The following was sent to us by Mary Vandenberg about her outrageous experience.
My first court experience was for three parking tickets in Kent County (Grand Rapids, 61st District Court) during the summer of 2011. Each ticket was $20, and was doubled to $40 for failure to pay so a bill for $120 was sent to me. I filled out a media request form and was allowed by the judge to record audio but not video during the hearing that I attended, fought and lost. As a result of being held responsible for the tickets, court costs were charged to me as well, totaling $55 each. This made the grand total $285. These were not moving violations, so there were no worries about my license being suspended.
I was told that in order to appeal to the next level in court, I would have to give them $100 cash for them to “hold onto.” It would only be given back IF I was found innocent.
A few weeks later I was sent a “request and writ for garnishment,” which is not a request but a demand for money. On this form the $285 was now raised to $297 which included the fee they charged to collect it all.
On October 31, 2011, I was forced off the road by a man in a statist costume (hudsonville-58th dist court). I had a five minute conversation with him about liberty and natural law and then asked if I could go on my way since I had not hurt anyone or anything. Officer Tubergan denied my request and took my papers back to his cop car. He came back after a few minutes and gave me a demand for money (aka a ticket). He wrote 71mph in his remarks but wrote me up for 60 in a 55 zone.
Within 48 hours, I called and had a phone conversation with Tubergan and was not able to convince him to reconsider his complaint (the ticket).
A hearing for the speeding ticket was scheduled for December 16 which I rescheduled for January 16.
The hearing went as well as could be expected. I was not heard and could not make any philosophical arguments. Again I was told that in order to fight it at the next level, I would have to give up $100 cash. I did not pay the extortion money and a few weeks later got a notice that my my permission to drive papers (aka, my license) was suspended as of February 3, 2012.
On March 31, 2012 I was walking out of a gas station with coffee and was asked by a female in a statist costume if I was “Mary.” We proceeded to have a half hour conversation about liberty and she wrote me a “DWLS” …driving while license suspended ticket.
on April 24, I went in for an arraignment on the DWLS and got threatened with contempt of court for saying “this is bullshit.”
That same day I met with a prosecuting attorney named Duckworth who was not even willing to consider the problems in the current system and told me to talk to my representative/legislature to change things.
I called to find out what happens next and what to expect.
Hudsonville told me that I can pay with a credit card or cash between the hours of 9am-5pm weekdays with the exception of a lunch hour. I asked her about a jury trial and jury selection and how that works. She gave me a date on her computer and said I just hadn’t received the paper in the mail yet.
I asked about the $145 being demanded of me by Hudsonville and asked if it it make a difference whether I pay that before or after meeting with the prosecutor. I also asked if she ever thought deeply about the system she works for. I asked about why this money is being demanded of me when I had hurt no one and she was non-responsive. I asked the woman, “if I pay the $145 before the meeting on the 7th of June, will the points and money amount demanded be less?”
The lady on the phone said she can’t give legal advice and told me, “You can BEG the prosecutor when you talk to him.”
I called Holland next. The woman on the phone told me that after meeting with the prosecutor on June 7 at 11am, I can determine if I want to take it to a jury trial. She told me that I have the choice of taking it to a jury trial or not. She said that if I do go with a jury trial, the jury selection starts the next morning at 9am.
On Wednesday morning, May 16th, I took $145 in one dollar bills to:
Kenneth Post – District Judge / Cindy Daldos – Chief Clerk
3100 Port Sheldon Road
Hudsonville, Michigan 49426
Phone: (616) 662-3100
I intended to pay the money demanded of me and get ‘clearance papers’ (to bring to the prosecutor on my DWLS hearing).
I was called up to the counter by Clerk Karen Glockzin. My brother David had my camera and turned it on as I was giving my name to the lady behind the counter. We were approached by a uniformed man who approached us from behind and to our left as I faced the counter. Dave was standing to my right.
The costumed man, named George Deville, told Dave, “Gimme the camera.”
I reached up and took the camera directly out of Dave’s hand. I shut it off and put it away saying that it was my property and it would not be turned back on. Deville stayed standing on my left side. He asked why we were there.
I told him I was trying to stay safe by paying the $145 that was demanded of me by threat of force. Clerk Karen Glockzin was there first then Cindy Daldos joined her at the desk. I slid the stack of 145 ones through the window to the clerk(s). Clerk Daldos started counting and right away asked, “Can we take this?” to the costumed man.
I tried to express my feelings of fear and frustration to the clerks and cops.
I expressed my need for maintaining control of my own property (my money). My questions were not answered and I was constantly being interrupted. Deville, Stille, and Ortega were present. We were then approached by Heaton. I was told I had to leave or I’d be arrested. I asked, “For what?” and was told, “Trespassing.”
I started walking toward the door. As I was walking, I was talking to the growing number of costumed gun carrying people. By the time I had my back to the lobby door, there were 4-6 of them. I was not moving fast enough or had paused too long to open the lobby door and the cop that was right in front of me (Randy Heaton #843) said ”last chance”, then grabbed at my left arm.
I pulled my arm into my chest and said, “I don’t consent to you touching me.” as I backed into the lobby. I was through the door into the lobby when I was put to the ground and being grabbed at. I was crawling on my belly… people from all angles were grabbing at me.
I felt so afraid. I was begging and pleading to, “Let me go. I’m leaving. Stop hurting me.”
I was pepper sprayed in the face by Gress #441 and tazed by Nick Knott #554. When my head and arm was outside and the rest of my body was on the floor inside the lobby, I was begging, “Please stop, please don’t mace me again. Please don’t taze me again.”
I remember hearing my brother say, “Is this really fucking necessary? C’mon, just let her go!’ I lifted my head up and saw through teared up eyes a hand with a can of pepper spray in my face and was screaming for them to, “Please don’t!” and, “Please stop!”
I couldn’t breathe and was spitting and crying and my nose was dripping. By this time I was outside the building with my arms handcuffed behind my back and I was moving on my knees blindly.
My glasses were removed from my face. I remember an EMT and an ambulance. I remember having water poured on my face by him to rinse the mace off. I couldn’t get enough water into my mouth to swish and spit. I asked for a drink. It seemed to take forever for them to get me some water to drink.
At one point a cop poured some on my face and was going to pour more. I wanted to drink it and tried to. I was confused by the cop because he would stop pouring when I lifted my face to drink. He was pulling it away from my mouth and up out of my reach. I was on my knees with hands cuffed behind me. I kept telling him to, “Tip it toward me. Why do you keep moving it?” He finally told me that it was non-potable rinse for my face and that water to drink wasn’t there yet but was “on the way.”
Still handcuffed behind my back, I was grabbed by my arms (Heaton and Gress) and pulled to my feet and brought toward an SUV. I was then stood up and molested by fast-moving groping hands. I think it was the one female officer who was groping me. The hands moved over me roughly and through my corduroy pants and cotton panties I felt fingers in between my labia.
As I was molested, I was standing just outside the backdoor of the police SUV. I remember choking on warm exhaust fumes and again having problems breathing. I dropped to my knees again, spitting and nose dripping and moving on my knees a few feet to get out of reach of breathing in the fumes.
I was still mostly blind and really disoriented so it is possible I was inhaling either the heat coming off the engine or the exhaust…it was warm out and the engine was running.
When i did get into the car, I was sitting on the edge of the seat, and I was spitting down toward the ground rather than inside the vehicle and was yelled at: “Don’t spit at me again!” …because my spittle apparently fell too close to his black booted feet.
Sitting on the back seat of the SUV, my left cuff was removed to take off my vest that had fallen down my arms. While the left cuff was removed I asked for water and tissue to blow my nose and wipe my face. I asked to be recuffed with my hands in front so I could sit up, but they told me I had to have my arms behind me, no exceptions. “I’m being cooperative, please, I’m cooperating!’ …but no. I was ordered to put my arm behind my back. Which i did not do fast enough, apparently. My left wrist and arm was grabbed and the guy was on top of me trying to wrench my arm back behind me.
I was sitting side ways on the back bench seat in the SUV with my feet on the seat and could not get my arm behind me because my left side and shoulder was pressed into and leaning on the back of the seat. He had a tight grip on my arm and was trying to twist it around behind me from his position in front of me standing outside the vehicle as he was yelling at me to put it behind my back. I explained, “My arm doesn’t bend that way, you’re hurting me, let go of my arm and I’ll put it behind me.”
I was emotional and terrified and through out the time from when I was first grabbed through when I was released from the straight jacket chair, P kept asking the people around me, “Why are you doing this? I haven’t hurt anyone, I havn’t violated anyone’s rights…”
I asked what was going on and could not hear what the driver (Heaton) was saying. During the rest of the ride I was silent and crying softly to myself. It felt unreal and surreal and terrifying as i reflected on what had just happened.
At sometime around 11am, I reaching the cage (Filmore Complex, Ottowa County). I asked to just go along and I promised to cooperate, but they put me in straitjacket chair anyway. My tightly bound wrists and backpack straps forced me against the back of the chair. The female nurse approved how I was secured
(even though the wrist restraint were super tight already and got tighter as my wrists swelled from the cuffs and the trauma I had sustained when I was grabbed in the back of the SUV. They felt through my hair and removed all the beads and they were talking about needing special tools to remove the jewelry and decided not to remove it and left me strapped in this restraint-chair.
At that point I had not slept in over 20 hours. So for hours I sat strapped in this chair drifting in and out of consciousness. Occasionally I would wake up startled awake by sudden loud noises(the door to my cage was next to a double lock door that had a fair amount of traffic. I also awoke crying from a bad dream. I felt very scared and confused and I felt hopeless and sad and very scared.
At one point I woke up crying and my fingers were tingly and one hand was numb. I called for help and the wrists were both loosened a little, but I was still left in the straight-jacket-chair.
I realized my left foot was loose enough to lift it out of the restraint. I placed my toes on my right knee and was able to wipe and itch my drippy nose with my left knee. I put my foot back through the loop. I did this twice before it was noticed by someone and I tried to quickly get my foot back through, but the ankle belt had come undone . I told them i was just trying to wipe my nose, please let me out, but they refastened my left leg strap and pulled the right one tighter instead.
I was very subdued. I was weeping but not hysterical. There was no reason to keep me in that chair as long as they did.
I was finally released from my chair and placed in a cage. I asked for something to sit on, a chair, a cushion, something… and rinsed my face with water in the sink.
I then requested to check my blood sugars and take my insulin, but I was not allowed to use the amount of insulin I require to counter the carbohydrates/sugars I was given. I was given a brown paper bag labeled “diabetic” that contained all unhealthy food. It was all carbs except the for a slice of bologna. Inside I found four pieces of bread, a small orange, some graham crackers and a bag of pretzels. Finally a nurse brought permission forms to get access to my V.A. medical records.
I slumped against the wall during the long pauses between when I was told to stand on the line and turn I was confused by the long pauses and was called uncooperative and too emotional and eventually put back in the single person cage
At approximately 10pm I was finally given long acting insulin… five hours late. My needle was bent because a cop grabbed at my hand when I went to inject my insulin pen.
I was released from my cage at approximately 3:30pm on Thursday, May 17th after a video arraignment where the judge ordered me to pay $1000 for being a “disorderly person” plus another $3000 for resisting and obstruction.