On April 20, 2002, a friend and I had a picnic in Tilden Park, which is in the Berkeley hills. It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for a picnic, and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
On the way out of the park, we were pulled over by a police officer. I can only assume he did so because it was 4/20 in the late afternoon, we were young-looking, and he probably thought that we’d been smoking pot in the park and he was hoping to bust some kids for posession. Well, we hadn’t been smoking pot. But because he pulled us over, he ran the plates on my friend’s car.
My friend had done something stupid. He hadn’t renewed his registration, so he’d put the (registered) plates from his mom’s broken-down car on his car. He’d neglected to tell me about this. So when the police officer came over to the car all agitated and screamy it kind of scared the crap out of me. He ordered us into the back of his car while he searched my friend’s car, assuming it had been stolen. My friend tried to explain the plate situation to him, apologizing, saying that it had been a stupid thing to do but that the plate was from his mom’s car and blah blah blah. I was cowering in the back seat of the police car (incidentally, the seats weren’t seats but more of a molded bench of hard plastic and incredibly uncomfortable) and my friend was really upset and all I could think about was that I was going to get arrested because it was April 20 and this cop really wanted to bust some kids for pot. Even though I’d never smoked pot and we hadn’t been smoking pot and there was none in the car.
Finally, after a good half hour of explanation and plate-running and calling my friend’s mom and a variety of other things, he let us go. He told my friend to change the plates back immediately when he got home, which I assume he did after he dropped me off.
If just being made to sit in the back of a police car made me feel as shitty as it did (shame, fear, etc.), I can’t imagine what it would feel like to get arrested. I don’t intend to find out.