Tuesday, August 31, 2010
August 31, 2010 Good Cops Bad Cops
Policeman Vasquez Corea was shot in the leg and lost his leg as a result. Today I had the blessing of giving him a wheelchair.
His superior officer Inspector Otniel Molina and I posed for photos. This is the "Good Cop" part of today's post... But all did NOT go well with the police today.
"Bad Cop" I took my doggy (Esther my standard French Poodle) to the beauty parlor today. On the way there, a policeman stopped my car and asked for my license and revision. I gave them to him and then he told me he would have to give me a ticket for having my dog in the car. Supposedly it was illegal. Well for those of you who know me, I never roll over and play dead. I told him in no uncertain terms that there was no such law and argued with him. Now please understand, I respect police. I do not respect corruption and those who practice it.
For those of you who don't know, Honduras police are VERY good at trying to get people to pay them to give their license back instead of wasting a day fighting at the police department after one of them takes the license, because of some "unknown or invented" infraction. It is a game they play. You either offer them a "gift" or they take your license and then you have to spend at least half a day getting it back, when you did NOTHING wrong.
So I challenged him. I told him I didn't believe that there was such a law. So he pulls out his little book and tells me to read law #34. It says, "the conductor cannot drive a car with a pet in their lap which could hinder their ability to drive." So I am thinking what does that have to do with me???? Esther is in the back seat. I am driving in the front seat.
So I asked him to read the law to me... I really believe that policeman #1146 cannot read. (a common problem) I am assuming that this is the policeman's number as he did not have his name tag on his police uniform as required by law and the number was on his vest. (another common problem in Honduras, there is no way to identify cops they do not comply with their own rules and regulations) Anyway, he refused to read it. So I read it to him and I said, I did not have the 50# dog in my lap. She was in the back seat. So this does not apply. So he says to me, "I will have to write you a ticket." By now I am getting frustrated and am thinking how stupid can this guy be.
So I said, "Then I guess I will have to call your boss and I used his bosses name". (the head of Transit Police) So then a car full COBRAS (elite forces police) drove by and shouted at him to leave me alone because, "She helps the police, she works with the COBRAS." He then says to me, "Where do you work? Do you work for the COBRAS?" I just smiled... I am "older", out of shape, North American and he wants to know if I work with the COBRAS... I only wish I had an elite forces body!
Then he said, "I am sorry but I have to write you a ticket." (In Honduran police language that means... give me money or I will not give you your license back.... About that time a car full of police OFFICERS not street cops but the ones with an education, career officers, drove by and started shouting at me, "Hola, Teresita". I responded hollering, "Help me!" To which they gave him a hand signal telling him to leave me alone. They drove off expecting him to be compliant, but instead he tells me that, "JUST THIS TIME HE WILL LET ME GO."
Well a few minutes later after dropping Esther off at the salon, I went and filed a report against #1146. I heard on the walkie talkie as they called him to return to the office. I just bet the next time he will "LET ME GO" also. I HATE CORRUPTION!!!!!!
They (corrupt police)think they are so smart because they do not "cross the line" and ask directly for the money. But I did notice that cars with slick tires with no tire tread passed by and he did nothing. A bus full to the brim with people standing (illegal) drove by and he did nothing. A taxi stopped in traffic and loaded three women and all their bags into his taxi and stopped a lane of traffic... I noticed all this happening as I waited in line for the light to change before he stopped me... But I was the "foreign target".