Being in the Wrong Place

a picture of a dc bus

Mr.TinDC on Flickr.com

On Dec 31, 2012, my husband and I were sitting, waiting for the bus after leaving a friend’s house, where we had eaten New Year’s dinner. We had been sitting at the bus stop on 13th and Pennsylvania Ave SE for a few minutes when suddenly we were surrounded by police cars. I thought something might have happened inside the Chinese restaurant, because they stopped right in front of it. Then our bus, the 32 going toward Friend- ship Heights, pulled up to the stop. I proceeded to get on the bus.

When I looked back to see if my husband was boarding the bus, I saw a bunch of police officers
surrounding him. So, I got off the bus to see what they were asking my husband. Next thing I knew,
two female police officers, a blonde with blue eyes, and her partner who was much smaller and of
Indian or Spanish de- scent, started searching me. They looked through my pockets and told me to
raise my arms while they searched me. Then they asked for my name and I told them I was Mrs.
Basnight. Then they wanted to see my ID, which I couldn’t find inside my purse because I was very
upset about be- ing searched by the two female officers.

The police arrested my husband. The police report claimed that he threw me in front of a bus, but
the bus didn’t hit me and the police responded within minutes of receiving a phone call reporting
us.

Apparently a 13-year-old girl had called the police to report that my husband hit me and supposedly threw me in front of a bus. But if that were true, how on earth could I have remained calm within minutes of the police officers arriving? And then, if I was supposed to be an assault victim, why had they searched me as if I were a criminal? No ambulances came to the scene of this supposed crime. None of the officers told me to go to the police station and no one took any photos of my injuries from this alleged assault. The story just had so many holes in it I was completely baffled. Four days later, we both went to court and the judge saw that I had not been assaulted by anyone, and no witnesses came to the
hearing to back up those allegations. I told the judge and the prosecutors that my husband didn’t do any of those things to me. The prosecutor dug up an old conviction for a crime my husband committed when he was 19 years old. My husband had served his time for the offense a long time ago.

But the judge looked at that case and said, “you’re capable of assaulting your wife!

Anyone is capable of doing anything in life, but that doesn’t mean that they are going to do it! Especially trying to murder your own wife in full public view and in front of a bus driver! Even though the police arrived before the bus did! If my husband tried to throw me in front of a bus, why didn’t the bus stop and wait for the police? Because this whole story was fabricated by a 13-year-old child. The male police officer who was also supposed to be a witness against my husband couldn’t even pick me out in the courtroom, be- cause he never spoke to me that night!

Despite all of this, my husband ended up serving 60 days in jail and paying a $50.So, I need a lawyer, and I don’t want a public defender. I need a lawyer that I can pay out of pocket. I believe Judge Stephen F. Eilperin and the prosecutor violated my husband’s constitutional rights by using a 30-year-old case that has already been closed to make a ruling on another case. To say that my husband is “capable of assaulting me” is absurd. I am a 57-year-old woman who is sane and of sound mind. Why would I suddenly get involved with a man that is abusive to me? I have never been involved in an abusive relationship with anyone! When I was living in the shelter, I didn’t allow staff to talk to me in an abusive manner. I left and slept on benches and in tents. So, why would I do it now? I am not that desperate to have a man in my life after not having a man for several years. I know that domestic violence is a very serious issue. But that’s not what happened in this case.


Issues |Civil Rights|Incarceration|Political commentary


Region |Washington DC

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