Sympathy for the devils

I don’t have much sympathy for the police, but this account of an unusual traffic offense going full Kafka cracked me up:

There’s an apartment complex in every city that cops just don’t go into without lots of backup. I always imagined it was because those places were littered with armed gangsters, but that’s just a part of it. What really keeps police out of a neighborhood is all the people who absolutely do not give one lonely, mountain-dwelling fuck about the law. Here’s an example:

I was cruising about one night and saw this drunken guy riding a horse through the streets, rolling through every lane, clopping into oncoming traffic. I turned on my lights and tried to pull him over. He decided to run away on horseback. I went after him, with my partner patiently explaining that I’m a moron. The horseman headed for that apartment building, the one our own protocols dictate that any officer who goes inside is always to be accompanied by at least three other officers.

He stopped the horse inside, possibly assuming that no officer would follow him for drunk driving a horse. Well, I sure showed him. We pulled up, and I leaped out of the car to grab the rider. The guy, in keeping with the old joke, immediately assured me that “The horse is sober.”

But the guy was not, and wacky circumstances don’t grant you license to endanger yourself and others while under the influence. I knew I wasn’t getting horse registration off this guy, so I started to book him, at which point this little old lady came up and asked why I was arresting Horse Guy. I began to explain that he was drunk driving, and that horses do count as vehicles under the transportation code, when some random dude ran up and punched the old lady in the head.

Punching little old people is a felony, or at least it should be, so my partner and I chased the assailant through the complex. He vanished somewhere into the labyrinth and was lost to us, so I made my way back to the car, hoping maybe the lady knew who he was. But she had vanished, too. And so had the drunken rider. The horse, however, had been left behind.

No one deals with horses. Animal control didn’t have the right facilities to house one, our station sure as hell didn’t, and not even my sergeant knew what the hell to do with it. I called a towing company and said I wanted a flatbed to move an abandoned horse, and was dismissed as a crank until I pointed out I was using the police-only number and that I did have a goddamn horse that needed to be … impounded. Or something. In the end, we just moved it onto some grass and hoped it knew how to get home.

It’s not that I have any sympathy for the policeman himself. But I can’t help but have some for his partner. Can you imagine how hard it would be to not say “I told you so” afterwards?