Tuesday, October 2, 2018


 I am a hardened criminal! Yes I have been arrested. By the police. For being a terrible menace to society.

We had recently moved back to Detroit. My parents and brothers and sisters were still living there. We were fortunate enough to be able to rent the house next door to theirs.

My mother had a meeting one day and had asked me if I could pick up my sister from school because the high school she attended only had half a day of classes. My husband had the day off from work but our car was not running so I told her I was happy to help her but I had no transportation.

My father had an old pickup that he used for doing manly things. I could drive that. So I said I would.

My sister had been riding her bicycle the day before and took a really bad tumble. Her arm, leg, and side were covered with the results of the scraping on the street. Mom did not want her to walk all that way from school.

The day of picking up my sister I overslept. My daughter was a baby who also slept late but she was awake. When my eyes popped open I realized that I was going to have a hard time being there for my sister.

I grabbed my daughter from her crib wet diaper and all. We ran out the door and I drove fast to try to get to my sister's school. I was a bit late.

I saw my sister walking on the sidewalk near the school with a couple of her friends and pulled to a stop next to her. She asked if I could take the other two girls home too. I knew that would be too many people sitting in the pickup but it was only a short distance. What could it hurt?

I was pulled over by the police for having too many people in the truck. And I had run out of the house so fast that I had no driver's license with me. Not to mention that I had not transferred it from the state I moved from to Michigan.

Michigan expects you to take care of your driver's license practically before you move there so I was in big trouble.

The officer decided I was a flight risk so instead of giving me a ticket he arrested me. He left my baby daughter, my sister, and her two friends standing on a sidewalk in an unsafe area. They drove my father's truck around the block to park it in a safe place.

Daddy kept some old tires in the back of the pickup for weight in case of an emergency. The police carefully placed all those old scrap tires inside the truck so they would be safe. They left the girls standing on the street in an unsafe area.

They took me to a holding cell at the local precinct house. I had never been in jail before except as a joke when my father was a town marshal when I was a little girl. I settled down to wait for someone to come get me.

Now we had not been there long enough to have our telephone connected. It took a lot longer then because the phone company had to come out to hook it up. So my sister could not call my husband. My mother was at a meeting. Cell phones were not a thing then so she was not available. My father could not be reached either.

Somehow my sister finally got a call through to my mother. Mom started calling her house hoping that someone, anyone would answer.

My husband had gone to my parents' house looking for me. The boys were hungry. When the phone rang he answered and told my mother he would take care of everything.

He arranged for someone to rescue my daughter and my sister as well the other two girls. He called his brother and asked him to drive my husband to the police station to rescue me. Then he called the police station to tell them he was on the way with my driver's license.

In the meantime the police suddenly came to my little home away from home. They had received the call from my husband. They whisked me off to the main police station in downtown Detroit.

I was escorted to a place where they took a mug shot of me. They frisked me. Do you have any idea what is involved in being frisked?

Frisking is not a mild pat down like they show on television. Oh no. They check everywhere. I have had visits to the gynecologist that were less invasive. By this time I was becoming annoyed.

I did not know where my baby was. I did not know where my little sister was. I was being treated like a big time criminal. I forgot my driver's license and was giving some girls a ride home from school.

Then I went for fingerprinting.

The matron inked up my fingers and thumbs. She had the page where my fingerprints are to be stored forever. Then she said, " Relax."

Through clenched teeth I said, "I AM RELAXED!"

After that pleasant experience I was taken to my cell. I sat on the edge of the bed. The sheets were not white as I think they were supposed to be. The pillow had no covering. When I told my husband about the cell he was shocked. He said, " At least you got a sheet and a pillow. In the men's cells they often don't even have a mattress, just a slab of cement."

I dutifully paid my fines when the time came for me to come before the judge. I was guilty. I knew the laws and broke them.

However... I did file a complaint against the arresting officer. He knew the situation with the girls and did not see to their safety. They did take excellent care of my father's junky tires.

I received a letter from the department. Basically what they said was that it was an unfortunate situation but since I did break the law there was nothing more to be done. That was not what I complained about.

I received a phone call from one of the members of the city council. She was very nice. Then she asked me if I was satisfied with the decision. Of course I was not satisfied. She offered to help.

It was the beginning of a wonderful friendship that endured until she died. She was older than I was (my mother's age and they became fast friends also) but I valued her friendship and she helped me in many ways.

With her help I pursued the matter. Eventually after a couple of years of hard work some changes were made.

It seems there was a young father who had dropped his wife off at work. He had his toddler daughter with him when he was pulled over for a minor traffic violation. When the police informed him that they were arresting him and he had to leave his baby he began to fight. Another charge against him.

At least my sister had my baby.

There were already provisions on the books for taking care of minor children if the parent was arrested and no other responsible adult was available. There were other provisions added. And the arresting officer was instructed to issue a written apology to me. Of course I never received it.

So relax. If you are arrested, the police like it if you just relax.


  1. Those are some tough cops. In this area, they would have given the girls a ride home and written you a warning. That would include downtown Atlanta. Because I have not had my license during a traffic check, they make you drop by the police station later to show your license.

    Separating children from parents is not good judgement.

    1. At the risk of leaving myself open for a lawsuit I make this statement. Detroit police have not always been known for being empathetic to people or for having knowledge about the law. In this case I believe the arresting officer had those problems along with the fact that it was obvious I was not going too far. I had no shoes on my feet.

  2. That is disgusting that they separated you from family and a baby and left them on the side walk. I hope things have changed in this day and age!!! Terrible experience for you though as well.
    Have a good week. Diane

    1. As I said there are several laws on the books covering these types of situations. The police and whole justice system ignores them unless someone knows enough to call attention to them.

  3. Wow! What a story. It is so disturbing when the people you look to for justice and the one's who are unjust. I can't help but think of African Americans who never know how they will be treated by the police, or if they will live to tell the tale. There are so many good policemen/women, but it only takes a few rotten ones to ruin the credibility of the entire force.

    1. I was taught as a child that if I was in danger to find a policeman. My father was a cop. I taught the same things to my children. I feel totally betrayed in this instance.

  4. Wow, there are so many wrongs in this story. I am so sorry that you and your family had to endure this. I am sure, though, that many others reaped the good that came from this horrible incident. Bless you for getting justice for them.

    1. I did break the law. I accept responsibility for that. I never argued that point. All of those girls were innocent of any wrong-doing. They were terrified. That should not have happened.

  5. This is awful, and I don't mean your "lawless" behavior.

    1. That is why I worked so hard to make sure it will not happen again.

  6. That is a dreadful story. Like you, I was raised to trust the police and call on them if I was ever in trouble. Where do you go if they are CAUSING the trouble. How awful.

    1. That is the problem. The only one in the whole city government who was serious about helping me gained a friend and supporter.

    2. Well, at least you had that wonderful friendship.

    3. And for that I will be eternally grateful.

  7. Oh dear Emma this story was literally SCARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    my body shivered when you told about Frisking !

    this is really bad and annoying that those police men were not trained well to recognize the difference between actual criminal and doer of mistake by chance!

    nice part of all this is that you got a good friend my dear friend!