Tag Archives: police in Mexico

Who’s on first? in Spanglish

traffic-policeman-whistling-holding-hand-out-to-stopSo last night, my husband gets home around 10:30, a bit worse for wear and unlocks the door. Before he can even pull the motorcycle in, a police vehicle arrives and he is accosted. He wobbles in the bedroom,wakes me up and says the police are here. WTF? So I stumble around looking for my glasses and drift to the front door, pink fluffy PJs and all. There seems to be some doubt as to whether or not my husband lives here. I’m a bit confused, groggy from sleep and ask what this is all about.

The short chubby police officer has his light right in my eyes. I’m sure it’s a technique they teach at asshole school. He says “Recibimos un reporte de que una casa fue robada aquí” (We received a report that a house was stolen here) or at least that’s what my foggy brain heard. I think what he meant was “Recibimos un reporte que se meterian a una casa para robar aquí” (We received a report that someone had broken into a house in order to steal things). But since he said what he said my question was “¿Cómo robaron una casa?” (How could someone steal a house?). I had visions of a house being jacked up and carted away. No lie! But my brain dismissed that as preposterous because the houses in La Yacata are made of stone, cement, and brick–much too heavy to haul away in the back of a pickup much less my husband’s motorcycle.

The light bearing policeman amended his comment. “Se metieron a robar algunas herramientas.” (They broke in to steal some tools) Again, my imagination went into cartoon mode and I saw the big bad wolf breaking into a house to steal a hammer. He may have meant the rebar and other construction materials that many of the half-finished dwellings in La Yacata have. But that’s not what I understood.

There was still some doubt as to whether my husband lived here. As I was obviously in my pajamas, I guess they decided I was a legit resident. Who wears pajamas to steal tools at some random abandoned house? My husband whips out his driver’s license. I have no idea why he did that as his license does not have La Yacata as his residence since we have no street names. (See Getting Legal–a driver’s license) Officer Chubs took it and asked him his name. I guess he was convinced because he did no more than instruct my husband to pull his motorcycle inside.

My husband could not leave well enough alone. He wanted to know who had called in the report that there was a robbery in progress in La Yacata. Officer Chubby mumbled something about it being anonymous and hopped back in his vehicle.

Remember, my husband was still tipsy, so the moment he gets the motorcycle inside, he accuses me of having called the police. I just want to get back into bed, but he follows me. He wants to know why I called the police. I said I hadn’t, but he wasn’t convinced. I tried to use logic and asked if he had been breaking and entering, but logic doesn’t work on a drunk (in case you ever feel compelled to try it).

He says to me “¿Hablaste con la policía?” (Did you speak to the police?) and I answered yes. “¿Por qué?” (Why?) “Because you told me to come to the door and I talked to them” was my response. I think what he meant was “¿Llamaste a la policía?” (Did you call the police?) but that’s not what my oh so tired brain understood.

He is determined to get to the bottom of this, so he called 060 which is like the dispatcher number. Or at least that’s what he thinks he called. Remember, he’s a bit impaired at the moment. Some woman answers the phone and he asks who called in the report that there was a robbery in progress in La Yacata because there was a patrol car outside. He asks a couple of times and I think the woman just hung up since it wasn’t an emergency. Like she was going to give out that information anyway.

So this morning, now that I’ve gotten my beauty sleep, I think this whole incident is hilarious, especially since nothing bad happened. I believe that the patrol truck followed my husband from the main road, determining that he was drunk and hence susceptible to extortion. He put a knot in their plan by going into the house before they could do whatever it was they were planning, maybe stop him for his tail light being out or something. So the story of there being a report on a B&E was pulled out of thin air to give their presence some legitimacy. When I came to the door, they realized there would be a witness, and a gringa witness at that, so the plan to collect a little Xmas bonus had to be scrapped.

My son, who had stayed snuggly in his bed during this altercation, said he couldn’t believe what happened, especially my obvious misunderstanding of the spoken Mexican Spanish. Well, so sue me. There are just some things that I don’t get, even after 10 years, especially being awoken from a pleasant sleep to talk to police who were obviously up to no good. (See Christmas in Mexico–Aguinaldo)

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And Justice for All?

There was no justice to be had for this man in Moroleón.

There was no justice to be had for this man in Moroleón.

The court proceedings concerning the moto accident between my in-laws and the police finally occurred a year and a half after my mother-in-law’s death (See on Life and Liberty). During the month of September, my father-in-law reported to court an average of 2-3 times per week.

So 2-3 times per week, my father-in-law rode his bicycle from La Yacata to the courthouse or the lawyer’s office.

This legal process was exasperated when the police officer involved or his lawyer or the witnesses did not appear in court and my father-in-law spent hours cooling his heels in the outer office.

We thought that perhaps that the no-shows would be in my father-in-law’s favor. Little did we realize that their absence was a mark of how trivial they felt these proceedings to be since they already knew what the outcome would be.

Decisions of guilt or innocence are not determined by a jury of your peers in México, but by the sole discretion of the judge. In Moroleón, all penal cases are determined by La Juez, whose children I had been teaching for several years. I had come to respect her over the years and appreciated her advice during the difficult week when my mother-in-law died and Chuchi slapped me with a demanda (See The First Demanda and La Novena). However, mitigating this esteem was the fact that her husband was the forensic specialist for the police in Moroleón. And him I was never too impressed with. The forensic evidence submitted by the police included a film of an accident that wasn’t with my in-laws and a dent in the driver’s side door which was used as conclusive “proof” that the moto hit the truck and, therefore, the fault of my father-in-law, completely discounting the conflicting evidence of the injuries sustained by my in-laws.

Forensics here is proclaimed the new messiah and unlike CSI, there is no attempt to find logical connections between the evidence and the action. For instance, if your fingerprints are on your own wallet that was stolen, the judge might determine that you yourself gave the wallet to the thief since there were no other fingerprints on it. Whatever!

With such logic, a dent in the door must mean that the moto hit the truck and caused the accident, not that the force of the impact caused the moto to spin from the front of the truck around to the opposite side and hit the door after throwing the passengers into the air–or so it would seem.

Despite witness testimony, despite testimony from my father-in-law, despite the injuries sustained by my in-laws all charges against the police officer were dropped and instead the charges were laid at my father-in-law’s feet for him to disprove. He awaits sentencing at the end of the month.

An appeal has been submitted to the district court in Celaya, but no court date has been set.

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