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Monday, August 18, 2014

Harassment by Law Enforcement, Stand Up for Your Rights

The following is my argument for Order to Dismiss false charges against me.  This morning I appeared in court and was told, "Ms. ____, the State has decided not to pursue these charges against you.  The charges have been dropped.  The case is dismissed.  You're free to go."
 
I thanked the judge and with misty eyes and glad heart humbly and respectfully exited the courtroom.
 
MEMORANDUM ~ Argument for Order to Dismiss Charges:
 
It is evident that in this case these charges (two counts [state statute] 843.02 [Resisting Without Violence / Obstruction of an officer's duties -- a first degree misdemeanor which in Florida may be punishable a) For a misdemeanor of the first degree, by a definite term of imprisonment not exceeding 1 year ~ OR ~ d) $1,000, when the conviction is of a misdemeanor of the first degree... for each count]) were unjustified and resulting from dishonest abuse of office; therefore, they rightfully ought to be dismissed.
 
FACTS:
 
1. My first encounter with OPD officer Jessica Nasworth, although I didn't realize it until after I was released from jail, was about one month prior to the time she arrested me.  On May 22, 2014, she received my call at OPD when I reported my wallet stolen.  After asking my name and learning that my driver's license ID had been in the wallet, she suddenly cut the conversation short and gave me an incident number with which I later filed the official report with OPD (2014-xxxxx).  She was not informed of the fact that my Birth Certificate and Social Security card had not been stolen, and were in fact still in my possession.
 
2. On June 30, 2014, around 1:05 AM, as I was walking on the sidewalk of the 3900 [typo, should have said 2900] block of East ___ ___ Street, on the North side of the street, officer Jessica Nasworth drove up from behind me heading in the same direction I was walking (East), then wheeled around the circular intersection at 30th Avenue to double back toward me, and immediately pulled her squad car up onto the sidewalk in front of me and facing me, startling me, and blocking my path.  I feared she might run over me with that car, and thought her behavior extremely aggressive.
 
3. An officer fitting the description of Jessica Nasworth (later identified to me by OPD officer Tuck) immediately got out of the car and demanded my ID [her exact words were something like, "Do you have any identification on you?"].  As I stood dumb-founded feeling challenged, bullied, harassed, inconvenienced, and unnecessarily stressed, she then mumbled something incoherent and barely audible.  So I asked her to please speak clearly and loud enough to understand.  I thought she might explain her behavior, but she did not.
 
4. Instead, she again mumbled something incoherent, then 'accused' me of being "homeless".
 
5. At that point, I told officer Nasworth that she had no valid reason to detain me.
 
6. Officer Nasworth then replied in a very low, nearly inaudible tone of voice, that I was "not being detained."  Despite her unwillingness or inability to communicate very clearly, which seemed disrespectful, I was nevertheless able to easily read her lips and barely hear her state unequivocally that I was not actually being detained.  She got the message across, despite the fact that she seemed very conflicted and not entirely honest in her manner of speech.
 
7. However, since I agreed that there should be no valid reason to ruin my peace, health, and liberty, as well as the enjoyment of my walk in the cool night air in the neighborhood where I grew up and felt comfortable, I replied, "Okay, since I'm not being detained, then I shall now be on my way."
 
8. Just as I began to make a move to step around her squad car, officer Jessica Nasworth hastily and nervously asked, "COULD you identify yourself?" (Implying that she meant, if I were actually compelled to do so.).
 
9. I nodded yes, because I had my Birth Certificate and SS card with me at the time; then attempted to step around the squad car that was still parked on the sidewalk.
 
10. Officer Nasworth, standing next to her squad car near the front bumper when I stepped into the street to go around her car (there was no traffic at all that evening [i.e. very early morning]), immediately threatened, "IF I ticket you with a misdemeanor pedestrian violation, you WILL be compelled to provide your identification." (Implying that was what she intended to do, if I continued to walk in the street in order to step around her car parked on and blocking the sidewalk path).
 
11. Although I found her behavior and threats extremely unreasonable and unfair, I wanted to avoid getting a ticket for a pedestrian violation, with all the stress and hardship that might incur.  So, I got back on the sidewalk and attempted to scoot past her car by walking tight-rope fashion on the curb.  I was afraid to turn my back on her to change my direction of travel (there were no witnesses around to see how she was behaving).  I was likewise afraid to cross the street, with her making threats about pedestrian violations.
 
12. As I attempted to scoot past the squad car on the curb, officer Nasworth repositioned herself to stand by the back passenger door, so that she was already waiting there when I got to that point.  As soon as I got to that point, beside the passenger door, she grabbed my right wrist with her left hand, holding on to it.
 
13. When she grabbed my wrist, as shocked as I was, I expected her to explain why she'd assaulted me.  But she only stared at me coldly, in a hard, inhuman, sadistic fashion.
 
14. So I asked her, "Are you arresting me?"  "Why?"  "I haven't done anything wrong."
 
15. But instead of explaining why she grabbed me, she just continued staring for a moment as if to intimidate me, as if to instill fear into my heart; then asked a very strange question:  "So, you don't believe I'm legitimate?"  The way she said that was like a challenge, like some schoolyard bully.  I'd never said anything to elicit such an odd response from her.  I really didn't want anything to do with her, in fact.  She terrified me.  I just hoped that I could continue about my business, go on with my life, and not be harassed by this very strange person with a badge.  But I didn't find her behavior fair or justified, or even normal; and in that way I agreed with her suggestion that it was not legitimate, so I answered her question with a shake of my head, "No."
 
16. Continuing to hold me by the wrist and staring me down, she then threatened, "Shall I call my supervisor now and prove to you that I AM legitimate?"  But she didn't call at that moment; instead she continued holding my wrist and staring at me in an evil fashion.  Her behavior was disturbing, and I felt an overwhelming jolt of uncontrollable terror as I instinctively tried to pull away from her grip on me.  I felt violated.  But she just calmly held onto me, as I wondered why she was doing so.  Once again, I instinctively tried to pull my arm away from her but again she held on to my wrist.
 
17. After my second attempt to get away from her, she radioed one back-up officer, then said rather proudly, "I AM legitimate."  I was just dumbfounded, shocked.  I thought she behaved like some predatory animal or heartless machine, not like a normal Human being.
 
18. Then she ordered me to turn around toward the car and allow her to handcuff me.  [I refused as a matter of principle to cooperate with her mistreatment of me, answering, "No!" -- but was completely passive, non-violent the whole time, not wanting the situation to escalate into violence, especially aware that she had a gun.  At no time did she inform me that I was under arrest, much less tell me the reason why she grabbed me; and no one ever read me my Miranda Rights, either.]
 
19. After she placed me into the back of the squad car, the other officer which I must assume was this "supervisor" she'd spoken of, showed up and they gave each other high-fives, cracking jokes.  Then they conversed together for a few minutes until I called their attention to the fact that two young children accompanied by an adult male were passing by in the street on foot and one child with no helmet on a bicycle without lights (actually committing REAL traffic violations).
 
20. Their conversation thus interrupted, appearing more than a little surprised and dismayed about that particular circumstance, they briefly spoke to the man before allowing them to leave, and then turned their attention to searching my bags.
 
21. They found nothing incriminating in my bags.
 
22. I was driven to the jail in fear of my life, not knowing what this anonymous officer (Nasworth, whose identification I only found out later, after leaving jail) was capable of doing.  I was there booked on two counts of 843.02 resisting without violence, and people kept asking me: "But what else did you do?"  I explained that was all -- because I wasn't actually breaking the law when she grabbed me and frightened me.
 
23. During the eleven days spent in jail, which I must say was a very traumatic experience for me in and of itself [it was deplorable in many ways (never mind the mere fact of being locked up) the substandard living conditions and attitudes of some officials in that county jail -- for which prisoners are charged at least $50 / day (much more than it would cost to adequately shelter a homeless person)], having never been arrested before in all my 56 years -- a chronic fungal ear infection which I've been trying for years to recover from, relapsed, causing me a great deal of unnecessary pain and suffering.  I did seek medical care for it while in MCJ, but was released before they ever got around to treating it (which is just as well, since I can treat it better myself with home remedies).
 
I was just happy to be free again, free to nurse my ears and free to be a real Human being, not being treated like some caged animal or slave.
 
24. All of this personal hardship and cost to the State / County was unnecessary and no fault of mine, your Honor.  I'm not in the habit of seeking trouble or strife, have never been so poorly treated by law enforcement, and was deeply shocked at how practiced officer Nasworth was to so easily manipulate me into being arrested after informing me and implying more than once that I was in fact NOT being detained and therefore had every reason to believe that I was free to go on about my own business, my own life as a free and joyful US citizen.
 
25. The unadulterated evidence from both the recorded telephone conversation on May 22, when officer Nasworth learned that my driver's license had been stolen, and the dash-cam video and audio from both squad cars at the scene, would prove beyond reasonable doubt that I'm telling the truth, your Honor.
 
And if the prosecution should choose to suppress that evidence, then the case can only be one of officer Nasworth's word against mine -- because there were no other witnesses on the scene that early morning, nor any traffic at all, until after officer Nasworth had me already locked up and handcuffed in her squad car.
 
In which case, I hope you will agree that by law the preponderance of doubt ought to lie in my favor, your Honor, especially considering my heretofore clean record, having never been arrested before for anything other than a few very minor traffic violations, and the fact that no other charges were filed against me in this case, and the fact that officer Nasworth could find no valid reason to detain me in the first place, which is why she told me that I was "not being detained" and so should have been free to continue on with my life unmolested.
 
Thank you for hearing the reasons why these charges should be dismissed, your Honor.