank for the department . . . all the pieces started coming together like high budget TV crime drama.

Which raises one final question.  Will I have to take the slightly longer way home going forward in order to avoid constant police harassment?

 Fuck the police.  Fuck the police so fucking hard.

Oh, and I still managed to fail my inspection . . . so . . . yah.


  1. Oh no! You handled the situation well. My mouth moves more quickly than my brain, so, I would have been handcuffed, sitting on the side of the road. Kudos for keeping your cool and trying to reason with the guy, er, "TV's Commish's little brother". :)

  2. Here’s an idea… How about not driving a vehicle that has not passed inspection since it’s against the law to do so? Also, you don’t have to wait to the last minute to get inspected. Most states allow you to get inspected 30, 60, or 90 days in advance. This allows time to make an appointment and fix anything which needs fixed. Stop blaming the police for enforcing the law.
    Part of being an adult is taking responsibility and planning ahead.

  3. Thanks for being perfect and never making a mistake. Thanks for being the White knight we all need. Thanks for adding your perspective that, though a judge agreed with me, I should be able to merge space and time. But most of all, thanks for taking the time to find and read a 6 year-old comedic blog post only to write negative nonsense as a thank you for your free entertainment. ps. If you aren't a White person I will be shocked into an early grave.