The following article was sent in by a reader and good friend from NYC and the person who this is written about is a close frind of his. It is very common to ‘post’ in larger metro areas where pop art like stickers, graffiti, and handbills are not only informative art but political statements in some cases. Read on to find out what happen to Paul when “…They put me in an unmarked white van and didn’t even read me my rights! They said they were with the ‘Graffiti Unit’, and that Bloomberg has them ‘cracking down’…”
Jailed for Rock’n’Roll — Careful with Those Stickers!
by Paul Alves (from the band Sousalves)
As posted at The Deli
I had just finished my shift at Dark Room around 12:05am one Monday in November when I was accosted by one of ” New York City ‘s Finest”. I got some new kickass 2″ x 2″ stickers for my label, “Messin’ With Records”, that I was putting up on Houston St. , when a guy started walking alongside me and asked, “Hey man, what’s goin’ on?” I answered, “Juss chillin’, doin’ my thing, how’s it goin’?” He pulls his badge out and says, “You know I’m a cop, right? What are you doing putting stickers up?” I quickly replied, “Oh, I can take those down.” As I turn around to do so, he says, “No, no – just put your hands behind your back.” I thought, “Fuck. FUCK!!!” He didn’t even ask to see my ID! Then his frat boy partner came in and started searching me, took my ID and looked through my bag (luckily there was nothing incriminating besides my stickers and a bottle opener that they referred to as a “wrench”).
They put me in an unmarked white van and didn’t even read me my rights! They said they were with the “Graffiti Unit”, and that Bloomberg has them “cracking down”. Ironically, there was a song faintly playing on the radio in the van and I said, “I think you have some Queen on.” They turned up the radio, and yes, “Bohemian Rhapsody” was playing. “Mama…just killed a man…” Off to Precinct 4!
All the other cops were cracking up, laughing at the douche bag, saying, “What a waste of time that was!”, as they went about putting stickers all over the arresting cop’s back in front of me. They took my belt, shoelaces and chain wallet, and put me in a cell with a few dudes that were just sleeping on the floor. They were called out a little while later, and I ended up in there by myself. I was then fingerprinted, asked to show my tattoos and sign a paper that listed my belongings. “Why do I have to do that?”, I asked. “They won’t let you bring anything downtown”, was the answer.
So they put me through the fucking system, and sent me over to Central Booking around 4:30am . The cop there laughed as well as he looked at my paperwork, telling the arresting cop, “This one’s dangerous”. So I filed in, grabbing my 2% milk and Rice Krispies breakfast – “Snap, Crackle & Pop”! The guys in there were all being held for an array of reasons, from sleeping on the streets to gun-wielding with a few kilos in the trunk. When they finally asked me why I was there, I told them, and they all bugged the hell out (it was kind of funny). I was the only white rocker-type dude in there, and everyone was cool. Funny how they all kept talking about their rights…
At about 2pm , I had a damn cheese sandwich with some more 2% milk, and was just thinking about my gig that evening. By the time I was let out (17 hours later), they were all like, “Rock on, man!”
I finally saw the judge, who let me go with 6 months’ probation. The cop wrote me up for “vandalizing and mischievous behavior” (what the fuck is that?) I left and went straight to work
for my 5:00 to 10:00pm shift. My roommate was cool and brought my gear over to work. Then I went straight to my gig at 169Bar for my 11:00pm set, running on adrenaline (and some Jack Daniels). I rocked the house and went back to Precinct 4 (under Union Square ) to claim my bag with all my crap at 1:30am on Thursday! All of this on only 1 hour of sleep – nice!
Isn’t it great to see how we’re protected and taken care of by our fine justice system?