It was a rainy day. When I lived in the east village I used to store my bike in a friend’s back yard on my block, so when it started raining I walked over to her place to cover my bike with a plastic tarp to keep it from rusting. On the way over that day I found a dollar on the street. I had her key so I let myself in to her building, covered my bike, and was walking back home one minute later with nothing in my pockets but a key and a dollar.
I came into my building through the locked downstairs door and had a tiny spark in my mind that something was not right. I heard a stampede of feet running hard somewhere on the street. As I walked down my hall the stampede got louder and I noticed that the heavy front door did not click shut behind me, the way it did every other day. Shit. Something bad was happening. Before I could even turn the stampede was in my building coming down the hall towards me. I froze, while mentally surveying the situation and my options. Guys were shouting that they were the police. They were plain clothed, no uniforms. I put my hands up like they asked.
The police were yelling at me to give them the drugs. They knew I had drugs on me. I was explaining calmly that I did not do any substances, not even alcohol. I was in trauma, scared as hell, shaking but acting calm. I told them exactly what was in my pockets. They were in my face, screaming at me. There were six or more of them in the narrow hallway. I asked to see a badge and one of them shoved something in my face, but not long enough for me to read it. I really did not know if they were really police. My mind was working as fast as it could, trying to figure out what to do, how to escape, what might go wrong, what were my choices. I did not do anything wrong, so I was really confused. I wasn’t sure if I was being set up or robbed or if something more dangerous was going on, or what exactly was happening.
The main cop told me to give up the drugs because they would find them part o me also became strong. I asked for them to bring in a woman officer, I said I would be happy to be searched by a woman since I had nothing on me. We went back and forth a few times. Him: OK, we’re bringing her in. Me: Good. Him: When we find the drugs…Me, interrupting: You won’t.
I was strong and unafraid and with that, all of the energy left the room like a deflated balloon. The guys looked at each other and mumbled and started filing out of my building. The main officer said OK, meaning he was finished, and then he asked, Are we cool? I did not answer. He put his hand up for a high five. I stared at his hand in disgust and he kept it there and made it clear that he was not leaving till I high-fived him. I waited it out but he seemed to have all day. Finally I high-fived him with the lamest gesture much to my chagrin, just for it all to be over. That was the worst part for me. I had stood there scared but honest before that and hated doing a fake friendly interaction. I did it and they left.
I am still not sure if they used me for a training or if they really suspected me of buying drugs. My friend lived next door to a bodega that sold drugs, but I went into the door next to the bodega. Poor stake out? Easy target for training, small female, etc? Not sure. Not happy but glad it was over. It could have been so much worse.