Another hard lesson learned came when I was still with the county but in one of the bigger cities. There was a large auditorium in one of the civic centers that the managers were trying to make profitable by renting it out. Normally, this wouldn’t be our problem; we were county cops, and this was in the city. One night, however, one of our guys had been poaching in the city, trying to get drunken driving arrests.
He came upon a large riot in progress at the civic center as a large wedding in the auditorium had ended, spilling out onto the grounds. When he called for help, I responded. The scene was a chaotic mess with people running everywhere, swinging bats, sticks, and chains, and one group was beating the hell out of a guy on the ground. That’s where the other deputy was when I arrived; he was trying to break up the group kicking the hell out of the guy.
I pulled up fast, high beams and overheads on, and hit the siren. The group scattered, then the other deputy yelled at me to chase a specific guy - as he had a knife and had been stabbing the victim. I was out of the car and running after him. He took off behind the building, and I was right behind him; once again, like a dumbass I was caught up in the chase.
The area was all rail yards and gravel, and we ran all across tracks and around boxcars. Finally he gave out, and I landed on top of him, cuffed him, then caught my breath. I never found the knife.
For a few minutes, we just lay there, both of us breathing hard - then we heard his friends; the same ones who had been kicking the shit out of the guy on the ground were now looking for us. We were in the pitch dark, and they were trying to find him.
They were all around us, calling out to him. He yelled back once, then they started running around, frantically trying to locate where the sound came from.
“Let us know where you’re at, holmes” they said, “and we’ll get you out of here!” I heard one guy say,
“We’ll fuck that cop up! He’s alone...we’ll get you out of here. Where are you?”
Then I heard, “Here piggy, piggy, piggy. We’re gonna fuck you up, bitch!”
I grabbed my suspect by the throat and clamped down until he started to gag. I then said to him in as violent a whisper as I could, “One fucking word, and I will crush your fucking throat. You will have an accident: you got hurt when you fell down. Understand, motherfucker?” He managed to gasp, “Ya.”
We lay there for a while, listening to his friends running around in the gravel, trying desperately to find him while calling to each other and making threats to me. Finally, some city cops showed up and shined flashlights into the rail yards, looking for us; this scared off his friends. When it was safe, we got up and walked back the deputy who’d sent me off on this little chase.
I was pretty proud of myself; I’d caught the guy and got off with no injuries. I walked over to the deputy and tried to give the bad guy over to him, as this was part of his case.
He refused to take him, though. I was confused. “What’s up, man? You told me to chase him. He was supposed to have a knife, remember? You said he stabbed your guy?”
He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Well, I never saw any of that. I didn’t think you’d be able to catch him, and I can’t identify him from the group. Besides, I don’t want to write a report on this. Just book him for intoxication, and let’s go.”
I couldn’t believe this shit! I was hot - really fucking hot. I checked, and the guy did have warrants, so I booked him on the warrants as well. The city cops wouldn’t even look at him as a suspect. Their exact words were, “One Mexican stabbed another Mexican. Happens all the time! We don’t fucking care. He’s yours.” I did some more checking, and I found out that he was a gang member out of California hanging out with a local gang family in the city.
The whole night had been surreal. I’d done it again: got caught up in someone else’s call, caught up in the moment and the emotion, and put myself in danger again for nothing. My fellow deputy and I were no longer on speaking terms after that. He had the balls to tell everyone that I’d gone after the guy for no reason and didn’t let anyone know where I was going. He also told them that I was careless and unsafe and to be careful around me.
I was learning.
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