Thursday, April 9, 2015

Throw-Back Memory Jarred by a South Carolina Death

Every Thursday is considered Throwback Thursday on Facebook. People find old pictures of themselves or family members and post them for fun. However, yesterday's video of an unarmed man who had been stopped for a routine traffic ticket fleeing for his life and shot in the back and then framed with a relocated taser, brought back memories of my own scary traffic stop late one night on a wooded Fairfax County back road. In lieu of a twenty year old picture of my self I chose to post a throw back Memory:
It was 1992 and very late, perhaps after 11:00 o'clock at night. I had just returned from a full and tiring day flying across America and wanted only to go to bed. As I neared my rented room in a friend's apartment I saw a Fairfax police car pass me going in the other direction. I knew I was going to be stopped.
I was young and broke and had just been hired as a flight attendant. They based me away from my home state leaving me with $2000 to move, pay first and last months rent, and buy a car. I was thrilled to find one for $400. It was clean-- inside anyway-- with low mileage, but had a smashed driver's door.
He saw me pass, immediately made a U-turn and followed me for about a half a mile until I tapped on my brakes. That's when he saw my brake light was out. Suddenly it was red lights in my rear view mirror and then a bright white in my face. I showed him my credentials. I showed him my insurance. I showed him the receipt and the new bulb that I had tried to put in but found did not fit. I explained that I did not live here and that it was an airport car. I told him how I tried to fix it two days earlier when I had arrived from Cleveland for my trip and that I was going back to find someone else to replace it tomorrow.
He sneered and snarled. He did a walk around barking at me to turn on this blinker and that blinker, turn on my wipers and step on my brakes. The only thing that did not work was the light bulb which I had a receipt and new bulb for. I told him I did not live here and that my transfer had finally gone thru so this was truly my last week. He said "Not my problem! Take it up with the magistrate!" By then I was crying as I silently took the ticket and rolled up my window.
The worse part was that he trailed me slowly for three miles all the way into my commuter pad parking lot. He stopped with me and sat there with his lights on me as I got my suitcase out, and walked across the lot to enter my commuter pad apartment where I was renting a small basement bedroom to be used twice a month. He did not leave until I closed the door behind me.
My only crime was that the light bulb post was rusted, and the bulb would not come out. I had the dated receipt, and proof that I was moving the next week, but I was still trailed and intimidated. As a single black female on a lonely unlit back wooded area road, I was left feeling alone and terrified. I wonder what he would have done if I were male.

1 comment:

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