OK so here’s what happened

2 Nov

It was last night just past 4am. I was in bed with my headphones on listening to Analyze Phish.* Yeah sometimes I stay up until 4am. Only God can judge me. I heard a squeal of tires on the street outside. This is a major street, and there is usually a lot of traffic, even late at night. Not usually tires squealing, though. This was loud enough that I heard it even with my headphones on.

*This is a podcast featuring this guy Harris Wittels who is hilarious. The premise of the show is that he loves Phish and tries to convince his friend to like them. The fact that Phish is terrible makes it hilarious. See my earlier post about podcasts for more podcast info.

I got out of bed and took a peek out the window. It was very foggy and I couldn’t see much, even though it wasn’t really dark. Living in cities, especially high-traffic areas, you learn to adjust to the fact that it never really gets dark at night. Streetlights, security lights, neon signs, etc. The fog made the whole scene a little eerie. I saw a couple cars on the other side of the boulevard. My first thought was that they had been in an accident. Not a correct thought. Turns out they were police cars. People were talking, and I couldn’t quite make it out. It took me awhile to figure out what was going on. I realized it was cops when I saw them walking up and down the sidewalk with their flashlights on. Now I could hear a couple words here and there.

“Where is he?”

“Dispatch the suspect’s between 26th and 27th…”

Then I got it. I used my detective skills. They were looking for a guy who was apparently on the block. From the way they were looking with their flashlights, they were also scouring the sidewalk. Again, using my detective skills, I deduced that the suspect dropped a gun or some drugs. This is a smart thing to do when running from cops with contraband on your person.

I tried to go back to the podcast. It was almost over and I wanted to go to sleep. Not possible. These cops were loud. I also didn’t want to open the blinds and stand at the window staring like some slack-jawed yokel. And it was too foggy to really see anyways. So I just sat in bed waiting to see how it played out. I thought about going outside to see what was up. Obviously I did not. I know better than to walk into the middle of a police action where firearms are likely to be involved.

A minute or two later I heard some banging outside. My apartment’s on the second floor, and there’s a staircase from the sidewalk to get to the side door. I couldn’t tell what was going on exactly, but someone was on the walkway outside the apartment. Talking to my roommate today confirms that it was indeed the suspect, who ran past his room on his way to our backyard.

There was some more commotion outside. There was a woman’s voice in the mix now, my roommate says this was our neighbor valiantly assisting the police. Presently the cops sprung into action. They were obviously moving quickly.

“Get down, stop running!”

“Don’t make us tase you!”

“We’re letting the dog loose in five seconds!”

And some other stupid nonsense including a lot of cursing. Imagine the most clichéd dialog from the most clichéd cop movie. People think of cops as dispassionate and calm and steely, but this was not the case. I think most of the police officers who find themselves chasing down criminals in East Oakland at 4am are very young and very inexperienced and very caught up in their own machismo.

These guys were not fucking around. Apparently the suspect had jumped from our walkway to our neighbor’s yard, maybe fifteen feet down, and started running. I didn’t get a chance to talk to this suspect, but he didn’t have a very good plan. If he had gone to our backyard and jumped the fence, he would have landed in our back neighbor’s chicken coop, and could have gone from there further away from the street, and unless there were cops waiting on the next street over, he’d have been home free. Come to think of it, I doubt he had a plan at all.

The cops took him down in the neighbor’s yard. I’m not clear on whether he was tased or bitten by the police dog, but he must have been in rough shape because an ambulance showed up soon afterwards. I heard the EMT (or whoever, I didn’t look to see who exactly this was) asking him the standard head injury questions. I guess I assume it was an ambulance because I could see the flashers from my room, even with the blinds drawn. I mentioned the cops’ machismo earlier. It was even more apparent now. These guys sat around shooting the shit like a football team in the locker room after a game. Loudly. With the ambulance flashers still on. At 4am. In a residential neighborhood. For like 20 minutes. They finally took off around 4:45. I finished listening to people on the internet laugh at Phish lyrics and went to sleep.

I guess they got their guy so good for them. Thinking about it the next day it seems like a scary ordeal. I think that’s a reasonable opinion. I’ll definitely not be telling my mom about this, for example. To be honest my biggest concern was that my car, parked on the street and surrounded by squad cars, would get fucked up in some major way. I guess I don’t picture run afoul of the law in East Oakland getting themselves into hostage situations or whatever.

I wish this had happened during the say so I could have a better story. Oh well. Never a dull moment ‘round these parts.

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One Response to “OK so here’s what happened”

  1. Vito November 6, 2012 at 5:21 am #

    Someday I’d like to meet someone who tried to run from the cops and actually managed to get away. Naturally, I’d prefer to meet this person on non-violent terms.

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