I heard a helicopter circling above my home in Leucadia. I could faintly hear a voice from the chopper that was clear as a Good Burger drive thru intercom. As I headed outside to get a better listen to what until now sounded like “a #4 with a liter of cola” being ordered, it was clear to me what was being announced on repeat.
“FELONY SUSPECT ON FOOT IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD WEARING WHITE SHIRT AND BACKWARDS CAP."I gave myself the once over and observed that I was wearing a white t-shirt. But I left the house anyways. (People of color, please don’t try this at home if you are in this situation).I meandered out to the street and saw that it was blocked off with a police cruiser. I locked eyes with the cop and kinda did that thing tourists do when they are in a new city. My eyes quickly darted up at the trees and then gazed up & down my street as if to say to the cop "well, the suspect isn’t in these trees or on this particular street. Also, I am not the suspect.” I looked over again to make sure he was not charging at me and realized I should have just changed my shirt.I started to head back to my place and heard a crackle behind the dumpster. The gears started shifting and I realized that behind my apartment was an open storage space of sorts. In fact, if I were in a neighborhood game of hide and seek…this would be my spot.
I approached slowly, and headed behind the dumpster and towards the “backyard” of the complex. As I peaked my head around, I saw a young man sitting down on his cell phone.
His eyes caught mine and he gave me a friendly wave. I waived back and was caught off guard by his friendliness. Was this one of my neighbors just chillin’ behind the complex talking on his cell phone shirtless?
The ghetto bird had been squawking for the last 10 minutes with his description so that anyone with a bird brain would have taken off said hat and t shirt by meow.He ended his phone call and I approached. As I got closer I could see the panic in his eyes. He started pleading (very loudly I might add) for me to take him in for refuge. His friends were on the way to pick him up and he just needed a place to hang out for a bit. As my eyes widened, he realized the weight of his request. His shoulders shrugged and his voice cracked “I’m not a bad person, I got caught with some weed…well a lot of weed. I was with my girlfriend, please just help me. I have money, I have $600 in my pocket please, please just help me."The next 3 seconds I stood silent and had an inner monologue in my head that went something like this:
The frosted side of me wants to help him.
Our lives are based on these split second decisions. We all try to be good people, but sometimes we make a bad decision thinking we are helping someone. The money was worthless to me. It would be like risking a DUI that costs $20,000 because you didn’t want to spend $17 on a taxi. But the compassion I felt for this human pleading gave me quite the inner struggle. As much as I wanted to help, I couldn’t risk my own well being. I had a 2 year old cat at home and an aloe vera plant that has seen better days.I told him to just hold on a second as I started backing away. His body language shifted and now he was thinking I was going to give off a scream to rival an angry goat to alert the near by police of his presence. He stood up.As I took a step back, he took a step forward.
I plead with him to just stay put and the gravity of this situation started to sink in. As much as I would have liked to think he didn’t have a gun, did they really have a chopper out and roads closed over some weed?I let him know that cops were everywhere and on the street next to us. He kept matching my steps. We were getting further out into plain view.I stop. He stops.
I told him, I don’t know what I can do to help you but if you follow me out in front of the complex they will see you. I took a couple more steps back until I was now by the dumpster where I had the great idea to go investigate what the crackle was.At this point I looked up the street and saw a police officer in full body gear and gun in hand walking down towards us. Since there were trees in between us, both the cop and the kid could see me but they could not see each other.
I now encountered a most awkward moment. A cop looking at me charging down the street with a gun in his hand and the suspect looking at me like a lost puppy dog.As a puppy dog would, he started coming closer to me and all I could do was give him a look of sit, ubu, sit.
I was in clear view of the cop whose eye line was just about to see a shirt-less human puppy that I had just inadvertently pulled out of hiding.I knew he was seconds away from being spotted when I heard,
"PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR, GET DOWN ON THE GROUND NOW!"As the cops gun was drawn and pointed at the young man, I turned away in what could only be described as an awkward and confused Keyser Söze walk. Another cop pulled out his weapon from the other end of the street and unfortunately, from my angle, I was getting caught in the cross hairs between him and the young man.I backpedaled my feet until I was 10 yards away where I was greeted by my neighbors who were now coming out of their respective apartments.
They asked "what happened?!!” Not really sure how to articulate what just went down, I gave them a shrug like Michael Jordan did vs. Portland in the ‘92 finals and sat back with them to watch the rest of the the arrest.No cops harmed, suspect was detained and I learned that with enough fear in me, I can moonwalk.Moral of the story: if you hear a chopper outside, lock your door and stay inside.“