Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

10 police officers later…

…transparency, diversity of tactics, and being the good girl.

Tonight was going to be about a house guest and a sex party, and then it was going to be about cranking through some work instead.  Then, when I was headed to a cafe to do said work I got derailed.  Police cars are not unusual in my neighborhood – I live in an urban area in transition – but eight police cars are unusual even around here.  So I asked an observer what happened and got, well, a rant about a kid getting arrested for possession with a medical marijuana card.  That sounds…well first like the police are hoping for an informant, but also not enough of anything for eight cars so I did what I normally do; make sure it’s safe to approach then head over and write down names and badge numbers just in case.

I record badge numbers for the same reason I call the police for domestic disturbances, and wait with mugging victims.  Because too many people have too high a somebody else’s problem field.  Because Oakland Police and Oakland residents had tense relations dating back well before Occupy, and because I believe very strongly in the police answering to the people and not the other way around, I don’t want to leave my neighbors to deal with police alone.  Because I believe that the strongest weapon is free and clear access to information, and an informed citizenry is an empowered citizenry I take down badge numbers.  Thankfully, 98% of the time it just turns into meaningless notes.  This time, I decided to file a complaint.  I decided to file a complaint because after seeing the interaction, I am confidant that Sgt. Convington was detaining someone not for committing a crime, but for insulting him, because the language Sgt. Covington used was clearly meant to punish and berate, not to inform his suspect of the reason for his arrest or of his rights, and because language such as “you fuck with us, we’ll fuck with you” is never ever acceptable coming out of a police officer’s mouth, I decided to file a complaint.

I also decided to file a complaint because I am a straight-looking citizen with no arrest record, because I was raised around court houses and city hall and I’m comfortable speaking with people in positions of authority, and because no one else seemed to be doing so.  I learned a long time ago not to profile myself cause that way lies madness, but I want to know how the police would profile me.  I am a tax payer, returned Peace Corps volunteer, voter, neat freak.  I am also scrupulous in recording and reporting police incidence.  I don’t tend to occupy things but I make coffee for the occupation. In short, I will one day be the nosy 80 year old neighbor who annoys you buy watching the whole damn neighborhood but saves your house from being robbed that one time.  But for now, I’m a concerned citizen who feels ownership over her neighborhood and expects civil servant not to use public resources to address personal hurts.

But back to this diversity of tactics and being a good girl thing – today, after I recording the police officer’s names a member of the Occupy Oakland street medics team offered me some information about the Citizen’s Police Review Board.  If I make any sense to the police I definitely didn’t make sense to this guy – he was very polite, extremely so in that way that tells me he wants to make sure I’m not uncomfortable and thought that I might be around the assembled crowd (mostly Occupy folks).  Later, he told me he is involved with a group that provides medical support to the Occupy Oakland activist…his girlfriend interjected with “she’s cool with ‘street medic,’ dear.”  This is interesting to me because it tells me I am in a role-hybrid position and I find that curious in itself.  I also know that my tactics, which include being polite to police officers while insisting on gathering information I know is guaranteed to me, rub some people about as far in the wrong way as broken windows rub me.  I do not support violent tactics, but I also realize that we each bring our own strengths and our own needs to the goal of making our community and our neighborhood thrive.  I think, ultimately, we need all of these tactics and more.

I realized while facing my own fear and uncertainty around giving my contact information to the Sargent that took my complaint that if free and clear access to information is our greatest asset, transparency is my biggest safety net.  It’s scary to know you’re on the radar, and it’s alarming to look at all the things you do without an expectation of privacy, ultimately, I hope it’s worth it.  If nothing else, knowing that going in gives you a hell of a lot more control than trying to protect your privacy after the fact through a web of porous security measures.  Plus there’s a little thing about wanting transparency from others and eating your own dog food…

Written by kinkinexile

March 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Posted in personal, politics

One Response

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  1. Speaking of transparency, I wonder if it’s at all a stretch to say that blogging about this incident is possibly the safest thing you could have done. 🙂


    March 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm

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