Arrested For Poetry: The Conclusion

I’m so mad I could scream.  These words read as my scream in silence. Think of all the worst words you know and hear them screaming in your head, that’s how I feel right now.

Don’t write angry, don’t write angry, I try and calm myself.

I just got back from my trial. I was arrested for three crimes: 1) causing a disturbance on the TTC 2) obstructing proper authority, 3) failure to leave premises. Keep your sons and daughters away from me, I am bad ass.

This was back in January, when I was standing in Eglinton subway station giving out short stories and poetry. (check blog entries from Jan 22 and 24) I do this sometimes to give people something to read on the way home. I make no money from it, but, I’m rich in compliments. And questions from curious people wanting to know why I spend time in front of the subway handing out poems and short stories.

The cops were curious the day of my arrest. They had actually let me go before arresting me, telling me it was ok to keep handing them out, as long as I kept out of people’s way.

The only one who ever complained about it was the guy in the booth taking the money, who knocked on the glass and told the cops to get me gone. As I was leaving I made a comment that I was glad I could see their names on their uniforms unlike during the G20 when they had put the boots to so many protesters. That was when I got handcuffed.

Today was my day in court. My whole case rested on the fact that I wasn’t disturbing the peace, because the police themselves had told me it was alright to be there, and second, that there was no failure to leave premises, I was arrested for making the comment about police brutality.

But, when I got the chance to cross examine Constable Kwok, the arresting officer, (I do all my own cross examining. I went to the school of Boston Legal and Matlock) he answered he didn’t remember telling me that it was alright to stay there, and he couldn’t recall me making the comment about the G20. He either forgot or he was lying under oath.

I was found guilty on the obstructing proper authority and failure to leave the premises, but innocent of causing a disturbance, because, as the judge mentioned in his ruling, I’d been going there many times handing out my poems and stories without incident or complaint.

Punishment: $400 fine.

I feel like The Man won today and The Man’s a real bitch.

I don’t understand how I can be guilty of obstructing proper authority when I’m not guilty of causing a disturbance. See, obstructing proper authority translates here to mean I didn’t give the cops my ID when they asked. But, they only asked for it after they arrested me. If I’m not guilty of causing a disturbance, what are you arresting me for?

Excuse me while I go scream out the window.


4 thoughts on “Arrested For Poetry: The Conclusion

  1. Anonymous

    Man, poor guys. I’m sure they do believe that it gave them more power or something stupid like that… Police is the same old shit everywhere (with rare exceptions). They want to see fear into your eyes and if they don’t, they’ll try harder… I’m really sorry and hope you’ll have some peace to enjoy the weekend. I’m glad you’re ok now. But that’s really frustrating…

  2. perlina

    Peter! That’s really frustrating. So many days passed away, so I hope you are richer than after paying that absurd fine. Is there no group which leads this kind of free communication of public spaces?… I know there are no reasons to have it if you are FREE to do something opposite to harmful but it could work to pressure authorities. or not?
    miss u teacher 🙂

    1. cottonbombs Post author

      Thank you for the concern. I’m trying to let go of my anger at the police and remember everything funny comes from something painful or tragic. This wasn’t tragic, but it was $400 worth of a pain in the ass. I almost got eaten by a coyote jogging last night, so, I’ve got bigger things to worry about now, like avoiding being eaten by wild animals.


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