Wednesday they got Mitch, for now. If you could see his mugshot you would know why I say for now.Update: Mitch says he has no problem with me posting the mugshot. It certainly lends new meaning to the name of his blog:
This one is great because we can see in his still eager eyes what happened, how he got so fired up over the repeated citations written by the same two officers (when the regular beat officer had no problem with Mitch) that he went off on them and... well, more below.
I have another mugshot or two on my other computer I cannot google up just now. I thought one was a follow-up shot and was going to say he looked much better, then realized it was from ten or more years earlier. Mitch is now, in his words, retired but he does have a history.
Ok, here they are:
|Good looking guy! I have to have Mitch walk me through these and find out what was going on. He looks pretty cool and collected in this one.|
|More detached here. Perhaps this was a first arrest and he was not sure of the drill.|
I have to give Mitch credit, though it only confirms what all his friends on the beach know: he is a special man, a rare one able to turn his life around and become a solid member of the community with friends up and down the beach. I wonder what would happen if his two special police officer buddies got to know him. Back to the original story:
Here is Mitch from a happier day.
Things had gotten a little rough along the strip, though mostly up by The Beach Place where a younger, dumber group of thug wannabes had taken to periodic brawling. That brought quite a crackdown. Even I got a sniff from the drug dog they paraded past The Wall one fine Saturday. They definitely had their sites set on Mitch, though he never did anything but keep the area clean, counsel the young ones in good directions, and chase from The Wall those who would not be counselled.
Here was my original take on what went down, which seems to have been mistaken:
Mitch's biggest sin was being the center of The Wall, a position he inherited when Jimmy got swept into rehab (and last I heard was doing well). Mitch was liked by everyone and formed a bridge between the young bloods that sometimes visited The Wall and the older, affluent, white males like myself who hung out there because it was just a great scene.Actually, it turns out two particular officers had been giving Mitch special attention and I suppose encouraged by the Beach Place incident engaged in a surge of citations and when Mitch finally gave them what for they went for an arrest for disturbing the peace. The arrest did not go smoothly, it seems, and now he is charged with third degree felony assault on a law enforcement officer.
Some nights I would stand at the bar at Spazio or on the balcony at the Elbo Room and look back across the street at The Wall and see what looked like a big cocktail party, albeit fueled more by Four Locos than mojitos, and at the center of it was Mitch. Take Mitch out of the scene and -- things changed. The Wall was no longer a good place to be. Not so much because of his occasional policing, more because of the moral anchor he provided.
So why was it a sin? The Wall was great, but remember the view from Spazio? Spazio is a great upscale restaurant with an open front that makes it feel like you are sitting on the beach, and Mitch and the Wall were smack in the middle of the view. It had to kill the gang at Spazio to see that night after nght after night.
They even saw me, a regular, mingling with the crowd and adding to the problem. No one ever said a word to me about it, partly because they are classy, partly because they know I am odd.
This much is true, and I will be giving a disposition to this effect:
Anyway, they finally got Mitch. I was there with Mitch a few days before his bust and saw not one but three units roll up on us. After a few minutes Mitch must have sensed something because he suddenly jumped on his bike mumbling something I did not pick up and took off.
I went ahead with a short skate I had planned down to the picnic area and back. On my way back I saw Mitch surrounded by the three units who had apparently given chase and finally cornered him across from the Oasis. Three patrol cars for one homeless guy on a bike. Mitch was pretty fired up and had his finger in one cop's face so I kept on rolling, thinking this was not a good time for me to do my usual affluent white guy moral support.
Later on I ran into Mitch back on The Wall and learned they gave him a ticket for bicycling through a crosswalk in the wrong direction. He was actually just crossing the street and at the same time tacking towards the picnic area, so this was pure harassment.
The harassment worked, I guess. For days Mitch could not let go of it. All he wanted to talk about was the cops and their BS. Then last night I ran into a wall alumni who filled me in on what he knew but conceded it was hearsay. Google confirms the details, though: another BS harassment (disturbing the peace? Mitch? riiiiight) leading to Mitch getting into it with the cops and ending up with an interesting combination of resisting arrest without violence and assault on a public servant.His trial is January 17, 2014. I went to jail today to see if he wanted me to bond him out (just $5500) but he is doing OK in jail and does not want to make things worse with further confrontations with his two officer friends so he will stay put.
Apparently three others besides myself are offering depositions and Mitch is directing his public defender to the history of dozens of citations, all from the same two officers. Apparently also to his credit is the fact that he has not had any other trouble in the five-six years since his last incarceration. I have learned what that is but not from Mitch so I will check with him before sharing. Actually, I have not even let him know I know.
Back to the original tale:
I am headed down there tonight to see who is around, but last night there simply was no Wall. They got Mitch and apparently sent other messages to those who would loiter there. When I went to my usual spot to take off my skates I had to squeeze in between several parties of tourists, which is right and good for tourism and my friends at Spazio, but The Wall was great.
Tonight I am wearing the necklace Mitch made for me and I'll bring along the last one he gave me for a girl and give it to the nicest girl I can find.
Mitch will be missed, for now.Stay tuned.