An excerpt from “Humbling and Humility” …
More hours later, I was called out of the cell by cops to be taken through a formal process of appearance before a judge, who would read out the charges against me, and determine release conditions. This time around, my conveyance was the ‘dog wagon,’ a small truck with its insides subdivided into compartments, one on each side of the vehicle with small diamond grille windows, and one in the middle with no windows. I was pushed into a side compartment of this wagon, handcuffed, and soon realized why the vehicle was called the dog wagon. There was barely enough space to move forward or backward. One could sit only by turning sideways, and had to watch out for one’s head hitting the chamfered top edges of the vehicle as it moved. No, the state is not concerned about seat belts or on-road safety for criminals under its responsibility, never mind any right of presumption of innocence. It does not take much imagination to realize that not even animals would be transported in such discomfort.
The wagon rolled out of 4th Ave., and I was grateful to see some sunlight through the tiny window. We stopped at a holding facility in another part of the metropolis, where a young, stocky fellow, no more than a year or two above twenty, with a large black patch of what seemed like dead skin on the underside of one of his forearms, joined me in my side of the dog wagon.
He seemed chatty, and given my brief exposure to sunlight, I conversed with him enough to learn that he’d gained his permanent black skin patch through MRSA gathered from unclothed contact with surfaces inside many jail cells he’d been in. MRSA is a bacterial strain highly resistant to treatment. It is quite common in the holding cells and incarceration facilities of the state. He was hospitalized by the state due to the severity of his bacterial infection. They’d managed to stop it, but not before the starkly visible damage. He seemed dismissive of it, but I wasn’t so sure that I would, at my age that was twice his, survive such bacterial infection.
As we were led into the civic center in Dilbut that housed the courts, through back doors into a holding area, I saw the same cop who’d mocked my request for toiletries at the 4th Ave. intake line. This Hispanic member of law enforcement––from his name, Carillo––seemed to enjoy playing sadistically with the emotions of those in the state’s unrelenting grip, presumed innocent or not. His face had all the refinement of a Halloween mask. It was a face not even a mother could love.
He was engaged in loud conversations with those awaiting a court appearance, declaring that judges may not come in during the weekend. And in that event, we would all be carted away to one of Sheriff Waspoia’s infamous tent camps for the weekend, roasting in the summer sun, with violent bullies and predators for company.
In time, an officer came in to inform us that a female judge had put in an appearance, and the sadistic cop changed his slant to discussing how she’d been making bail release determinations. It’s rather redundant to indicate that he worked at raising our hopes, with claims that the judge had, just the past week, let many in arraignment leave without bail, right from the courtroom, on their own recognizance. It is also not hard to now see why those arrested and subjugated by law enforcement refer to them as pigs, which I hardly think stands for ‘people in government service,’ though you may again be forgiven for such a gentle assumption.