Monday, January 7, 2008

Deja Vu All Over Again

OK, so I went to jury duty this morning. Things didn't start well as I was halfway to down town before I realized I had forgotten the paperwork and so had to turn around, zoom home, and zoom back. I pulled into the closest parking lot I came to first (rather than the one I was planning on, which is a little farther away) and ended up paying $10 instead of $7 since the box only took cash and all I had was fives.

The City/County building is both where we were held first after the arrest in October (although I couldn't have told you where, since we weren't allowed to look at the numbers on the elevator as we went up) and where all the hearings have been and trials will be. So I have a lot of mixed feelings about this building.

Usually to get in you put your stuff on the x-ray conveyor and step through the metal detector, but today they were stopping and wanding everyone, so there was a long line. I was worried about being late and was only concentrating on getting to the jury room on time. I got through security and rushed to the elevators and up we went. I was a little bit late but so were many others because of the security lines.

So I hand in my paperwork, and turn to find a seat. I look around. It's a large room, lots of chairs that are mostly full, the outside wall is curved (the building is shaped like C, sort of), and there are AC/Heat vents along the walls. Some are covered over with wood making a little ledge.

Huh, I think. This kinda looks like...oh wait, shit. It IS. It's the room where we were all processed after being arrested. Yeah, that's the ledge where the cop who arrested me had to write his report. Oh shit.

For a split second it feels like that day again, standing there in a room full of people staring...that day, all those cops, many still in their riot gear, staring as I'm brought in in handcuffs and they're trying to figure out if I'm the one they arrested.

I take a deep breath and try to find a seat as far away from that spot on the ledge as possible. I sit down, think about where I am and the irony of it, try not to laugh out loud during the orientation video ("you're so important to this process...our democracy depends on you..."), and start trying to figure out where I am.

If I am here, then...the holding cells are across the hall. This is where they brought us first, before they took us to jail. One by one they brought us out of the holding cell, took us to the nurse, who documented my nerve damage, and they took photos of my welted, red, swollen wrists, and then walked me across the hall to the room I am sitting in now so that the officer could finish the report.

Indeed, when I go to the bathroom a little later, there is the doorway, there is the nurse's office, and I know if you turn left at that office, behind the wall are the cells.

I'm more than a little freaked to be back in that space. I try to study my Greek flashcards but memories keep flashing up. To deal with it, I start practicing in my head what I will say if I'm actually called for one of the jury selections. "My name is towanda and I'm a victim of police brutality by the Denver name is towanda and I cannot be impartial because the city violated my constitutional name is towanda and WAIT, you're supposed to be my judge in a few weeks, aren't you? (that was actually a possibility)..."

You get the idea.

But, I was never called. Just got to sit there, me and my memories and my achy hands.