Updated: Jul 7, 2022
Ah...the famous words of authority figures, especially police officers. In less than 4 months, I heard this phrase from at least six different officers, all of whom bulldozed me with their "help." It boggles me that law enforcement is so ill-trained in the area of emotional distress, considering that most of their calls involve at least one party who is emotionally distressed; a victim.
The first was in Big Bear. I took a day trip to clear my head. Hiked a little. Journaled a lot. Had a major epiphany and purged negative energy. That night, I pulled into a turnout to take a nap. Home was only about a hour and half away, but after such an emotional day, I was drained. I crawled into the back seat of my 4Runner around 1am. Shortly after, a bright light shone into my car. I sat up; nobody said anything. Finally, I opened the door and asked if I could help with something. A male officer hollered, is everything alright?" to which I responded, "Yes."
I told him I was just taking a nap. He approached my vehicle, waving his flashlight around the floor of my back seat. I told him I had a rough day. Also that I owned a photo booth company and to not judge the mess in my car.
He then asked if I was under the influence. I asked, "Why? Was my car behaving funny?" Yes, a smart ass remark, but what probable cause did he have for asking someone who was NOT driving a car that was not moving?
"I'm just trying to help."
I replied, "I already said that I was alright." At this point, I turned my video recorder on to catch audio. I was, after all, a single women alone with two men in the middle of the night on a mountain.
He continued to ask ridiculous questions. I persisted that I was alright. Finally and firmly I stated, "You've asked me three times if I was alright, and I said yes every time. What do you want?"
"We're JUST trying to HELP."
"I don't NEED your HELP." Finally, the officers walked away.
Another incident was during my arrest, after my former partner's sister lied to the price and claimed that I struck her. I was taken to the station, yelled at and threatened. My breasts were yanked by the search officer after I shared I had been molested and to please not be aggressive with my breasts. I was kept from using the restroom until I was barefoot. The full story can be read on the My Escape page of this website.
During my fingerprinting, I had a panic attack. I couldn't breathe. The officer put me in a room to calm down. He returned a couple minutes later to remind me that he was "just trying to help," and that I was "holding up the process." He was "trying to help me get out of there." Meanwhile, another officer called me crazy from the room next door.
One month later, my apartment was broken into. I called the Fullerton PD. They took over an hour to arrive (mind you that my former partner and his family had created quite the smear campaign, which reflected in the police database). When they finally showed, I began explaining to the intimidating, cross-armed officer what I found. Before I could finish my sentence, he verbally bullied me into silence. We went up to my apartment. I explained that I had been out of town and that the windows were closed when I left. They searched around. They "couldn't find" the thing I said was missing; a piece of paper with very important information on it, so I asked for a police report. The officer said that he would not give me one. I went on to tell him that the apartment complex would not release surveillance video to me without a police report. He didn't care. He jotted down an incident number and tried to hand it to me. I told him that I needed a police report. He said, "I'm TRYING TO HELP YOU."
I told him that ignoring what I actually needed help with was not helpful at all. I asked that he and the other officer step out from my apartment. He waved the little card at me, "You don't want this?"
I repeated that I wanted a police report. He refused. I started down the stairs and called the leasing office. I convinced the officer to speak with the manager, after which he came back outside to take my report. He asked how much the paper cost. I said that while it was just a pice of paper and probably cost 10 cents, the value though-- he cut me off. "I ASKED YOU WHAT THE VALUE WAS." This is a lie.
He went on and on about what was on the paper, and not just because he needed a description in order to find the paper. I believe he wanted to know because the information was incriminating to another party. I informed him that I had already contacted the FBI regarding the matter.
After he left, the leasing manager told me that the officer did the same thing to her; "He went round and round about what was on the paper, and that you didn't have anything actually missing because you wouldn't tell him what was on the paper." This is called crazy making conversation, by the way. A typical narcissistic tactic.
These officers don't listen, then they guilt you and try to scare you when you rightly grow irritated, frustrated, and angry. They provoke you, and we pay for the price for questioning, or reacting in a natural way. The same way we would react to anyone in our lives, but since this person is an "authority" figure, we are not allowed to speak on the same level. We are supposed to fear them. How can anyone have a rational conversation when they are in a state of fight or flight? People stumble, mumble, and don't have facts straight, because their minds aren't straight in those moments. Bad police use this to their advantage. They just want to flex their ego and position, make an arrest, and ruin someone's day and life.
Now, I'm not saying that all officers are "bad." I am a supporter of the blue, but there is definitely a culture of narcissism running rampant in the force. We don't hear the same kind of complaints about firefighters. They aren't people who were most likely bullied in high school and decided to get revenge by arming up, wearing a badge, and going on a power trip. When a firefighter shows up, they aren't issuing tickets to meet a quota or flexing their ego and position over an already scared individual, who clearly will not be acting rational. No, firefighters are truly just trying to help. Perhaps the blue can revisit their oath to Protect and Serve, remember that they are servants of the people, and realize that the only reason people "respect" them, is because they are afraid.
We know of the corruption bred by the "Code of Silence," and we know that cops won't "rat" each other out, regardless of innocent parties falling victim. As discussed in my blog about Gabby Petito, cops need education on emotional abuse and trauma. There is a missing link when it comes to the, what should be obvious, understanding that people in highly charged situations are going to respond and react with equal emotion. These are not times for officers to pounce, but to try and understand. There is a reason that most people go on high-alert as soon as the see a 5-0. We haven't done anything wrong and immediately, we are nervous and paranoid. Does that seem like the energy that should surround an organization who's mission is to protect and serve? Absolutely not. And it is certainly not the energy of an entity who boasts and touts that they are "just trying to help."