Well, “held for questioning,” at least.
I was going to meet an old friend at a Starbucks, had parked and was a half a block away. This cop comes along and stops me, asking for ID. I gave him my driver’s license, and he calls it in, and then starts asking me a lot of questions. Questions that I really didn’t think were his business. But I answered anyway. Then, within a few minutes, a was surrounded by six or seven more cops. “What’s going on?” I asked. “I’ll tell you in a minute,” he said. While the other cops repeated the same questions, the original cop stepped away, and started talking on his blackberry. (They all had blackberries, it turned out, all the same model.) They pulled out a sheet of paper with a still–clearly a still from some video surveillance–and were looking from me to the paper, puzzling over something.
The original cop told me that “last night a crime was committed nearby, and you fit the descirption of a video tape we have.”
Hmm. I really wanted to see the photo, but they wouldn’t let me. I’d figured that somebody had robbed a 7-11, and that I’d be cleared soon.
More calls on the blackberry. “Well, sir, we’re going to take you downtown to talk to you.” They were very polite. They cuffed me, and took me to a patrol car where I had to squeeze into an impossible space, with no leg room. “This is getting serous,” I thought. I started to think about my alibi. I hadn’t been anywhere near that neighborhood.
The officer who took me downtown was pleasant; she didn’t treat me like a criminal. In fact, when we arrived, she had to ask where to go. “A rookie,” I thought.
We were escorted to the “fouth floor,” which didn’t mean anything to me, until we reached the door, which said “Homocide.” Then I started to panic. “Homocide?” I pleaded to my escort. “Yes,” she said, “that’s what the door says.”
“We’ll explain in a minute,” said a guy in suit, who apparently was the detective. They took me to some kind of holding tank with windows. Then, from time to time, the detective and officers would peer in at me. The detective came in, and I said, “Am I being accused of murder?”
“Well,” he said, "We have a video of a murder, and it kinda looks like you. He went back out to look at the video. “Should you be?”
“Should I be what?”
“Invovled in a murder?”
“Of course not!” One of us had seen too many crimes dramas on TV.
He left, and then he came back, with one of the print outs. Finally I was allowed to see it. “The reason why you’re here is because you might resemble the person in this video who killed someone.”
I looked at the print out.
“Are you kidding?” I shouted. “I don’t look anything like that guy!” He’s 15 years older and 30 pounds heavier than me. And he’s creepy-looking. And he’s wearing a red sweater."
“No, it’s dark. Notice that everyone in the still that had dard clothes came out red.”
So really, what he didn’t want to admit, was that they had a lousy printer.
"Well, the still is not as clear as the video. "
So they really didn’t want to talk to me. They wanted to see me, and compare me with the video. Which they did. The whole problem was that they have a lousy printer. I thought, “You’re the Homocide devision, and you can’t get a decent printer.”
He left, and came back. “They’re going to take you.”
The cop who’d taken me to headquarters escorted me back to the patrol car. (All this time I’d been cuffed.)
“May I ask where you’re taking me now?”
“Back to the Starbucks. Well, not just there, but close. That would be embarrassing.”
Maybe. But to be delivered in front of the Starbucks, unlocked, and freed, might have convinced my friend that indeed that cops had held me for murder. I expressed my concern that I might be stopped again for the same reaon, so she wrote a little note: “guizot has been interviewed by Det. So-and-so regarding the 157 on Such-and-Such Street.”