by Brandon Summers | July 21, 2018
(Originally posted on mathdropout.com)
July 14, 2013 — The ride from the Las Vegas Strip to the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC) was quick. CCDC is in the downtown area, just footsteps away from The Fremont Street Experience. Once I was taken to processing, that would be the last time I’d ever see Officer Smith #9643. The handcuffs were taken off, and I sat on a bench until my name was called for fingerprints and a mugshot. I had to take off my shoes and put on slippers, but I didn’t have to don a jumpsuit. Next, I was moved to a holding cell. The entire process seemed surreal, but it started to sink in that I had been arrested.
The holding cell was crowded. There were probably 15 people in this confined space. There were floating benches on either side of the narrow rectangular room as well as two free pay phones. It seemed like someone was always using one. The cell was mostly silent aside from the sporadic phone calls and the toilet flushing. Everyone’s mood was somber, resigned, and anxious. Nobody wanted to be there. Everybody wanted out— it was a Saturday night. Most of the individuals in the cell seemed to be there for a victimless crime— an unpaid traffic ticket, public intoxication, etc. I didn’t get the vibe that I was surrounded by hardened criminals, and thankfully nobody stunk.
Now that I was settled, I had to make that dreaded 2 a.m. phone call. My dad answered the phone.
“Are you okay?” my dad asked as he was clearly woken up.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I got arrested on a bench warrant. What do I do now?” I said calmly.
“I gotta bail you out. Call your mother in an hour while I work on this.” my dad replied.
My dad is lawyer. He knows what to do, so I’m reassured that things will be fine (and I’m glad he’s not pissed). But in the meantime, I’m just stuck in cell with a bunch of strangers that I have no intention of talking to or befriending. The adrenaline begins to wear off and it becomes apparent that the cell is cold— like really cold. The previous occupants stuck toilet paper in the ceiling vent to restrict the airflow. Everybody was pinned to a wall and curled into the fetal position to conserve body heat. The lucky ones had secured a roll of toilet paper as a makeshift pillow. I found a spot in one corner of the room, curled into a ball, and pretended to sleep. But it was impossible to sleep. I was on a cement floor, the lights were always on, and it was probably 65 degrees in that room. It was dull and miserable. I’m just glad that I didn’t have to take a shit.
In addition to the cold, it became apparent that there was no clock. There was no way to tell time. Some of the people in the cell would call a friend just to ask the time. And since there was no natural sunlight and the lights were always on, I became disoriented pretty quickly. I couldn’t discern between 15 minutes or an hour. What little “sleep” I got was interrupted by a phone call or the toilet flushing; and there was an annoying guy in his late twenties who kept whining about being locked up for 2-3 days. He was in search of a captive audience, but everyone was doing their best to ignore him. Occasionally the cell door would open. It was either to let someone out on bail or to serve a meal. I was hoping that my name would be called soon since my dad was on top of this situation. That wasn’t the case.
Unfortunately, it takes time to process “inmates”. That process means that no one is getting out any sooner than 12 hours. Even though my dad was in contact with the bail bondsmen as soon as I called him, I didn’t appear in the system. The bondsmen situation was eventually worked out and I was told I would be out in a few hours. It was just a waiting game now. In the meantime, I was just doing my best to pretend to sleep and ignore the guy who wouldn’t stop talking. I believe I received two meals while I was in holding. The portions were small and I gave my milk away since I’m lactose intolerant. Eventually the cell door opened and my name was called. I pretended not to be excited, but my entire body wanted to race out the door. I was going home.
Of course it wouldn’t be that simple. I was taken to a different concrete room with one occupant, and I had to wait some more. I think 45 minutes passed before the door opened and an officer called my name. I signed some paperwork before being handed my possessions and the $190 I earned the night before. The only thing I wasn’t given back was my tip bucket. I guess it was mistaken for junk. When the final door opened, the sunlight was hot and blaring. I escaped the freezer just to be be put into an oven. I checked my phone and it was noon on Sunday, July 14. I was free at last.
I called my dad to let him know I was out and he said he was on his way. We had to make one more stop. The bail bondsmen. When we got there, we were greeted by Byron Cadoc was a nice guy— a proud military veteran in his forties. Everything was sorted out in a few minutes. I had to sign some paperwork to consent to the cost of the bond and acknowledge that I would show up in court on Monday. My bail was set at $3,000— $1,000 for the initial charge, $1,000 for the warrant, and $1,000 for the bogus charge officer Smith #9643 threw on in retaliation for filming our encounter. My dad paid Byron $450 and we were on our way. I’m just glad that he and my mom were not upset with me. They were concerned more than anything else. I was just ready to take a shower. Sleeping on a concrete floor for twelve hours is an overrated experience.