POLICE STORY

Admit it the Black Flag songis in your head now.

Turns out that updating in an airport on a Samsung tablet is pretty cumbersome, so your continued patience is appreciated. As we wait with bated breath for my compelling tale of thr biggest asshole cop I have ever encountered, please use the comment section to regale us with your own Worst Cop Stories.

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60 Responses to “POLICE STORY”

  1. Anonymouse Says:

    I got pulled over a couple of months ago for doing 40 in a 35. I was not the only one, and I wasn't the fastest one, but I was the victim because I made eye contact with the driver of the (unmarked) police car. He was FURIOUS that i looked at him. Why did I glance his way? Because he pulled out of a McDonald's without looking and nearly t-boned me. I thought he was going to arrest me; he was FURIOUS. I wish I had a dash cam.

  2. Jared Says:

    I missed my interstate exit and tried using one of those "official use only" u-turns that went under a bridge, seen as how the next exit was 6 miles away and back again. Heck, it had even been written up in the local weekly as a Pro Tip for living in the area.

    There were two cop cars parked underneath it like trolls. One of whom informed me that this was "only for police to use" (wreckers? EMTs? DoT officials? construction crews? No, apparently "official" = cops). I asked if I could continue anyway, on account of it being quite a round trip. He said sure, and pointed back the way I'd come. I said "You know what I mean", at which point he started _screaming_, "You trying to be smart with me? Well I can be smart too!"

    I am _so_ very glad I didn't reply with "So, you're like a crazy person?", which I swear was sitting right there on my tongue, just begging to dig my grave. Normal people can't work themselves into the sort of slavering, incoherent rage in the space of 3 seconds like this guy did.

  3. Jude Says:

    It wasn't actual cops, but I did have a hilarious encounter with airport security in 1997.

    I was a nuclear engineer/water chemist in the Pacific submarine fleet, based out of Pearl Harbor. There were only a few dozen people that could do what I did in the entire command. One guy on a deployed boat had to be medevaced because of appendicitis, and I volunteered to deploy in his place (I was single and liked being at sea, so what did I care?). So I got emergency orders cut; they were signed by the admiral in charge of the entire goddamned Pacific Fleet.

    I took my orders and went to Honolulu International Airport. I had to catch a flight to Narita, and then get to Sasebo where the boat was moored for an emergency evacuation. I'm standing in line in my fucking dress uniform, with a chest full of medals and a warfare badge, and one goddamn seabag so I can meet up with this unit and deploy for five months. Some numb-nuts security person comes up and says "Did you pack your bag yourself?"

    I said "No, but my butler did, and I trust him with my life."

    He blinks a couple of times and says "I need you to answer the question."

    I said "Listen, pal, I'm not gonna answer that stupid fucking question. I'm trying to get to a warship so it can deploy. I have orders signed by the admiral in charge of the entire goddamn US Navy in the Pacific Ocean, and I have to get on a plane so a billion-dollar national security asset can go to sea. I'm wearing my fucking dress uniform, so I look like a goddamn tool. So no, I'm not going to put up with a stupid fucking question about whether or not I packed my own goddamn seabag."

    They actually took me in the back and searched through my government-issued duffel bag, looking at all my government-issued shit, while I stood there and said "Yeah, search it up, motherfucker! When you don't find shit, and I miss my plane, you can explain to the commander of the Pacific Fleet why you fucked with one of his sailors and one of his submarines didn't get to go to sea because you can't fucking think."

    I'm pretty sure I got on a few watch lists that day.

  4. Khaled Says:

    I got pulled over in Indiana, PA, because my state car inspection was overdue(*). I know, alert the FBI! The cop was slowly going along, checking out everyone's inspection in their windshields, while a line of us were waiting for a light to turn. He saw mine was overdue, and did a U turn in the middle of traffic so he could pull me over. He acted as if I had broken a marriage vow, and was a prick about me not being able to pull a current insurance card out right away (I found like 8 other ones!). The time was literally 4:20, and it was all I could do not to crack jokes about busting college students at IUP for pot instead of harassing me. He was in full prick mode as he filled out the ticket and everything. I mean, I'm sure some stoned college girl was getting taken advantage of, but hey, someone forgot to update his tags and inspection!
    *- In Pennsylvania, you have to have your car "inspected" at state licensed body shops to make sure that it is road worthy. Every year you get an inspection, and every year the body shop says your flux capacitor doesn't connect correctly to your warp core or something, and it'll cost anywhere between $100 to $300 to fix, depending on the crookedness of the body shop and how nice you dressed taking the car in for "inspection". When I moved to PA I had a brand new car with 6k miles on it, and the *dealership* told me it would take 2 hours to inspect- I told them that since it was leased and under warranty that I had no idea what could be wrong and if anything was, I was sure it was covered under warranty. I even offered to call the warranty department for them. I was out of there in less than a half-hour, passed with flying colors.

  5. Khaled Says:

    @Jude- I once told a Canadian border patrol agent at the Vancouver airport that I was in town to "you, know see the sights! Do fun stuff!" because I was too tired to think of "proper response" to the idiotic question "why are you coming to Canada?" I got to go to immigration services for an hour to answer more idiotic questions about my plans and if I was attempting to evade law enforcement in the US. I mean, a tourist go to Vancouver, BC? GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!!!!! That same weekend, one of my assistant managers got stopped and questioned by Canadian Immigration in Niagara Falls as he was going to a casino to gamble away his hard earned cash. Yes, two white guys from Pittsburgh were plotting to SPEND MONEY in Canada. Ye gods, what will happen next!!!

  6. J. Dryden Says:

    I'm a white, straight male with the (deceptive, I assure you) appearance of means, social standing and education.

    Shockingly, I've never been ill-treated by a police officer in my life. Even the one who pulled me over for a registration violation told me, and I quote, "Normally I'm supposed to impound the car, but you're clearly busy, so, look, just get it taken care of as soon as you can, OK?"

    I'm sure the fact that my car had University tags and my driver's license gave a swanky neighborhood as my address had nothing to do with it.

    Whenever I've gotten a ticket, it's always come with an apology.

    Seriously, those of you who are not doing the "White Male Who's Probably A Lawyer" routine, you are really missing out on a sweet ride.

  7. lfv Says:

    Gosh Jude, if only there wasn't a word you could have used instead of launching into a diatribe like an asshole and forcing him to perform his job.

  8. Kevin Says:

    "Admit it the Black Flag song is in your head now."

    Indeed it is. Better than what was there before.

  9. Kevin Says:

    Oh yeah, Ice T did a pretty good cover of that song.

  10. ADM Says:

    Yeesh, Jude, what the hell, man? It's not easy to make the TSA sympathetic, but you've gone and done it.

  11. Jimcat Says:

    Bonus feature: this thread also includes an entry for "Worst Serving Member of the US Military" stories.

  12. Slocum Says:

    Jude, do they give medals for being an arrogant, self-absorbed dickhead who makes problems for himself and other out of spite, pique, and an overweening sense of entitlement?

  13. Alan C Says:

    So, Jude, are you a cop now?

  14. LK Says:

    @J. Dryden I had the fun and privilege of doing a similar routine back in the days. Driving on a highway through some obscure part of rural Georgia, I was going something like 75 on a road that would have been 70 if it weren't under "repairs", in which case it was 50 or 55. Lights start flashing (we're talking close to midnight on a Sunday night), I pull over, and your archetypical County Deputy steps out of the police car. Built like a wrestler, graying at the sides, a mustache worthy of TV shows, the works. In the middle of his short intro I say "I'm very sorry sir, but can you please speak a little more slowly? I'm a tourist in these parts…" and pull out my European passport. White, male, straight and affluent can get you out of soooo much. "You take care now, and try to watch your speed a little closer, sir."

  15. Satrap Says:

    @ Jude – I love the opposite game!

  16. democommie Says:

    I had an episode with the locals about three years ago when I was leaving a debating&beerdrating* establishment. I was parked in an area with multiple curb cuts and pulled out between two of them, without using my turn signal and without my lights on. Just as I was doing those three things a cop pulled up to the light, looked right at me and immediately put on his flashers and (to his credit) made sure the intersection was clear before pulling through it diagonally to make a stop.

    When he walked up to my car, I was sitting there, hands on the wheel, window at half mast, headlights on. He said, "Good evening, Sir, do you know why I'm stopping you?". I replied in the negative.

    He then said that I had pulled out without turning on my headlights (it was duskish) and asked where I was coming from. I said that I had been at Green's Ale House and he said, "Did you have anything to drink?". I said, "Well, yes, officer, I had one beer**.".

    He appeared a bit flustered and said, "Um, do you know that you have an illegal inspection sticker?". Again, I said, "No.". He said, "The month of affixmentatiousness is not punched out, so it's illegal.". I replied that I had not put the sticker on myself and that I had the inspection report from a highly regarded local ICELB&M*** facility if he would like to see it. He then completely changed his tack and said, "You have a good evening, Sir, and please use your signals and have your vehicles lights on within a half hour of dusk.".

    Local college students and other young people tell me that all of the cops here are philosophical descendants of Tomas De Torquemada and Heinrich Himmler. I tell them, "A smile and what's the problem, officer?" works better than being belligerent drunks when they're pulled over. I know this from experience.

    * Hydration–very important, beerdration–critical

    ** Nothing is so easy to remember as the truth. I had ONE beer, then I had two or three more and one before I left.

    ***Internal Combustion Engine Lubrication Brakes & Muffler

  17. Jacquie Says:

    I have generally avoided running afoul of the cops (young, white and unassuming really does help), but I had a minor incident with the Border Patrol once. I am a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen by virtue of being born abroad to an American parent, and as such, I grew accustomed to not being hassled when crossing the border. Most crossings just required me to state my citizenship and that I had nothing to declare. On one trip to see some naked ladies, the BP agent didn't ask my citizenship, but where I was born. I explained that I was born in Canada, but am a U.S. citizen, and the BP agent demanded proof, which I obviously did not have (remember what travel was like in a pre-9/11 world?). As I grew increasingly panicked, the BP agent decided to give me an impromptu citizenship test. The first question he asked me was "Who is on a $100 bill?" On the verge of hyperventilating, I responded, "Sir, I'm a college student, and I haven't seen a $100 bill in YEARS."

    He let me go.

  18. Misterben Says:

    @Jacquie:
    Jeez, it's President Benjamin Franklin!

    On second thought, I shouldn't antagonize you. You're one of those duel citizens; probably way better with a saber than I am.

  19. jaktheyak Says:

    Being a white male, my Worst Cop story is about someone I worked with who wasn't even really a cop, in fact. Long time ago I had a truly bizzare job working with a group called "Community Crime Patrol" in Columbus OH. Basically I walked around in a kevlar vest, a cheesy kinda-cop-esque-but-not-fooling-anybody uniform, and a flashlight to sort of…keep an eye on certain parts of the city. We had radios, and could talk to the actual police on them. Very rarely we'd actually help them prevent some crime, slightly more often our presence would discourage some drunk OSU students from doing something more stupid than average, and most of the time we just annoyed people.

    The worst of us was a wannabe cop. He wanted real authority SO BAD, and despite what he said the reason was patently obvious to the rest of us: he wanted to abuse it for his own sadistic glee. Things he took absolute joy in included: destroying the stashed belongings and meager shelters homeless people would set up for themselves in hidden places…technically we were supposed to "confiscate" such things, but nobody else working for the CCP gave a shit, and certainly nobody else laughed and went on rants about how awful a person one would have to be in order to be homeless etc. while doing it; taunting drunk homeless people and trying to get them to initiate a physical altercation so that he would then be "justified" in "defending himself"; and being the most incredibly racist person I've ever met. He would also talk, at length, about how much farther he would go than this once he became a cop.

    I can't imagine any sane city government putting a gun in this person's hands on purpose, and thankfully he has, to this day, consistently failed pretty much every portion of the various exams required to apply to the force. Having worked alongside many actual police I know that enough power-tripping assholes manage to get the job anyway (you can probably find all manner of terrible cop stories if you google OSU Riot Police etc.) but it is comforting to think that there is a level of ignorant, sociopathic, and intolerant that will in fact not be acceptable to the police.

  20. Alex SL Says:

    Not so much bad perhaps as weird. About twelve years ago a colleague and I were driving through the night in northernmost Chile. Road totally empty, we just wanted to go from Bolivia to Peru via Arica. From time to time on the road there were little police stations where you would technically be required to show your papers, but some of them were deserted and nobody seemed to care too much about us.

    But then we came to this one station where we stopped our car about one meter behind the Official Stop Line, partly because it was so dark we didn't see it, partly because we figured it be easier all around if we stopped with the driver's window directly in front of the officer.

    Bad move.

    That guy spent a crazy amount of time lecturing us about what a grave offense we had just committed by not stopping that one meter earlier. He just kept on rambling and rambling in Chilean Spanish (which is the Spanish equivalent of a bad Scottish accent in English I'd say). At some point he started talking about God. At some later point, don't know when but he went on for at least half an hour, and after we had told him often enough how sorry we were and that we will never do it again he suddenly let us drive on.

    Maybe he was just lonely and needed somebody to talk to…

  21. US in the UK Says:

    I will change the tone slightly looking at our changing relatinship with the police by passing along a quick story that I still giggle about (my wife, foreign born, does not remotely believe this story).

    Growing up in "a mid-sized Southern city", we didn't have a lot to do but fart around as teenagers. So, when we were 14-16 years old, we would somehow get a few beers together and sit in the middle of the local golfcourse (after about 9 when it was sufficiently dark) and listen to Rush and Floyd tapes (hey, 1985!). Honest to god not doing anything than that and speaking uninformedly about girls.

    Almost on cue, a spotlight from a police cruiser on the road would land on us and you would hear the jingle-jangle of the approaching ("running") cops. Of course, we were in the middle of a golf course. So, as 5 guys and a solid headstart, we finished our beers and scattered in all directions (with a pre-determined rendezvous spot to finish our evening). The cops never tried any harder than that and I always thought that that they really didn't want to bust us but they couldn't *do nothing*.

    Now, i imagine in addition to trespassing, drone strikes.

  22. Townsend Harris Says:

    Expensive dress shoes. A good-quality bureaucrat's suit. White skin. Middle age. A penis. A polite, inquisitive manner. No problems.
    Follow those rules and cops will never hassle you.

  23. slimlove Says:

    I grew up in a small(ish) town where the cops have very little to do, and so overcompensate when something does happen, no matter how minor. When I was in high school, a friend and I were out and about, we get in her car and pull out of the parking lot. About halfway through the turn, she realizes her lights aren't on and flips them on. There's a cop behind us, he flashes the lights & sirens. We're in an intersection by this point, so we pull over as soon as we can after we get through it.

    Keep in mind we're 17 and polite overachievers (and also white). We've never been pulled over before. We do exactly what they tell you in driver's ed – turn off the radio, roll the window down, and wait. Except the cop never comes over. He just uses the bullhorn and says KEEP DRIVING. So we drive another two blocks down the street and the cop flashes his lights at us again. We pull over immediately. He walks up to her window and yells at her about why didn't she pull over when he said to??!? And then he tells her to pull into a nearby parking lot.

    At this point, another 3 cop cars show up. They have her get out of the car and do a field sobriety test, despite there being no indication she's intoxicated (and she wasn't). When she passed that, they grilled her for 10 minutes about whether she was on speed, despite there once again being no indication that she was.

    They finally gave her a ticket and let us go, half an hour after we were originally pulled over. All of this over turning on her lights 2 minutes late.

  24. Major Kong Says:

    Most of the interaction with law enforcement has been because I was doing something stupid. I did have one incident I consider "chicken shit".

    My wife and I went out to dinner in Grandview Heights, which is a nice suburb of Columbus OH. It has a quaint little strip with shops and restaurants.

    It was a nice summer day so I drove my 1957 Desoto FireFlite. Now this car is box stock. It's not a hot rod. No loud pipes. No aftermarket wheels. It looks like the big family sedan that it is.

    Now I know that Grandview Heights is really strict on speed enforcement so I make a point of keeping at or under the limit. Nonetheless, I get pulled over by one of the local cops.

    For the first time in my life I have absolutely no idea why I'm being pulled over.

    "Mostly I just wanted to look at your car"

    OK, that's a new one. So far so good. I give him the quick tour. Even open the hood for him.

    "There is one problem. You don't have a front license plate."

    All right. He's got me on that one. I know, however, that a Columbus city cop or an Ohio trooper would never take the time to mess with me over that.

    I point out that there's really no place to attach a front plate to this car (there isn't).

    "You'll have to take to the dealership and have them make a bracket"

    "Yes sir. I'll be sure to take it to the local Desoto dealer first thing next week".

    I have since stopped spending my money in Grandview Heights.

  25. Major Kong Says:

    Here's my "good cop" story.

    I'm driving a rental car in the middle of downtown Winnipeg and I make a right turn on red onto a side street.

    A beefy looking Winnipeg cop walks into the middle of the street and flags me down.

    "So, do you know why I pulled you over?"
    "Um, you can't make a right turn on red in Manitoba?"
    "Oh sure, you can, just not on this street."

    I'm doing my best "stupid American" act at this point, mind you I don't have to try very hard.

    "Oh, I didn't know that."

    "Yeah, you missed like six signs – eh?"

    He let me off.

  26. Andrew Says:

    I have three:

    1. Amidou Diallo (fatally shot by NYPD while "wielding" a wallet). Officers fired over 90 rounds, 19 of which hit Diallo.
    2. Abner Louima (anally raped by an NYPD officer using a broken broomstick).
    3. This one happened 1.9 miles from my house at the BART station I use several times a week: Oscar Grant (fatally shot by a BART police officer on January 1, 2009, while lying face down on the platform with the officer's boot in his back. The officer claimed he confused his gun and taser. What do you need a taser for when the guy is face down with your boot in his back? Dozens of people videotaped it, dozens more saw it, but the officer got one year for involuntary manslaughter. The excellent feature film "Fruitvale Station" depicts the last day of Grant's life.

  27. Sock or Muffin? Says:

    Good cop:
    Driving home from a friend's place immediately after drinking ONE beer. Driving dumbass ex-wife's car who had not renewed her tag weeks after her birthday. This after much nagging from me. Female cop: "Do you know why I pulled you over?" No Ma'am. "Your tag is expired." Well my wife has sent the check and we're just waiting for the new sticker. "Ok well make sure it's taken care of and have a good night."
    She could have gotten me for dui on that one.

    Bad cop:
    Riding bikes with friends in the late 90s. All of us in mid to late 20s. Stopped at a little store to grab some waters/gatorades etc. Friend Greg is sitting on his bike in the street, at the curb. Cars are parked on this street so it's not like he was blocking traffic. Cop pulls up chatting on his cel, tells Greg to get off the street and up on the sidewalk. Greg starts to comply and not 2 seconds into it the cop yells: DID YOU HEAR ME MOTHERFUCKER?!?!
    We all drop our jaws and Greg holds up his hands like 'whoa man'. Cop drives off.
    I rolled a stop once and got nabbed and the cop asked me for my insurance, which in GA you don't have to have on you as it's computer accessed now. I tell him this and he says "What if our computers are down?"

    I've seen cops road raging, I've seen them ignore accidents and do the lights through the intersection trick. I've gotten attitude at other traffic stops and been stopped for DUI checks disguised as other reasons.

    I've also seen good cops but they are few and far between. I'd say it's 90/10% in my experience that a cop will be a dick … and I'm a white male. My girlfriend dated a small-town GA cop and has some stories. Mostly ineptitude and institutionalized racism.

    And one for Andrew from my current city of residence.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Johnston_shooting

  28. Scepticus Says:

    As a white gut of modest privilege, my most notorious cop story is about the time I was arrested for practicing trumpet in the college music building.* Barney caught me, and then called Gomer for backup. While searching my gig bag (for weapons, drugs, stolen pianos?), Gomer aggressively demanded to know "Am I gonna find anything in here that's gonna hurt me?" (There's a long list of comedy responses I had the discretion to not deploy — trumpets can damage your hearing, they hurt when shoved up idiot cop ass, etc.)

    Seconds later, Gomer found in a side pocket a postcard my girlfriend had sent me. The image was a 1920s photo of a smirking man in a tux and drinking a martini while conversing with naked prostitutes in a Paris bordello. So, vintage sepia-toned chubby butt and side-boob. Ha ha ha.

    I thought Gomer's head was going to explode: "WHAT'S THIS!?!" (And now you know why I call him 'Gomer'.) Innocent period kitsch for you and me, egregious poh-NAH-grah-fee for him.

    Anyway, they cuffed me and drove me down to the campus police station, and THEN they let me go. My musician friends all find this story to be hilarious.

    *Officially: trespassing – after hours/building closed. The clearly-annoyed prosecutor gave me a deal and let me take an 'Adult Diversion' class, where we would learn the error of our ways. We sat in a big circle and the moderator made us one by one explain why we were there. Everyone else had minor alcohol or drug offenses, some involving domestic violence. I won the "Jeebus That's a Stupid Cop" award of the day.

  29. Vinny Says:

    In 1997 I was living in a nice neighborhood in Kensington Brooklyn in a corner house. I woke up to gunshots. At first, I thought it was firecrackers being set off in early summer in the wee hours. Bleary eyed, I peered out the window to check the situation. I noticed a guy lying in the intersection at the corner, and another guy walking calmly back to to his Ford Mustang parked at the hydrant in front of my house. He drove away in a very normal fashion. Apparently I had just witnessed the murderer leaving the scene.
    Across the street was an apartment building, so plenty of folks were out on the street shortly after the shooting trying to help the guy who was shot three times in his head.
    The cops arrived, and their lack of urgency or concern for the victim or interest about getting any information from me was stunning. I started to tell a detective about the white mustang and all, and was basically shushed so he could get other folks stories. I was not approached or contacted after that. Ever.

    This guy was shot in front of my house, and these cops and detectives didn't think I would have anything of value to add. Hmm.

    Apparently it was a drug deal gone bad, ipso facto, the guys life wasn't worth that much.

    In the morning, I was throwing out the trash, and discovered blood soaked rags in my trash can. One of my neighbors said that one of the Detectives had deposited the rags that some of my neighbors had used to stem the bleeding from the guy's wounds.

    We moved in 1998 to NJ.

    Good cop story: Fast forward to this morning, getting off of Route 80 at Exit 65, I California rolled through the stop sign making a right, and was surprised to see a cop as soon as I made the right. It's kind of a deserted industrial type area. We made eye contact, and I got a little knot in my stomach, but he smiled, and waved me on. In my rear view mirror, I see the guy behind me doing his California roll a lot quicker than mine. He got pulled over.
    He would have had every right to pull me over, but he gave me a little slack.

  30. infinitefreetime Says:

    Driving home from my college graduation party, which was at a relative's place out of town. Stone cold sober. It's dark, I'm on a highway, so I'm going slightly– but not terribly noticeably– above the speed limit. Maybe 70 in a 65. Coulda been 75. Nothing terrifying.

    There's me and one other slightly-slower-moving car on the road, and I'm approaching him with the intent of passing him on the left. I look in my rear-view mirror and a car going *at least* 90 mph goes from barely visible to completely up my ass in just a few seconds. Problem is, there's this car on my right. Nowhere to go, and this fellow's clearly in a huge fucking hurry.

    So I accelerate to get around the guy next to me before this lead foot jackass behind me runs me over. The *second* I hit whatever the next level was for the fine on the speeding ticket he hit his lights– unmarked car, naturally– and pulled me over.

    He was not amused when I asked him how fast he had to have been going to catch my ass from what was apparently a dead stop. I challenged the ticket, because fuck that: you don't get to engage in behavior that would make ANY REASONABLE DRIVER accelerate and then pull me over when suddenly the ticket is worth your time. Judge knocked it down to the speed I was going before I saw the cop (which, incidentally, was what he'd initially ray gunned me at) and I paid my fine.

  31. democommie Says:

    I forgot, earlier, the most recent "bust" I was involved in.

    I was in a left turn late with a green turn signal, waiting for oncoming traffic to clear the intersection. After the last car through, I started my turn. at the same moment as a guy, slowing, in the opposite left turn lane decided to pull out of that lane and go straight through the intersection. He was accelerating, then saw me and hit his brakes. I continued my turn and a cop in a cruiser (which was in a position where she could not have seen what actually happened) pulled me over about a block up the street.

    She was quite pissed off and let me know how dangerous and stupid my driving was. I said, "I never saw the guy…" and before I could finish the sentence she turned around went back to her cruiser and a few minutes later gave me a ticket for "Failure to yield"–that's an insurance rate raiser, right there.

    The ticket was $150 with the surcharge. I was going to pay it and wait to see what the insurance company did to my rates. A friend told me to go to the County Attorney's office and ask for a reduction of the citation.

    When I talked to an assistant to the CA, he asked if anyone was injured, I told him, "no" and that there had been no collision. He said, "Are you sorry that it happened?", I said, "Yes". He knocked the ticket down to an overtime parking–and it still cost me $85.

  32. Nunya Says:

    I was nineteen years and had recently moved to Seattle. I was helping some friends move. It turned out that I was asked to drive my brother's car (an older Alfa Romeo) full of assorted household items to their new place.

    It has been raining and the roads were a bit slick. Admittedly, I was a bit of a lead foot and I drifted around the corner at about 15 miles per hour with the rear tires spinning. I heard the unmistakeable tone of an American V8 police car accelerating toward me. Rather that turn on his lights, he decided to cut his car in front of me, blocking the lane and nearly causing me to hit his car.

    As the son of a police officer, I was well versed in what to do: Radio off, window lowered, both hands on the steering wheel.

    What happened next was unbelievable. The young, rookie officer approached me from behind and shoves the barrel of his Baretta pistol into my temple. Not being familiar with cold, lethal steel being directed at my head, I had the audacity to ask him what was wrong.
    "How would you like it if I wrote you a ticket for reckless driving?"

    "Uh, I don't think I'd like it very much."

    My brother, having witnessed the commotion walked toward the officer to answer any registration or insurance questions. The rookie cop points his gun at him and orders him to lie face down on the ground.

    I subsequently produced the necessary paperwork and was issued a ticket for reckless driving (a very serious, criminal traffic offense.) Several calls to his precinct commander and the prosecutor's office led to immediate dismissal of all charges.

    * Bonus: Several years later, I was serving on a jury for a DUI trial. I recognized the officer on the witness stand as the same prick that held a gun to my head. Needless to say, as the jury foreman, I convinced the jury to let the 21 year old girl he had arrested go free.

    After the verdict had been read, the officer decided to stop me in the halls to question me about the decision.

    "I'm sure you don't remember me but I remember what a scared, dangerous little man you are. Now get the fuck out of my face before I have you arrested for jury tampering" motioning to the baliff.

    True story!

  33. Nunya Says:

    @ Jude, I have to join the concensus that you are an entitled douche. The guy asked you the same questions he has to ask everyone. All you did was make his dull job worse and prove that you're an arrogant asshole.

    I'm pretty sure you haven't gone very far in life.

  34. Major Kong Says:

    @Jude

    Not trying to "pile on" here, having served in the military myself.

    The airport baggage inspectors are required to ask that question per various federal regulation. I don't know if it's the FAA or TSA but it's one of those.

    If an FAA inspector were to hear them not ask you that question they would get in serious trouble.

    I realize it's "security theater" to a large extent, but even when I'm going through security in my airline uniform with my airline ID, I still get asked those same stupid questions.

    I've even been pulled aside for "special" screening when on a company deadhead: last-minute, third-party, one-way ticket sets off all sorts of red flags.

    In this case "go along to get along" is the order of the day.

  35. quixote Says:

    I have to admit, I laughed at Jude's story. There's a lot of resentment at the total absurdist *stupidity* of TSA's security theater. Although, yeah, the poor schmoe was just trying to do his job.

    I had the experience of being on a DUI jury which the prosecution lost because the arresting pair of cops were such obvious jackbooted thugs they didn't even know how to act different on the witness stand. (It was a very borderline DUI situation, and nobody had been in any danger at any time. Long story as to why it was even in court, but it came down to jackbooted thuggishness.)

    My own saddest experience with cops was when my apartment got burgled and the cops could barely be bothered to write up a report. Forget trying to catch the perp. At the time, that was actually more disturbing to me than the burglary. Come to think of it, it's also pretty disturbing in principle. When the state loses interest in enforcing its laws, you're not really living in a government of laws anymore.

    Yeah, I know. If that's the worst, I'm lucky. White, educated, pass as respectable, etc etc etc.

  36. just me Says:

    Well, perhaps there's a lot to be said for getting better treatment from police and airport personnel if you're white, male, educated and well dressed, but there's a thing or two to be said for being a petite, moderately attractive white female.

    Over the years I've smiled my way out of speeding tickets, red light tickets, had cops change a flat tire, change a fuse to fix a burnt out tail light, confiscate the bottle under the seat instead of charging me, and drive me home after the breathalyser registered a warning level at a RIDE stop.

    I've boo-hoo'd my way onto an airplane after I slept through the flight I actually had a ticket for, and just recently got winked through security with a cigarette lighter in my hand luggage.

    The day I came home with a stack of tickets for speeding, no seat belt and expired license tags, insult was added to injury as I had to endure my spouse laughing himself silly. Damn female cops!

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  38. chris Says:

    I have to balance one bad with a good un, to be fair. After high school i was a real washout hippy and got into all sorts of encounters with the law – yeah I did a ton of drugs but I never got caught with them, just got "randomly" stopped for every bullshit excuse in the book. Cleaned up I can pull off the well-educated white guy schtick, but using a rope for a belt meant constantly being searched by pigs. Sad part is that here I was… a hippie. I mean I literally wouldn't hurt a fly. I hurt a few friends accidentally, I must say, but violent crime was never anywhere close to the list. Those rookie cops must've gotten hardons when they saw me comin, tho, because they never failed to impress. Acting like gorillas, puffing up as if they were going to make me curl up into a ball and cry, asking me really nosy, disgustingly rude questions, and generally baiting me into going to prison for gouging their eyes out. Anyway, they said a lot of fucked up things, triply bad to any girls I happened to be with, but the cake-taker had to be one brilliant pigfucker who found a plastic spoon from Wendy's in my pocket. He asked me, seriously, if I used it to cook up heroin, and where was he gonna find my stash? I just stared at him, stared at the spoon, and did my best to not explode into giggles. That story made the rounds for awhile I imagine.

    So destructive to our society, that attitude. It's like they take all the hate and danger in their potentially admirable service, and then ball it up and spit it on anyone who isn't immediately useful to them. I was connected and could probably have made trouble for them but I viewed everything in life as a challeng back then, and went out of my way to do everything the way I imagined a homeless person would. The spoon, for example, was because I wanted to live entirely off recycled goods, and my disheveled appearance was all part of the same. Oh well.

    I really hated cops for about a decade after those experiences left me really jaded. One cop really shocked me, though. Might have been because by that time I had a "good" job and drove a Subaru, I dunno. But he had me caught driving at 4 am on an expired license, and I was gonna catch a flight the next morning. I could've been in a fair amount of trouble but on the way to booking but I told him I had to meet my new girlfriend the next morning at the airport and this relationship was going to be all fucked if I didn't get there on time. It was all true, and I had some genuine tears in my eyes as I said it. That might have been why he let me off and told me to get it taken care of ASAP. That event set off a pretty positive chain of events, so I still feel like I owe thay guy a few beers.

    Still… wtf, grow up, immature traffic and corner stop cops. Most of the country hates you because you are maximum douchebags, a bunch of failed jock morons who pretend to be invaluable to society, but spend most of your lives collecting petty debts for the DMV (and eventually throwing those who can't pay into debtors' prison (by strongarming them to crime to pay debts)). Just be cool and everything would turn completely around. Average folks used to respect the PD, because the PD respected average folks. Now they don't even do that much.

  39. Dave Dell Says:

    When I grew up it was, "Trust the police. They will help. They are your friends." Etc.

    Now, the only decent police are the very few real old timers on the verge of retirement who don't want the hassle that might interfere with a smooth transition into civilian life.

    I think it's done on purpose similarly to the prisons, jails, lockups, etc. We walk around in fear of CRIME, CRIME, CRIME and in fear of even those who are supposed to protect and serve.

    A frightened populace is a controlled populace.

  40. Dave Dell Says:

    Should have mentioned that "similarly to prisons…" By which I mean that our prisons are scenes from Dante's Inferno. Keeps a lot of people from making waves that deserve to be made for fear of spending any time at all in a lockup.

  41. Misterben Says:

    I guess it's pretty common to encounter the jumped-up little martinet cop. I have, seems like everybody else here has. That kind of attitude doesn't help their image, though I can't say whether it helps them do their job.

    But I love that most of these stories have some kind of precipitating incident. Navy Jude mouthing off to the TSA guy (even though everybody hates the TSA), Chris the Hippie "driving at 4 am on an expired license", other folks rolling through stop signs or driving with expired tags. I have complete sympathy for the folks who describe being harassed by a cop for no reason at all, obviously, and I've certainly encountered plenty of police with bad attitudes. But, criminy, DON'T DRIVE AROUND WITH AN EXPIRED LICENSE.

    As far as I can tell, most cops are just people with shitty jobs trying not to get fired – like the rest of us.

  42. Death Panel Truck Says:

    You mean to say that not all cops are as nice as Malloy and Reed? Shocking.

  43. DocAmazing Says:

    Gee, Misterben, you must have missed the first two-thirds of chris ("the Hippie")'s post: he had a very, very long history of petty harrassment.

    Cops' jobs are shitty? They're better-paid and better-protected than just about any occupation I can think of. When they pull something stupid or criminal, the taxpayers pay for their defense. Their benefits are better than those of just about any other group of people. "Trying not to get fired?" I'm not sure where you live, but I'm in San Francisco, where notoriously abusive cops are protected by their union and by the DA's office–removing them from their jobs is nearly impossible; it's hard enough getting them reassigned away from the public.

    Your sympathy is misplaced. There are numerous hardworking cops who have to deal with the worst society has to offer, but they are well-compensated for that service, so the least that they can do is to behave professionally. Most do, but that isn't the point, is it?

  44. xynzee Says:

    I've been fortunate enough to not get a psycho cop, and when it comes to traffic violations, I've always been, "Yes, sir. No, sir. Three bags full sir."

    I've concluded that there's no such thing as a "positive" interaction with cops ever. There are two situations when one meets a cop and it's either:
    A) They're trying to bust, a very bad situation.
    B) Someone has done something to you, and could be worse.

    Probably the worst abuse of power I know of happened to a girl I knew. She'd married a nice enough fellow, but it didn't last very long about a year. Turned out he had a pretty bad temper, and one night after he beat her pretty severely she called the cops.

    Unfortunately, there was a cop in the local command who made it a practice of being first on the scene for the DV cases. A real predator.

    The way Australia organises its police services is perfect from an administrative perspective as it's organised at the state level with no sub-layers, et. local/city, sheriff, etc. No need to worry about those pesky jurisdictional issues and there's just the one database across the state.

    If you find yourself at cross purposes with the cops… you are FUBARed. The only solution is to move state or disappear into the GAFA, and you can imagine how hard that can be for some people. That's almost what happened to this gal when she tried to break it off. He was able to track and stalk her using the database. Worse yet, the guy was married to another cop and she too could freely access the dBase and made her life Hell.

  45. Hank Says:

    OK, my turn.

    Years ago when I lived in Minneapolis, the phone rang at about 2 AM on a Saturday. My wife answered the phone, told whoever it was on the other end that I was right there, she listened for a moment and asked me if I knew where my truck (orignal style 4Runner) was. I looked out the window to where it should have been and told her that, no, I didn't know where the truck was. She relayed this, listened for a while and told me that the Saint Paul police had found it running on the side of the road. They were having it towed to the impound yard and I could pick it up in the morning. (Digression, this may be the best way to find out that your vehicle has been stolen: having the cops call you to tell you they have it.)

    So, when the yard opened, we went to retrieve it. We'd been told that the back window was busted out, but when I got to it it turned out that it was just rolled down (Yay!) and the back of the vehicle had about a dozen car stereos in it.

    This led me to construct a new version of events of the previous evening. Somebody, we'll call him the criminal, steals my truck and while driving home stopped several times to steal car stereos. The St Paul cops see him doing his thing and give chase. The criminal runs away, abandoning the truck and stereos. The cops realizing that those donuts weren't going to eat themselves, run the license plates and call me to make sure I'm not home before going there to wait for me to get home. But I am home, so no bust for them.

    When I got home I called the St Paul police to report the presence of the stolen steroes since that's where the car stereo crimes occurred. They wanted nothing to do with me and told me to call the Minneapolis cops. I called them and the said they'd send a car around. The Minneapolis cop arrived a while later and made zero effort to treat this like a crime had occurred. He was all pissed off and literally picked up the stereos one at a time and threw them (hard enough that I heard them breaking) into the trunk of his car.

    Then just to make everything perfect, his car wouldn't start and he sat there (I could see him from my apartment window) for about half an hour until a tow truck got there and fixed him up.

    Except for having to pay the impound yard to get my truck back, this wasn't stressful, but it did open my eyes to how vigorously pursue crimes.

  46. Andrew Says:

    In a democratic society, no one, even the guilty, should fear mistreatment by the police. Fear the consequences of an arrest, fair trial, and guilty verdict, sure, but if you put your hands up and go along peacefully, the police should have no need to abuse you. Policing is an important job that should be done right, and so often it is not. We are creating an entire generation of young non-white males who fear and disrespect the police. This is not a recipe for social peace.

  47. sinned34 Says:

    Three friends and I are having lunch in a diner when another friend comes flying into the parking lot in his car, parks and runs into the diner. He tells us some jocks tried to drag him out of his car and beat him up, and, just to prove his point, said jocks show up in the parking lot a minute later and park beside our friend's car. They shout into the diner and tell our friend to "man up and take your beating."
    The owner of the diner calls the RCMP to inform them that some people are harassing customers in his store. As he does this, we head out the back entrance to go around and meet these idiots in the parking lot. Just as we exit, the jerks walk into the diner's front door.
    We go and sit on our friends car waiting for the jocks to come out of the diner, and a police cruiser shows up. I comment to my friends "How much you want to bet the cops are going to think we're the troublemakers?"
    Sure enough, the police officers step out of the squad car and start to walk towards us, which causes us all to laugh amongst ourselves. The cop closest to us (but still a good 10-15 meters away) puts his hand on his pistol and unclips the holster restraint.
    We stopped laughing.
    The rest of the encounter went fine when we told the RCMP to go talk to the store owner. It ended without five nerds getting beaten up by jocks or held at gunpoint for being willing to stand up for their friend.

  48. JustRuss Says:

    My favorite: In college, roll into Chicago after driving all day. There may have been beers consumed at some point. We're on Lakeshore Drive, my buddy yells from the passenger seat to a cop: "Hey, how do we get to O'hare?" Cop replies "F*ck off!"
    My buddy, who's a mean drunk, replies "F*ck off yourself!"

    We spend the next half hour watching the cops search our car. They did let us go.

    On the plus side, I've had a cop pull my car when it was stuck in mud, and one let me off with a speeding ticket when I probably wouldn't have passed a breathalyzer. I was wearing a suit for that one, may have made the difference.

  49. Khaled Says:

    @Misterben-
    I think you're missing the point. While all of us who have gotten pull over for various traffic offenses, etc, have "done something wrong", in no way did it ever require the reaction level of complete asshole from the police. I've had a lot of interactions with police because of my job, and I've had some really nice police interactions as well. I've been annoyed that in Ann Arbor, that the police sit around frat parties waiting to write tickets for MIPs, rather than, I dunno, check to make sure that the girls leaving frat parties are okay and aren't going to be raped by the frat boy "helping her home". I'm annoyed that Dayton police gave exactly two fucks when my store was held up at gunpoint, and even though a witness KNEW WHERE THE DUDE WHO STUCK A GUN IN MY EMPLOYEE'S FACE LIVED no effort to arrest the guy took place. I'm annoyed that traffic violations are treated like HOLY HELL YOU BROKE A LAW!!!!!! when shoplifting is treated as a inconvenience in a cop's time, or that it would take an hour for the cops to show up when we called them.
    I could write a book about all the ghetto shit that has happened while I was working at inner-city drug stores, and a good amount of it would be the interactions with the police. I've had a cop ask me, as I was showing him the $85 worth of deodorant that a woman stole, if a crime was even committed. I told him that she did indeed leave the store with the merchandise without paying for it, I just chased her down and got it back. So while I get that cops have shitty jobs, they don't have to take it out on the rest of us. If I was still working in the 'hood, I could ask my employees about their worst "cop was a dick" story and those stories would top all of ours. Yeah, a lot of cops are decent people, but a lot are dicks as well. And no, I don't feel sorry for them.

  50. Jude Says:

    Wow. I came back here to read more shitty cop stories, and instead I see a whole bunch of people who would have gone all the way to 450 V in the Milgram experiment.

  51. Andrew Says:

    @Jude: Just because you say "yes" when someone asks you whether you packed your own luggage, because "yes" is the correct answer, doesn't mean you blindly follow authority. Intelligent people know how to pick their battles.

  52. fernando_g Says:

    I live in the US side, but have worked for 27 years across the border at "maquiladora" plants. I've crossed the borders close to 6000 times, and know that immigration officers -on both sides of the border- have total and absolute power over you.

    Also, in Mexico one can purchase fruits and vegetables which are unavailable or very expensive back home. I therefore go grocery shopping every week, VERY mindful of the US Dept of Agriculture list of prohibited items, which customs agents strictly enforce. One such item is apples, which is quite ludicrous because US apples are far superior to Mexican apples.

    Almost daily, I take a US grown apple to work, to have a snack. It so happens one very busy day I could not eat it, and took it back to the US.

    During inspection, agent notices my apple. I tell him that it was US-purchased and point to the "Washington State" label affixed to it.
    He says, literally: "Indeed, but once you cross the border, the apple loses its identity".

    Mindful of the power he has over me (and the thousand dollar fine), I avoid laughing or smirking. I just apologize, submit the apple for destruction, and lets me go with a reprimand.

  53. anori Says:

    "The apple loses its identity"

    A postmodern immigration officer. Hah! I probably wouldn't have been able to avoid laughing.

  54. democommie Says:

    I had a border control officer near Kamloops, CN. I was driving a shitbox '76 Malibu Wagon, loaded with a lot of camping gear, tools, books, a guitar and various other junk. I'd already been in Canada twice on the long trip I was on–entering and exiting with no notable difficulty. On the day in question, however, I had the misfortune of dealing with a recent immigrant who was wearing the Border officer's uni.

    He grilled me for a while, asking me no less than three or four times if I had contraband, firearms, drugs, secreted money or explosives. I finally told him to toss the car if it would make him feel better. He went inside the building behind us and came out a moment later. He told me I had to talk to the guy in charge.

    I walked in and there was a veteran sergeant standing at the desk. He asked me if I was planning on staying in Canada and whether I had sufficient monies to travel across country to the VT border crossing (I wastn' and I did, in that order). He then said, "You're good to go. That young fella is wee bit too serious.". That young fella, 30 years later, is probably a division commander.

  55. Junkyard Jesse Says:

    I don't have any stories about being tired of any abuse, just ridiculous/comical small town cop tales.

    Important Background: I grew up in a small town. And when I say small town I don't mean a 20,000-person suburb within 50 miles of a major city. 2,500 people on an island (a real island with no highway bridge or tunnel) in Alaska. About as remote as you can get and still be called "small town" and not "village". In this town everything closes by 6 p.m. except for the bars, restaurants and maybe one or two hangouts for teens. So by 9 p.m. there aren't many people out and about and anyone who is, is just looking for a good time, and doesn't have anywhere important to be any time fast.

    The local police force has maybe a half dozen cops. One of them is cool, probably four of them are shady and crooked as fuck, and the one remaining is The Small Town Cop.

    Tale #1: Teenage Friend and Teenage Me are driving around one night with nothing to do and spot a friend walking down the sidewalk as we approach a stop sign. We stop at the sign and roll down the passenger window and start bullshitting. Meanwhile another car approaches from behind and passes us in the oncoming lane. As you might expect in this setting we were the only two cars at this intersection the entire time; there is no oncoming or cross traffic.

    As we proceed through the stop sign Small Town Cop jumps up from between two parked cars across the intersection and starts flashing his flashlight on and off at us. We literally had no idea what this meant so we laughed at him for being stupid and then made three right turns around the block. As we circled around the far side of the block, Small Town Cop leaps out of the alley and into the traffic lane ordering us to halt. The fucking guy ran us down on foot through the alley to intercept us (he must have used his cop sixth sense to know we were joy riding and would be driving in circles).

    He ran us down on foot and threw himself in front of a moving vehicle to write a $50 ticket for blocking traffic.

    Tale #2: Fast forward a few years and I'm now a young adult engaged to the love of my life and we are home visiting Small Town. Being a young young adult I may or may not still do things like go to the open field and sit in a car and smoke dope and then go to the one place open in the middle of the night with snack foods: the outdoor car wash which has vending machines. I left the lady in the car and when to go get some Doritos or something and noticed two 20 oz bottles of Pepsi sitting on the change machine. I figured it reasonable that they were just extras or expired or something and the carwash owner left them out free for the taking, but as I was about to pick one up and crack it open I hear my wife whispering to me.

    "What?" I replied loudly and stupidly like a stoned 20 year old would. She kept trying to get my attention discreetly but I wasn't picking up on it. As I went to approach the car empty-handed, Small Town Cop jumped out from around the corner and blocked my path. "What's going on?" he asked. "Nothing I was just getting some snacks and was kind of curious why those sodas were just sitting there." To which he replied, "Mmmmhmm. I was wondering that myself!"

    I got my Doritos and got back in the car. Lady informs me that the whole time I was there, Small Town Cop was peeking around the corner stealthily watching me make my purchase and, I can only assume, waiting for me to "steal" one of the sodas that he probably put there as a trap to bust stoned kids.

  56. April Says:

    Man, I have so many cop stories – and one TSA one – I could write a blog just about those. Just a couple…

    in 1978 I had a TR-7 car. (The British Wedge sports car.) Absolutely impossible to not speed in that. Got lots of tickets as I traveled across the US, but, back in the day before puters a ticket outside your home state didn't count against you for points. AND you could pay the fine right there to the cops. (Usually 5 bucks or so. Them were the days for sure.) Anyway, two stories about that: I had gone from Illinois to California, getting a ticket in every state. When I returned to Illinois and crossed the border the cop who pulled me over asked if I had ever had a ticket before. My first inclination was to smart-mouth "I've had tickets in better stated than this one…" but I didn't. Second story…was living in Orlando, Fl and got pulled over. Hot day, all windows down, I can hear the cop's police radio…another cop says "Hey, Joe – did you get the green one?" (Yeah, my car was green. Knew I wasn't going to talk myself out of this one…)

    And speaking of which….it didn't hurt to be young, cute and blond. Talked myself out of several. Actually got a date offer from one cop. (Turned him down. I don't date Republicans.)

    When my firstborn was, um, well, first born, my then husband was still in England. I was driving home from an interview where I didn't get the job, so I was naturally upset. I'm driving home and she is in her car seat in the back and she starts that newborn cry – WA WA WA WA. (Either you know how this sounds or you don't.) Since I was breastfeeding immediately the milk started flowing so now my shirt front is all wet. The cop lights flash and that's it….I'm sobbing away. Just too much stress. This poor young cop (and I will confess it's the ONLY time I've ever felt sorry for a cop!) comes to my window. I'm sobbing, the baby is screaming and he says "Um…do you know why I stopped you?" and I said (in between sobs…this story is really better when I do it in person) "Yes…I know…I was speeding…I…am…just…trying…to…get…home…so…I…can…feed…her….so…she…will….SHUT…UP!" Poor guy. No ticket.

    My other favorite no ticket story occurred when I was living in England doing my graduate work. Being a poor student my car was not that great. I was sitting at a light that turned green but my car wouldn't start. I kept trying and trying and when it finally started the light had turned red but, fuck that, I went anyway. Unbeknownst to me, there had been a cop car behind me all the while. After I ran the light he put on his and pulled me over. He came up to the window and said "Do you always run red lights?" and I said "Oh, no Sir. Only when there is a cop car RIGHT BEHIND ME!" He laughed. No ticket.

    Which leads me to my TSA story. In 1985 I went home to the US from Britain. I got to the customs guy and he asked me what I was doing in the UK. I told him I was studying. He then asked what my course of study was and I told him it was reproduction. (My research was concerned with "why so many sperm" [because men won't ask for directions! Sorry - that joke still cracks me up!] So then he asks if I have any samples. Now, NOW I understand that it's a standard question, but at the time I was really confused. Samples? Samples of what? Sex? So I do my best Mae West impression and say "I don't know…will it help me get through customs faster?" And for the briefest second the way he looks at me makes me think I am SO fucking going to jail! But then he realizes that I thought he was joking, and I'm saying (frantically) "No. No samples."

    Don't get me started on cop "testilying".

  57. Tallmarc Says:

    Thanks April, I guffawed.

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