Friday, July 19, 2013

The Long Arm of the Law

Today while riding home from yoga I decided to head to Lee Valley to pick up a new nozzle for the garden hose. While riding along Richmond street which is pulled up and reduced down to one lane of traffic, I biked across a red light at York Street. The street was being pulled up north of Richmond, so no traffic traveling south and there was no traffic traveling north and I thought I could get across the intersection before the cars that were not giving me ample room for safety. Once through the light however I was stopped by a police office for going through the light. He wanted to give me a ticket, but I had no ID with me so proceeded to give me the third degree. It is a frustrating experience at the best times to deal with the police, but I was tired from yoga and the heat and traffic left me exhausted. 

The officer repeatedly asked what I did, I told him repeatedly I was unemployed, but that was not enough. Being unemployed, I guess makes you automatically suspicious in the eyes of authorities. He asked again, and with a pause and I told him I was on disability. He then proceeded to record all my information, telling me he could arrest me, but that I wasn't being arrested. Really? He then recorded my tattoos, the make of my bike all the while asking about my tattoos I guess trying to get a "read" on me. He then let me know that he was giving me a warning, telling me they did not have warning slips yet available and that they would be generated at the end of July. I tried to explain what I had done, but ignored the situation and my explanation. He then told me what was the cost of the fine calculating the costs, asking me if I had any questions, really? Before letting me go gave he wanted to give me some friendly advice to carry my OHIP card so that my body could be identified after an accident. Again he stated I just want you to know, without identification to notify next of kin, people are buried in unmarked graves. Really, this is the kind of information a police officer needs to be imparting on a busy street? Every time I have had to deal with authorities I find the experience frustrating. There is something so primal about how authorities wield their power and how it makes one feel. It was a mix of threats, coercion and chummy friendlyness that simply furthers the feeling of being disempowered. The entire experience was conducted in that manner that displays the power of police and policing. I rode away angry, frustrated and depressed. 

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