Archive for February 22nd, 2005


It is so beautiful outside. It is actually hot.

Alex and I are going downtown for a beer outside in the sunshine before medical malpractice. We are meeting at the corner of jackson and broad at 4:15.

Wanna come?

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This is something that happens too often. I have a close friend who has had to deal with a situation that arose from ridiculous loopholes and bad advice. Having been arrest myself long ago, I have a serious aversion to cops. When I was arrested I was dead sober, it was 5:15 on a Saturday afternoon, and I was pulled over for failure to maintain lane. Okay, maybe I will just tell the story……this is a long one, but it is interesting, involves strip searching and a lot of lawsuits.

About two weeks before I started my sophomore year of college, I got a new car (or, at least it was new to me). I, of course, lost no time in putting my sorority stickers of my car, mostly because I am dork. A few weeks into school, I was suppose to go to the freshman pledge retreat at Lake Lanier. My parents knew I was going on the retreat. But a couple of hours before we were suppose to leave, two of my pledge sisters convinced me that there were going to be too many people at the retreat, and that we ought to go meet some of our guy friends up at Lake Burton. Hmmmm……boys…….difficult decisions.

Clearly I decided to go to Lake Burton. Bonnie and Erin and I ran around town getting together the things we needed for the trip, beer, coolers, food, etc, while Elizabeth finished with her study group. Well, Elizabeth’s study group took forever, and Bonnie, Erin and I ended up sitting in the car waiting for Elizabeth for about 45 minutes. We are of course in my car, because I am obsessed with my new car. While we were waiting, Bonnie and Erin drank a beer. Erin doesn’t even like beer, but we were trying to teach her. While sitting there I think to call my parents and tell them my change in plans.

Once Elizabeth gets in the car, we tear out of town. On the way out of town we stop by Wendy’s and get Elizabeth some food and called the boys to tell them we were on our way and get directions. My parent’s have a house in Rabun county, not far from Lake Burton, and we should have just gone the way I know how to go. But instead we followed the directions of the boys, which takes us through some small towns. About halfway (the drive is about an hour and a half), we drove through Clarksville, in Habersham County. And somehow we got lost in Clarkesville and had to turn around in the Ingles parking lot. This proved to be a fatal mistake.

Not three minutes after we pulled out of the Ingles parking lot, a cop was behind me, flashing his lights. Note the time, about 5:15 pm. I pull over, and yell at the other girls to put their beer away. I roll down the window, and ask the officer what I did wrong. He tells me I went over the white line three times. Keep in mind I haven’t been on the road for more than three minutes and I am in the mountains, where the roads are curvy. He asks for my drivers license, and as I pull out my drivers license, my fake ID falls out. Now, it wasn’t actually a fake drivers license, it just wasn’t mine. Ol’ Copper doesn’t think much of this and makes me get out of the car and calls for backup. BACKUP!!! Are you serious? He asks me if he can search my "vehicle," which I probably should have refused, but I didn’t, I panicked.

Well, Roscoe gives me a breathalyzer. I haven’t had anything to drink and obviously don’t blow anything. Then he makes all the other girls get out and blow. They do of course blow something. At this point, two other Roscoes have shown up. All three of them go through my car. They basically took the thing apart. They went through my CDs. They went through all of our pocketbooks. They found about 10 fake id’s between the four of us. They took away our beer. They made us sit on the side of the road on the grass while all this is going on. I am starting to get mad, instead of scared.

What happens next is just unbelievable. After the Roscoes get tired of molesting my car, they HANDCUFF us all. They put my three friends in the back of one car, and drive off with them. They put me in the backseat of another car by myself.

Now, we were going to the lake, and this is very late august, early september in Georgia. It is very hot outside. I had on a tank top, plastic shorts, and flip flops. And I was very grossed out by having the sit in the back of this dirty cop car without air conditioning, waiting for my new car to be towed away. I start to get angry. I’m not scared, I’m not upset, I’m mad. Finally, two Roscoes get in the front, and tell me that the tow truck is on its way. While the three of us sit in the car, I can’t stand it anymore:

Me: "Hey, can I ask you a question?"
Roscoes: "Sure, honey."
Me: "Did you pull me over because I drive an SUV and have sorority stickers on my car?"
Roscoes: "Honey, we pulled you over because you were swerving."

Once my car is towed away by the oldest person I have ever seen, the Roscoes and I took the scenic route to Detention Drive. By now it is probably about 6:30. The officers start to tell me about how they are going to turn me over to the police at the jail.

When we arrive at the jail, it is like stepping back fifteen years in time. The female officer, Bangs, has peroxide wavy hair with bangs teased up to their full potential, with black roots. She was a larger women. The two male officers look malnutrition and inbreed. White Zombie is blaring from the boombox behind the desk. I am honestly so angry at this point in time that I don’t realize what is going on, although I do see my coolers in the hallway. My anger was at a point that I was unaware of the situation and kept me from losing it. Before I know it, Bangs has taken me into a small room with windows. She looks me up and down, and the unrealness of the situation really takes hold with this:

Bangs: "Waell, you don’t really have enough clothes on for me to bother strip searching you, so we’ll just stand around in here for a little while and pretend like I stripped you.
Me (speechless, confused beyond understanding, completely lost): "Huh?"

I start to get claustrophobic. Luckily, Bangs decided that we had been in there long enough, takes me out of the strip search room, and into the holding cell, where I find my friends.

In the holding cell, my friends are all quite upset, for different reasons. Bonnie had gotten into a little trouble with some late night swimming at town club a couple months before, and Elizabeth had gotten a minor in possession freshman year. They were both concerned with this being a second offense. Erin had never been in trouble in her life and as such did not understand what she was doing in jail.

Turns out that I had gotten the best end of the strip searching deal. Bangs had made Bonnie take her shirt off, and made Erin take her jeans off, and Elizabeth layed on the ground and screamed and refused, so Bangs backed off. If you thought I was mad before that, I was incensed at this point.

Not long after I was reunited with my friends, I realized that the White Zombie had stopped, and that it had gotten quite outside. I looked out the peephole, confused. Then I realized that the officers had gone to dinner. It was about 7:15 at this time. I thought my head was going to explode. Being angry wears you out. Feeling depressed, abandoned, violated, and wronged, the four of us sat for two miserable hours before anyone ever came back.

Around 9:30, they let Elizabeth out, to book her and to let her make a phone call. Not wanting to call her parents, Elizabeth called her brother (who also told downtown athens, everyone knew we were in jail before we even got out). Her brother called my brother. My brother called my parents. While this was going on, I had been let out after Elizabeth to make my phone call.

Travers: "Have you talked to Charlsie?"
Mama: "No, is she okay?"
Travers: "Well, I don’t want to get her in trouble….But I think she is jail.

(the phone clicks in with my phone call from jail. When you call from jail, you can’t use the normal collect calling programs, the only button that works is zero, and you use the jail collect call service. If you have ever received a collect call from jail, you know what it says).

Mama: "Hang on."
Operator: "You have a collect call from – Charlsie – an inmate at a correction institution."
Mama: "Let me get your father." (words no one wants to hear).

I was charged with allowing another to violate the law, failure to maintain lane, and minor in possession. The other girls were charged with minor in possession and open container. Allowing another to violate the law is a $1,700 fine. Did you know that was a charge?

Turns out, the Roscoes had towed my car about thirty miles away, and even if my dad bailed us all out (which he did), we wouldn’t have a way to get back to my car. My parents live about three hours away from Habersham county, and the other girls parents lived even farther away.
The boys we were suppose to meet at the lake had become concerned when we didn’t show up. They started calling hospitals, convinced that we had been in a wreck, since we didn’t answer our cell phones. The Habersham county hospital was happy to tell them that we were in jail.

In the end, Will and John Scott came and picked us up from jail in Habersham county and took us to my car. To this day, they are my heroes (and my dad for bailing us all out). One of the malnutrition officers did hit on me once I was released, told me he would be in athens next semester for training, and would love to meet up. I had a resurgence of anger.

My car was at a junk yard off 441, and we had to pay to get it back of course. But the worst part was that when we opened the door to the car, there were two junk yard cats in the back seat chewing up the Wendy’s bag from lunch. How did the cats get in the car? Oh, because the Roscoes didn’t roll up the window from when I rolled it down when they first pulled me over. Cool.

This story does have a happy ending. Erin’s mom called the DA in Habersham and told him how we had been mistreated, and the DA dropped all charges and wanted us to press charges again the police department. We didn’t, because the other girls wanted to move on, and we were breaking the law, but my dad did get his bail money back. The Habersham police department has a habit of arresting people and strip searching them for fun. And failure to maintain lane is a great way to pull people over.

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