A Comedy of Errors – Act 1

Written at 3:03am on June 20, 2010.

I left Maidie’s graduation party around 11:30pm. I wasn’t feeling well. I was tired and wanted to go to bed. My stomach has been upset since I got off the 100 Mile Wilderness. I don’t ever discuss such things because I find it so disgusting but I have been passing the smelliest gas and the bowel movements…urg.  It’s tough adjusting from the trail diet to the rich and fatty foods of the regular American diet.  And a dinner of veggie burgers, sauteed onions dripping in oil and a very wet mayonnaisey macaroni salad was not sitting well on the stomach.

When I get into Hanover, on my way to Lebanon, I start to feel very anxious. A reaction I have when I feel unwell. I feel like I’m going to pass out. I have gas and the smell of it is making me nauseous. I feel like I may throw up.

I pull Barb and Steve Teeter’s Odyssey into a parking spot. I sit there with the anxiety of the situation rolling over me in waves. I break out into a body sweat, I have tunnel vision, I feel like I’m going to pass out. I don’t know how long I sat there suffering this reaction to pass.

The car door opens and an African American gentleman wearing a lanyard and tag around his neck looks in. He tells me that there are three cops standing nearby and he overheard them saying they were going to “bust her” when I started the car. He said that he’s a lawyer. He suggested that I take a cab ride home or get out of the driver’s seat, remove the keys from the ignition and sleep for a little while. I take his suggestions but I have no money for a cab. I’m too embarrassed to talk about my stomach issues and the passing of gas. He closes the door.

I get into the back of the vehicle to lay down and wait for this attack to pass. The hot flash has passed and the sweat chills my body. I am laying on my side with my back to the door on the floor with Maxwell. I hear the door behind me open. I look up to see a flashlight and the faces of two police officers peering in. They tell me that a man came up to them and told them I was intoxicated and worried that I may try to drive myself home. I tell them I am fine, just not feeling well and am taking respite. They tell me I cannot stay there. I ask them if there is a curfew or a time limit on the parking space I’m occupying. They repeat, saying I cannot stay there and continue on to tell me I can’t stay there because I am intoxicated. They then go on to say that they are taking me into protective custody. I tell them I don’t need protection. I need rest.

The officers grab my arms and pull me out of the vehicle. They handcuff me, hands behind the back. I tell them I want to call my lawyer and they grab my cell phone, tearing it out of my hands. They hold my upper arms high up, hurting me and walk me across the street in front of 100 or so people gathered for some event under tents, as if I’m a violent criminal. I call out asking them during this entire process, “What am I being charged with?” The officers say once or twice that I’m not being charged with anything. They say I’m not being arrested. They’re placing me in protective custody.

I say repeatedly to all the bystanders, “These police officers have just accosted me, cuffed me and they won’t tell me what I am being charged with. Help! They assaulted me in my vehicle and apparently I’m not under arrest. I am handcuffed and I refuse to get into this police vehicle.”

http://creativetime.org/programs/archive/2007/sussman/welcome.html
Intervention of the Sabine Woman

A woman walking along the sidewalk, as well as many others stare at me and the officers. She slows and stands feet away listening to me refuse to get into the police vehicle and telling the officers that I would like to know why I am being treated this way. They keep saying I am intoxicated. Not once have they asked me why I was parked or even read me my rights.

The blond-haired officer keeps trying to push me forcibly into the police cruiser. I tell him that I am not getting in and that I would like to know why I am being treated this way. He tells me he is going to “spray” me if I don’t comply. The woman asks me what my name is during this struggle and the blond-haired officer says, “She’s nobody.” I tell the woman my name is Nichole Hastings. She repeats my name and says, “I’m a witness.” She asks me to please get into the vehicle, repeating that she is a witness. a dark complexioned man is standing less than ten feet away silently watching.

I sit down on the edge of the back seat, my legs and feet blocking the door from shutting. The dark-haired officer opens the other back seat door. The blond officer tells the dark-haired one to “Grab her and pull her in.” I turn and look the dark-haired officer dead in the eye and tell him, “Don’t touch me.” He hesitates in reaching for me. I turn, pull my legs in and sit in the back of the cruiser. They shut the doors. I sit there. Bewildered.

Footnote:

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990
[(2) Specific prohibitions
(A) Discrimination
For purposes of subsection (a) of this section, discrimination includes
(i) the imposition or application of eligibility criteria that screen out or tend to screen out an individual with a disability or any class of individuals with disabilities from fully and equally enjoying any goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations, unless such criteria can be shown to be necessary for the provision of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations being offered;]

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