1/22/08

"Hey! Call the police, I've been assaulted!!"

I was wandering around downtown t'other night about 3a-ish with not a lot to do. Driving down 10th (a one-way) checking out the homeless people sleeping in the doorways, trying to imagine if I would be brave enough or desperate enough to do that if it came down to it. (Hey, I didn't go to college to become a cab driver but if you're desperate enough and WILLING there is always a job out there.) It's been a bit chilly here in Ptld lately, not like the rest of the country, but for us it's chilly and I like my heat.

Anyway, I'm at a light and I see these 2 young, good-looking fellas walking up the street towards me. As they're the only things moving at this time I eyeball 'em for a coupla seconds. They stop to eyeball some homeless guy sleeping in a doorway. They're standing right over the guy, looking at each other and laughing then one of them hauls his leg back and kicks the guy!! Right there! In front of me and God and just walk off. The bastards!!

I get on the phone right away, still waiting at the light and call the police. (I didn't call emergency, 'cuz I didn't feel it was an actual emergency, but I still got thru to the operator fairly quickly.) The boys walk by me as I'm talking on the phone and the old guy (turns out) jumps up and starts yelling at these guys, following them up the street.

He gets a little too close to them, threatening to kick them and they both rear on him and threaten to beat the ever-lovin' hell outta him so he backs off, but still follows them up the street, yelling. He sees me and yells: "Hey! Call the police, I've been assaulted!!" as they're just strolling by. They boys smirk at me and I pick up my handset and wave it at them ( I wear a headset so they couldn't tell I was actually on the phone) and then start walking faster.

I'm speaking to the operator, telling her what's going on, what I saw, etc. She's taking down the information, and is almost as outraged as I am at the mindless violence when I mention that it's a homeless guy. She cools immediately.

Basically she tells me that it's going to be awhile for the police to respond as there was something big that *just* happened downtown and all the officers were responding, as ordered. I try to explain to her that these guys are still walking up the street and could be caught fairly easily, she explains again that there are *no* officers available. But thank you for calling in.

Pssht.

There wasn't a whole lot I could do at that point so I drove up to where the old guy was laying and told the guy next to him (the only one awake) what the dispatcher said and that I was sorry, but I tried.

I feel bad, but honestly, I don't feel there was anything else I could do.

11 comments:

Mel said...

That silly bitch.

This problem is so huge, I can't even think of where to begin to discuss it; the fact that any 'type' of person is valued over another just blows my mind, regardless of their age, gender, national origin, race, income level, sexual orientation, whatever. But our homeless populations are already so vulnerable, so far down, it appalls me that basic services are being delayed them.

And the fact is, that man got kicked when he was down twice - once by those boys, and once again when that 911 attendant wrote him off.

Sad.

Wavemancali said...

I think you should register an official complaint with the police in that precinct. I would have gotten the dispatchers badge/employee number.

Personally I would have called 911. I would say that I felt in danger because they saw you calling the police and it looked like the took down my cab number. Also all 911 calls are recorded so they tend to have to respond.

Sewunicorn said...

I like Waveman's idea. Ya know, for future reference and all.

Sizzle said...

i think i would have kept following the perps in my car, if nothing else to just scare the crap out of them. because i've been feeling pissy about people being mean for NO GOOD REASON and i want to kick someone's ass.

but you were working so that's a different scene. it's good you called but what a load of crap that no one could come. i guess police are there to protect everyone except the invisible (the homeless being in that group).

Coldfoot said...

Been there before.

I'm really not a cold hearted person, but the odds that the homeless guy would cooperate with the prosecutor and follow through with any help, such as testify at a trial, are nil. The dispatcher knows this.

Many will dismiss the following, but life experience has taught me otherwise.

Here's a clue. The guy wanted you to call the police. A person who was serious about following through would have called himself, or asked to use your phone to make the call himself.

As a cab driver I have had many people ask me to call the police for various reasons over the years. In a situation such as you describe I would dial the cops and let him talk. My guess is that he would refuse, and spare no harsh words for me.

Dave2 said...

I've never seen violence like that against the homeless, but I've seen plenty of ridicule, and have to wonder which is worse.

I nearly went insane once when a couple of kids kicked a dog... I can't fathom how crazy I'd get if I had seen such a senseless assault. :-(

Lyle said...

that is insane, and you really should lodge a complaint. i'm sure that your call is archived and that they will go back to see if there really was a mysterious 'event' at that time that prevented any officers from being at this location.

or at least you'd like to think.

as to the victim being unwilling to testify... doesn't matter... if you yourself are... and by placing the call you did, you're clearly exhibiting that you'd explore the possibility.

or again, at least you'd like to think that's what the dispatcher would assume.

whall said...

Hmmm, maybe drive up to them and offer them a ride, say it's on the house, and then LOCK THEM IN AND TAKE THEM TO THE POLICE STATION.

Shouldn't you be carrying a video camera anyway?

BarnGoddess said...

grrr. this is awful. it makes me sick to hear about senseless violence on anyone, regardless if they are homeless people or not.

John said...

You should have said someone is kicking a COP.

eeyorelady1 said...

Hey witty wench.. Where are you? I keep checking and not getting anything new from you. Are you alright? I totally agree with Barngoddess.