Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Going to Jail

Thursday, May 24, 2007

This is not the way I like to start the day- in a heated exchange with a police officer. But that’s what happened this morning. And, I found myself on the brink of incurring the wrath of the Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD).

I got caught up in a boyfriend-girlfriend domestic dispute that had turned volatile and the FWPD was called in to resolve it. GEEZ! This is the story of my life, it seems- getting a late-night or early-morning phone call. A domestic situation is out of hand.

Last week, it was a 14-year boy getting kicked out of the house by an angry father and mother, and the boy refusing to go, having nowhere else to live. The FWPD was called first. I was called second.

This time it was a 43-year old boyfriend and his live-in girlfriend. A dispute between them escalated to the point where the boyfriend was throwing the girlfriend and her children out his house. The boyfriend in this case was my cousin.

The officer-in-charge was grilling my cousin Ben about the hostilities. I could see that Ben was nervous. After all, he was a black muscular ex-offender on parole- an intimidating figure to some. But he was trying to do the right thing, he said, by calling 911 before tension between he and his girlfriend got out of control. He was visibly shaking as the officer-in-charge questioned him. That’s when I tried to step in.

The officer immediately turned on me, as if to say, “Butt out”. I insisted on getting a word in edgewise. The officer informed me that I was interfering with him taking care of his duties.

“He’s on medication,” I blurted out in a short spurt.

“He seems to be talking very well for himself to me,” the officer persisted, even before my words could sink in. Here is where abnormal behavior looked normal to the officer.

“He may sound okay to you, but not to me. He is mentally incapacitated,” I replied.

If the officer had continued to insist, I would have told him that Ben had been adjudicated by the courts to be mentally incapacitated. The kid had been shot in the brain at an early age by the “silver bullet” (crack cocaine). He has never been the same since, which is why he receives a disability check each month. Had I let the officer-in-charge continue to badger him, Ben would have blown up and gone to jail.

Sad that anyone should have gone to jail in that situation. But the girlfriend did, because she had outstanding warrants. She had to leave her three children behind with her elderly mother.

Where does it end?


  1. So sad, for many different reasons. Thanks for telling the story and making people think.

  2. When you get only one chance to speak in defense of another, speak and don't mince words. The officer's attitude changed when I mentioned "medication". Too many mentally incompatent African-American males are locked up in jails and prisons simply because they are diagnosed as rational... if being a "crazy negro" is the norm.

  3. I think many of them think "aggressive or dangerous negro" (or other minority) is the norm. It amazes me how they act surprised when people don't appreciate their arrogance and bullying.

    I think black people, particularly men, are often stereotyped as either dangerous or funny. One or the other. It's wonderful how you, Francis, and other people are looking at new ways to break through the ignorance.

  4. As for the officer-in-charge, the first things I told him was my name and that I am a personal friend of Police Chief Ralph Mendoza with the Fort Worth PD. When I shouted that the man was on medication, that legally notified the officer-in-charge that I knew this man's legal rights as an "incompetent". This is not a game where an officer can put his badge on the line.