A harrowing tale of the systemic dysfunction of our justice system, poignantly told by a white, female college student with no criminal record.
October 1, 2015

The following is reposted with the permission of the author, Jordan Coburn.

Credit: Facebook Photo

She is now a UCSD college graduate who experienced an unbelievable nightmare, all because of an unpaid speeding ticket. She is a white female, who learned how awful our prison system is. You have to read it to believe it.

My Night In Jail

It’s taken me over two years to finally write this. I guess I just wasn’t ever ready to really revisit it until now-- after an admittedly long hiatus from really thinking about what happened to me and the even worse things that happen to other people every day in the correctional system, right under the American people’s noses. After a lengthy time away from the complete anger I experienced as a result of these events I’m now ready to recount what happened to me in September of 2012-- the day I realized that we are never truly safe, and that your voice, your freedom, and your dignity can be taken away in a moment’s notice by the people who supposedly exist to protect you.

Let me first preface this by saying that I am entirely aware of the fact that the version of oppression that I experienced while in jail pales in comparison to what other people of color and other people of lower socioeconomic status experience when they are in a similar situation, and that their struggle intersects with the prison-industrial complex in a way that is far more complex and troubling than the way that mine does. However, I want to tell my story because I think that it will shock everyone, regardless of their identity, and more importantly will illustrate just how inhumane our police and prison in the US are. And with that introduction,,,

Here's The Whole Ugly Story

The Set Up
It started on a Spring Break trip to Vegas in the Spring of 2011 with a speeding ticket for 1-10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. I was the designated driver for my friends and was driving my friend’s car down the 215 freeway right off of the Strip and was pulled over and written up. I told my parents about it and my dad, who is a relatively well-established attorney in Las Vegas, said that he could get one of the judges that he knew to take care of the ticket for me no problem. So, I said, “Seriously? Sweet,” and planned to check back on the status of the citation in a couple months to make sure it was taken care of. A couple of months pass and I look the citation number up on the website that the ticket instructed me to go to to pay, and I couldn’t find my ticket or any record of any sort on me in the system. Naturally, I thought “Cool, that’s taken care of.”

The Arrest

Fast forward to September of 2012. It was the day before I was about to leave for college to start the school year. I was helping my best friend’s mother with some errands and was using her car to do them because I didn’t have a car. I was on my way to pick up her kids from soccer practice when I got pulled over around 7:30 PM. I wasn’t speeding. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. When he walked up to my window I was very curious to hear what he had to say I had done. He told me that I had a tail light out, and that’s why he pulled me over. He asked for my license and I embarrassingly had to tell him that I had lost it and hadn’t gotten it replaced yet, though he knew that I was a licensed driver once he looked me up in the system. Unfortunately, he also found in the system that there was a warrant out for my arrest due to an unpaid speeding citation. He came back and told me to step out of the car. He told me that I was under arrest for an unpaid ticket and that I would have to wait for a female officer to drive over and search me before he took me downtown. Of course I thought that this was all ridiculous, but I was very respectful because I knew that acting otherwise wouldn’t help my case with them, and I really wanted to do anything to avoid staying the night in jail. “Well, I guess dad never did get that ticket taken care of, haha,” I thought to myself. It was ridiculous and almost funny at first, but then it stopped being funny very quickly.

Excessive Force Is Putting It Mildly

He told me to grab anything out of the car that I wanted to have with me when I left the jail. I asked him if it would be a good idea to bring the $100 bill that I had in the front pocket of my backpack with me if I could use it as bail money, and he said that he thought my money would be safer if left in the car. I trusted him, and I left my backpack and the money in the vehicle. *Remember that for later.* He told me that the car would have to be towed and I could pick it up whenever I got out of jail. This was a huge disappointment to me in itself because it was my best friend’s mom’s car, and I hated to be the cause of any stress in her life because of my silly problems. I asked the officer if I could call people to see if they could come and pick up the car for me, and he said that they could only come if they could be there within 10 minutes. Knowing how impossible that would be, I still tried. But nobody answered me and nobody got back to me in time. He stopped allowing me to use my phone, even though I had to wait for 20 more minutes for a female officer to come. As I finished up my two calls that he allowed me he walked over to handcuff me. I very calmly said, “Please, sir. Don’t arrest me. This is unnecessary.” “I have to do this,” he said. “No you don’t,” I said. He put me in the back of his police car anyway, which was as uncomfortable as you would imagine. For 20 minutes I waited in the back of his car while he took turns shining his headache-inducing flashlight in my eyes and walking to the car to open up all doors and look through the car, which I later realized was an illegal search. But I was handcuffed in the back of a closed police car. What was I supposed to do? Yell, “Hey, sir. Don’t look through my car. I didn’t give you permission.” He wouldn’t have heard me, and he wouldn’t have listened to me.

Now The Female Cop Arrived, So Things Will Improve, Right?

Finally the female cop arrived and I was instructed to step out of the vehicle. She did a really quick search on me, again on the side of the freeway, and told the male cop that I was good. He put me in the backseat and got in the front seat and started driving away. He tried making small talk with me and it literally made me sick to my stomach. “Where are you taking me?” I asked as we drove the opposite direction from the Henderson jail. “Oh, the Henderson jail is all booked up so I’m going to need to take you to the downtown jail.” I knew that that meant I would have a drastically different experience that night than I would have had I been processed into the suburban Henderson jail. It started to hit me that this night was going to be long and frustrating beyond belief. I wasn’t scared by this… but it just really pissed me off. Like I said, though, I remained respectful.

Arriving at Las Vegas City Jail, Anyone's Worst Nightmare

We arrived at the downtown jail, north of Fremont Street, which is a relatively crime-ridden area of Las Vegas. He let me out of the car, still in handcuffs, and walked me into the initial processing area where I met with someone to give them my identification. I was instructed to wait in a mug-shot waiting room essentially for about ten minutes. They called my name and brought me into the area where they strip you of your piercings, your hair ties and bobby pins, and your clothes. For some reason, the cop who arrested me stuck around to watch them do this to me. This is when the real humiliation began.

Prisoner Intake

Two people were on either side of me, pulling and tugging at my skin, my hair, and my clothes. They first needed to take out my belly-button piercing. The girl was pulling at my belly-button and obviously didn’t know how to take the piercing out. I had recently gotten it pierced so it was very sensitive. The more frustrated she got with not being able to take it out the harder she tugged and pulled. “Ow... “ I said with my head hung low, watching her pull the piece of metal from my stomach. “That really hurts. Can I please just do it?” “No,” she said. “Why does it hurt so much? It shouldn’t hurt so much.” “Because I just got it pierced,” I said. “Well no, you can’t touch it. Keep your hands behind your head,” she said as she began to pull so hard on the piercing that I started to bleed. Wincing from the pain, I slowly brought my head up and met eyes with the officer who had arrested me. I froze staring at him, and tears welled up in my eyes as he looked back at me. “How could you do this to me,” I communicated with my gaze as he looked back at me with a deadened and neutral expression. Even writing this now the tears are rolling down my face. It was the single most humiliating moment of my life.

As they finally removed me of all of my piercings they handed me a blue jumpsuit to put on. I put that on and waited in the queue for a mugshot. The girls behind the glass who were taking the shots were horrible. I watched person after person go up and get their picture taken as these girls laughed and made comments about our appearances. “Ha! Look at her hair! It looks ridiculous.” I was becoming so irate that I feared I was going to snap and punch the next correctional officer I saw in the face. I had to exercise more restraint than I’ve ever had to. Finally it was my turn for a mugshot and sure enough, I could hear the women behind the counter laughing and making fun of me as mine was taken. These were the same people that I had to turn all of my belongings into so I was forced to face them to ask, “Where will I get these when I’m done?” “They’ll be waiting for you when you get out-processed,” they said.

Processing Time

This is when I gave my final goodbye glance to the officer who was responsible for all of this, and I was led into a secondary processing room. By this time it was about 9:30 PM I think. This room was about the size of a kindergarten classroom, and quite honestly looked like it was built by the same building company, which was very depressing to realize that it probably was. The tiles were a speckled white and blue, just like you’d see in an elementary school. The walls were speckled and white with no decorations, obviously. And the room was filled with a large set of chairs on the left, for the men, and a large set of chairs on the right, for the women. Those who were transgendered were not granted the ability to sit with the gender that they identified as. There were about 6 or 7 rows of chairs, each row about 6 or 7 across. All of the chairs faced the blank white wall that held the telephones we would be allowed to use to make our one phone call. There were a few guards roaming around the room, a group of cubicles on the left for psychological evaluation, and the entrance to the jail cells on the right. I was instructed to take a seat. In handcuffs and a jumpsuit, I walked down the center aisle of the chairs intercepting sexual remarks from the males on the left side of me. Unfortunately, this is actually something that I’m used to, so it wasn’t terribly troubling. I had bigger problems.

Can I Use The Phone?

About half an hour goes by and nothing has happened, except for me making friends with the women sitting around me. I asked a guard, “Excuse me, but when do I get to make my phone call?” They told me that I had to wait to make the call and wait to be psychologically evaluated. “What is that?” I asked. They said they needed to make sure I wasn’t going to “hurt myself of something.” “Alright, how long will that be?” “I don’t know,” they said. This was going to turn into a theme for the night… Being given very little information and it taking them hours to do anything. I figured I’d be there for a while so I asked one last question, “How long is the bail office open for?” “Midnight.” Looking at the clock and seeing that it was already 10 PM, I started to accept that I probably wasn’t going to be able to get a phone call in time.

I was finally eligible for my phone call a bit later, but of course nobody came and told me that. I had to ask. I waved down a guard and asked if I could now make my call, knowing that I only had no time to spare before the bail offices closed and my parents would no longer be able to come pick me up. They reluctantly said yes and directed me to a phone on the wall in front of me. I asked them if I called my parents immediately if they'd be able to come and bail me out in time. They said no, because they didn't think I would have my psychological evaluation done in time. My heart sank into my stomach imagining what a grueling night it was going to be... They gave me my inmate ID number that I would have to use to “register” myself in the phone system. “Register myself?” I thought to myself. “What does that even mean? I’m just making a call.” When I picked up the phone and called the number on the card though I knew what they meant. An automated voice was on the other end of the line: “Hello. This conversation is being recorded. Please say your identification number.” I did. “Please say your name.” “Jordan Coburn,” I said. “Repeat the following phrases after me…” Then I knew what was going on. “Hello.” “Hello,” I said. “How are you?” “How are you?” I said. “I don’t know if I can.” “I don’t know if I can,” I said, with an increasingly puzzled look on my face. “Shh, they’ll hear us.” “Shh, they’ll hear us,” I repeated, almost unable to hold back a shock and appalled shout at what they were making me do. After recording my voice saying a few more suspicious phrases, I was finally allowed to dial my parents. I called my dad because I knew my mom would just cry and have a mild heart attack if she heard me calling from jail. My dad’s reaction was comically unsympathetic considering one could argue that he kind of left me in the dust when he didn’t take care of the ticket, but that’s beside the point. He was right. I was going to be fine. I wasn’t worried either so he was just matching my energy I’m assuming. I told him that they weren't going to make the bail offices in time. We chatted for a minute or two then we said our goodnights and I told him that I’d call as soon as I was released in the morning. I told him to tell Mom to not try to bail me out because I would just be released after court anyway. After the call I knew that I had a lot of waiting to do before I'd be called for the psychological evaluation. The best idea seemed to be to go back and keep talking to friends, so that's what I did. Make friends over a meal.

Food For Those Of Us In The Holding Tank

Given the lengthy amount of time that it took to process people into the holding tank, they were required to provide food to us. They brought out our meals which consisted of bologna, a biscuit and honey, and a slaw with sliced ham on it-- none of which I ate. It was really the bologna that sent me over the edge… I was given the butt end of the bologna loaf, and the main part of my meal looked like a 5th grade diagram of a human asshole, so I just didn’t eat it. That’s when I made a friend. A black woman sitting next to me eagerly leaned over to me and pointed to my bologna. “Are you not going to eat that?!” “No,” I said. “I’m not really hungry.” “Oh, you’ll get over that honey,” she said to me. We did the handcuffed bologna exchange and started talking. “What are you in here for?” she asked. I immediately felt embarrassed to even say… “I didn’t pay a speeding ticket…” “HA!” she laughed. She almost lost her bologna. She was laughing hysterically. “That’s ridiculous! Are you serious?” “Yeah... “ I said. “What are you in here for?” “Oh, who knows. I’ve been locked up so many times I think they just get me any time they see me,” she said. “But this time in particular they said that I had crack. I didn’t. That bitch did actually,” and she points to a woman who was explaining her innocence away to another woman behind me frantically. “Look at her she’s all trembling and shit, ha! She’s trying to say she didn’t have crack are you kidding me? Look at her! You should have seen her face when the police rolled down the street. She dropped her crack and hid behind the car like this--” she said as she proceeded to do an actually pretty hilarious reenactment of the woman peeking up from behind a car, and ducking down, and coming back up again, over and over. She said that she wasn’t even doing crack then but that she was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. The woman behind us who she was imitating was embarking on a campaign of innocence to convince the other inmates that she wasn’t guilty, as if that would have made a difference.

It Looks Like I'm Stuck Here For Way Longer Than I Feared

We continued talking for a long time amongst ourselves, occasionally being yelled at by the guards to shut up but everyone there had, in a general, a pretty big “fuck you” attitude. So we all just kept it down. After about an hour we started to be interrupted and pulled over to a corner of the room where a big buff guard who would have definitely survived the Holocaust violently grabbed our hands and took hand prints of all of us. The timestamp now was about 11:00 PM I believe. Still not even close to being done with the process. I had pretty much just settled into a place of defiance at this point mentally. I knew that they weren’t going to do anything in a timely fashion, and I knew that they wouldn’t tell me what was going on, so I just didn’t care about being very respectful anymore. Case in point, I returned to the seats to continue my cackling with my new friend. At this point in time another white woman started talking to us. She told us that she was in jail for a D.U.I., which I found very hard to believe given her appearance. She looked like she was a Born Again Christian, and had just been crying the entire time. She said that she had received a knock on her door around 6 PM at her home in Henderson, and when she opened the door it was a police officer. He told her that she was under arrest for a D.U.I. “How?!” she asked him. He told her that he looked in the back of her vehicle and saw an unsealed bottle of alcohol in the backseat. Obviously I can’t confirm or deny if that story was true, but in general I can get a pretty good read on people, and given her state of confusion and desperation along with the tone of her voice I believe her. We all continued talking for another hour until my name was finally called to be evaluated.

Healthcare, Jail Style

I walked up to the woman sitting behind the desk and sat down. I gave her my name and information, and she asked me what medications I was on and if I had ever had any history with various mental health issues. When she asked about depression I told her that yes, I had struggled with depression. She asked no follow-up question. She told me to stick out my arm. “Why?” I asked. “Because you need to get a Tuberculosis test.” “What if I don’t consent to getting a needle put in me because I didn’t pay a 1-5 mph over the speed limit parking ticket?” “Then you’ll be put in solitary confinement.” “Even though I just told you that I have a history with depression, you would put me into solitary confinement?” “Yes,” she said. “That’s ridiculous,” I said. “This whole situation is ridiculous.” “So do you want the TB test or not?” she asked. “I guess I’ll get the test done. I don’t trust the guards being in there alone with me ever.” She gives me a look of discontent and sends me to get the test done. The woman prepares the syringe and inserts it into my skin with little regard for technique. I watch my skin bubble up as I just shake my head in disbelief. I get sent back over to the original clerk once the test is over. “Am I done?” I asked. “Yes,” she said. “This whole process has been the most inefficient and unjust process I could have imagined. Nobody ever knows where they’re going, when, or why,” I said very calmly. “Well, hopefully you learned your lesson,” she said. My face flushed red with anger and I had another moment where I wanted to reach across the counter and slap her across the face. I took a breath and said, “No, the only lesson I learned is that this is the most fucked up system in the world.” I turned around and walked back to my seat. Time check? A quarter to midnight.

Reprimanded Like Kindergartners

I went back to my seat once more, still in that kindergarten waiting room, still in handcuffs, still furious. Over four hours had now passed from the time I was arrested, about three of which had taken place cuffed and upright in a chair, which is a really horrible position to be in. My friend and I started talking again and by this point the guards were sick of us enjoying ourselves, so they came over and yelled at us with more intensity than the last time to be quiet. “If you don’t shut up I’m going to have to process you two into the holding tanks separately,” he said. We giggled and closed our mouths, for about one minute. We started laughing hysterically at something she said and he came storming over, “Alright! That’s it! You two are going in the holding cells!” “Finally!” we both said. The idea of being anywhere other than a chair in that harshly lit room that smelled of bologna and urine was ideal.

Time For The Ice Cold Holding Tank

They took me back into one room and led me in and slammed the door behind me, leaving my friend behind to walk into the cell next to me. The sight that I saw next was shocking. The room was about 12’ by 12’ I would guess and was a grey stone on all sides, including the ground. There were about 20 girls in there. There were benches that lined the perimeter of three of the walls and those were prime real estate because the wood provided relief from the freezing stone that existed everywhere else. The room was kept at a temperature that honestly couldn’t have been more than 55 or 60 degrees. I instantly started shivering. I came to find out that they keep the room so cold because it keeps the people suffering from drug overdoses and/or withdrawals from dying. Or that was the hope at least. The room was filled with women, and about 80% of them were black. The people who were overdosing from heroin or meth were sprawled along the benches, tremoring and passing gas uncontrollably. There was a toilet that existed in the middle of the room, with no walls around it. The age group of people in there ranged from 17 to about 50. This is where I would spend the next 6 hours of my time. I tried to sleep but there was only space on the floor and the stone was like ice on my skin. When I pulled my sleeves into my shirt in an attempt to stop shivering a guard banged on the glass window with his baton only moments later: “Hey Red! Get your arms out of your shirt!” “But I’m cold,” I said. “I don’t give a SHIT!” he yelled at me through the glass. The women in the cell all kind of snickered as they watched my head hang in a little bit of embarrassment once again.

I Thought My Situation Was Bad....These Poor Women!

I started talking to a girl in the cell who was the youngest one by a long shot. She was 17 years old and addicted to heroin. She was so skinny and her skin was white as snow that juxtaposed against her long dark hair. I’ll never forget her. She was wearing a long blue Abercrombie and Fitch fitted shirt and a pair of grey sweat pants that she was swimming in. She was shivering incessantly. She couldn’t speak very quickly. She was still beautiful though. She only had the energy to speak in very short sentences. She told me that she was addicted to heroin and couldn’t get off of it. She got caught with it often and it usually landed her in jail going through horrible withdrawals like this she said. She told me that they gave her some medicine to help her with the withdrawals but that she didn’t even really care. She said that she was pretty sure she was going to die soon. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to hear from a fellow human. I didn’t even know what to say. She slowly turned back around to rest her head on the stone and try to fall asleep.

Prostitution: Cycling In And Out Of Jail, But Different For White and Black Women

Then I started talking to another woman. She was a white woman who had been in there for prostitution. She said that she had also been in the holding tank for three days. They other girls chimed in to say, “Yeah, and they won’t give her the medicine she needs.” Apparently she struggles with really bad seizures and the jail won’t give her the medicine that she’s usually on because it has a high risk for abuse. So she’s had three seizures in front of everyone in the holding tank over the last three days and they still wouldn’t move her, or give her the medicine she needs. They’ve just had to sit there and try to help her through them. But like the other women in the cell, she was used to the mistreatment and didn’t even have the energy to get upset when she was telling me the story. Next I started talking to a group of black women, who I learned were also in jail for prostitution. They asked what I was in for. Again I had to go through the story and again they laughed and couldn’t believe that they actually locked me up for that. I asked them how long they had been in the holding cell. “Three days,” they said. A shock of fear shot down my spine. “Three days? What do you mean three days?” “Honey, we’re black prostitutes. They don’t give a shit how long we’re in here for. They’ll keep us in here as long as they can,” one of them said. I started to fear that it would be days before I could get out. “I have to start school. What am I going to do?” I thought to myself. And then the real gravity of the situation hit me… I have absolutely no problems compared to these people. They’re used to this. How could they be USED to this? They’re used to being left in a cell indefinitely, with no access to adequate health care, no way to sleep through the night, and no communication with anyone that can tell them what is next and when. I couldn’t, and still can’t, believe that an operation like this is able to exist in the United States-- a place that boasts about their immense propensity for freedom. It just makes no sense. I started to cry once more. In an instant, all of my rights were stripped from me. No questions asked. And very little questions answered.

Time for Court

Six or seven hours passed in that cell, all of which I had no clue when I was going to be let out. There was no clock in the room so I didn’t even know what time it was. Based on the other times on my record it was about 7 AM when the door to the tank opened and my name was finally called by a guard. “Where am I going?” I asked. “You’re going to court,” he said. I was surprised he even gave me an answer. I was the only female led out to the line of men that were lined up in front of me, and I was chained to the line by my wrists and ankles with shackles. We all trudged along the wall with our ankles and wrists chained slowly swaying from side to side until we got to yet another holding tank. It’s here that they finally separated me by gender again and put me into a tank with an entirely new group of girls. These girls had already spent time in jail, and I was the only one that was just coming from a holding tank. The girls were much louder than the other girls I had just been with… Two of them even started talking about wanting to kill the other so much that they actually started fist fighting and had to be separated by a guard. I waited in there for about an hour until I was brought back out and led into a small room that was filled with child-sized plastic chairs that all faced a television. “What is this?” I asked. “This is court,” the guard said. I laughed. “A webcam court? Are you serious?” “Yep,” he said.

We all funneled in and sat down and were given a prep-talk of sorts by our guard. What I am about to tell you is not a lie. He said, “Now, the best thing you can do is just offer up to the judge all of the cash that you have that you can pay today.” And what ensued was exactly what you thought might ensue… a bargaining session of sorts. One by one, an individual would step up to the television that displayed a live feed of the judge, and they would speak into the camera and make their plea. The judge would then say, “Your bail is posted at X amount of money. What can you pay today?” The person would say how much cash they could pay today upon outprocessing, and the judge would settle the case and release the individual from the jail upon something called their “own recognizance,” or “O.R.” This term essentially means that you’ve served sufficient time as far as they’re concerned and have met with a judge to sort out how you plan to pay your debts, and you do not need to post bail to leave the jail. For those who did not have enough to offer the judge, he would tell them that they would have to await trial in a cell for an indefinite period of time. In general, it was usually around 30 days. This was horrifying to witness. The act of people pleading for the opportunity to buy their freedom, and the disappointment experienced by the individual when they realized that they could not.

Why Am I Seriously Still Here?

Finally it was my turn. I walked up to the screen, plead guilty to driving without a physical copy of my license and to not paying that speeding ticket, and he told me to pay something like $300 when I was getting out-processed and said that I would be released upon O.R., and that I was free to go. As I walked out of the courtroom I asked the guard how long it would take for me to get out-processed. He said that it usually took about 3 hours. So even though everything was settled for me, the system takes around 3 hours to update before they can officially release you. How is that okay? How can you be detained for at least 3 hours when you’ve already been released by the court? How is that legal?

So they brought me back to the holding tank where I was welcomed by my friends. There were many new faces in the tank now, but all of the same old ones. One of the new faces was a dolled up young white women who was a prostitute, but whose crime was actually just “trespassing,” she said, because she was a high-end prostitute who had a lawyer that she would just call that would get her out of jail within a couple of hours. And that’s exactly what happened. She was let out of the jail at the same time as I was. And as we left, the group of black women who were jailed for “prostitution” still remained. It was the most racist systemic display I had ever witnessed. So when the psychiatric evaluation clerk hoped I learned my lesson? Yeah, I learned my lesson. I learned that it’s okay for me to be a prostitute, as long as I’m a white one for rich people. I was so disgusted.

Almost Over

After three hours my name was called once more. As I was exiting the cell one of the people that I befriended told me to not jaywalk when I left the jail because cops sit outside the jail and catch people who walk across the street that intentionally has no crosswalk in sight. I wish I could say that this was untrue, but that was good advice because I wound up seeing it first hand upon my release.

The Ripping Off Never Ends

While I was in jail my mom had apparently gone to the bail office to bail me out, despite my advice not to. Maybe my dad didn’t tell her that that’s what I wanted, but it’s more likely that she just wanted to try to get me out as soon as possible. If you look at the timestamp on when my mom bailed me out it was over an hour AFTER I was released by the judge, but since it was not updated in the system the jail took the almost $1,000 from my mom to bail me out. The jail still owes my mom that money, but they claim that it was "money owed for rules broken."

Final Thoughts

I wish I could say that marks the end of my involvement with the jail over this issue, but what follows is just typical incompetent government proceedings. They lost my record, they didn’t collect all of the fees upon my out-processing so I still had another warrant out for those, etc. To be honest I still fear that there’s something that I missed and they haven’t posted that will land me in jail again one day, to have my entire freedom stripped of me at a moment’s notice once again.

I walked out of that jail vowing to tear down the whole system. The whole thing needs to be entirely reformed, and all of the people working in the system need to go. It needs a complete cleanse. It needs to be held accountable. I wanted to write this and send it in to our Mayor in the hopes that it would do just that, but I just didn’t even have the will to revisit it all. I became so jaded and pessimistic about the power of one’s voice that I silenced mine and didn’t share my story. But now I have. And I hope that it can be used to change something. If even someone’s mind.

When we finally got the car back, the $100 bill was gone from my backpack and both tail lights were fully functioning.

If you see something, say something.


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