by Jay Johansen | Aug 31, 2021
Once my then-teenage daughter and I were watching TV. We were watching one of those cop shows where the police take the suspect to the interrogation room and play the "good cop/bad cop" routine. So my daugher asked, "Dad, do the police really do that?"
I replied, "I don't know. The couple of times I was interrogated by the police they didn't do anything like that."
She stared at me for a moment and asked, "Are you joking?"
"Joking about what?" I replied, a little confused.
"Were you really interrogated by the police?"
I replied that yes, I had been. At which point she said, "How come you never told me about this? You've told me some of the same dumb jokes a dozen times, but you never mentioned being arrested and interrogated by the police?"
Which after she mentioned it, yeah, that was probably a more entertaining story than most of the dad stories I told her.
Lest you wonder, I was never actually arrested.
The first time I was picked up by the police was when I was in college. Two young men robbed somebody. The police responded in time to chase them. One got away and the police caught the other. They asked the one they caught who his accomplice was. Apparently he didn't want to turn in his friend, so he gave them the name of a random person. Me. I didn't recognize his name so I don't know how he knew mine. As I said, this was when I was in college, so maybe we were in class together and he happened to hear my name at some point. The police brought me in on suspicion and questioned me for a while. Basically I said I knew nothing about it. There was no evidence to tie me to the crime, so they let me go. I never heard anything further about it.
The second time, I ran for the local school board. There was a law at the time that you could not accept campaign contributions from a corporation. Neither I nor anyone else involved in my campaign thought about that rule much. When we thought of "corporations", we thought of Exxon and General Motors and such big companies, and we couldn't imagine some big company getting involved in our little school board race. But one person who donated to my campaign owned a small shop in town ... and the shop was organized as a corporation. So her contribution to me was technically illegal. My opponent poured over my campaign finance reports looking for a violation, and noticed a contribution listed as such-and-such "Inc", and so reported me for violating campaign finance laws. The police and the prosecutor dragged me in and questioned me for a while. Basically I pled stupid. I pointed out that we'd put the "Inc" on the campaign finance report turned in to the government, so it wasn't like we were trying to do something sneaky. They agreed and ordered me to return the contribution, and that was the end of it.
© 2021 by Jay Johansen
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