I had court today. So let’s start by answering the question burning in your brain due to the previous statement.
I received a ticket for having a burned out headlamp. Yes, one of my headlights was out.
It was a Monday evening, January 28, 2019 to be exact. It was prior to my recent move back into the city. After work, and likely after jiu jitsu training due to the time, I took the Metra to the Vermont Street train station in Blue Island, IL.
I remember it perfectly. I was on the phone with a friend of mine, when I made a left out of the train station parking lot, approaching an intersection about 40 yards away. As I approached a red light at the intersection, a police cruiser made a left turn from the cross street. He busted the U-turn so fast, he had to make a 3-point turn to situate himself behind me.
I told my friend I would have to call her back because I was about to be pulled over.
As an adult black male, getting pulled over absolutely terrifies me.
I’ve never been arrested. Never been in jail, never been in a police cruiser or handcuffs….and yet, the absolute anxiety that falls over me when a police car is even traveling behind me is hard to describe. And yes, I have all of my tags, registration, and insurance. I make sure I have all those things, so that when I do get pulled over (it always feels like an inevitability, particularly when I travel outside the city), I at least know that I’m following the letter of the law to the best of my ability.
I recognized that the headlight was out the moment I started the car, because of the reflection on the snowdrift in front of my car…or lack thereof. But the driver side headlight was shining. It was 10:30pm on a Monday night.
I even commented to my friend that I would get through Blue Island as quick as possible, so I wouldn’t get pulled over.
And as the light turned green, and we crossed through the intersection, the flashing blue lights immediately came on. I was pulled over at 10:35pm to be exact.
And once I received my ticket, the officer told me, “If you show up to court with proof that you’ve had the headlight replaced, the judge will toss out the ticket.”
And surely, that is exactly what happened. Actually, after waiting for 2 hours in the courtroom, my case took 7 simple sentences.
Judge: “Are you Dion McGill?”
Me: “Yes your honor”
Judge: “Did you get the headlight fixed?”
Me: “Yes your honor”
State’s Attorney: “Mr McGill has no other offenses on his record
Judge: “Dismissed. You’re free to go.”
Me: “Thank you your honor.”
I would complain about cost and taxpayers money, but none of it was spent on me. The whole exchange took no more than 45 seconds.
What was ridiculous about this whole day is that I had to take off work to go to court. I now live in the city, Woodlawn to be exact. I had to drive out to Markham Courthouse on a Monday morning, spending time, and gas money for something so trivial. I’m lucky that my work offers PTO, which was way easier to utilize than trying to get to work after these shenanigans.
But what about people who don’t have PTO? What if I didn’t have a job where I could easily take off, or were paying for child care, or a whole litany of issues that many people in this city and surrounding areas face…everyday, and to add more burden on their shoulders…for a headlight.
I was hoping that the officer would be in the courtroom today, so I could look him in the face and shake my head as I walked out. While going into a courtroom also gives me an amazing amount of anxiety, I knew he was bogus as hell for ticking the little box on the ticket that said “Must appear in court” and I wanted him to know despite his chicanery, I’m gonna be alright.
On a bright note, everyone at the courthouse was very pleasant and professional. The judge was even very pleasant in all the cases that I watched before mine, and was very personable, encouraging and reassuring, which isn’t always the case, as I’ve heard so many times before. Thank you Judge Chimera for being a professional.
Is going to court as much a drag for you as it is for me? Let me know down below in the comments section!!
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This post was created on a HP Pavilion x360.
I hate this computer.