The ride to the Hanover Police Station is a blur. At one point I ask the officer, “Do you know the definition of the word ‘rape’? It’s nothing sexual. It means to take someone or something by force. There was a famous painting, by Titian, The Rape of the…” I trail off because I can’t remember the name of the painting. He retorts, “Thanks for the history lesson.”
I tell him, “You can’t just do whatever you want to people.” He replies, “we can do whatever we want when you’re in our custody.”
He continues to tell me I am intoxicated. My mind is boggled. Has this man ever drank before? Do drunk people speak as I do? I ask him if he’s happy. He says he is. I ask him, “What’s something you do that makes you happy?” He says nothing. I continue, “Because happy people have an easy time answering that question. Are you that unhappy with being unable to fight ‘real’ crime?” I don’t recall a clear answer. I suppose that was a bit crass to ask in retrospect but I ask a lot of people that question because I seriously want to know. Happiness is an important thing.
We arrive at the station, he parks and gets out. He opens the door and tells me to get out. He tells me to stand here. And then stand there. He opens the door to the building and tells me to go inside. I do. He tells me to sit, pointing at a metal bench. I sit. He tells me to stand. I stand. He tells me he’s taking the cuffs off. I’m so irritated with this rigamarole. I say, “I was just standing, you tell me to sit. If you knew you were going to take the cuffs off, why did I have to sit then stand again?” He walks away telling me to sit. I stand.
He stands there asking me questions. A few minutes later I hear Maxwell, barking for me through a metal door to my right. The other officer enters. I tell them that he is a Service Animal, prescribed by my doctor for anxiety, and I would like to please have him with me. They refuse. one of them goes on to say, if he’s a service animal then I would have proof, papers, a card and tells me to prove it. I tell him, “Do you understand that what you’re asking is illegal? No one can demand to see proof of a Service Animal according to the American Disabilities Act. Would you please give me my dog. I need him with me.” They refuse.
I say, “What are your names? I would like to see some credentials, business cards, someting saying who you are.” They both laugh and walk out of the room together leaving me alone.
The dark-haired officer reappears and stands behind the counter at a computer. His fingers angrily clicking the keyboard. I feel so weary and anxious because there are times when I can’t hear Maxwell at all. All I can think is, “What the hell are they doing to him? Where is he?” My head is spinning. I’m freezing and shaking.
At one point, I look up and see the sign saying that the room is under video surveillance and sound recorded. I gesture to it asking him to explain to me why it is I’m here again. He tells me, “It has already been explained to you.” I say, “Now that we’re under surveillance you won’t say, huh? Just say it once more, for posterity.” He repeats, “It’s already been explained to you.”
I tell him, “Honey, you have made a gross error in judgement. There is a fine line between pride and foolishness and you are being, well, idiots. You are making a mistake here that you are going to regret. Just think about it for one moment reasonably and logically.” He stares down at me, “If you are not intoxicated then prove it. Take a breathilizer and prove it.” I stare back at him, unblinking, “You drag me out of my vehicle, handcuff me, bring me here on some bogus charge, oh that’s right, I’m not being charged. But on hearsay and now you want me to take a breathilizer? No, I will not. This is ridiculous. You can’t treat people this way. Tis means that anyone could point at any other person on the street and say they did something bad and you can go and get them?”
He tells me to come stand against the wall so they can take my picture, a photograph, they do it to everyone who comes in. I tell him, “No. If I’m not being charged with anything or arrested then no. You do not have my permission to take my photograph.” He turns the camera at me and I hold my hand up in front of me looking away.
I repeatedly ask for my dog, about 20 times saying ‘please’. I re-explain that he is prescribed to me and a service animal. My request is repeatedly refused.
The phone is turned and slammed at me on the counter. I’m told if I don’t get a ride, someone to come pick me up then I’ll be ‘put in jail’. I tell them I want my cell phone. All my numbers are in it and I can’t make any calls until I do. They bring me my cell phone. I call two lawyers, including my divorce lawyer, and Barb and Steve. It’s 2:00am in the morning and I feel like a complete idiot because I’m house-sitting and they were kind enough to lend me their car as well. They have to be woken out of bed and are away in the Cape for a funeral. I call my friends Val and Chuck praying. They pick up as I’m leaving a message. Val is working in the morning and Chuck has to work a double. Val says she’ll come pick me up.
I tell them I have a ride on the way and can I please have my dog. They stare at me, almost seeming to enjoy my anxiety, and tell me I can have him when my ride gets here. They leave me shaking and shivering alone again. I can’t hear Maxwell. I don’t know where he is and he’s all I really have in this world.
One of the officers enters again and I ask for my dog. He tells me they ran my license, which means they went into my purse, searching it, and my license has been expired since October 4, 2009. I say to him, “You must be mistaken.” He looks it up again behind the counter and tells me the same thing. All I can think is, my payments are up-to-date with that lawyer in Concord and I received no notification from the State of New Hampshire. How can this be? I call the layer and leave a voicemail asking for him to please contact me Monday morning about this matter. I ask again for my dog once I am off the phone. He says, my ride is here so I may. They walk me through the metal door to my right. They hand me my purse. Maxwell’s leash is being held by an officer and he is pulling against it for me. I pick him up, he is so happy to see me and I him. They walk me out to Val. As we’re walking away, the officer says, “Well you better get that license figured out. Have a nice day.”
To be continued…
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990
[(2) Specific prohibitions
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;]