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I was always taught to never do anything bad in life. My mother took me to church every Saturday and if we skipped Saturday we went on Sunday. I never wanted to let down my family, friends, and coworkers with my decisions or life choices. Cops are also supposed to be there and protect people, right? Well, I don’t trust them anymore since they almost ruined my life.
It was April 20th on a Thursday night. I went to one of my friends’ houses in Decorah, Iowa to go listen to him make music for his SoundCloud. As I arrived at the house, my friend’s mom, his sister, her friend, his other friend Nathan, and my friend Geoff, were already there. My friend, Ian, was playing Guitar Hero. We sat there at watched him play three songs, then headed downstairs so he could work on his music. We were downstairs for five minutes before Ian’s friend Nathan came running down the stairs saying, “The cops are here dude!”
I didn’t think anything would happen at that point because none of my friends do drugs. Shortly after he told us the cops were there, Ian’s mom came down the steps and told us that we needed to go upstairs as we were being detained by the cops until they could get a warrant. At that time, I became scared.
We all went to the living room and sat down on the couches. There was one cop inside the house who was watching everyone and all their movements. There were a few outside waiting for the warrant. We couldn’t go to the bathroom without the door open and a cop watching us. Geoff and I sat on one couch. He was looking for an ashtray so he could ash his cigarette. The cop followed his arm and saw a bong from Ian’s sister. The cop looked at Geoff and said, “I’ll just take that for evidence.” After the cop took the bong, Ian called his dad to ask him what they should do. He told us not to say anything to the cops and to not let them in the house. Too late. The cop let himself in, but one of the cops put in their statement that Ian let him in when Ian was downstairs.
When the warrant finally came, the cop handed it to Ian’s mom. They also brought the drug dog in and he just sat down. The cop that brought the warrant ran downstairs. He wasn’t downstairs very long—maybe 30 seconds. He came running up and said that he found it and that they were good to go to arrest. My heart dropped when he said that we were getting arrested. The cop that arrested me asked me if I had anything in my pockets so I told him: my car keys and phone. He told me to keep them in my pockets until I got to the office. He also added that he knew they were arresting everyone before they even got there. I got put into a cop car with Ian and Geoff. Ian sat up front and Geoff and I sat in the back. They kept telling me that everything was going to be okay and that they’d get me out of it no matter what. They told me this because I was in the Early Childhood Education program at NICC. I couldn’t get any charges being in that program.
The ride to the police station felt like it was forever even though it was only five blocks. He had us get out of the car and then into the office. Once we got into the office, we got sat down and spread apart. Ian’s mom and friend Nathan arrived shortly after us. I remember walking up to the counter asking if I could call my mom because I needed to let her know that she needed to find someone to take my little brother to school. They told me that they had to check us in before we could make any phone calls. I felt that they singled me out just because I asked that, because they did all the guys first. Once all the guys got checked in, they called me up. They told me I had to take out any piercings, rings, hair ties, etc. Then they started asking me a whole bunch of questions. I only remember two questions: “Any tattoos?”, “Are you feeling depressed or wanting to kill yourself?”
Since I suffer from depression, I told them yes, that I wanted to kill myself at that time. After all the questions were answered, I finally got to call my mom. A phone call I never wanted to make. She answered and I said “Mom, you’re going to have to find someone to take Joey to school tomorrow. I won’t be coming home tonight.” She took a deep breath and asked why. I told her that I got arrested for something I was unaware of that was in the house. She started crying and told me to call her when she finds out more. I told her I loved her and hung up the phone. They patted me down, gave me clothes to change into, took me into the back—into the special inmate cell because of my depression.
It was the longest night I ever had. I constantly felt like I was going to throw up and I couldn’t sleep. I kept looking out my cell door, looking at the time, and it wasn’t going fast at all. I tried to sleep, but it would only be for an hour at a time and I’d wake up and cry some more. The jailer came to me and asked me if I couldn’t sleep and I told her yes, so she took me to do my fingerprints, then took me back to my cell. I woke up once and asked them when I’d be getting out and they told me it was all up to the judge. They came around with breakfast. The choices were a doughnut or cereal. I chose the doughnut. I didn’t eat it because I still didn’t feel the best, so some guy came over the intercom and told me to eat it, otherwise they’d take it away from me. Then that’s what they did. It was 10 AM and I thought I was never going to get out of there until the jailer came up to me and told me “Get up let’s go.” She took me to the same place I got checked in at, she gave me all my stuff back, told me to change, and took my mugshot. She then took me to the back room and let me free.
After walking out of the back room and not knowing where to go, I saw Ian’s car and walked there, got in and started crying again. He and Geoff were in there and kept reassuring me that nothing was going to happen. I couldn’t believe it, though. He drove us back to his house and I got into my car and drove home. I didn’t want to talk to anyone because it was hard to talk about. My mom called me when I was on my way home and asked me if I was okay to be home alone and I told her I wasn’t sure. At that point, I just wanted to be cuddled up in a blanket and cry. She took me to get a drug test done so I could prove I was clean of everything.
Our court date was Monday, I had to make it through the weekend. My mom kept me busy with having to work for her all weekend to try and get it off my mind. Every person I saw that knew kept coming up to me and asking if I was alright. I just started crying. Monday came and my parents drove me to Decorah, since that’s where it happened. I walked in front of the judge and all he did was give me a lawyer. Right after court, we went to my lawyer's office and handed her my drug test results and she told me I was in good hands with just that piece of evidence.
I didn’t hear anything until about a month later. She emailed me and told me that I wouldn’t get any charges, I just had to pay court costs. There wasn’t enough evidence because the cop’s stories didn’t match up but all of ours did. Also, the cop that “found” the weed turned off his camera before he went downstairs. I thought I could trust cops, but now I feel like I can’t. Through this whole experience, I learned that I have a great group of family and friends that are there for me no matter what.