Here’s a story worth a read from the awesome guys from MKE bike polo! Goes to show you how those in positions of authority can really abuse it…when they are bored…
Above: A mug shot from the arrest.
During a Sunday pick-up game, ten members and one spectator of the Milwaukee Bike Polo Club were arrested and charged with “trespassing a dwelling” at the O’Donnell parking structure in downtown Milwaukee. Below is a first hand account:
An unmarked Buick Century approached with three undercover sheriff’s deputies. The officers sprung out of the car and instantly shouted “every one come here and against the wall”. They count us out eleven then proceeded to note, “I thought there were 12” (Lodi had snuck out 5 mins before the bust). The officer then told us that we were under arrest and would be receiving trespassing tickets for $263 each. We tried to talk our way out of the situation but that lasted about 30 seconds. One by one we gave our information and received a ticket. We were then told by one of the officers that we were being detained but no is under arrest, specifically he said “if you are asked by a cop or employer have you ever been arrested say no”. We were then zipped tied and the officers explained that we would be going downtown to be processed and released and that it should not take too long, that essentially “it’s just like a speeding ticket”. This led to confusion for us since when you get a speeding ticket, you don’t usually go to jail, right?
We asked about our bikes and the female officer who was calling the shots told us that they will be taken to the Wauwatosa sub-station and could be picked up the next day. For all of us, bikes are our main source of transportation and Wauwatosa is a suburb of Milwaukee, miles out from the core of the city where we all live. We pleaded with them to let us lock our bikes to a rack, no dice.
The officers then proceeded to take us over to our bags while we are handcuffed and tell us to pack up. We can’t do much with our hands behind our backs so they had to pack everything for us mixing our belongings amongst the many bags. Repeatedly the officers noted “Damn, I thought this would be much easier!” and complained that they would not be able to listen to the Packer game in their warm car. We finally get our bags together and they start grabbing our bikes. Since our bikes are rather important to us, we protested with “hey we haven’t told you whose is whose yet”. The woman in charge declares “it’s freezing cold and you’re worried about bikes? Fine have it your way?”. So they gave us all a nice sticker or new spoke card identifying our bikes. The officers then threw all of our bikes in a big bus.
Next, we followed our bikes into the back of the bus, which is as cold as freezer since the temperatures outside were around negative ten degrees with the wind chill (I believe the Allen Bradley tower was showing a temperature of about ten degrees without the wind chill). We sat in the bus for about fifteen minutes before moving and then we were off to the county court house. Upon arriving the female officer noted how cold the back of the bus was despite the fact that apparently she was “dying” of the heat in the front. The officers then rolled their eyes and helped us out of the bus. We are then handcuffed to a bench and are individually given a quick run through of our bags, throwing out any food and looking for weapons. Then off to the next room, where we found another bench with cuffs.
We sat in this room amongst true criminals. Shoulder to shoulder with thieves, drug addicts, and prostitutes. Some of us sat waiting, chained to a bench for up to 8 hours, without knowing what the next step was going to be. I was the lucky one who got called first. They took me into a room searched, my bag, had me sign a form detailing the contents of my bag, then gave me a personal pat down search. This took about a half hour. Then off to the next room where you sit on another bench to wait and wait.
Next, they call you up for a few questions, including what the highest grade in school you achieved, missing any teeth, job, tattoos, you name it. Next it’s picture time, then on to prints. Then back to the bench. Finally Brian made it through, I thought to myself, I finally have someone to talk to. At around ten in the evening (mind you we had been arrested just after five), there was a shift change, leading to an hour of officers standing around chatting and trying to figure out the situation. Then one player at time, we watched everyone get searched and make it into our room. Since our bags were so big, it took some people up to 40 minutes to be fully searched.
We asked numerous people what the next for us was going to be, with some saying simply “that’s not my job” and others responding with “you’re going up stairs to a cell”. Once the officers figured out that we were there for bike polo, they laughed and said things along the lines of “I can’t believe that the sheriffs would waste everyone’s time with a book and release for a simple citation”. After a few hours they stopped laughing and were legitimately angry that we were still coming through while the line was being backed up with real criminals.
Hours and hours go by and at 2:30am, I was released. I had been arrested at 5:30pm. I was lucky to be the first released, some did not make it out until 4am. In the end, four college students, four college graduates, an Artist, two bicycle mechanics and new player were arrested for the police to find absolutely nothing. No drugs were found, no warrants were issued, not a damn thing. They wasted our time and the city’s over a simple game that we are passionate about, bike polo.