Travel Advisory, in NYC you cannot carry a pocket knife.
Today, I received a call from my defence lawyer in NYC. Oddly enough prior to September of this year I had never been to NYC, never needed a defence lawyer, or had been in any legal trouble. Well, juvenile records are sealed so that’s mostly accurate.
When I went to New York Ag-tech Week in September I had an afternoon to myself to check out the city for the first time. How do you even attempt to see NYC in an afternoon? I started at Times Square & intended to walk down to the 911 memorial. I was walking downtown taking photos for State of the Soil slides and see the sights of NYC I had always wondered about.
In between Chelsea and Wall St. a guy started hollering at me to stop. He was a big dude, baggy pants, an oversized red jersey, hair like Whoopie Goldberg, and horned rimmed glasses.
I ignored him, he kept hollering, panhandler right. Im thinking about my backpack with my computer and my camera. Wasn’t looking forward to fighting to keep these things. As he gained on me I knew something was fixing to go down. Eight and a half million people in NYC and this happens to be the two blocks no one is around except me and Too Tall Jones.
He spun me around against a wall, I pushed back and it was like trying to push the Statue of Liberty over. This cat was well fed. Then he bounced me off the wall again to the tune of I saw stars & little birds.
Then he pulled out his badge. Mind you this was the day after the September Chelsea Bombing. I get everyone was a bit sensitive. I asked to see his ID as the whole thing seemed sketch. In another life I did graduate Western New Mexico University with a Criminal Justice Degree. I also went through the Police Academy which made me realize I was a Libertarian & should choose a different career path.
He did pull out his ID, but it was so fast I couldn’t verify. I asked to see it again. He refused. I tried to leave. Wall time again. Then the other cops started showing up. Up to this point the entire heated event escalated in less than a minute.
I asked what the hell was going on. “you are carrying a weapon.”
“No, I’m not”
“You have a pocket knife”
My next mistake, while laughing, “that’s not a weapon.” I’m from Texas, it might have well been a pencil, my keys, or my phone. It is just something I always have. It was also tiny, I use it to help open the battery compartment on my camera.
Everything I knew about knives in NYC I learned from Crocodile Dundee. Now that WAS a knife.
“you can’t carry a knife in NYC”
“I’m a farmer, I use this thing 20 times a day not to kill people.” That statement was not greeted with any humor.
I was told I was lucky I was not arrested for pushing him.
I got a ticket, got my knife taken, and a headache.
I then called my lawyer at home. After looking into it, this ticket was good for a Class A misdemeanor. Which meant I could loose my concealed handgun license in Texas. I had to hire an attorney in NYC. It wasn’t cheap. $1200. Cash. Pretty much blew my week’s budget.
Yesterday, I got the call that after two months the case had been dismissed because of lack of evidence.
Why am I telling you all of this?
One, its kind of entertaining and part of the joys of traveling outside of your comfort zone.
Two, I was outside of my expertise. I didn’t look into what you could and couldn’t do. We all jump into things. We all get costly educations some time. Usually, it could always be worse.
Three, As much as I disagree with this sissifying of America, I don’t blame the Cop. Sure he could have assessed the situation better. I don’t exactly fit any racial or terrorist profiles. Times were tense in NYC that weekend in particular. This was an isolated incident in a broken system. I’m not letting it leave a bad taste in my mouth for law enforcement. I didn’t let it ruin my week. I had enough resources to secure my dismissal of the “crime”. And when I returned to the city three weeks later I didn’t get arrested or in any shakedowns. Life moves on & I’m still planting seeds, just a bit wiser.
As Denzel Washington said in Training Day, It’s not my town.
Here are some links to keep you out of trouble, and if you need legal help in NYC, looks like I have a contact for you there too.