Police Brutality


I don’t remember much about what happened, as far as ending up in a holding cell. The three of us lay there, wrapped in the darkness of pain and concussion for an unspecified amount of time. There was a sound that kept filtering through, light as the touch of a tap dripping on concrete. The sound of Knackers whimpering. His arm was snapped. It had swollen to probably double the size of the other one and when he twitched, it articulated in the middle like an extra joint where the bones strained sharp at the skin. Sweat crawled down his face, beading the creases in his forehead. Teeth gritted, eyes staring hard, his whole body was stiff; intent with the effort of holding onto the pain like a tow-rope, so it wouldn’t get away from him and he’d lose control. Geoff was sitting on the bunk beside him.

“Hey!” I yelled down the hall. The cry ricocheted off the concrete walls like a billiard ball. The door at the end opened and a small policeman stood in it, hands on hips.

“Somebody’s really hurt,” I ventured.

“So’s somebody else, in a minute,” came the reply.

“No, really. His arm’s… fucked.” How many adjectives are going to carry down a hallway that long without running out of momentum by the time they get to the tiny pig at the other end? The door closed and when it re-opened, there was a troupe of cops coming down the hall.

“Step away from the door,” the Big Pig said. He was bright red, like whatever was burning in his heart was shining through his skin, the way a naked bulb radiates through a flimsy lampshade. I stood back and away to the side so they could get a clear view of the arm. I didn’t expect they’d help him out of pity, but I thought it’d be pretty obvious that they needed to help him if they wanted to avoid any kind of trouble after the fact.

“Alright, come with me,” said the Big Red Pig. He opened the cell door and held it. He locked it after me and I followed him down the hall, into what looked like a staff room.

“His arm’s pretty broken,” said Big Red to Seagrave, the Constable who had arrested us in the first instance. By way of reply, Seagrave walked around behind me and pulled open the door of a gym locker. It was probably about five feet high, and thirty centimeters wide. The door came free with a metal-on-metal screech.

“Get in.”

“I won’t fit.”

“We’ll help you,” said Seagrave, grinning like a cartoon wolf.

The locker was just too small; it would be like trying to force a size thirteen foot into a size five shoe. I considered running, as you might consider digging when buried alive, but there must be ten fire-proof, steel-framed, deadlocked doors between me and the street outside. Not just that, but charges multiply like bacteria. If I ran, I’d get resisting arrest, assaulting police (one for each pig that tried to stop me), and some kind of grievous injury when I was caught.

And if I managed to get away, I’d be a fugitive.

The solution came through the door – two more cops. One lay his drawn baton down carefully on the floor, its hardened timber ringing against the concrete. That sound broke the silence like a starting gun.

I gripped either side of the door, planted a foot on either side and held on. Two cops took hold of my arms while another punched me in the back of the head. This had a perversely positive effect, by focusing and catalyzing my fear into energy. One of the cops on my arms figured it out; by working with the joint to fold rather than break the arm, my arm buckled and my hand slipped, catapulting me forward. I think that’s how my ear got split, anyway. The door slammed shut and the black came down. I drew a deep breath, swelling out against the confines, pushing against it to give some feeling of security. Hot blood trickled from the split in my ear down my neck and gathered in the collar of my t-shirt.

The batons rained against the thin pressed metal, conducting the blows through and into my body but spreading the initial impact, much like the infamous telephone book trick. It was like being whipped through a blanket. The shafts of din drove down into my ears, which I couldn’t cover because my arms were trapped. They shattered in rings, spreading out through my head until the ringing overlapped and I felt as though my consciousness was a small cube in the center of my head, an island in an ocean of white sound.

My hip and shoulder hit the floor when they kicked the locker over (which I think is what cracked my ribs). Then I started inching forward, as if they were pushing the locker somewhere on its side. And then gravity started acting up; my head tilted down, my feet tilted up and my stomach drifted up towards them like the bubble in a spirit level.

Each of the stairs resounded like the cracking of a whip, increasing in both frequency and intensity as the locker picked up speed. Until the sudden stop at the foot of the stairs, where the locker dinted sharply and the intrusion cut into my scalp. The locker rang out like a deformed cymbal; my body acted like a damper as the reverberations crawled through muscle and bone in shock waves of racket.

Everything was still and quiet when they wrenched the dented door open, dragged me out and slung me onto the footpath outside the police station. I fell into a sitting position on the stairs, sitting very still, waiting for the crawling waves of torture to exhaust themselves.

One Response to “Police Brutality”

  1. ilfiore66 Says:

    Powerful and passionate writing – the resulting effect is painful to absorb.

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