Ever spent time in the St. Joseph County (IN) jail? I have!

So, when I was an r.a. in my beloved Fisher Hall, I ended up in jail, in the spring of 2006. It was pretty surreal. I earned some pretty solid street credit with the residents. They fed breakfast to me and took my mug shot (a copy of which I should love to own)! Allegedly, people still, on occasion, tell this story, in Nieuwland Science Hall, if not in Fisher. For your enjoyment, then, I present part of the personal statement that I submitted, leaving it as is, including a hilarious typo/parapraxis. God bless the South Bend Police Department. For the record, Deputy Prosecutor Courtney O’Malley dropped the charge against me, resisting arrest (The disorderly conduct charge, it seems, didn’t stick.), thereby becoming my heroine for ever.

Important Update: So, apparently things have taken a rather troubling turn at ND, with NDSP — and the ever-fantastic SBPD — dedicating too much time to pretty trivial matters. Of course, I haven’t experienced any of it, of course, so I can’t speak to such matters, but it worries me. I want, however, to clarify something. The post hereunder is not a condemnation of anyone in authority at Notre Dame, whatever his guilt may be respecting more recent developments, to which, again, I cannot speak. Jeff Shoup and especially Bill Kirk dealt with me kindly, with an understanding ear, and extremely fairly, and I’m particularly grateful to Mr. Kirk, who, in my few experiences, has proven himself to be a rather amiable fellow, regardless of some complaints that I heard whilst studying under the watchful eye of Our Mother. I was, quite clearly, not pleased with how NDSP handled the matter, but bear not grudge. Read the following, then, as an indictment of the South Bend Police, wherewith I should prefer to have no truck.

Enjoy! (And, yes, I tagged this in Humor. Boo-yah.)

***

Nathan P. Origer – ORLH Disciplinary Conference Personal Statement


Part I:  A factual summary of the incident.


I am incredibly grateful to have the chance to write this, particularly in light of the glaring inaccuracies in the report read to me at my conference.  This report, a composite of two or more submitted to ORLH, was, in fact, so riddled with errors that I have no choice but to charge that one or all (I do not know how many people in fact submitted reports, but I would guess two — one from the SBPD, and one from NDSP) of those who wrote these reports intentionally falsified them in order to justify inexcusable behavior and to cast the shadow of guilt on me, and not on those who failed in their positions.

On Friday/Saturday, March 24/25, I was on duty as an RA in Fisher Hall with [Name redacted]; assistant rector [Name redacted] was on as head staff for the night. Having finished our last round at 3:00 a.m., Jordan and I retired to our respective rooms.  I changed in to my pajamas and began to unwind when I heard sirens.  I looked out my window and saw what I believed to be an NDFD ambulance driving down the lane behind Fisher Hall.  (I never saw this ambulance outside, so I may have been mistaken, although it simply may have been parked where I could not see it.)  Afraid that perhaps some Fisherman had consumed too much alcohol and was in need of medical attention, and that for some reason those who called for medical help for him failed to alert the hall staff on duty, I grabbed the duty key ring and ran to the Fisher dock door.  I looked out and saw that the situation was at Reckers or somewhere even farther east.  Curious about the matter, I returned to my room, where I put a gray hooded sweatshirt over my t-shit and changed from sweatpants in to jeans.  I grabbed my wallet and my cellphone, and left my room.

I exited through the dock door and began walking toward the west side of SDH, where I saw a female NDSP officer whom I recognized but whom I do not know by name.  She explained that there was a fire at Reckers, and asked me to step away.  I complied.  I then noticed a girl lurking suspiciously near the south entrance to Fisher.  I walked toward her and took a seat on the bench by the back door.  Realizing that something was afoot, the girl began walking away.  I allowed her to walk a sufficient distance toward the northeast, across lot A10, and then jogged back to the dock door.  I stood in the elevator lobby and watched through the window in the dock door; she returned to the south entrance. 

I then jogged down the B-wing hallway and met her at the south entrance.  I opened the door and suggested that perhaps she should return to her dorm.  She turned her back toward me and waved her hand in a way that indicated her disdain toward my presence and my involving myself in the situation.  She walked away, again toward the northeast.

A few moments later, I returned to the aforementioned NDSP officer and asked if she had seen the girl; she told me that she had last seen her near the south entrance of Fisher.  I explained the situation to her, and then walked toward the northeast, so that I could view South Quad.  I saw the girl walking toward another region of campus (God, North, or Mod Quad), and returned to report this to the NDSP officer.  At that point she realized that I am a hall staff member, and asked that I remain outside to help to control the crowd.  She had called Fr. Rob Moss’s room, but received no answer.  I agreed to remain (although I saw no reason for control — at least not in the Fisher area, where no more than a dozen people had at the time congregated).  (No more than thirty people, I would estimate, congregated in the Fisher/SDH/A10 area at any time.  Furthermore, I find it absolutely unbelievable that, as was mentioned by you, Mr. Shoup, either from your own estimate, or from the incident report, 2,000 students — an entire one-fourth of our undergraduate population — had congregated in the area during the fire.)

I took a position near the south entrance of Fisher, where a few residents were standing.  I asked them to step back a bit, and they complied.  I then encountered [Name redacted] and two other individuals (I believe [Names redacted]), all three law students ([Name redacted] also an AR in Keenan Hall) who had just left the room of [my AR].  [Name redacted] began to relate to me how Officer Bonnie (I apologize; I’ve only known her by this name, and never by her last name, which to this day I still do not know), unaware that he is an AR, asked why the gentlemen were approaching a car that has an AR parking sticker on the windshield.  [Name redacted] informed her that he is an AR in Keenan, and that it is his car.  She then told them that they could not leave because of the situation at hand, and asked them to step away from the vehicle.  Not long after I had this initial conversation with the gentlemen, [my AR], having been called upon to aid in crowd control, appeared on the scene.

Officer Bonnie returned to [Name redacted], and they began arguing over the situation.  At one point I tried to step in and remind Officer Bonnie that [Name redacted] is an AR, and that perhaps they both could take a more relaxed tone in the very heated conversation, which I felt did not seem to be an appropriate discourse, on either individual’s part, for two members of the same team, so to speak, to be having.  She paid no attention to my comment, so I stepped back and allowed them to continue.  She demanded to see his student i.d. and he refused.  He turned to walk away; Officer Bonnie grabbed his arm and again demanded that he hand the card over.  He did, and then she began to walk away, northeast across A10.  

At this point, after the situation had come to an end, Officer (Cpl., I believe; but I am not positive) Chamberlain of the SBPD, who prior to this point had either been sitting in or standing next to his car, which he had parked a bit south-by-southeast of where we stood, charged over toward Richard, his flashlight shining in Richard’s face.  He began yelling loudly and angrily, uttering profanities (including the word “f**k”), and he called Richard an a**hole.  He made some vague threat of arresting “you all”, which I could not comprehend because at the time only Richard, and no one else, had in anyway had any sort of altercation with Officer Bonnie or any other representative of NDSP.

I was standing, at this time, at least five feet away from Chamberlain.  Between us were both [ARs].  I addressed Chamberlain in a loud, but reasonable tone, stating that I believed that his language was not the appropriate language to use in dealing with a representative employee of the University who, even if at first he had failed to comply with Officer Bonnie, in the end did as he was told.  (Perhaps if any communication had occurred between Bonnie and Chamberlain, the SBPD officer, now himself a contracted agent of the University, would have known that [Name redacted] is an AR, and might have handled things more appropriately, although, based on Chamberlain’s attitude and actions throughout the course of the event, I have my doubts.)  He responded to the effect of, “I can talk however the f**k I want!  I’m not a Notre Dame cop; I’m a South Bend cop!”  He did not, contrary to the report read at my conference, tell me that he would arrest me if I continued to speak.  I retorted with something to the effect of, “Well, I don’t think that your language is appropriate for a representative of the law.  So maybe you should get in your car and go back to South Bend.”  The only part of my statement that might have at all been out of line, I believe, is telling him to go back to South Bend.  Even saying that, in light of his own words (which seem to indicate a rejection of his being a contracted agent of Notre Dame, with the jurisdictional authority on the part of Notre Dame that comes with this status), I do not think was wholly inappropriate.  Having finished addressing Chamberlain, I took a step back, and this is when all hell broke loose.

As I said, we were about five feet apart at the time, perhaps even a bit more.  At this point Chamberlain charged after me; however, perhaps “bull-rushed” is a better word than “charged”.  He did not, as the report claims, tell me to put my hands behind my back because he was arresting me.  He simply attacked me.  At this point, my arms were already wrapped across my chest. I did not, as the report indicates, cross them in order to evade Chamberlain’s attempts to arrest me.  In no way, as the report and my criminal charge suggest, did I attempt to “resist arrest”.  I was never made aware of my being placed under arrest, and the only attempts that I made were in the name of my physical well-being.  Chamberlain is a large man, and he was basically tackling me, tackling me as I stood on concrete.  He knocked me off of my balance, and I had no desire to be tackled on the sidewalk, let alone to be tackled at all.  He then tightened his grip around me (and as a result ripped by sweatshirt at the neck), moved me to the grass, took me to the ground (all of his weight coming down with me), dug his knee into my back, and then, and only then, put my hands behind my back and cuffed me.  I had in no way posed any sort of physical threat, nor had I made any indication that I would be leaving the scene.  Nor did I ever intentionally evade any official act on Chamberlain’s part that he made known.  Yet he physically assaulted with me with no justification.  

When Chamberlain first charged toward me, [my AR] attempted to stop him, but quickly backed away, before he too found himself injured and/or in custody.  By this time, Bonnie had returned to the scene.  (As far as I know, she had never actually walked too far away.)  [My AR] addressed her, saying something to the effect of, “Bonnie, this is bulls**t, and you know it.  You need to do something.”  Bonnie replied that she could do nothing — not even tell Chamberlain that she thought that his actions were excessive — and did nothing.

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3 Responses

  1. Ahhh, what a story to tell your great great grandchildren 🙂

  2. […] sure as hell don’t blame my parents for my arrest. Hell, my dad’s virtually made a career of trying to instill in me respect for the virtue of […]

  3. […] Nathan Origer’s gripping account of his NDSP-sponsored night in the St. Joseph County jail is here, and here is a sample of the sort of thing that concerned students, parents, and alumni can do to […]

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