Monday, October 09, 2006

A Bad Night

Back on September 23, I posted in reference to a wacky vice sting that went down in Syracuse. It even got mentioned on The Drudge Report. On that post I remembered my temporary assignment to vice back in the mid 80's and drew upon some of my experiences. This is another one of them. Remember when I told you, never, ever let the hooker in your car?

This is why.

Working the whore detail, many nights we would procure a different vehicle for the john to use in approaching a hooker. As I was the "Designated John" I would get a different used car every night. This way the hookers wouldn't recognize ("make") any particular car. When a vice car got made, every hooker downtown would know the make, model and plate number within hours. I was not allowed to carry police ID nor a weapon. All I could carry was a walkie talkie that I would hide under the front seat, but I had to keep it turned off when near a target.

If it was a slow night, say a Tuesday, a spotter car would sometimes go out and see where the hookers were operating. His car was usually made so the girls would look and point him out to each other and keep an eye out for him. Like a herd of tuna eyeballing the circling sharks. We'd have maybe three or four cars that did this on a regular basis, especially during warm weather. They'd call in the hookers and the John would respond. But they would not usually approach them. I was one of the guys that did that.

Well, on this particular night I was given a 1970-something Pontiac Grand AM to drive. It was a two door, automatic, power nothing POS (Plain Ordinary Sedan, if you please). One of the regular vice cops, Geoff, was my backup/spotter and he directed me to a corner where a notorious wackjob hooker was approaching traffic during the red lights. His job was to find a target, give me her description and any other information he may know about her. He would keep her in surveillance as I approached, observe the transaction and come to my assistance if he saw anything bad going down.

She was fresh out of the nuthouse and had wasted no time in returning to work. He told me her name was Carmen and said she was an EDP (Emotionally Disturbed Person). She was dangerous in that she had stabbed a john previously. Geoff also specifically reminded me, that whatever I do, don't let her in the car!

I acknowledged the message and went off the air, stashed the radio under the seat and drove up the block to the hooker, slow and easy like. I eyeballed her real good and drove by. I circled around the block and came around again, real slow, waiting to see if she'd give me a sign. She sure did. She almost came out of her clothes, frantically waving me around the corner. The EDP warning still very fresh in my mind, was getting stronger.

Carmen was on the right side of the car so I had to lean waaaay over (cars were a bit wider then) to roll down the window a bit to talk to her. She was a small, black woman, about 5'2", 110 lbs, frizzy disheveled hair, wearing shorts and a long sleeved sweat shirt, which was unusual on a hot August night. Most of the girls liked to display their wares to prospective customers, but not her, she just looked nuts. She didn't try in the least bit to look attractive. And she was far too eager to get a "date." We talked and made the deal very quickly. I told her I'd met her down the block behind a building and started to put the car in gear.

What should have happened next is this. Geoff, my back up, would see me give the high sign (I'd wave goodbye to the hooker) and alert the other cars. At least two vice cars and maybe a marked unit would swoop down and take her down to the salley port in booking. One officer would stash his car and accompany the transporting officer to booking. This way, no one is alone with the whore. One vice cop would stay to do the paper work and the others would go back into the target section for more arrests. When the paper work was completed, he'd call for someone to pick him up. He'd bring out the accusatory instruments for me to sign, or I'd do it at the end of the detail, prior to arraignment.

That didn't happen. Well it did, but not for a while.

As I skootched across the bench seat to get behind the steering wheel, Carmen looked up and spotted Geoff down the street. She panicked, reached in through the window with her skinny little arm, unlocked the door and slid in next to me. She said over and over, "The cops seen me! The cops seen me!"

I was a bit apprehensive myself. I'm thinking, "I hope the cops saw her!"

So I drive slowly down the street to the corner bar and she's getting very agitated, She starts yelling, "Go faster! Go faster!" while looking out the back window. I also have an eye on the rearview mirror hoping Geoff shows up behind me in the spotter car (an old Ford Fairlane - we had the crappiest cars imaginable).

Well, now she's cooking real good right next to me and I can almost see the steam rolling off her. Geoff's warning is ringing in my ears and I don't even have a tooth pick on me. On this day I'd only been married two years and I'm wondering what my wife will say if this goes down real bad. She worries about me and didn't like the idea of me working undercover, even on a temporary basis.

Geoff is close behind me now, flashing his lights, motioning me to pull over and the hooker is flipping. It's like I got a frigging circus act with an insane clown only six inches away from me and the ringmaster has fled the premises. And I know she likes to use a knife.

I pull in behind the bar and Geoff is right there behind me. The area we stopped in is a parking lot that wraps right a round a corner bar. There is easy access from either street. Since Geoff pulled in behind me I moved my car closer to the street just east of us, a rather well-traveled north/south route.

I turn to the nut act beside me and say, very calmly, "I'm a police officer and you're under arrest."

It was like she grew a dozen arms and legs and started dancing. I turn the car off, yank the keys and bail out of the car. Geoff is out and running to her side of the car. He hears the screaming and now she's out of the car like someone shoved a cactus up her ass and set the desert on fire.

We grab her arms trying to restrain her. We don't know if she is armed. We do know that she is like an eel. She is a wee bit of a girl and we're not out to hurt her. But we still must protect ourselves. I yell to Geoff, "You got cuffs?" He looks at me, looks at his car, looks at me again and I know the answer. "NO!"

"You got the walkie on you?" I ask. "NO!" is the answer.

"SHIT!" is my reply.

She is twisting and thrashing inside this large, loose sweatshirt and it is very hard to hold her without putting a lot of pressure on her arms. She throws herself right to the pavement, pushes her legs against us and comes completely out of her sweatshirt. And there is nothing else there.

At first I was surprised at the size...

But now she's up and running into the street. The busy street. She stops in the middle of the street all flopping around like and starts screaming, "Rape!! They're raping me!!!" Geoff and I run into traffic and try to pick her up and carry her off the road. But cars are stopping and people are getting out to see just what the hell two white guys and a half naked black women are fighting about.

Just at this point a sedan stops in front of us and about a half dozen of the largest males I have ever seen pile out and start towards us. I swear it was the entire Syracuse University defensive line. They looked young enough and big enough.

I have another question for Geoff, "Do you have your badge?" I really hated his answer.

Now I'm looking for backup 'cause I know Geoff called it in as soon as she crawled inside my car. Geoff is a great cop and knows his stuff. But I don't see any red flashing lights yet.

Now Geoff and I start screaming at the top of our lungs. "Police! She's under arrest! We're police! Get back in your cars or you're next! Get out of the road!" Of course the expletives are omitted.

This slows down the linebacker blitz and we carry her out of the road and now I see the troops arriving. The downtown cars pull in as well as one of the west side cars, six-eight, is there. A patrol supervisor arrives shortly thereafter as well as the vice detail supervisor. The whore is cuffed with her hands behind her back. The show is over and people start to leave.

So I thought. There is one more act to this circus.

John gets out of the marked patrol car that will transport Carmen (the hooker of note) to booking. John has worked downtown for years. He knows all the whores and they know John. John is a big fellow, low key, good sense of humor. The whores trust him and give him information to stay on his good side. John knows this hooker also. He is laughing as he gets out of his car, shaking his head at the situation. He is laughing as he puts his light uniform jacket around Carmen to cover her nakedness. He stops laughing when Carmen brings her hands from behind her back, over her head, grabs John by the front of his shirt and drives her knee right through his nuts and into his throat. Carmen's shoulders are double jointed.

There is another Carmen goose pile. This time when the cuffs go behind her back, another set is attached to the ass of her shorts. No more surprises.

John gets up off the asphalt rather gingerly and still offers to transport Carmen to booking. After about a half hour I also drop by booking. Carmen is in a holding cell. She recognizes me and wants to talk. She acts as if nothing ever happened, like I'm her best friend. I think she is bipolar. Carmen died a few years ago.

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