Houston Int. Airport Cop uses “abusive language” while citing someone for using “abusive language”

This past December, I got in a verbal altercation with an airline employee at Houston International airport. The altercation with the employee ended with me calling her a cunt , and walking away. As I was walking away, she started screaming for the cops. About five minutes later, four cops caught up with me while I was waiting for the train.

While they searched my bag, emptied my pockets, and went through my phone, I told them “Hey guys, I don’t consent to any searches.” They said it doesn’t matter if I consent or not. After they had thoroughly searched my person and belongings, they asked me what happened at the ticket counter, to which I replied “I don’t have anything to say to you about that.” They continued to try to question me, and I continued to not answer. Three of them took my refusal to answer questions in stride, like normal human beings. One of them must have been having a terrible day, or perhaps a terrible life. We’ll call him officer illegible from here on out, because I couldn’t read his name on the citation that I was eventually given. Although it was not my intention, declining to answer questions really, really bothered officer illegible. He told me that I was going to spend the night behind bars, and had me follow him (and the other three cops) out the front door so I could get picked up by a squad car. On our five minute-ish exodus from the airport, officer illegible was obviously trying to provoke some sort of response from me. Him and his anti-cussing posse all had a full compliment of mace, batons, tasers and guns, so it was pretty easy for me to keep a cool head. He kept calling me a “snot nosed, mother-fucking punk,” and berated me for being from California.

While calling me a long string of obscenities, he was so close to my face that he (probably inadvertantly) got spittle on my forehead. He also constantly asked where I worked, which of course I wasn’t going to tell him. He swore he would find out where I work, and call them so they could know “what a disrespectful motherfucking punk they have working for them.” (Little did he know, I’m living off my G.I. Bill benefits). Once we got outside, he continued using the same tactics to try to provoke me, but he didn’t need to use his inside voice anymore. We stood out by the curb for about half an hour waiting for a squad car, or the right ticket book or something (they didn’t really care to keep me in the loop about all this). They ended up citing me for “disorderly conduct-abusive language.” After I got the ticket, I asked one of the normal, non roid-raging cops to speak to a supervisor. Officer illegible butted in and started screaming for me to get lost before he changed his mind and took me to the station. When I asked for his name/badge number, he said he didn’t have to tell me because he was an independent contractor, and he didn’t work for the police (that turned out to be a lie).

Seeing that I was going to get nowhere with him around, I took the trolley over to a different terminal, got what I wanted from the airline with no fuss at all, and found a cop who told me where to go to complain about officer illegible. I told the watch officer about how his employee claimed to not work for the police, and pointed out that officer illegibile wrote me a ticket for cussing after he cussed at me for about half an hour (not that I really minded or anything; the things that I heard in Marine Corps boot camp made officer illegible’s rant polite by comparison). It seems that this whole incident could have gone much, much worse than it did.

It turned out that the statute the cop wrote on the ticket had nothing to do with cursing in public or anything like that. The statute he wrote on the ticket was about trying to start a fight. The lawyer I hired made a little over $500 just to point that out to someone at the courthouse for me. So I’m “not guilty” of anything, but I’m still out five bills. Oh well, at least I don’t have to be a cop! I’m thinking of swinging by the substation this Saturday during my two hour layover in Houston to see if anything was ever done.

– Jonathan Whitwell

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