Chicago 1981: I had been an ambulance chaser for a while and was already popular with most of the cops in 16th district. But this one incident will always stay etched on my mind because I was beaten for no reason. It worked out in the end because I got the car, but only thanks to a good friend. I can’t remember the cop’s name, and even if I did I wouldn’t tell you.
I didn’t always chase with a tow truck, I was usually in a car, but on this day I happened to be driving one. I was just cruising around, listening to a police scanner, when I came upon an accident. In fact, I saw it happen. It was on Montrose, between the Edens Expressway and the viaduct- a head-on collision.
Since I was right there and a witness, i jumped out of my truck and made sure everyone was OK. They were relatively unharmed, and the driver at fault (always my favorite to get, because then you can usually get the other car too) asked me to tow his car before I could even suggest it. Of course, I said yes, and waited for the cops to come and fill out their report.
I was standing there with the driver when the cop’s pulled up. Now, in most cases, I’d tell the cop I would “take care of him” if I got the car, but in this case I thought I’d try to get the car without talking to the cops- big mistake.
One of the cops motioned me to the side and said I couldn’t tow this car, that he already had a guy on the way. I said I knew this guy, and he already said I could. The cop insisted I leave the scene immediately, but I remained, and told him I knew my rights, as did the driver, and I was a witness as well. Again he insisted I leave before he arrested me for solicitation. I assured him I would “buy him lunch” but that just pissed him off.
The cop then grabbed by beeper off my belt and smashed me in the head with it a few times. I blocked most of his blows, and that just infuriated him even more. He slapped the cuffs on me and put me in the backseat. As I sat down, since I was handcuffed and couldn’t block, he smacked me a few more times with my now-broken beeper, then dropped in on the squad-car floor at my feet.
I sat there for a while, stunned at what just happened, and tried to figure out what I did wrong. Like I said, I knew most of the cops, but I didn’t know this clown.
Just then, a good friend, and fellow chaser showed up. Now this friend (who shall remain nameless) was a very well connected chaser who had been at it for a generation- in fact, he was the guy who took me under his wing early on and taught me the ropes when I first started.
I watched from the squad-car as he shook hands with the cop, and made casual conversation. It seemed like forever before I could get his attention. Finally, my good friend noticed me in the backseat of the cop-car. He said, “Hey, why do they have you in here?”
I answered, “This cop just beat the crap out of me because I wouldn’t leave- and I was a witness.”
My buddy told the cop I was “cool” and that he should let me go. The cop opened the door and took the cuffs off me, and apologized, saying he didn’t know.
I wound up towing both cars, paying the cop $100 ($50 each car), and made a new “friend” at 16th district.