An original short story
by Edward Fagan
Earl drives the truck to the junction and stops. The road which runs adjacent to the one on which his truck is located is busy with traffic. He is forced to patiently await the clearing of traffic on this road. Earl does not know an arrest awaits him following these few moments he spends at this junction.
His three passengers and fellow workers, two male and one female and himself talk and laugh until the road clears.
The road finally clears and Earl exits from his stationary position while turning right onto the adjacent road. A female shouts something and flares her right hand in an angry manner from a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. Her statement and hand gestures are intended at Earl and seem to suggest she thinks he failed to stop at the junction.
Earl slows to a stop, “I stopped at the junction Mam.” She stops and disagrees, “No, you drove straight through onto this road.” Earl repeats his position a few times in response to her accusing him several times of not stopping at the junction.
She leaves her vehicle and walks to Earl’s and shows a police badge. “Switch off the engine and come out of the vehicle.”, she orders. Earl complies. “I’m Police Constable Lia Connell.”, she says, in a stern and somewhat angry tone. She’s young, perhaps in her mid to late twenties, and perfectly beautiful.
“You failed to stop at the junction and that’s an offence.”, she says while violently poking her finger in Earl’s face and toward his eyes. Earl disagrees, “I stopped at the junction and exited after the road cleared.” He then turns to her female passenger, “Do you see how dangerously close to my eyes your fellow officer is poking her finger?” “She’s not touching your eyes though.”, the other officer responds.
Constable Lia Connell opens a book and looks at Earl in an angry manner, “What’s your name?” “Earl Farley”, Earl answers calmly. She writes it in the book. “You failed to stop at the junction, why are you denying it?” Earl is surprised and upset at her behaviour. Why is she so determined to get a confession of guilt from him? he wonders. She even forgets, or otherwise refuses, to take his address.
“I stopped at the junction before driving onto this road.”, Earl insists. “OK fine! Handcuff him!”, she says angrily to one of her two male passengers. Earl is handcuffed and placed in the unmarked police vehicle. He sits in the rear between the two male passengers. It is 03: 00 p.m.
Earl is speedily driven off to the police station with the vehicle’s siren blaring and its beacon flashing. Earl sits with handcuffed hands in lap. There is silence in the vehicle. The phone in Earl’s top pocket rings and attempting to answer it, he takes it out and presses the answer button. “Don’t let him answer that phone!”, Constable Connell angrily states. Earl does not expect what happens next.
Simultaneously, the outer hands of both male passengers grab Earl’s throat and start to choke him very tightly; while their inside hands tightly grab his handcuffed hands and start to take away the phone. He’s in intense pain and unable to speak. They also completely restrict all of his body movement by very forcefully pressing inward toward him. He is prevented from speaking to his boss on the phone.
At the police station Earl is taken to an interrogation room by the two men who choked him. Earl is shocked and sickened by the choking. He feels forced to seek an explanation for his having been choked by these men. “Why did you choke me?” he asked. “We can do you anything without having to answer any questions you ask us.”, answers John Bailey, who seems the more wicked and conceited of the two men.
A Sergeant who is attached to the station is given Earl’s full name by Constable Lia Connell.”Earl Farley”, he calls, “I’m Sergeant Alvin Springfield and I wish to take a statement from you or have you answer some questions.” “I prefer not to give a statement or answer any questions, and to exercise my right to remain silent.”, Earl politely says. “Well, if that’s your position, I have to accept it.”, The Sergeant says. He slowly closes his notepad, gets up and leaves the room.
Earl is placed in a holding cell. Hours later (well into the night) he is charged with failing to stop at the junction, refusing to give his name and refusing to give his address to Constable Lia Connell. He is then given a date for the first court-hearing of these charges, and released on bail.
The following day Earl is forced to seek examination by a leading ear, nose and throat specialist which reveals throat and neck injury caused by his having been choked by the police.
Hearing of the case continues for several months. Earl represents himself and is glad for the opportunity this gives him to question the police concerning the incident.
During one of the hearings, Earl questions Constable Lia Connell, “Constable Connell, did you enter the main road from the junction above the one from which I entered it?” “Yes I did.”, she replies. “Are you aware that there is an outward bend in the stretch of road which lies between the two junctions?” “I do not remember it.” she says. “Are you aware that this outward bend completely blocks the view of vehicles exiting both junctions from each other?” She hesitates, then slowly answers, “No, I’m not very familiar with the roads in this area.”
At this point Magistrate Robin Simpson makes a comment, “If I may say something here,” he says, “I know this road very well, having grown up in the area. Motorists at one junction simply can not see vehicles at the other junction. It is therefore impossible for someone at one junction to know, by seeing, what someone at the other junction does.”
Earl continues his questioning, “Where was my vehicle when you first saw it?” “Your vehicle was on the main road.”, she answers. “Did you see my vehicle at or driving toward the junction, at any time?” “No, I did not.”, she replies. “I have no further questions to ask, your honour.”, Earl declares.
During this same hearing, Earl’s three passengers who are called by him as his witnesses confirm his claim that he gave his name when asked to do so. They also confirm that he was never asked to give his address. They were consistent in their answers to questions from both Earl and the prosecution.
At this point during the hearing of the case, Magistrate Robin Simpson asks the prosecution if they have any further questions for any member of the defence. “No your honour, the prosecution does not have any further questions for the defence.”, answers a member of the prosecution team. The case is adjourned for a week.
A week later, hearing of the case resumes. The prosecution give a brief summary of their position in the case and Earl does the same. Finally, Magistrate Robin Simpson states his position in the case., “Why is Mr. Farley accused of not stopping at the juncture? Why is he accused of not giving his name and address? Why was he arrested and placed in a cell at the station? He certainly did not commit any arrestable offences.”
He pauses for a moment as he arranges some papers on his desk, “There is no justification for the three charges brought against Mr. Farley. I am convinced that Mr. Farley is not guilty of having committed any of the three offences of which he is charged before this court.” He turns his head in Earl’s direction, looks at Earl and says, rather calmly, “You are therefore free to go Mr. Farley.”
By Edward Fagan