OUR COPS ARE NOT TOPS
Preface: I salute those GOOD police officers that certainly do exist here in our Unfair City...and commend their especially difficult
work in the line of duty, amid so much corruption in their own
department. So please don't take my criticism as speaking out against
the entire San Francisco Police Department. Just MOST of it. Thank you.
When I first told Hank that I've formed a tight network of trusted
contacts, to bring justice to certain criminal activities occurring
here in Eureka Valley (a.k.a. "The Castro") and sometimes other places
popular with queers, he politely answered: "The police might want you
to leave it to them". So to mimic his what-I-thought-was-a-clue less-suggestion, I left it at that (for the nonce). However, the next two days I pondered Hank's suggestion, because every person with even the least
amount of smarts knows that corruption goes on everywhere, in every
part of The City. Money laundering downtown, and drug dealing/gang wars
in the 'hoods. Including Eureka Valley, right here where I've lived in
a simple SRO since (hold on to your colostomy bag) 1983.
So when I next return to the coffeehouse, I make a point to explain
to Hank that the police department is also corrupt, else they'd have
already cleaned up the neighborhoods, and these problems wouldn't exist
in the first place. Like when I told some cops about the goings on
South of Market: after listening a few minutes, one Blue Meany drops a
pasty pastry paw onto my shoulder, says: "Why don't you just shut up about it?"
There is one cop who wears a badge numbered "666". I mean a REAL police badge, not the one depicted below for comic relief!
Don't know his name (and don't care to), but he's certainly not to
be trusted (I'll just call him "Officer 666"). He's wiry, short (about
5'5"), and is often seen in Eureka Valley riding a bicycle, especially
the Church Street corridor. He is hostile to me, indicating very
clearly he's on the wrong side of the law, the good, the sane, and
Anything Else Compassionate And Loyal. I once asked him why he wears a
"666", that he might be an impersonator and not a real cop. His
reply: "I requested that number by the Police Chief, because I want to
leave an impression on those I meet." I didn't tell him to his face,
but my opinion is thus:
Yes, a very bad impression. Any cop who wears a 666 badge is egomaniacal, therefore not to be trusted by any good citizen. Has nothing to do with Christian mumbo-jumbo, and everything to do with vainglory and bullyism. IOW: an abuse of your authority. (Albeit a highly creative
abuse; I'll give you that much. It might win you a prize in a standup
comedy competition, but you fall flat on your bony face when it comes
to representing an officer of the law. You're a Public Relations
Nightmare!) Were I your superior, I'd strip you of your badge and place
you on two-years' probation, and keep you off the streets for the
entire period. You'll be a fulltime pencil pusher. (Impersonating an Officer of the Underworld is a highly egregious offense!)
But I'm not his superior, so this satirical bon mot must suffice:
Then there's "Special Police" personnel,
If you have a problem that can't be fixed,
Just call on Officer 666.
He'll mend your heart lickety-split,
And leave you some money and give you no lip.
Hey, that's my kinda cop: 666.
If you're stuck outside (keys locked in the car)
Just call for him, he's never too far:
"666? Oh, there you are!"
He'll carry you home, safe in his arms,
And tuck you in, and rock you to sleep,
And steal your heart while you count sheep.
He's not very pretty when it comes to the face,
Or just about any other body-place.
But he'll please you "on-your-knees-you",
Just by his commanding voice
and 12.75 yards of lace.
assigned to Eureka Valley and paid for by the local businesses. You heard me: local businesses.
That means NOT you, the pedestrian, the tourist, the average citizen
and resident. During the numerous times I've witnessed a hate crime,
there's never a cop around, whether "special" or no. We need two or three
beat cops DAILY, in order to turn around the increased harassment and
violence that's been plaguing the neighborhood for nigh unto 15 years!
But that's not the half of it.
There was a "Special" beat cop in Eureka Valley for quite a few
years name of Jane W. (lesbian BTW). Friendly enough, but she didn't do
her job of protecting gay pedestrians, when she could have done so. Two incidents come to mind personally:
- Oh, about seven years ago, it was evening and dark; I was walking
from 2306 to Cala supermarket. There was Jane on the corner of 18th
& Collingwood where The Edge is located, chatting with another
officer parked in his car. He blocked the entire crosswalk, so that
everyone had to walk almost to the CENTER of the busy intersection, to
get by. (It was a chill November eve; sun had set long ago.) Yet
immediately behind him was an available parking spot. I approached the
cop (interrupting chatty Jane who leaned against the passenger door),
"Pardon me, officer, but you're blocking the walkway and I'd like to
cross the street with minimal risk." He looked up at me, obviously
bemused by my interruption. I gestured to my left: "There's a free
parking space right behind you."
The policmean grinned: "I don't want to take up a spot I don't need."
"But you are illegally blocking safe accees for pedestrians," I briskly
replied. "No skin off your teeth to pull back a few feet."
By this time, Jane's face became somewhat grim, her thin lips pressed
even thinner. "Go on now, it's safe to walk around me and cross," he
blithely remarked while rush-hour cars hurled themselves recklessly
from four different directions. High beams blinded me if I didn't look
Disgusted, I asked Jane to assist me in making a citizen's arrest. She
ignored me and looked up at the sky. The seated cop tapped his
calloused thumb against the open window's cold, chrome frame.
"Alright, this isn't gonna happen,"
I realized, so turned away from The Two Dipwads in Uniform, and huffily
marched home. NO WAY was I going to oblige Their Highnesses and walk
AROUND asshat's car.
- Approximately one year to date I approached Ms. Jane regarding possible violence by one homeless man named Woody.
I greeted her, she smiled back. Then I requested her ear for a brief minute or two:
"Jane, I know you're no longer assigned to The Castro, but maybe you could pass this information on."
She cocked her sparrow's head: "Oh? What information?"
"You know Woody, right?" I ventured.
She nodded: "Yes, he has been banned from Castro Street three years ago
because he ran into shops, smashing and throwing things around. And
terrorizing everyone in general before then; for years."
"Yes, I know all about Woody's antics. Known him since '87, and he's
been a monkey on my back ever since," I prefaced. "I just want to tell
you that his behavior is getting out of hand again, he's been acting
aggressive towards me, and others who hang out a few blocks up, around
Church and Market. I figure you could inform..."
She raised her hand to cut me off. "Woody's dangerous. He's strong and
can lose control. I suggest you stay away from him," she barked. "Go to
the Mission Station and draw up a report."
Jane was now glaring at me. (What did I
do?) My intent was simply to alert whichever officer now covers the
neighborhood around Church and Market Streets. But since I didn't know
who that was ('cause I hadn't seen a cop in that area for months,
except dinky "666" whizzing by now and then on a Schwinn), I figured to
tell Jane, who could pass it on to the correct officer.
Furthermore, I know Woody for at least five years more than Jane. He is
not so dangerous I need to avoid him...besides, this IS my
neighborhood, and has been since 1973. No one pushes me around my own turf and gets away with it!
I also realize that filling out a form with the PD is an ineffectual
way to nip potential danger in the bud. From my own experience, the
best solution is always a neighborly alert to the beat cop.
"No, filling out paperwork is not my style," I looked at Jane in
friendly exasperation. "I figure you'd know the beat cop, and could..."
Again she summarily raised a hand to halt me (impudent child that I
am). "Well, how do you expect me to help if you refuse to act
lawfully?" She glowered.
"Wow!" I thought, "I didn't know it was illegal to NOT fill out papers. What's up with this bitch?"
I was about to inform her that it is ALSO legal to inform a cop of
possible trouble...which usually suffices to squelch it. But the moment
I opened my mouth to address her abusive demeanor, she raised her hand
once more, as if warding off the plague:
"Look, Zeke, you're wasting my time. Just stay away from Woody. There's my advice."
"I'm not asking for advice You Blue Shrew. I was only trying to be a responsible member of our community," I wordlessly pondered, ready to tear the gun from her holster and teach her The Lesson of a Lifetime.
"Oh, whatever. Sorry I even bothered you, OFFICER Jane." And we parted company, not on the best of terms.
Missy Jane also writes a "Crime & Punishment" column for the gay rag "Bay Area Reporter".
She often makes light of serious crimes by creating "cutesy" subject
headers. But I don't think depicting violence, theft and mugging of
gays as a Comedy Of Errors, good PR. (Even the column's title is somewhat facetious, and derogative!)
FACTOID: Jane W. is also President of the Patrol Special Police Association! I found this following quote by her, in a pdf document downloaded from the web (the hyperlink is my embellishment):
I received a degree in criminal justice from Shamanan University
in 1986. I was hired by the Honolulu Police Department where I worked
undercover in Waikiki and was reassigned to the patrol division. After
a meritorious career in Honolulu, I moved to California and received my
POST Basic Certificate from Sacramento Safety Center. I was hired as a
Police Officer for the town of San Anselmo and I attended night school
at the University of San Francisco. In 1993, I joined the San Francisco
Patrol Special Police where I was assigned walking a foot beat in The
Castro and Upper Market neighborhood.
Sorry to say , but for the most part it is my conclusion that the San Francisco Police Department
(and the Super-Duper SPECIAL Police) remain seriously homophobic as
well as pathetically LAX in suppressing street crime and
harassment...when it could be handily dealt with. Though I was impressed by this year's first anti-Halloween event,
with the excellent show of force by the SFPD. Now, if only we had such
stalwart regard and presence by the police department all the remaining 364 days each year. Homophobes don't take a vacation, you know. Some even reside in Eureka Valley! And (sadly) some are cops themselves.
Jane, it's good that you possess a "meritorious" background, but
that's not evidenced in your patrol of Eureka Valley. A good cop has no cause whatsoever to treat me rudely, and disregard the dangers on our streets.
Hawaii 5-O credentials notwithstanding. Or a campus crawling w/shamans.
Tomorrow's installment: THE NEIGHBOR "HOODS"
Allies: New chapter! Time to download the updated Larkin.zip.
(Delete the previous one.) Thanks!