This story was submitted by Jor-El Pizarro via the submit tab on Copblock.org.
Sadly Jor-El is yet another victim of the State’s war on drugs. An upstanding, hardworking person that for a number of reasons, uses marijuana to help him lead a normal life. These cases are very common in our “free country”.
Since this happened, Jor-El has needed several expensive medical procedures and even a surgery to fix his hands. He may never be the same.
All for a plant. End The War On Drugs!
On March 17 of 2015 at around 2 am I was on my way home after a day of work. Driving down OBT towards the 192 intersection. My phone had fallen off my lap. I enjoy listening to music on it to help relieve pain. I am diagnosed with one herniated disk and two bulging disks in my lower back, a subluxation in my neck. I also have broken, fractured, or lessened in some way, all my extremities from childhood difficulties.
As I look through my mirrors, suddenly there is a car behind me that turned on its headlights and started following me. I realize it is a police car. I try to keep calm as my mind gets triggered with the local cases running on news channels of unarmed civilians being abused or shot or “electrified” by police plus all the tales you hear from people being abused but not being able to do anything about it. All this triggered in my mind as soon as I knew I was being pulled over. The area I was being pulled over is known in the community to have a tendency of being profiled. It wasn’t well illuminated and I could see the only prominent lights in the area where mine and those of the police.
I did not feel safe where the officer wanted to pull me over, so I immediately turned on my hazard lights, slowed down my speed and lowered my window signaling the officer behind me to follow me, I was going to stop at the 7-11 gas station which was about 500 to 1000 feet away from where I was being pulled over. I felt this was a safe environment for all since is an enclosed area and not in the middle of the street.
After I had signaled the officer behind me and we were driving towards the gas station, out of nowhere, yet another patrol comes out the wrong side of the road and parks the car in the middle of both lanes diagonally and gets out of the car yelling “PULL OVER, PULL OVER NOW!!!” I clearly see the gas station so as I was again signaling the officer behind me to follow me the second officer in a very euphoric and enraged tone of voice kept trying to pull me over right in the middle of the street with his car blocking oncoming traffic. After verbalizing to them twice, audible through my lowered window, I was pulling over inside the gas station making it safer for all, the second young officer—enraged – yelled, “WHAT THE FUCK” Getting into the patrol slamming the door, which now my thinking was with more reason I should pull over in the gas station.
So, without giving any signal of fleeing, I pressed the gas pedal then pressed it a little more because I was already a sack of nerves. I didn’t feel safe at all after what I witnessed, especially with not a soul in the street. So I drove the car, turned off the hazard lights, and put on my blinker, signaling I was changing lanes to the right lane and going into the 7-11. I called my friend back at the house and told him I was being stopped and that I thought I was going to go to jail. I parked my car in the front entrance of the market where you go in to pay at the register and when I put my car into park I reach for my license and registration as I know I am being pulled over. Suddenly all I see is lights and people pointing things at me and yelling at me to get out of the car and when he saw me on the phone yelled to hang up insisting even more to get out of the car.
At this point I am terrified for my life and all I think is show your hands. At least there are cameras and several witnesses and my parents will get to see what happened if I get killed or beaten up. An enraged officer is in my window, yelling so hard I can see him turn red. I am now in total fear. With all this happening so fast, next thing I remember is that my door is open and, as I am showing my hands outside the car, I am quickly being grabbed and thrown against my car, and getting handcuffed. The officer clicks them all the way through my skin. No questions, no verbalization of what’s going on…nothing. Just grabbed and put in handcuffs. No rights read or explanation, just slamming me to the car twice. Then he pulls me away from the car and slams me to the hood of the patrol car, searching me.
The older officer came back to us and both shove me into the patrol still without any explanation of what is going on, hitting my left hip with the curve of the hard backseat. I had to lean on the injury because of the way he shoved me in. At this point my back, both my wrists and left hip are hurting so bad, yet no explanation of what’s going on or why are they stopping me and hurting me in this way (I laid over the hip injury all the way to the correctional facility, this left me limping for a few days and I presently still have difficulties). They go back and both start searching the car which is not under my name and so I know I wouldn’t have given them any permission to search. My license, registration and proof of insurance were also in good standing.
I was controlling a panic attack seeing them going through my car until they found my medicinal Cannabis, which was half an ounce with about 20 packets of white owls white grape inside my hand rest. I also had my personal grinder which I use to break my medicine. Then they found my ashtray with stored leftovers.
I keep them to medicate, because I commute 1hr 15min each way every day to work and work from 5 to 11hrs a day as a pastry chef in an upscale restaurant in a very wealthy part of Orlando. They weighed it in front of me and the arresting officer shouts “YOU ARE GOING TO JAIL.” As I fade in and out trying to keep my composure from panic, I feel and hear the arresting officer grabbing me by the neck saying “If you keep it up I’m going to break your face!”
The second time he grabbed me he slammed my head to the back fiberglass they have towards the trunk. In one of the times he opened the door he was assuming I swallowed something because I was gasping hard and puked outside when he opened the door. He is yelling while I puke “WHAT DID YOU SWALLOW” to which I gasp for air and yell “I DIDN’T SWALLOW ANYTHING” and all the time names and insults are being directed to me like I am trying to escape, and the nightmare continued.
Being grabbed by the neck twice by the arresting officer, being threatened to break my face if I didn’t stop “with the show” triggered me to go even more deep in panic. Then after fading in and out and being tired of all my body shaking I answered some questions to a female officer. Informing her of my conditions of having all my extremities fractured or broken plus being diagnosed with one herniated and two bulging disks in my lower back and a subluxation in my neck. “All the pills that have been given to me in some point in my life have given me some kind of side effect or simply don’t work. This is my honest use for Cannabis” I tell her.
The arresting officer shoves the door on my knee after asking me about the GPS device that the bank installed in my car. He was persistent that it was a skimming device to steal credit cards and commit credit fraud. I was being profiled. This is when I decided to listen to my body and pass out. Supposedly, the EMT’s got there after I was already out.
When I woke up I was already in the Simpson Correctional Facility grounds and I couldn’t feel my hands. All I felt was cold and could barely move my fingers. I continued to ask him to loosen the handcuffs, but he laughed and kept booking me in. He went through my phone and all personal property. When he finally got to the part of taking the cuffs off, he had to grab me with one hand and pull with the other hand, literally yanking them out of my wrist. My hands when I could finally see them were double the size and blueish purple. I bent my knees crying from the pain to which he laughed again, and said he would not be taking any more of that.
I undressed and dressed barely using my hands and signed some paper work as much as I could. When I finally got out, I took pictures of my wrist with the help of another person being released. My Dad came to pick me up and I asked him to please take me straight to the hospital. The hospital referred me to a specialist. I went in for some specialized tests, some x rays, and blood work. All expenses have been out of my familie’s pocket And we are not in any way rich. We are struggling hard since we moved to Florida.
While all this was going on I kept receiving the letters from the court and I was counting on video from the 7-11 to help me. It’s been more than three weeks from my arrest and I’m still trying to gain sensitivity back in my fingers. My hands turn blue and cold when working, they start to get clammy, my tendons and muscles move by themselves when I am driving for long periods of time. I get regular panic attacks and nightmares now.
My career, my planned benevolent acts, the benevolent group I am part of, the businesses and contracts I had going and I was building, all my accomplishments throughout my professional and personal development, my desire of finally paying off my student loans and getting a house and a good car so I can finally try to start working on building a family are gone. Unfortunately, to advance in life I need the money or the opportunity to make the money that has been denied to me and many other Floridians because we use Cannabis as a medicine.
After a severe anxiety attack I was hospitalized and given a strong tranquilizer. Finally coming completely off the two injections, the doctor came in and insisted that I could benefit from seeing a psychiatrist and she proceeded to Baker Act me. They transported me in an ambulance to another local hospital where I got admitted in their behavioral unit. A few days later I saw the Doctor and I was released
After all this I went back to my job but couldn’t perform the way I used to. I was really depressed, uncertain of my future, uncertain if I could actually be the same and put this behind me. Then everything started to crumble down. I lost my job, but got another one. I lost it a week and half later, though. Then I went back to my first job since the arrest. It was under new administration and since my work was impeccable and I was reliable they hired me again. A couple of weeks later I got fired because I couldn’t perform well because of my hands.
Months have passed by and the hurt, pains, and other symptoms are still present. But in the midst of all this as I was taking the only payment I have been able to make to the lawyer’s office to pay for the process of asking for the video of the arrest. Finally, I received an envelope with everything from my case. The case is closed and dismissed, they dropped the charges no appearance in court was needed. This brought some unexpected relief and I could worry somewhat less. I just finished my physical therapies. I am seeing a therapist for the traumatic events that re-occur in my head. It is possible that I might have to undergo surgery for both of my hands.
I finish this letter saying that currently I am experiencing a lot of anger and animosity because no justice has been served. The physical injuries prevent me from working and developing as a professional in my field. This in turn puts a lot of weight on my family and has affected us all. It also traumatized me in the way that it affected my social and family interactions making me isolate from everybody. I need the help of the public to bring to justice these public servants who violated and ignored the law and destroyed my life.