Thursday, April 15, 2010

Some days are good, some days are bad...

Today was a good day!

Actually the past few days have been good. Plenty of smokes, plenty of food and no cravings to use. A visit from my neighbor Don broke up some of the monotony. He even got me out for a bit and introduced me to another resident of my building.

I took the trolley to the library and ran into another friend of mine from the City Mission. Greg looked to be doing pretty good despite the run in he had with the cops. The situation was pretty pathetic but Greg has friends in high places. This will all turn out pretty good for him.

It seems as though he was arrested for public intoxication. The funny thing is that Greg doesn't drink or use drugs. Well the drugs he does use are prescribed by his doc. He doesn't abuse them and is on the whole a pretty conscientious guy.

He is disabled and walks poorly. He sometimes staggers and wobbles, but usually gets where he wants. The scary thing for me is that he walks better than I do but I use a cane. He also suffers from a speech impediment, so unless you listen carefully he may not be fully understood.

So the other night hes walking home when the police pull up to him. Eventually the cops weren't interested in anything beyond the fact that Greg was a bit unstable on his feet. He tried to explain the problems he had, but The Man was hearing nothing of this. Greg's speech problems are exasperated when he's upset or excited.

Instead of just taking him home, which is the right thing to do if they thought Greg was a danger to himself or others, they just yanked him downtown to be booked or charged or whatever it is that they do when they pick someone up. To add insult to injury about 6 of our city's finest amused themselves by ridiculing and making fun of my friend.

Whether he was stinking drunk or in his case just disabled, that was just wrong.

I thought the police had new policies in place about their behavior. Evidently they thought those policies where for the other cops.

There is a silver lining in this all.

Greg is a vet.

He rightly takes advantage of the services of the local VA hospital. The VA in Erie is a very proactive group in regard to the vets they serve. Greg went to his counselor and told her of his experience with the City of Erie Police. Apparently she thought this incident was as wrong as the Erie Crackhead felt it was.

Greg has a hearing coming up shortly and he won't be there alone. The VA will be there to support him as he so richly deserves. Along with his counselor his physician will be there in his defense. The VA is also sending a lawyer along as well.

On top of that the local office of the ACLU is taking an interest in Greg's piddly public intoxication case and the abusive behavior he suffered as a result of his arrest. There is also a team of law students who are taking an interest in this case as well. Greg tried to mention which law school they were from, unfortunately I missed the school's name.

No matter, the more the merrier!

My hope is that this little public intoxication case will make it into our local paper. It might be too much to ask for TV coverage of this, but one can hope.

Maybe then the next time the cops pick up a suspected drunk they at the very least act with a touch of sensitivity. First of all they should check out to make sure that the unlucky soul getting there attention is not suffering in some other way and not drunk. There are a pile of physical as well as mental problems that might give folks the wrong impression.

Greg certainly would have welcomed a ride in a cruiser in those cold winter days when moving was difficult and the footing was uncertain. There were many days like that when I would have welcomed a ride in a cop car.

But you know, there's never a cop around when you need one.

OK...Back off my soapbox.

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