By Enrique Grijalva

The faint stench of urine sprang forth from the empty holding cell in which I was to occupy for the next two hours. I took a seat on the steel bench that appeared to have once bared a crisp, royal blue paint job, but then again, it was a holding cell. Amenities are not expected to be on par with the aesthetic qualities of a five star hotel, and that bench, which was noticeably worn down, appeared as if it wanted to forget the revolting scent of a few flatulent memories absorbed by its cold skin.

My arresting officer, who, for the sake of protecting his privacy and, of course, nonsensical humor, will be referred to as “Mr. T.” Ironically, he pitied this fool and assured me that he would try to process all of my information as quickly as possible.

In my experience, I already knew what that meant. Dealing with New York’s hospitals, precincts, courts, postal service, and public transportation, I’ve learned that the term quickly is loosely translated to mean a few hours, days, months or years. So, as I mentioned, once I entered the cell I chose to make myself comfortable.

You might be wondering why I got arrested in the first place.

Well, an overwhelming gust of wind swiftly pushed me through an open gate near the turnstile at a subway station. This inconceivable act by Mother Nature literally caught me by surprise — a phenomenon that has been cited by local meteorologists and environmental scientists to occur only when boy scouts and pigs seemingly disappear from the entrance of New York’s subway stations. Weird, isn’t it?

I found myself frozen in disbelief; it hadn’t occurred to me that I didn’t get a chance to pay the fare. Unfortunately, for me, the hidden cameras installed in this hot subway station did. Due to the lack of technology, I’m sure they were unable to capture the wind gust that escorted me through the open gate.

That’s my story and you better believe that I’m sticking to it.

Soon, Mr. T would ask me to come with him. As I stood by a trash can, cornered by this placid, white gentleman, with nowhere to run, I answered each of the routine questions:

“Got your I.D.?”


“Got anything sharp on you?”


“Got any drugs?”

“Yes, officer, I am carrying my medicine.”

“Got milk?”

“Do you prefer almond, rice or hemp?”

I thought all I was going to receive was a summons, but then he told me that he had to cuff me and take me to the precinct. I believe my exact reaction was, “Are you fucking serious?” (Normally, for Blacks and Latinos, this type of reaction warrants a couple of dozen bullet holes to the torso.) He explained that because of the high volume of criminal activity in this particular subway station I had to be taken in. Translation: It was the end of the month and he had to meet his quota.

When I was younger I always thought that if I ever got arrested it would be for attempting to mimic the archetypally conditioned and ill-fated career path for inner city youth, which has made the likes of Pablo Escobar and “Freeway” Ricky Ross notoriously famous. I was terribly wrong.

Awaiting the arrival of the paddy wagon that would take me to the precinct, Mr. T and I stood under a clothing store’s awning, dodging the rain as he described each step of the arresting process. He advised me not to say anything about the medicine in my jacket. One reason, because I obviously wanted to keep it. The second reason, because I didn’t want to make the situation any worse.

He asked me a few personal questions regarding employment, school, and where I was going. I sensed a friendly undertone to this manner of questioning, as opposed to the rigorous and smartass methods used by most cops. Once he realized that he arrested a freelance writer who just wanted to hit the gym before heading to work, he felt guilty for spoiling my day.

I let him know that while getting arrested wasn’t my cup of tea, there may have been a silver lining to the situation. Perhaps if I had made it out to the gym, like I planned, I would have been met with some form of misfortune. Who knows?

Once at the precinct, Mr. T kept his word and got me out as quickly as he could.

However short our interactions were between filling out papers, fingerprinting and mug shots, he was always cordial and made sure I was comfortable, offering me bathroom breaks, and constantly detailing the next step in the process.

Mr. T is an older police officer with a probing mind and an old-fashioned approach to life. He’s a humble man, yet it’s evident that he takes pride in doing his job accurately and honestly. He’s a true professional (and a wonderful conversationalist). He’s the type of person you would love to have in your corner, as a friend in your life or, in my case, as the man who arrested me.

In the end, Mr. T didn’t necessarily alter my views on the police as a group, or illuminate me with the truth about cops as persons, which remains unchanged: An encounter is simply contingent on the individual, because this broad group of men and women carries with them various personalities, backgrounds, characteristics, morals and ethics, but most importantly, life experiences.

Immortal Technique, one of my favorite emcees and revolutionaries, once said, “Trying to fight the system from inside eventually corrupts you.”

This experience has taught me to think otherwise. It’s taught me to have hope that no matter how corrupt and unjust an organization may be, a person can still remain a person — self; an individual inside of a systematic group — and still maintain the ability to empathize with others.

However, with all that said, the mantra still remains the same: Fuck the police!

38 Responses to Uncensored New York: The Cop Who Arrested Me was a Good Man

  1. Ray Benitez says:

    I used to be an Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans(yes, that corrupt city). Cops are just like any group of people, there are a percentage of a$$ holes, but a large number of regular guys who work, go out at night and just live as normal a life as a policeman can. Don’t judge a book by its cover, get to know a cop, he works for you.

  2. Pandora's Pithos says:

    You people need to lighten up. This is nothing more than a good humor story, and a well written one at that. This is not a rant or tirade about the injustices of the NYPD and people who commit victimless or non-violent crimes. Some of you may say that skirting the fare hurts taxpayers and those of you who dutifully pay them, but what other minor infractions have you gotten away with that you don’t wish to admit to. Honestly people, laugh a little hunh?

  3. Angel Velez says:

    And you ended the story with:FUCK THE POLICE!!!You wacko…

  4. Angel Velez says:

    You started off with THE COP WHO ARRESTED ME,WAS A GOOD MEN!you need to grow up with your stupid stories,homeboy…

  5. Angel Velez says:

    People,you need to show respect, for the Law,the same way you respect your parents.I ran from the law many times in the past,when i was in my childhood,but that does not make me a criminal.I ran because i was scared of the police,i was young and feared for my life.My point it’s this.Why people are always trying to fight cops,and or go against them?Here’s my answer, because they are the ones that commit the crimes..I would cooperate and just go on with my day.It’s as simple as sticking your hand in a cookie jar….Stop trying to be a big Macho man….Then you sit down in front of your computer,and brag about it,that you started cussing out the police.I bet u didn’t cuss at them,when u were in that cell?….punk ass.

  6. ray says:

    My guess is ole ‘free-lance’ had ‘freed-pants’ and got turd burglared. He also added a free rope toking in it for the cop. That’s why he loves him so much.

  7. Tonyb says:

    what a pompous ass…don’t steal services scumbag. End of story.

  8. Stanleyusa says:

    Never met a good cop yet! They are all only bullies with badges and guns for an excuse. They still have to see the Dentist, Doctor, shop at the local grocery store and take out the trash and garbage like the rest of us. I say get ’em back, deny them services, Dentist, doctors. mechanics. When they want services, tell the, I don’t service people who make false arrests under color of authority and falsify arrests and police reports. You don’t want to honor your oath and protect and to serve, I don’t want to service you either. Do like Ghandi, civil disobedience. They have to live in their community also. Unless they don’t want to then deny them and isolate them the way they arrest you and isolate you. Karma mano-a-mano. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The Golden Rule!!!!!!

    • Susan Gallagher Miner says:

      Stanleyusa, you are a moron!

    • Really? says:

      STANLEY USA-Exactly right! But what happens when something terrible happens to you or your family member? Maybe you/they are a victim of a serious crime. The police then falsely arrest someone of course. Then the officer needs to go to a doctor after a fight with the suspect. Deny that officer right? Yeah you’re probably right. Actually no, you’re just a complete idiot.

  9. Willliam Wallace says:

    That cop was One in a Million. Most of them are criminals who commit crimes while hiding behind the badge. I myself have been assaulted by Police several times for no reason. If a cop is having a bad day, he will take it out on a civilian!

    • Nostradamus says:

      I seriously doubt there was no reason.

    • bambam325 says:

      I’m sure you believe there was no reason, but there was moron. Jails are full of innocent individuals like you lol. Most cops are good people who do thier jobs to the best & just like any job,community etc…. there will always be a few bad apples. Please feel free to leave NyC or even America perhaps to many of these lawless countries and see how you fare. Even better how about you realize your an idiot and start n ow on altering your mind and your lifeas there is still time.

    • Susan Gallagher Miner says:

      That cop was not one in a million. Actually, bad cops are one in a million. No reason is all in your mind.

    • Rita Clark says:

      We are fortunate here in our small Minnesota town. Our policemen and women have respect and trust.

      • Rita Clark says:

        My husband grew up in Brooklyn and we lived there after our marriage so I know what New York is like. We have never regretted moving back to my hometown.

    • Gregory says:

      I am glad the Police were there for you. Some people deserve a regular butt kicking.

    • Mama Bear says:

      I find it fairly unbelievable that you have been assaulted several times “for no reason”. However, perhaps geography plays a part in that (meaning – if you live in an area with a high crime rate perhaps the police are more aggressive). I have never been assaulted by a police officer but I live in a very low crime area. Perhaps I’ve just been lucky but I also don’t put myself in situations which would require police intervention, which may contribute to such assaults. I agree with Susan Gallagher Miner….the majority of law enforcement are decent individuals but the rotten ones get the most press. You just don’t hear enough of the good, selfless deeds.

  10. cheese101 says:

    Here is a crazy thought; don’t break the law! What a turd.

  11. Whitey says:

    NO not F54K the POLICE , F34K You, You F3546ing F765K!

  12. Norman F. Middleton says:

    Thanks for your honesty

  13. ashokbhagat says:

    I am surprised that good writers like this so freely use the work FUCK. Amazing

  14. rdl114 says:

    Astounding. I lived in New York almost my entire life except for college and not once did a gust of wind lift me across or past the turnstiles. The other funny thing is, no one I know has ever had that happen. Even odder, when the millions go to work every day or to school or go about their business, those gusts of wind only choose a tiny percentage of people to blow across the turnstiles. Huh.

    As to “quotas,” an older, veteran cop doesn’t have to worry in the least about quotas. It’s next to impossible to penalize a long-time veteran. And even if there were a quota, obviously there are still sad little writers who want to steal from the public pocketbook while the rest of us pay for our rides. What difference does it make if they’re arrested on the first of the month or the thirty-first?

    • Lou Vito says:

      So, the free lance writer was deliberately trying to get past the turnstiles without paying? Shame on him. His arrest record will be out there for everybody to see…might be difficult getting hired, considering, and it must not pay well.

    • donking7 says:

      Actually, one of the times I was in NY, I did get blown across the turnstiles. They were shut down because of, and in the middle of Hurricane Frederick. The airlines dropped us off at a “central transportation hub”. Grand Central Station. The wind did blow me across the turnstiles. I wasn’t a college kid either.

  15. PressEnter says:

    He can be a good man all he likes. On the open water I would still send him down to Davy Jones. Don’t be a fool, know which side you are on.

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