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The Fish Fight
Being a White Cop in a Blue City

We were headed to this place for sushi, three of us. Our detail was not supposed to extend into that zone but we really wanted sushi, so we chanced getting in trouble with our commander. This was just about at the end of the era when you could beat the shit out of someone. Life as a cop was already primarily an ass-covering exercise.

We get to the Chinese market and there is this black guy fighting a 20-person crowd of Chinese. It turns out that they didn’t want to serve him but they did and it pissed him off so he threw the fish at them and then they wanted him to pay for it. He was big, but there was a wall of little Chinese people driving him into the street.

Now, I don’t want to make an arrest out of my zone, so I talk to the guy and tell him, “Look, this is your lucky day. You just have to pay for the fish and go. No charges. No disorderly citation, nothing. You’re free to go.”

But this guy won’t let it go and starts running his mouth. Still, I say, “It’s all good. Just go on your way, chief.” And he goes, we are now free to get our sushi for lunch.

Then this guy starts running his mouth about cops, about how he could easily shoots some cops, and I look to my partner, who is up for promotion—a little guy—and he says, “We can’t let that go.”

I mean this guy is making a gun sign with his hand and talking about he’s going to shoot some cops.

So this little partner of mine maces this guy right in the fucking eyes, full on, then elbows and sends him flying. And I was on his ass, beating the shit out of him. Then our other partner says my name and points and I see all these flip phones out. So I cuff his ass and toss him in. On the way to lockup I tell this guy, “You couldn’t let it go could you. You had a ticket to walk now you have reservations.”

A lawyer I interviewed the next day told me a story about a man who started a fight in a diner, who remained unrepentant. So the judge says to him, “So you’re a tough guy. Well, you can go where the tough guys go, Bailiff, take him away!”

And the gavel came down.

A Once Great Medieval City: 2016: Impressions of Baltimore Maryland

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