It was a Sunday evening my friends and I wanted to go grab some dinner and at this seafood restaurant called Snappers we had never been.
We are all college graduates with good career jobs. It was six of us total. All of us black females and college graduates with good career jobs. Amongst majority white guest who had been obviously drinking!
Now that I think about it...there were many signs warning us not to sit down and eat.
The guy at the door upon entry told us immediately we could not drink if we do not present an ID.
Of course being of age we all know the alcohol law.
We were told to sit where we please.
We sat down to claim a table and then some of us excused ourselves to the rest room.
When I returned to the table my friend explained how she asked the waitress for menus and she threw them at her.
We decided we didn't want to eat there.
My friend toss the menus back at her and we attempted to leave.
As our backs were turned the waitress/bartender attacked my friend and in self-defense my friend hit her back.
There were people around the bar cheering the bar tender on and she continued to attack.
I ran to break it up and an employee of the restaurant with a security shirt on (a black male) immediately placed me in a choke hold so tight that later I went to see a doctor and my collar bone was swollen and x-rays show a broken bone.
He held me in the chokehold position from the inside bar area of the restaurant all the way to the front entrance while I was screaming for him to turn me loose.
While in the chokehold I witnessed guest of the restaurant throwing drinks, beer bottles, and ketchup containers while chanting on in a rage.
Also while in the chokehold the bar tender was never restrained so she hit me closed fist on my left cheek.
When we got to the front entrance he released my neck and I turned around in disgust and was immediately pushed and punched in the jaw by another employee with a security shirt on (white male).
He pushed me with his right hand and hit me with a left hand closed fist on the right side of my jaw as he yelled the words "you want to fight like a man, I'll hit you like a man"
Reminder I did not put my hands on anyone's child!
The push and punch was so lethal I flew to the ground and slid. My entire left side was bruised and I have scrapes on my feet, ankles, elbows, and chin.
The police came and were very short with us and impatient. Trying to explain our side seemed pointless.
We asked them to ask for video surveillance in which they claim to have taken 5min to review and later came to tell us "it looked like the five of you jumped the white girl"
Remind you there were 6 of us and only 3 of us were injured.
Witnesses from across the street approached the scene to tell the officers what they saw from outside.
The witnesses explained how the security choked, punched, and pushed me out of the restaurant.
The officers asked them to leave without getting a statement.
Then the officers asked for all of our information, gave us a false Case number.
We noticed the police were not helping us so we excused ourselves from the scene and walked away.
I felt like a victim. Restaurant employees had physically abused me.
I was humiliated and disturbed that this had happen to us. All of the officers were white except officer Paul F. Watkins (Jax Beach PD Badge number 1278)
They did not obtain an arrest at this point even after reviewing video.
We walked in the opposite direction of our vehicles to collect ourselves.
We soon decided to simply leave the beach to get something to eat.
In order to get back to our car we had to walk pass the restaurant (Snappers) again.
When walking by I noticed the cops laughing, smiling and taking statements from people involved in the incident.
I personally felt like I could exercise my human rights and be heard so therefore my statement should be on paper.
3 out of 6 calmly walked over to the officers and they met me half way....
I asked if I could have the name of the owner and the two security guards that had harmed me.
The cops would not cooperate. They denied us all information and told us to refer to the case number, which happened to be a false number (it was not enough characters).
One of the officers (officer Watkins) became very frustrated with us asking questions and he began to yell in my girlfriends face like a drill sergeant "Shut the fuck up and leave us the fuck alone and let us do our fucking job"
As she backs up into the car, I stepped in between them and asked if he has to yell at her in that way.
His response was " no this dumb ass bitch is not telling me who I can and can't yell at, I'm taking your ass to jail"
While he's saying this I'm being thrown into the car and then to the ground like a 200lb man resisting arrest!
I was man handled and called out of my name.
Repeatedly he called me "Dumb Ass, Dumb ass, dumb ass... Now your dumb ass is going to jail"
I have never been so embarrassed in my entire life.
He also arrested my girl friend.
One of the 3 friends that stayed across the street came over as we were being arrested to see what was going on and they arrested her too.
We were all hauled down to Jax PD holding cell unknowing of our arrest.
In fact the officer that drove us was unaware of why we were being arrested exactly.
As soon as we got to the holding cell I saw officer Watkins and I politely asked him did he have to throw me on the ground?
His response was " yes and I'm glad the guy hit your ass in the face"
Tears immediately drowned my face I was a victim of the system.
It wasn't until we were transported down town that we find out our charges. I was charged with battery and the description says they have me on video attacking the bartender.
From the time the incident occurred until I was released from jail the next day I was heart broken and now aware of my surroundings more than ever.
4-29-12 was the beginning of a revelation for me. The process of being arrested and admitted to jail is degrading, humiliating, and unreal.
From the time I was placed in handcuffs until I saw the judge I was guilty of all charges until I prove my innocence.
Gangs exist all around the world. They have prominent colors, like tattoos, a special meeting spot, maybe a secret handshake and they lie for one another.
The world’s most dangerous gang is the police department!
We get down town and my girl friend and I are immediately separated she goes through booking alone after being charged with resisting arrest without violence.
My other friend and I waited on them to finish making up something for our arrest report for another hour.
Upon entry of the jail my pockets, shoes, hair, and crouch were heavily searched.
I was then asked to change into the jail uniform a solid grey short sleeve V-neck top and long pants to match. You were allowed to keep the shoes on your feet and that was all.
Our belongings were checked in next. They had the 3 of us belongings all mixed up.
They don't care where your things end up, they don't care if it's missing, damaged or distributed to the wrong inmate.
Next we took mug shots and began the finger printing process.
I have seen some ugly mug shots so a piece of me wanted to show my pretty smile.
I was told not to smile, look normal.
Well normally I would be smiling because I'm a happy person that didn't deserve this type of punishment!
I was then offered a phone call but to call that I wondered helplessly!
I was in shock. I quickly forgot phone numbers I had remembered for years.
I watched them take my hard earned cash out of my wallet and pay for my one night stay in jail!
I work 3 jobs to paymaster a living for myself and to see a stranger go in my personal belongings and take what I worked hard for made me furious!
I was offered a $250 bail or a first appearance in court the next morning at 9am!
I did not commit battery on anyone. I did not physically put my hands on anyone!
I received fresh linen and a toiletry bag for my one night stay.
The toiletry bag contained a bar of soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, and a pencil.
I was told to then walk to my cell at around 11:45p after being arrested at 6pm.
Walking to my cell my heart began to beat fast. I was nervous, scared, and cold. Almost sick to my stomach!
The cell doors opened with a loud slide and I walked in a small cubicle with 3 twin size beds on iron frames. One toilet and sink with no cover and two complete strangers that I was terrified of because I didn't know what they were in for and if they were innocent or guilty.
I was so nervous I did not make my bed or use the restroom and I had to go bad.
I simply hopped on the top empty bunk, and laid on top of the linen they gave me.
My girl friends cell was right across from mine and we watched each other try our best to stay awake.
We stayed up most of the time trying to talk and whisper from the distance.
We use broken sign language to say things like stop crying, I love you, and are you ok.
The guard woke us up at 5 am for breakfast.
Breakfast was served on a bulky brown plastic lunch tray. A serving of grits, 2 slices of white bread, and what appeared to me as dog food but the other inmates claimed it scallop potatoes. There was also a carton of milk to drink.
The worst looking breakfast I have seen in 24years. Hands down!
The first appearance was at 9am and there was nothing to do but stare at the walls until your name was called.
My girlfriend and I looked at each other still no smile because our fate lied in the hands of only 3 pleas.
Guilty, not guilty and no contest!
You're placed in shackles and handcuffed and asked to be kept silent at all times.
I was a witness to the system that is meant for real criminals. Not me!
In the court room all you want to do is cry.
No talking! Keep those chains quiet! Stop moving! That's what you heard until a woman's voice came from the speakers in the ceiling.
The seats were the only cushion seats in the whole jail. We sat in an isle like church on Sunday, next to other female and male inmates.
The woman's voice was a recording of the court actions that were about to be taken place. Including meanings of different court terminology. Mainly dealing with the three options. The recording was sure to say the judge will call your name you will come forward he will read your charges and bail and give you your three plea options. With no missed beat the judge quickly ran through the cases just like recording prompted.
That was my other friend she got called after my girlfriend that plead no contest and released that day.
"Did you have a co defendant ...Thomas?" ...now looking at me he says " Thomas... Are you Thomas?"
"Why don't you stand up here”?
One of you wants to tell me what happen?
I began to tell the story from the top...I guess he grew bored and he asked for an answer...and explained consequences. Not guilty you stay in jail until first court date, which the earliest was May 9th.
No contest you were released today, no conviction and 6months probation to complete 8hrs of anger management and pay $670 court cost. That’s really all I understood! And release is what I wanted so I said ignorantly No Contest.
Walked away still no smile, in shackles and handcuffs back to the cell!
O yea they don't just release you. They make you suffer some more by attempting to feed you lunch.
The inmate workers brought us brown paper bags with 4 slice’s of bread and 3 slices of bologna, cookies or apple, mustard, and an empty cup to drink water from the faucet.
Duval county faucet water is worst water!
You sit there and wait on your name to be called again and they give you your belongings.
The cash you came in with, they give it to you in form of a check. Bull shit right!
You can't get your dangerous items until you get to a certain area of the jail.
So again you're told to go in a holding cell without handcuffs this time and then wait another hour until your name is called to get your dangerous items (cell phone, lighter, cigar and rubber band).
Then you're back to what society calls freedom.
You return to society torn and traumatized because you have seen the truth and the hate that still exist in the world.
Fun facts about the Author
I chew my ice cream. People do that right?