For every act of evil, there is an act of beauty. You Can't Change the World, Only Your Attitude Towards It.

Physically assualted by the police

Last night I was assaulted by two police men and am now in a state where I can not move at all without pain. I'll keep the details scant in case I am able to have them held accountable for their actions and I do not wish a blog post to spoil any official statement I make on the case.

This story is told then without prejudice to the case.

For a few weeks now as we approach the train station together after work on Fridays a friend and I have enjoyed debating the power and roles of Transit Officers. These people wear a Police like uniform and enforce train tickets. We were quite certain that there was no law regarding train tickets and these people were not able to enforce a law even if there were one. I had stood on a couple of occasions asking these people, politely and inquisitively, what powers they had and how they were to enforce them. Last week even I had a very fun chat with two of them as I travelled on the train. Partly I was attempting to see if they believed they had actual power and the force of the law and partly I was trying to get their side of the story where they have a job as well liked as parking wardens and tax collectors. They were simple and friendly and really did not know much of the rules they were upholding or have any idea if there was a law or if they had the power to enforce it.

Last night as we approached the station our conversation naturally veered to the subject and, tickets in pockets, we walked through the open gates on to the platform area. Two police men were standing together and as their role is to 'Serve and Protect' and they are public servants I approached them to get perhaps a final clarification on our investigation.

"Yes" one said (quite aggressively as I look back on it but I was polite and smiling and continued without noticing the aggression.

"Hello" I said "I'm just curious as a man travelling what power anyone has to see my ticket"

...hey, sometimes I do stupid things...

One said "I have the force of the law, I can ask you to show your ticket"

"Is this some kind of statute?" I asked "as there is no common law regarding train tickets."

"It's the law mate now move on"

"Ok I was just curious"

"Right we need to see your ticket"

Holding food in one hand I said "it is in my pocket"

With barely a beat the two launched at me, wrestled me to the ground and thrust one hand cuff tightly around my right wrist. My food went one way, my glasses flew from my face and went another.

They pulled and tried hard to get my left arm into the cuffs. With some effort they cuffed my arms together behind my back and had me on the floor against a wall. My friend under much protest from the police retrieved my glasses grabbing them just before one tried to crush them under his foot.

I was quite taken aback and asked them to please loosen the right cuff as it had cut into my wrist causing pain. I also asked them to let me have my glasses as forcing me to deal with them whilst half blind was unfair. They denied both counts and picked me up only to throw me down again with force.

One rifled my pockets and bag. He pulled out a picture of my wife, copies of my books (0n such subjects as pacifism), a sandwich box, green tea bags, along with various random bits and bobs. During this time the other police man never stopped shouting obscenities and abuse at me. Amongst his rants were that I was mentally retarded, should be on medication, stupid, likely on drugs, had broken the law, was wasting his time, had broken the common law and should respect the law. He stated several times that he and his colleague had asked me a total of 9 times to show my ticket - Each time he said this I asked him to not lie to me.

The situation dragged on, I could barely see, was in pain from the manhandling, handcuffs and I noticed blood on my face through the corner of my eye. The situation only ended after they had called in my details and banned me from the train station for 24 hours. They demanded I left, uncuffed me and sent me away.

As I went to move and gather my belongings from all around the floor I noticed the extreme discomfort I was in. Not only sore spots, bruises, a swollen and cut wrist, I also had severe pain in my chest from what I later learned was the knees of one officer as he pinned me down. Right now I can lean to type but if I wanted to shift position even to move for my tea cup it would be a slow, considered and painful move. I did not sleep last night due to discomfort. I may need time off work.

I know I was stupid to approach these men now. I fully accept that.

If two everyday people had done this to me it would be assault, as it was two police men it is still assault.

As I was not arrested for any crime, I was carrying a valid ticket and so on I did not commit a crime or even an offence.

I am guilty it seems of asking a public servant a question he did not know the answer to.

Let that be a lesson to anyone. Be polite, carry a ticket and ask a question of a police man - this will get you physically assaulted.

"Serve and Protect" is their motto. Public service is their role. Physical and verbal abuse is their action.

Picture: For having a train ticket

Tao Wow | Daily Cup of Tao


Rizal Affif - The Soul Sanctuary said...

I am sorry to hear this. I hope you are well soon.

Maybe, the police was in a very bad mood--maybe, had had a fight with his wife, or had just been pressed by his supervisor, whatever.

I am not saying it justifies their act. I am saying it is unwise to play riddles with random people. For we do not know their current mood and current state of mind; and thus their reaction is unpredictable.

Ta-Wan said...

A great pleasure of life is the unpredictability of it.

Their actions can not be justified for a second as even in the case they wished to arrest me for a crime they must first speak to me - They can not simply launch an attack and talk afterwards.

I hope they learned from it as much as I did, I hope they can be more reasonable with their next encounters.

Rizal Affif - The Soul Sanctuary said...

Well, then this unpredictable assault, too, was a great pleasure, eh? If that is the case, then you cannot complain about them.

No matter how our moral code says they cannot simply launch attack--the unpredictability of life decides, they can. One cannot expect others to be always reasonable, one can only expect them to be unpredictable, to react out of any expectation.

Ta-Wan said...

See my actions in the same way.

The Rambling Taoist said...

I wish I could say that this incident is shocking to me, but that would be a lie. This kind of unbelievable crap goes on here in the US all the time!! Sometimes, the unfortunate soul ends up dead and yet, more often than not, the officers involved get off with little more than a slap on the wrists.

While I personally have never been manhandled by an officer, I have seen many videos of others being treated this way. This is not to suggest I haven't had a few tense standoffs with the police as a protester, but I have been fortunate enough not to be attacked, though a few of my colleagues have.

Ta-Wan said...

You know and what we need is protests, to stand against this growing menace - but as it grows so too our freedom and ability to protest is shot.