January 11, 2010
*text and photo from MKE Bike Polo
During a game of Sunday pick up 1o members and 1 spectator of the mke bike polo club were arrested and charged with trespassing at the O’Donnell parking structure in downtown MKE. Here’s a first hand in counter.
A black crystler rolled up 3 deep with undercover sheriffs. The sheriffs sprung out of the car instantly “every one come here and against the wall!” They count us out 11. Cop says “I thought there were 12″ Lodi had snuck out 5 mins before the bust. They tell us all that we are under arrest and will be receiving trespassing tickets $263 each. We tryed to talk our way out of it and that edabout 30 seconds. One by one we give our info and receive a ticket. We are then explained by one of the officers that we are being detained and no is under arrest his exact words are “if you are asked by a cop or employer have you ever been arrested say no.” We all got zipped tied it was explained to us that we will be going downtown to be processed and released and that it shouldn’t take too long “it’s just like a speeding ticket” they kept insuring us, except when you get a speeding ticket you don’t go to jail right?
We asked about our bikes and the old woman who was calling the shots told us that they will be taken to the Wauwatosa sub-station and we can pick them up tomorrow. For all of us our bikes are our main source of transportation and Wauwatosa is suburb of Milwaukee and is miles out from the core of the city were we all live. We pleaded with them to let us lock our bikes to a rack, no dice.
They proceed 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. They kept saying “damn I thought this would be much easier!” and complained how they couldn’t be listening to the Packer game in there warm car. We finally get our bags together and they start grabbing our bikes. We “say 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 we all get a nice sticker or new spoke card identifying our bikes. They throw all of our bikes in a big bus.
Then we follow in the bus which is like a freezer at this point keep in mind its 10 degrees outside. We sit in the bus for 15 mins before moving and then we are off to the county court house. “Oh wow she didn’t turn on the heat for you guys!” The cop says as he opens the door. He rolls his eyes and helps out of the bus. We are then handcuffed to a bench and one by one they do a quick run through of our bags throwing out any food and looking for weapons. Then off to the next room, another bench with cuffs.
We sit in this room amongst true criminals. Shoulder to shoulder with thieves, drug addicts, and prostitutes. Some of us up to 8 hours, without knowing what the next step is. I was the lucky one who got called first. They took me into a room searched my bag had me sign a form of the content of my bag, and 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 and wait and wait.
They call you up for a few questions, what was the highest grade in school you achieved, missing any teeth, job, tattoos, you name it. Next its picture time. Then on to prints. Then back to the bench. Finally Brian made it through, I think to myself I have someone to talk to. There is a Shift change, 1 hour of sheriffs standing around shooting the shit. Then one player at time we watch every one get searched and make it into our room. Since our bags were so big it took some people up to 40 minutes to complete the search.
We asked numerous people what’s next for us some say “that’s not my job” or ” you’re going up stairs to a cell”. All the officers figured out that we were there for bike polo and laughed they said something along the lines of “I can’t believe that the sheriffs would waste every ones time with a book and release for a simple citation”. After a few hours they stop laughing and are pissed that we are still coming through while the line is being backed up with real criminals.
Hours and hours go by and at 2:30am. I was released. I was arrested at 5:30pm. I was lucky to be the first released some didn’t make it out until 4am. In the end they arrested 4 college students, 4 college graduates an Artist, 2 bicycle mechanics and new player to find absolutely nothing. No drugs no warrants, not a damn thing. They wasted our time and the city’s over a simple game that we are passionate about, bike polo.
We will be taking this to court in February and are currently taking any legal advice or help. I think the true next step after we settle the tickets is getting a city sanctioned polo court. What are your thoughts?