I’ve only been arrested three times. Considering my track record, that’s pretty impressive.
My first arrest. 1980. I was walking home to my apartment one night, and the cops pulled me over. It was a case of mistaken identity. I looked similar to someone who had just committed a crime in the area. I fit the description of the suspect. So they pulled me over. Gave me the flashlight treatment. Ran my name across the wire. It turned out, a couple years previous, I had been given a ticket for hitch-hiking on the freeway. And I had failed to pay the fine. So a warrant had gone out for my arrest. So now, years later, the cops had a reason to arrest me. I was a criminal. So they handcuffed me and hauled me off to the Berkeley Police Station. Which was a stunning turn of events. One minute I’m walking down the street. The next minute I’m in handcuffs and locked up in a cage. The cops grilled me mercilessly while I was locked up in my cell.
“Admit your guilt and we’ll go easy on you,” said the coppers.
“I didn’t do anything,” I said.
“Take off your shoes!” demanded the cop. I took off my shoes.
The cops took this “evidence” — my shoes — and disappeared off to some other part of the police station. Leaving me there in my cell. In my socks. . . It turned out, whoever had committed the crime had left shoe-prints at the scene of the crime, embedded in the mud. So they wanted to see if the treads on my shoes matched the shoe-prints left at the scene.
Fortunately they didn’t match.
But I still owed 150 bucks for the “hitch-hiking on the freeway” ticket. They allowed me one phone call. So I called up my older sister who also lived in Berkeley. I explained my plight to her. She thankfully came down to the Berkeley Police Station and paid off the $150 fine at one in the morning. I had paid back my debt to society. And had rehabilitated myself.
The cops let me out of my jail cell. I was now a free man. A good, honest, decent American, just like you. And I re-paid my sister the 150 bucks the next day