Category Archives: THE CRAB DIARIES (Maryland)

Life experiences from our time while living in, and anything while associated in Maryland. Posted every calendar scheduled full moon as of March 2016.

THE CRAB DIARIES: PUNCHING A TICKET TO JAIL

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND (UMPD)

I think every officer who does this job have cases in the back of their mind that they don’t think about much. My case for this one is no different to that statement, but I can’t tell you what made me remember this brief case.  This is one of those cases that kind of sticks out because I’ve never had this happen before it happened and haven’t seen it since.  On this particular night I was on patrol on one of our busiest roads cutting through the city, University Boulevard.  I don’t remember, and I don’t think, we had assigned sectors yet, but I tend to hang around on this road looking for people smuggling drugs and/or weapons.  Sometimes I would just get lucky and get something else I wasn’t looking for, but that happens in police work.

While I was sitting on the side of the road, a car came traveling by me at a high rate of speed, and I think the car had equipment issues also. However, after the car went by me, I pulled out from the shoulder and began to pursue the vehicle.  By the time I caught up to the vehicle, it was approximately one mile away from the time I spotted the car first passing me.  I don’t remember the final speed I was at when I caught up to the car, but I do remember by the time I did pull the driver over it was two people in the car, not just one.  Once I called out the traffic stop, and my final location to the dispatcher, I stepped out of my patrol car and started my approach.  What happened next completely took me by surprise and got me to react very quickly.  As I continued my approach, I probably got to about the “kill zone”, where the space lies between my cruiser and the violator’s vehicle, when I saw the driver punch the passenger dead in the face.

I immediately responded and rushed the rest of the way up to the car and pulled out the driver. Of course, I immediately placed him under arrest for second degree assault.  By this time my back up responded and helped me contain the scene from getting any worse, which I didn’t think would happen anyway.  After getting the passenger out of the car, I realized that it was a female that he hit in the face.  What words were exchanged between them I don’t know, but while investigating the situation, I found out that the driver, who was the either the husband or boyfriend, was probably cheating on his wife or girlfriend.  She was more up front with her explanation of the situation then he was, but he seemed to be more upset with her then being placed in silver bracelets.  This was something that I had never experienced before, but I quickly squashed the situation before it got worse.

My explanation to the girlfriend or wife, who is now the victim of this situation, was that he was going to jail regardless of how she felt about it. I certainly expected her to give me some grief about it or her opposition to the disposition of him getting arrested.  She never once gave her opinion of why he should not be arrested and was very cooperative throughout the time I was there.  He was cooperative as well, but tried to give me some attitude, which didn’t carry him very far.  Not much was said on the way to the county jail, and not much was said when we got there.  However, he was released on personal recognizance and don’t know what happened to him after that.  Court for the stop came up weeks or months later, and he didn’t have to serve any more jail time, but was apparently served with a Peace Order from the female.

I can only anticipate that they got a divorce, but that would also be wishful thinking. You have to be aware of your surroundings, and especially when the police are stopping you for a simple traffic violation.  We are all being watched by either Big Brother or by some self-aware citizen who wants to be on top of things that are happening in our society today.  We didn’t have body cameras at that time, and not all of our cruisers were equipped with vehicle cameras too.  I would’ve like to watch this video of how things played out and my reaction to the situation, which suddenly turned south.  Again, be aware of your surroundings and you never know when and where the police will be, so you don’t have to punch yourself a ticket to jail.

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: PLAYGROUND FOOTBALL

LARGO, MARYLAND (Teenager)

I didn’t grow up in a poor neighborhood, nor did I grow up poor or as some would say ‘less fortunate’, but the kids in the community were very creative and had great imaginations. In order for a large group of us to play football, we either had to find someone’s backyard, a series of backyards or go hardcore and play in the street.  We didn’t play football in the street too much, but it was definitely the turf for kickball, which I will get into at a later time.  Our football field moved numerous times, and I remember we started to play in my backyard and used the neighbors’ yards to mark our end zones.  That worked for a while, but as we got older and bigger my backyard became too short of a field, so naturally we had to search for another location.

I can’t remember in what order we went in, but I remember for a good long while we ended up using a series of lawns, which were not fenced in, as our football field. It was a good length size field, but eventually the home owners of the four lawns that we were using came out and banned us from playing football.  So for the first time in many years we were given a ‘No Play Zone’ and began to worry that we wouldn’t be able to play football anymore.  Now, we did have a neighborhood football field, but it was too far and no one was going to drive us or ride their bikes all the way across town just to play football.  So once again our search was on in the area to find a new football field, which we found one, but it definitely wasn’t ideal.

It was an open field and just big enough to accompany two teams of maybe 8 on 8, but anymore than that and you felt crowded. Sometimes we would get as many as we could, and have subs, to make it more challenging.  However, streaking above us were powerlines that were just high enough for us to not worry about, but surrounding the outer perimeter of the field were the back of homes.  We had no clue who owned the land, but played there until we didn’t play anymore, which wasn’t long before some of us were drafted to play flag football for a church league.  That was the first time we all played together in an organized fashion, and even though we lost every game we played, it was a good experience.  I was drafted as the quarterback and basically ran the offense and called the plays, which wasn’t long before the other teams marked me as one of the top players on the team.

Going back to our playground football conversation, we also formed a small league where we would have four teams from different areas of the community playing against each other. That was fun!  That caught on for a quick while and we ended up having our own bowl games during the winter snow fall, which really added to the excitement.  However, we had a few people that would join us every so often, from other neighborhoods or within the same community but didn’t play with us that much, and acted like they were pre-Madonna’s and that they were being scouted for some big Division I school to begin their career.  I remember we had one guy, named Rasheed, that would come out and play with us sometimes and his skills weren’t bad, but he wasn’t the greatest either.  Rasheed brought out his brand new football one day and threw it around.  Well, he was my quarterback and when he threw me the ball I ended up scoring a touchdown!  Ordinarily, I celebrated by spiking the football, which got him upset at me and immediately grabbed his ball!  Rasheed was mad that I had scratched up and scuffed his football because I spiked it!!!  He began to rub the dirt off of it as if I had played with his trophy cased, autographed football!

I looked at him and asked him with a very annoyed voice, “Why did you bring the football out then?” That turned me off completely and made me look at him differently.  I think he was also one of those that didn’t want to get to dirty if we were playing tackle football, which we did at least 95% of the time and people in the area knew that.  Playing with guys like that sometimes made playing football less fun, and once in a while a physical fight would break out between guys.  Just like any community and neighborhood some people moved away, some went to college, some went on to begin their careers (such as me) and others stayed in the same area, but just got older.  When I go back home to visit I do sometimes run across some of the guys and funny to see some of them grown up with families and good careers, especially the ones that I thought wouldn’t do anything with themselves.  A pastime in my life that I will never forget and always look at as most of my fun times.

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: LATE PUNISHMENT

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND (UMPD)

You know? We are all human beings in this world, and we all make mistakes here and there throughout life.  However, learning from you mistakes is the key to not repeating it over and over again.  At the same time, if you are not aware of what your mistake is, and you keep repeating it over and over again, then that would probably make you ignorant to your situation.  As you grow up from a child into adulthood, you are taught right and wrong, and it is up to you as you get to a certain age to follow what you were taught without assistance from your parents or role models.  Throughout those years you are living, you also become, or should become, aware of how society is and what rules are followed by the society you are a part of.  We have laws and rules for a reason, and those laws and rules are to avoid situations that would allow anarchy to reign, and to maintain a civilization.

Well, one person that I dealt with years ago, I suppose, decided not to follow the rules and laws that have been set forth. During the early morning hours, the day of the Maryland Terrapins football teams last home game of the year, I was on campus this time watching for vehicle traffic at a certain spot.  This spot that I was stationary at had two stop signs, approximately 100 feet or more from each other, and we were having issues with people not stopping at them.  So, I decided to pick a time of the morning, when vehicle traffic is very low, and watch these two stop signs to see if anyone would blatantly run them.  I didn’t have to wait too much longer for this to come true, but it was someone who absolutely knew better.  As I was sitting on the side, in a graded driveway, I witnessed this dark green Cadillac, with dark as shit tinted windows, come blowing through one of the stop signs at a very high rate of speed.  Of course, the running of a stop sign wasn’t exactly the surprise, but at the speed this driver was going was the shocker sort of speak.

After witnessing this blatant disregard of basic traffic rules, I pulled out of the driveway and pursued up the hill after the car. In doing so, the car blew through at least one or two more stop signs before pulling over after seeing my emergency lights.  The first thing that happened was that the driver, who I now see is a female and an employee of the university transportation department, jumps out of the car screaming, “I’m late!  I work for DOTS!  I’m late for my assignment!”  Maybe she thought screaming that at me would spell good things for her, and for me to cut her a HUGE brake.  NOT!!  I didn’t budge at her request to let her go and join her fellow employees, who were waiting for her to take up her traffic post.  So, I went through my entire traffic stop like I normally did, and even made the pre-conceive notion that her punishment would be at least two traffic citations for her behavior.  However, things would quickly generate downhill when my dispatcher came back with information that the vehicle registration was stolen.  Well, this news, obviously, didn’t bow well for her and at this time more officers arrived when the stolen tag information came out.

Her reaction was denial, and that she had no idea that the tags were stolen. Further investigation, discovered that the vehicle was not registered and, of course, no insurance.  Although I made the arrest, she did resist a little bit and ran off at the mouth, but quickly realized her reality was not changing.  While interviewing her after the arrest, she basically told me that she ran the stop sign because she was late for her assignments, and also finally admitted that her boyfriend was the one that stole the tags from another vehicle.  Apparently, from her verbal statements, her and her boyfriend, who live in D.C., stole a D.C. tag from another car, a close by neighbor no less, and used it for their car.  In addition, her boyfriend also got the car from someone else, legally, but decided not to be bothered with being a responsible citizen and register the damn car.  Of course, at this point she is pointing everything at her boyfriend, but she also wouldn’t give up his name, which I knew would be a tall order.  So, in the end, she was charged criminally and also given numerous tickets.  Through the following months, after the our initial contact with each other, she only appeared in court once for her traffic violations, but decided to not show up for her criminal court case.

HAHAHA! This ended up not working well for her either.  Once I knew the judge placed a warrant on her head, I knew where she worked and was going to wait for a long while before I arrested her again.  I knew where she worked at so rushing to that disposition wasn’t my main goal.  However, once again fate allowed things to happen, and this time, once again, I ended up in the same place where she was.  The day that I ran into her again, was created by one of our officers being involved in a vehicle pursued, and one of the witnesses of the crime worked at the transportation department.  Our suspect was finally caught after he crashed the vehicle and attempted to flee on foot.  Without any hesitation I went to the transportation department, at the request of the arresting officer, to see if I could gather witness statements for the case.  In doing so, I arrived at the transportation headquarters and, low and behold, I saw my warrant suspect sitting on a bench, outside with other employees, during a bar-b-que they were having.  She and I made eye contact, and I thought she would remember me from months ago and would know she has an open warrant for her arrest.

Needless to say, after I received all the written statements, I inquired to other employees about my “warrant suspect”, and I was told that she went back to the main office. Other employees, at least from me, never knew about her having a warrant, and never understood the reasons of me asking for her whereabouts.  I gave all the written statements to the arresting officer of the vehicle pursuit, and went back to my dispatcher to have her check my “warrant suspect’s” name in the national database.  I would have to say I was pretty pleased to know that her warrant was still alive and valid, which made me recruit another officer to meet me at the main office, in case she decided to act a damn fool.  Several minutes later, I arrived at the main office and asked for her whereabouts, which she was in her office working on whatever.  When I advised her that I was there to arrest her again for an open warrant, she broke down and started crying uncontrollably where another employee had to console her.  This arrest went a little better than the first one, but once again I called for a female officer to search her persons.  During the search of my “warrant suspect” by a female officer, it got a little rough and some words were exchanged pretty aggressively between them.  After that, I took her to the regional correctional facility, where she was processed.

I never saw her again, but I did hear that about two or three weeks after my second arrest with her, she ran into our officers a third time. Apparently, when her mother was pulled over, she came out of the main office causing a disturbing scene and was arrested a third time.  I suppose this drove her superior’s nuts and caused them to terminate her from the job, which was sadly overdue.  People do deserve chances to prove themselves, and to show that they are the right people for the job, but to continuously getting in trouble with the law will not keep those chances coming.  I felt kind of bad for her, but at the same learning more and more of how she was outside of our contact, it was bound to happen.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t the last transportation employee we would run into over and over again throughout my remaining years there.  You would be amazed of how many employees were dirty, which made you believe that no background and/or reference checks were done; at least properly.  Sometimes people fall through the cracks, and those individuals sometimes allow themselves to seep through to only be wiped back up and tossed away.

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: HELL WEEK!

COLLEGE PARK (UMPD) & LAUREL, MARYLAND (HOME)

Being diagnosed with lupus is one thing, but living with the disease is a whole other situation. I can’t remember the exact time, but it might have been summertime of 2013, however, the one thing that I do remember is that it was definitely summer.  Living in the Mid-Atlantic region you are used to dealing with certain weather forecast and cultures, but even with some of the native locals they still complain every chance they get.  With this summer in particular, I couldn’t really blame anyone complaining since it was the hottest summer on record, or at least one of the hottest.  Unfortunately, this incident took place while I was at work on patrol and I don’t think anyone expected this swift storm, called a “Deracho”, to come through the area and cause mass problems in such a short time.  I remember being at work, this particular night I was on the evening shift I believe, and just doing my normal patrols around the city and campus, when suddenly it seemed like we were reliving the scene of the tornado swooping through Kansas in the Wizard of Oz.

A very strong wind started to come through the area, causing light poles and power lines to sway very noticeably. Then the rain started to come down very heavy and hard where your windshield wipers, even on the highest setting, wasn’t making visibility good enough to drive comfortably.  Suddenly, I started to see objects, which were not heavy enough and not secured to a solid structure, fly through the air, such as construction cones and trash.  In driver through this harsh mess of a storm, I made the decision to find a parking lot on campus and just stay there until it passed.  Some of us drove around the area with our emergency lights on so we would be visible until we all got to a safe place, which I think was broadcasted over the radio for us to do so.  As I sit stationary in one parking lot, near the Children Youth Center, one of the construction cones hit the passenger side of the cruiser and continued across the windshield through the parking lot.  In complete amazement, I continued to sit there watching the storm all around me as I felt the cruiser shake and rock a little bit.

As suddenly as it started, the storm ended and everything was calm once again. However, it wouldn’t be without consequences that the storm left behind in such a short time.  The quickest and strongest storm I ever been through, as far as I can remember at this point, caused numerous power outages throughout the D.C. area, including my apartment complex.  Thankfully, my wife was home at the time when this storm happened, but while the storm was going on she was sound asleep in the bed.  In other parts of the county, power lines and telephone poles were knocked down and strewed across roadways, along with trees, and it appeared, the thickest branches of those trees were causing horrible travel conditions.  I can’t remember if any cars in the area right off hand were heavily damaged, but if none were, then that was truly a blessing.  Normal patrols, I believe, were suspended as we had to drive around the city and campus assessing damages and what areas need our attention immediately.

With the damages that was done during this Derecho, most people were out of power for at least three days to a week, or maybe even longer. Our apartment complex was out of power for at least a week, and that sucked royally for so many reasons.  Thank God we didn’t have any family pets with us because it would’ve been a lot worse.  During the week of no power, the temperature in the apartment reached over 100 degrees, and every window in our apartment was opened as wide as it could be, but with no wind blowing around for that entire week, which seemed impossible, didn’t help at all.  My wife’s lupus anti-bodies began to work overtime, and each passing day and night her condition was getting worse and worse.  Her lupus made her body swell, joints extremely sensitive to the touch and constantly sweating with no break it seemed.  You would think at night the temperature would be low enough to make it feel cool, but even at night the humidity was high and the temps sitting somewhere in the mid to high 80’s; sometimes in the low 90’s.  However, the outside temperature didn’t matter because the sauna inside our apartment was literally killing my wife with her lupus just breading through her body like never before.

It was during this week also that the Marriott Hotel on campus was offering all the university employees, especially the police officers, a break in the daily rate to stay at the hotel for at least one to two days. Watching my wife over on the other couch suffering in this God awful situation, day in and day out, prompted me to check on that deal or we would end up in the hospital if she has to suffer through this one more day.  On a Saturday night while at work, I went to the Marriott and spoke to one of the employees there, who told me that at least 75 people are checking out the next day and that he will hold a hotel room for us to have.  I was so thankful for his generosity and for the Marriott allowing us to stay there for a night or two to regulate our body temperatures once again.  The news excited me that when I told my wife about it, she explained to me that she can make it one more night, but after that the hospital would be our friend once again.  Being in a position at first where I couldn’t think of anything to help her ease the pain and suffering, I felt much better knowing that for the entire day Sunday we would be in great shape.

The only positive glimpse we had during the week of no power, is while the power company was working on the busted up transformers and severed power lines, everything came on for at least ten seconds, but then it went out once more until that Sunday night/Monday morning. I was definitely happy to be in a cool and comfortable hotel room after suffering for nearly six days in the intense hot and humid apartment, but I was extremely happy to know that we avoided my wife visiting the hospital, which were apparently working at near max capacity.  Our overnight rate at the Marriott turned out to be only $35, which was a tremendous break from the normal rate at that time of $350-$400!!!  I got the employee discount rate, and was in good standing with employees there; however, shortly after that or before that Hell Week, our free dinners at the Marriott were stopped suddenly.  Most of us have suspicions on why that is and can probably point fingers at certain people for jacking that privilege up!!  My wife and I lived through that week without getting pissed off at each other and without arguing.  At that point in our lives, and through that situation, being good towards each other was our most important goal, and it worked.

We were not going to spend our week, or days, in the hospital once more because the lupus disease decided to kick in high gear! Everyone who lived through it lost tons of money in generator gas and the supplies of food in the refrigerators.  When you buy bags and bags of ice, which we had a very hard time finding some, seriously, and you pour them in the bathtub to keep food fresh and cold and the ice melts within a matter of a couple of hours, sometimes minutes, you know that inside your dwelling the temperatures are just brutal.  I hope to never experience anything like that ever again in my life, but if it does happen again in our lifetime, my wife and I will be much better prepared; we hope lol!!  After that week passed, some homes and businesses still had no power, but majority of the area was able to go on with their lives and look back into history to remember where they were when this quick, but devastating storm struck.  I don’t want this to sound like it was hurricane force winds and trees and telephone poles coming out of the ground, which some did, but it was bad enough to cause millions of dollars in damages throughout the area.

Once again this storm exposed the vulnerability of our infrastructure in this country, and that things need to be replaced, repaired and rebuilt as soon as possible. This storm also, once again, sparked up the debate that power lines and telephone lines throughout the D.C. area should be placed underground and out of harm’s way.  Knowing the area, this will take another twenty years, three more devastating storms and cost serious more millions of dollars in damages and hundreds of lives before they expedite the fixes.  Time will tell!!

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: CROSSROADS

UMPD BLUES

Every city and town have their hot spots, and in those cities and towns you need to have a special way to deal with those issues.  When you are speaking of the city of College Park, I am referring to the intersection of Knox Road and Route One.  Route One being a major thoroughfare that travels north and south and Knox Road being a local road traveling east and west.  At or near this corner we had four to five bars that was always hoping and full of people, and being in a college town underage drinking was definitely going on.  When we would respond to alcohol poisonings later in the evening, you could almost automatically assume that the underage assumption was being done at one of this bars.

I can’t count the number of times when we would respond to fights, disturbances, robberies and once in a while shootings at or near this particular intersection in the city.  Hell, we would have officers posted across the street from two bars and around the corner at the Bank of America; us and county police.  Even with our presence there in the area shit would still kick off as if we weren’t around.  I can remember at one point, while on field training, I approached the intersection and a fight broke out in the middle of the street on Route One.  As my FTO and I rushed out of the car to break up the fight, it spilled back on to the sidewalk in front of the Cornerstone Grill and Bar establishment.

While my FTO was in the middle of this melee that kept growing, I went in to get people from behind him and saw a person just turn around to throw a punch.  Thank God he missed because he didn’t look to see who it was and I felt the breeze of his fist go right by my head; it was a blur for real.  It was at that point I learned that jumping into the middle of a fight, while it is going on, is ABSOLUTELY not a good idea.  We’ve had officers get hit in the head with beer bottles and physically assaulted themselves jumping into active fights.  So when attempting to going to break up a physical altercation between two or more individuals, make sure you use your head and don’t just jump in.  You head might get used as a punching bag!

This same area was also known for a hot spot for property being destroyed and damaged due to riots after Maryland-Duke basketball games; or for whatever other reasons students and residents decided to cause mayhem.  Within the last couple of years of my time there, we were also responding to shootings, which began to increase all over the area.  Many foot chases began here in this area, vehicle pursuits sometimes would begin in this location, DUI arrest were prevalent and at one point most of our criminal arrest and citations were in this exact area.  Fake ID’s were a big violation for a period along with bouncers having warrants and allowing some of the underage students, especially girls, into the bars.  I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me from beer balconies and found myself patrolling the area with a FN303 (Pepper Ball Gun – Less Than Lethal) when shit got that out of control.

When the WAWA was there, a convenient store, that just added to the problems especially when fights broke out in the College Park Shopping Center, which was adjacent to Knox Road and Route One.  Many strong arm and armed robberies occurred in this plaza and almost every time our suspects would dart towards the D.C. Metro station that was located only couple miles away.  Alot of the knuckleheads and criminals would use the metro station as their mode of transportation, but it would appear that later on they smarten up and find other ways to penetrate and exit the area.  We would just have to adjust to the times of new ways as they would adjust to our way of doing law enforcement.  If you was the officer that had to patrol this part of the city, especially at night, most of your time would be trying to be proactive to anything to happen, but wouldn’t always happen.

We had certain county officers we could count on for responses and back up, but others would just watch us from across the street or not respond at all.  Needless to say our relationship with the county police was strained at times and excellent at others just like international allies.  After the WAWA was stripped from the area due to financial loses it couldn’t make up, our call volume in the area dropped tremendously, but we still had the 7-11 across the street.  Not too many issues happened there because our presence was heavy there just waiting for things to kick off, which you can almost count on every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Seeing the Walk of Shame was also prevalent in this area and telling the girls not to walk alone back to their dorms seemed like it fell on deaf ears a lot.  This is also the same area we would find students and residents alike passed out in the Chapel Field down the road, and some of them were women or girls not wearing any undergarments.  Not a good site to see especially when she is passed out and not aware of the world around them.

This is also the area where a college student got beat by unknown officers in riot gear, which was caught on surveillance camera.  That incident caused a huge ruckus and was over and down with prior to our agency getting to the area to supplement them in our riot gear.  Flying through this area at over 100 mph during a chase was scary and nerve wrecking as you was always afraid of someone not paying attention before entering the lanes of traffic on Route One.  I was actually surprised not too many people got hit by traffic flowing through there as much as foot traffic flooded the area.  However, when the Bank of America got robbed or was being robbed you think the county police told us? Umm..no! I happen to find out by listening to the scanner after it was all said and done, but I’m pretty sure some of our superiors knew.

It goes without saying too much or going too much into it that every night you worked in the city, you never knew what Route One and Knox Road was going to bring you.  Some nights it was uneventful, but other nights you couldn’t leave that place without shit happening.  “Knox and One” is what our code name for it was and you knew if it was going to be a good night or a bad night depending on the issues there.  However, this wasn’t the only place where our headaches were, but a good portion of our stresses was from this area.

THE CRAB DIARIES: HIDDEN STEEL

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND (UMPD)

On this particular night, while working my midnight shift on patrol, I was assigned to patrol a specific area, Charlie Sector, in the city of College Park. There is a four lane highway that cuts through the city, on the north side, with a very wide grassy median separating the two lanes on each side.  As you travel through the city down this highway, you will pass the University of Maryland Golf Course, which from time to time holds important tournaments related to the PGA.  Well, as I was on patrol, I had positioned my cruiser on the right shoulder, completely blacked out, just watching traffic as it goes by.  I am not sure how long I waited, but I saw a car coming up behind me, cresting the hill, with only one headlight working, and as it passed me I only noticed one person in the car, the driver.  Once the car passed me I waited a few seconds before pulling out behind it with my lights still off.

By this time I got on the radio and communicated to the dispatcher that I was about to conduct a traffic stop, which I gave them the description of the car and my current location. Almost immediately after I turned on my blue and red lights, the car began to slow down without applying the break, which at this time the car might have been doing about 30mph in a 45mph zone.  However, although the car had slowed down significantly, it took about another thirty seconds before the car finally came to a complete stop on the right shoulder, which was maybe a mile from where I first saw the car.  While the car was slowing down on the shoulder, I noticed two more cruisers sitting in the golf course parking lot facing in my direction.  No more than probably ten seconds after I finally stopped the car, the two officers that were in the golf course parking lot began heading my way, which didn’t take them very long to get to me.

With confidence knowing that they were just around the corner if I needed them, I approached the driver side window and noticed it was a young black male, about 18-20 years of age. The very first thing I noticed when I made contact with him, after I asked for his license and registration, was that he had his hands up in the air, over his head, and made the statement of “Don’t shoot me bro!  Whatever you do, don’t shoot me!”  Now, obviously I was not prepared for this type of reaction or initial contact with the young man, so it took me a second to adjust to the situation.  After he gave me his license and registration, he repeated the same statement again at least two more times, with his hands still in the air and his eyes locked on me.  Through all my years in law enforcement, I have never encountered anything like this before, but soon his reaction would be telling of why he was like that on his first contact with me.  I simply responded to him by saying, “Okay.  I won’t shoot you.  Relax.  Don’t do anything that would cause me to go that route.”

He then slowly put his hands down and took a deep breath, which at this time again I am still trying to figure out his demeanor. Once I got his license and registration that is when my back up arrived behind me, which was a good sense.  When I told him that I pulled him over for his headlight not working, he volunteered information by telling me, and the other officers, that he was involved in an accident not too long before I pulled him over.  Going further into the conversation, he once again volunteered information that the accident happened in a neighboring county and that police was called.  Following my gut instincts on this traffic stop, I had my dispatcher check with that neighboring county police to see if any accident was reported in the location the young male told me.  When that check came back negative for police report of any accidents involving his car, he then changed the location of his accident that it happened in Washington, D.C., and it involved a taxi, which was a hit and run.

This time I had one of my secondary officers, along with the dispatcher, check with D.C. Metropolitan Police to see if they received any accident notifications, involving a blue Dodge Neon. Again, his story didn’t check out with D.C. either, but once more his story was changed to that police were not involved and that an agreement was reached with the other driver.  Okay, at this point during the traffic stop I am in strong belief that this driver is hiding something, but I couldn’t figure it out at that moment.  But, just as I was heading back to my cruiser to issue the driver a warning for his headlight, it was brought to my attention that there was a half full bottle of alcohol in the backseat.  With the driver being under the age of 21, that lead to another issue and a citation for underage possession.  It has been my practice that when I have multiple pieces of paper to issue a driver, I tend to get the driver out of the car.  For me this is comfortable, for others it may not be, but it is better for me to do that and to get them away from any weapons in the vehicle, and also take stress off of my back wearing my equipment bent over.

After I had written the warning for the headlight and an alcohol citation for underage possession, I went back up to the driver side window and ordered the driver to exit. When I had asked him to step out of the vehicle, he first looked at me with deer in the headlights look and appeared very nervous to do so.  It took another few seconds to get him out of the car and back towards my cruiser.  As he is walking towards my cruiser, he kept looking at his car where he left his driver’s door open, exposing the interior of the car for easy scanning.  By this time, one of my secondary officers walked over to close the driver’s door and discovered a gun on the driver’s floorboard.  Immediately after the officer yelled out the code for weapon, the other secondary officer, and myself, took the driver into custody, who kept claiming it was only a bb gun.  Upon further examination of the weapon, it was a fully loaded twenty-five caliber pistol with one in the chamber ready to be fired.

Later, on when I questioned the suspect he told me he got the gun after his first year at Howard University when he got robbed. Since then he has had it, with the serial number filed off, and has been transporting it with him nearly every day.  Of course, he wouldn’t give up the person that gave him the gun, but didn’t mind telling me everything else that involved him having the gun.  Sadly, about a month later after I arrested him, he was again arrested by a neighboring county.  The irony part of that is he got arrested by the county he lied about in his story to me a month earlier.  This was a college student, who had no prior criminal history, breaking the law by transporting a concealed weapon in his car, and had his hands up over his head prior to me ever knowing it.  As I thought about the situation when doing my report, it dawned on me of why he made that statement earlier in the traffic stop when I first made contact with him.  I have vowed that if I ever hear that again, I will be more alert and diligent to the person’s actions and attitude.  If the other officers didn’t show up when they did, who knows what would’ve happened.  Sometimes people give up themselves for what they do, say and how they act towards authority.  This makes policing easy when people help you do your job by incriminating themselves.  Another young black man, who had no criminal history, messed up his own life due to his own actions.

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: SOURCE OF OUR PROBLEMS?

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND (UMPD)

Now, if you do any type of traveling through the Mid-Atlantic and/or the Northeast region of the United States, you will or have seen a WAWA convenient store and gas station. These types of stores are definitely a huge help when you are on the road for a long time and need some refreshments to refuel your adventure.  Even if you don’t know or never heard of a WAWA, if you know Paulin’s, Stewarts, Sheetz and Rucker’s they are all the same and pretty much stock the same items with a different layout and employees.  Each store, of course, has its own signature mark, but they are all the same in the sense of their mission in serving the public.  However, a store like this should not be your main source of problems for the police to always be around, and deal with damn foolishness.

Near the most problematic intersection, Knox Road and Baltimore Avenue (U.S. Rt. 1) just up the hill several feet was a convenient store named WAWA. It was located in the College Park Shopping Center with CVS, Domino’s, Boston Market, which disappeared, and Chipotle.  This was indeed a huge blessing for us on patrol for a short while since it meant we didn’t have to reside ourselves to eating McDonald’s, 7-Eleven and Burger King all the time.  Of course, you could bring your lunch or dinner with you, but any officer who has done patrol in an urban or heavily populated area knows that is not always feasible.  Nevertheless, a WAWA began out as a blessing, but quickly turned into a curse!  I never knew one place; one store could be the main source of your problems in the city and neighboring areas.

Who would’ve known by having the WAWA removed from the area, our service calls dropped liked nearly 50%!! Yes! 50%!! This particular WAWA brought out the most ghetto acting and idiotic individuals you could possibly see!  You know what?!  This was located in the heart of Prince George’s County, Maryland, the supposedly the richest county for black people.  However, it was mostly black people that ruined it for the store, but some other races aren’t blame free either in this.  Most of our gun calls, shots fired, fights and parking lot brawls involved black people.  Most of our shoplifting, urinating in public and urinating inside the store, eating food without purchasing and disturbances were committed by white people.  Whenever we dealt with Knox and 1 being out of control, it was usually a mixture of both races getting into fights, breaking shit and causing traffic jams.

I’ve been inside the WAWA numerous times when I would patrol at night and catch someone trying to walk out with a bottle of Gatorade, chips rustling around in the purse or pockets and whatever else they could fit on their persons without paying! Throughout the midst of this mad chaos that was nearly a nightly basis; the staff there was just overwhelmed, but nice people.  It got so bad that we offered to work overtime and do security for the store, but we were turned down; even though the store was bleeding money of about $30,000 a quarter!!  Yes!! Thirty thousand dollars a quarter!!  Still WAWA wanted nothing to do with store security, but never gave their employees a chance to succeed, which I think the corporate probably regretted the idea of having one there and waited for it to fail.  If that was the case, then they got what they wanted!

Several think that our huge spike in armed and strong armed robberies were influenced by the attractiveness of WAWA, and the type of people it just attracted. While it was there I did get involved with one of the female employees there, but that was definitely short lived when I slept with her one time, and all that was a mistake.  For nearly every single morning, even when I wasn’t scheduled to work that day, she would call my job looking for me, and got to the point where the dispatchers knew who she was just by the sound of her voice.  Sometimes she would call around the same time every damn morning, and I finally gave her my cell phone number to stop calling my job, but she still kept doing it.  Quickly I discovered this was a crazy bitch, and that I needed to get rid of her with the quickness.  So one night on my way home, I heard my cell phone ring and it was her, Joy was her name, and just laid into her, “Stop calling me, stop calling my job and just leave me the fuck alone!  Unless you have an emergency, a police emergency, do not call my cell phone or my job!  You could’ve been friends with benefits, but you fucked that up!!”

Needless to say after that interaction with her, she disappeared and I never saw her again, and shortly after that the WAWA left the area. This WAWA just jacked everything up for us, and we knew that Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays would be the Wild West!  It got to the point that the 7-Eleven across the street was getting the brunt of the problems.  I can’t tell you how many times we had to break up gatherings of people hanging in front of the WAWA, which was 24/7, and most of them would head across Knox Road to the 7-Eleven and fuck that store up.  I mean, things were just all around out of control with that WAWA store being in the area, and almost as quickly as it began when the WAWA officially closed down and left the city, our service calls dropped like the ball on New Year’s Eve.  It was absolutely amazing how things became calm once that store left and took all of the negativity with it, the nice employees and good food!  Once again we were stuck with our usual food choices at night, which included Taco Bell and later on a Royal Farms.  But, if you thought our problems were over, you would need to think again!  Building more student housing and with talk about extending Metro through campus just brought more wretchedness.

Wait until I get into the Black Student Union socials! Oh my goodness!  Our WAWA problems all over again in a more condensed area!  Stay tuned for that one!

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: THE BLACK SON

MARYLAND-PENNSYLVANIA TRAVELS

For many years, since our second marriage ceremony back in December 2008 in front of our friends and family, people have been wondering when we are going to welcome a child into this world. The truth is that we are not sure that might even happen, with my wife dealing with her lupus, which by itself makes it harder to conceive.  So while my wife deal with the never ending wishes of others to press her to have a child, our conversation was more towards having a fur child in the home for the time being.  My wife was more of a cat person, which I am not too fond of, and I was more of a dog person since I grew up with them all my life.  For about two years, on and off, we had this conversation about which four legged companion we would have to become part of the family.

When it was agreed that we would add a dog to the family, our search was on to see which breed and the limit on how old we wanted the dog to be. I don’t remember how long our search was, but I knew it wasn’t long before we found the one dog that we wanted.  Once we found the one we were interested in getting, we saw that we would need to go somewhere outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to an Amish community.  Then the next thing was to decide when to go get him and if we would bring anyone with us.  Well, we ended up bringing my wife’s mother and step-father with us for a road trip, which was Thanksgiving Day weekend since they came down to visit anyway.  It was that Saturday after Thanksgiving, in November 2012, that we all piled in my car and drove at least two hours to the farm.

When we first saw our new family pet online, he was named ‘Augustus’, which we did not fall in love with at all. During our trip up to Pennsylvania, we were so excited that we were taking the next step to expand our family and have one more thing to be responsible for.  I felt like we were ready, but of course, my wife was a little nervous since she didn’t grow up with dogs and that she is also allergic to them as well.  But, she took a leap of faith and went with me on this endeavor and years later she loves it!  Once we got to the farm, we met with the breeder who immediately went and brought out Augustus and his two brothers for us to look at.  After they were placed in a small circular area where they were surrounded by a thin wired fence, I stepped closer to see which one would be the lucky one.  I looked down and noticed that Augustus was trying to climb over fence to get to us.

I pointed him out and told the breeder Augustus was the one I wanted! So right then and there I purchased Augustus from the farm and we made the trip back home to Laurel, Maryland.  Augustus, who was renamed Romeo days later, sat in the backseat obviously scared and nervous.  However, we wouldn’t make it home just that easy.  I believed it happened as we were coming back through Baltimore County, but didn’t realize until we were just a few miles away from our apartment.  On the final stretch of our trip home, I noticed the car was driving funny and quickly realized that I had gotten a flat tire!!  Oh boy!  Of course, not the way you want end your road trip and not the way you want to start out with your family addition.

We eventually got the tire changed and got back home safely. The first night Romeo stayed in the corner, underneath our computer desk, and starred at me all night long.  It took him about a couple of days before he finally broke out of his shell and began to being the playful Lab that he is today.  I was lying on the floor, on my back with my arms out to the side, when I felt a snip at my fingers and saw Romeo jump behind the wall.  Of course, once he saw me respond to him in an acceptable way, he just lapped it up!!  Nearly four years later he is the smartest dog that I have ever owned and can determine when I am coming home and loves routine.  Romeo has turned four years old, back in July, and is already showing some grey hairs, which makes us kind of sad because we know he is getting old on us, but he hasn’t lost a step yet.

So for now, Romeo is our son and pretty much acts like a child without being able to speak English. We have had him with us for such a long time that I can barely remember sometimes about our life before we brought him along for the ride.  Lots of memories have been spurred since we got ‘the bud’ and I’m sure many more will come as the days, months and years past.  Love you boy!!

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: JUST HANGING AROUND

BLADENSBURG, MARYLAND (1st Hometown)

Once again I’m back in my old neighborhood of Bladensburg, Maryland, however, this is not such a good story either. Believe me, we had good times while living there, but for some reason a lot of the not so good times I remember easier.  Maybe we had more bad times than good, I don’t know, but I do remember some of the good times while being there.  This is not only a not so good time in my life, a minor incident, but something that still kind of make me feel a little weak.  I don’t think a lot of people know about this one, probably not even my mother, but nevertheless this one is a painful one.

At our house in Bladensburg, we had a pretty huge yard that was fenced in and pretty long. We had this one massive oak tree in the rear corner of our backyard where we kept one of our dogs chained up too.  I’ll tell you more about that dog we called ‘Bruno’ in another story sometime in the future.  I think you might find that pretty hilarious when I get to it.  We had a neighbor to our left and to our right, if you are facing the house.  To our left the neighbors were nice, but we think they had issues with drinking and not really giving their kids a jolly life, but when you are that young how do you know for sure what a jolly life is.

Anyway, the neighbor to our right was more of a loner and very anti-social. I remember speaking to him a few times, but he was definitely not an open person and by the look of his yard, you would get that.  Along the fence that separated our properties, he had some wild bushes growing that appeared to be at least ten feet tall or higher.  A few branches of these massive bushes would stick over into our yard and scratch the hell out of you.  I soon became aware that the bushes he had growing near our yard were thorn bushes.  I don’t think I have ever seen thorn bushes that tall or big before, until my mother planted one at old home in Largo, many years later.  The bushes were so thick that you couldn’t peep through them easily to see what was going on in his yard.

I would soon become friends with these thorn bushes in a way that I hope to never experience again. While outside playing by myself I remember kicking around a soccer ball off the fence and tree on the side of the house.  Well, one of my kicks was too hard and it went over the fence and right in the middle of the thorn bushes.  My heart immediately sank when I knew that the mysterious neighbor would not be able help me like he did once before when I mistakenly knocked a ball over.  The only thing that saved me some pain was that the soccer ball fell in a gap where I could climb over the fence and easily retrieve it.  However, this would be anything but an easy rescue mission of my beloved soccer ball.

What I didn’t mention to you is that the fence that separated our properties didn’t have the metal bar that you would normally see lining the top of the fence. So that meant that the points of the linked fence were easily exposed and very sharp.  Unable to get anyone to help me to retrieve the ball, I ultimately knew that I had to get it myself.  That decision would nearly cause me more pain than what was needed.  I finally gained the courage to climb over the fence without stabbing myself on the points, and without the neighbor knowing about it.  With a quick motion towards the soccer ball, I grabbed it while getting scratched the hell up by these thorn bushes.  Some of them got caught on my t-shirt and ripped a few small holes.  However, I was able to grab the ball and quickly toss it over the fence back into our yard.

I looked back to see if the neighbor was looking or outside, but I couldn’t see anything. As I went to climb back over the fence, I slipped after I got halfway over and felt one of the chain link points penetrate the back of my left knee.  Obviously, the pain was just nearly unbearable for a young kid, but what really frightened me more was the way I was positioned.  I was still supporting myself with my hands, but I was partially upside down with only one leg back over the fence.  I hung there for a few minutes in pain and thinking of how to get myself free from the situation.  Deathly afraid of letting go and just knowing that the fence would dig deeper into my leg causing me more agony and grief.  I take one more look behind me, upside down, and over to my mysterious neighbor’s house and still no one around.  Finally, I was able to gain enough strength to pull myself up and release my leg from the top of the fence.

A great relief overcame me when I finally got all the way over, but not knowing how I was going to explain to my mother why I am bleeding behind my knee. I was wearing jeans, so hiding it was impossible with a huge hold ripped out partially stained with blood.  I don’t remember what happened after I told my mom, but I think she scolded me for a minute of going over the fence into that man’s yard.  We all knew he was weird and had this notion that he would hurt people for violating his personal space.  Not sure how long it took me to recover from my wound, but it was pretty deep according to my mother.  Needless to say I never attempted that move again, and if anything went over the fence, which many things did, either we would let it be or he would be nice enough to throw it back over.  This weird petifile smile with his yellow teeth and bald head was just monstrous to me.  I think it was mentioned to us that he was a cancer patient, but I can’t say for sure.  Boy!

Henry Scott

THE CRAB DIARIES: NO LAUGHING MATTER

LARGO, MARYLAND (1990’s)

It has been so long since I remember this situation, but I remember what I saw and who I saw.  I barely remember who was with me when we saw this happening in front of us, but I can say seeing her years later doing her thing made me feel somewhat good.  However, I have no idea what mental scars she is or had been dealing with since that day, but it seems like from the outside she’s doing pretty well.  The situation that I am referring to is witnessing a girl, average age around early twenties, being pushed out of a car and left on the side of the road in our neighborhood.  I only remember seeing a black car, sedan, speeding through, opening the rear door and girl being pushed out of the car.  Then the car sped off to never be seen again.

When we saw this happening, you can imagine our young minds couldn’t make out in detail what was going on.  A few of us went sprinting up the street towards her to see if she was okay, which she was, but didn’t expect to see the condition she was in.  Once we got to her, we could see that her pantyhose were ripped, snot or mucus bubbling out of her nose, laughing uncontrollably, feeling sad and then happy, her blouse was ripped, missing a shoe and noticed that a few toes were broken.  I have to say this was something none of us have ever seen before, but we knew that she needed help and that we needed to make sure she didn’t come into anymore danger.  I have no clue what would’ve happened if the car came back to either finish her off or to get rid of witnesses.

I don’t remember when the help got there, but I remember her being picked up by the ambulance crew and hauled off to the hospital.  Either county or state police responded, but I don’t remember anything of the interview and what was asked.  I just know that we left the scene feeling good about ourselves because we felt like we just saved someone’s life.  After that day we never saw or heard anything about her for months and even a few years.  All of us remember seeing her around the neighborhood numerous times, but we never really interacted with her on a regular basis.  Then one day, years later, I saw her walking down the same street we found her on in a work uniform, listening to headphones and just minding her own business.  I often at times wanted to approach her and talk to her but not knowing if she would even remember or want to rehash the situation.  So for the longest time I would just see her walking down the street and not even talk to her about it or if the people involved were ever caught.

I don’t regret not ever knowing about her resolve with the whole situation, but I was just happy to know she continued to do her thing.  Many months and years later I’ve moved up north and don’t know if she is still living in the same neighborhood.  I just know her name as either Tori or Lori, but outside of that I have no clue of her well-being.  I think at the moment we found her it was our first time we saw a victim of a sexual assault and possibly drugged out of her mind.  Years later I can still hear the laugh she was bellowing out, mumbling words and her lying on her back just rolling around.  No one should have to witness that and especially young kids who are still gripping about how to feel about themselves and gain their own personality.

Henry Scott