GatosBros

GatosBros Get Arrested
in Barstow

GatosBros Get Arrested
in Barstow

Dining, like everything in Barstow, is horrible. So we didn't have high expectations when we walked into Lola's Kitchen. While we were standing in line, waiting to place our order, the guy who had been standing directly ahead of us in line got upset and started yelling about someone stealing his pipe. Or an e-cigarette. Or something. Was a little bit hard to follow. But he was pretty worked-up, pacing back and forth, shouting. Kept going to the bathroom, more agitated every time he came out, disrupting the whole restaurant. When he pointed an accusatory finger in our general direction, my brother told him to go fuck himself. Think what he actually said was something more like, "Listen, I don't care what you lost, whether it was your car keys or your girlfriend. It's got nothing to do with us." He backed-off, muttering something about calling the cops. Riiiiiight. Like the police had nothing better to do. What an idiot.



But then whaaaaaa? To our surprise, just a few minutes later two Barstow police officers arrived on the scene. They took the 'victim' outside, and when they came back into the taqueria, walked straight up to us. "What seems to be going on here boys?" We were amazed. They actually seemed to be taking this seriously. Couldn't understand why, but told them what we knew (in between bites), which was that guy was yelling about somebody stealing something from him. That was pretty much the whole story. "Okay boys, that's fine. We're going to need to see some identification". Confused, Rob and I look at each other. Us? What? Wait a second, what's going on here? Why? "Standard procedure". They assured us that we were not suspected of stealing anything, but insisted that they needed to see identification "for their report".

We told the officers, respectfully, that we did not wish to identify ourselves, asserting our rights to privacy. But they seemed to take our refusal to identify ourselves as some kind of challenge to their authority and things escalated quickly from there. They told us, repeatedly, that we did not have the right to refuse to identify ourselves. But feeling pretty confident that we were completely within our rights, we held our ground. We asked them several times if we were being detained, or if we were free to leave. They refused to answer us, saying only that they were conducting an investigation, and that we had to identify ourselves. So we sat there with those police officers hovering over us, making it physically impossible for us to stand up and leave. Was allowed to go get some more salsa, which was not great, but better-than-barstow good. Finally, when we were about halfway through our burritos, the officers threatened to arrest us if we did not identify ourselves. That's when I asked to speak to their shift supervisor. While we were waiting for their overlord to arrive, Rob and I talked about how things were going (not well) and the possibility that we might actually end up in jail over this. Un-fucking-believable. Told him that I was inclined to stand firm, but that if he'd rather indulge them and avoid the hassle, I'd go along with that.



Eventually the shift supervisor did show up. With backup. Lots of backup. At least three more cars and 4-5 more officers. It was preposterous. But what a relief. Thought we'd finally have a chance to clear-up this misunderstanding. Stood-up, shook the shift officer's hand, thanked him for coming out, apologized for wasting his time, introduced myself and my brother (first names), and briefly explained what had happened. Assumed we'd just cleared everything up, but without a moment's pause, he replied, "Boys, you're either going to present identification to these officers or you're going to jail." There was not going to be any further discussion. When confronted with this ultimatum, Rob stood-up and put his hands behind his back.



The charges on the citations we were given read, 'misdemeanor: PC148 (c) resist obs delay'. We were not able to get any further explanation or clarification of the charges from the police, but from I've been read online, looks like we were arrested for interfering with a police investigation. But it looks like sub-section (c) has to do with disarming a police officer? Whoa, that's some pretty serious street cred right there! GatosGangsters.

In my understanding of the way things work, as I learned after the fact, a person is obligated to identify themselves to an officer only after they are being detained. Makes a lot more sense now, as to why they were so vague, refusing to answer us when we first asked them whether we were being detained, and if we were free to leave. Seems like legally speaking, it all hinges on whether or not we were being detained. Is that right? Were we wrong to assert our rights to privacy in that situation? Might have been easier to comply with their requests, but what if they asked us to turn-out our pockets? Or to search our vehicles? They strip-searched us in the end, so what was the point? The only thing we accomplished by getting arrested was to create a record of our protest, and what's that worth? In the scheme of things, this was a minor inconvenience, and in comparison to more serious abuses of power, this story is hardly even worth telling. Except that we shouldn't be subjected to these kind of hostile interactions with police. Fucking fascists.

Oh, and they found that guy's pipe! Would never would have known that, except that we had to walk back to Lola's to pick up our truck that was still parked there. The restaurant had just closed, but the ladies rushed out when they saw us and explained how the guy who'd caused that whole scene had gotten up from his table to leave, and another customer said, "Sir, looks like you left something on your table. Don't forget that." They couldn't understand why the police officers had arrested us because the police were still there when they found that guy's pipe, "right there, on his table!" Had a hard time explaining to them how it didn't really have anything to do with that.