Locked Up... Part 1
September 11, 2007… the day I can say I went from being popular to WELL KNOWN! SMH! From the US and abroad... this story spread like wildfire. There were so many versions of the story... each more outrageous than the other. I never publicly addressed what happened or told my side… until now.
The sun was at the very edge of the dawn sky as the sound of an alarm clock slowly wakes me out of my sleep. As my ex-boyfriend sat on the edge of the bed, about to get ready for work, I remember saying to myself, if you leave now, you can go home and lay back down for another hour. As I laid there… half awake, half asleep… I heard banging. As banging turned into loud foot steps, I began to hear “SHERIFF SEARCH WARRANT!” Sheriff? No... this had to be a dream… I was in my underwear for God’s sake. As the lights began to flash in the room with guns drawn, I immediately remembered that voice in my head the night before telling me to go home... a voice I would live to regret ignoring!
I went over with the intention of helping my ex with his math homework. Yes, his MATH HOMEWORK! He was in school for his certification and had an assignment due the next day. I went over the night before and ended up falling asleep. Something told me that night GO HOME but I paid the voice no mind. As I was instructed to lay face down with my hands behind my head, it no longer felt like a dream... it became real!!
Everyone in the house was taken into the living room where we were questioned as a group. The arresting officer (a female) had only planned on arresting two people; my ex, because the house was in his name, and the young lady who was in proximity to what was found in the house. I’m like ok Ida… you’ll be late to work but at least you’re going home! (You’ll see me think this a lot as this story unfolds...)
They were ready to go. They took my ex and the other individual outside where they were placed in the back of a paddy wagon. Those of us who were being left behind were just waiting to be uncuffed! That was... until they decided to do one more sweep and discovered more evidence in the living room... the same living room where we all just proclaimed our innocence. Suddenly, everyone was going to jail... EVERYONE!!!
As I climbed in the back of the paddy wagon, I felt confident once I explained to the detectives I didn’t live there… I was just visiting… they would let me go! I was WRONG!!! They didn’t!!! Instead they threatened me with 25 years behind bars unless I told them who the evidence belonged to. They specifically wanted me to pin it on my ex. I HONESTLY knew nothing. My ex got up every morning and went to work. That’s what I knew... and that's what I told them no matter how many times they tried to ask the same question in different ways. After realizing it was useless, I was taken to my cell to wait to be transported to jail.
As I sat there trying to convince myself… the commissioner will let you go… I heard the arresting officer's voice. As she got closer, I realize she was talking to my ex. Suddenly, she walks in front of my cell saying, “I gave your man an opportunity to let you go by taking the blame but he refused. But that’s YOUR man!!” and slams the cell shut on my ex. But in that moment... I didn’t care. I didn’t want him accepting responsibility for what I assumed he had nothing to do with. I watched too much crime television to fall for that trick lady. Nice try!!!
We were eventually transported to Upper Marlboro and as soon as we’re brought in to be processed, we spot a well-known dancehall person who had already processed and was waiting to be taken to a cell. Once we locked eyes I knew in moment what happened to us would no longer be a secret. Boy was I right!
As we’re being processed, I kept reassuring myself “the commissioner is going to let you go Ida!” At this point it was late evening and I was still in my pajamas. Suddenly... they started calling us back one by one. My heart started to race as one by one they would all return with large bond amounts. "Stay calm Ida... you'll be out of here soon Ida! Remember everything we rehearsed Ida!"
Finally, it was my turn. Instantly I had to use the bathroom. As if my life depended on it, I sat infront of the commissioner explaining my story. I laid it all out just as planned... I explained how I didn’t live there, how I was just visiting, I work, I have a son at home, and I have no criminal record. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time!! Not once did she look at me. As my speech ended, I just sat there looking at her obviously died jet black hair and her dark skinned features. Her eyes were fixated on the paper, reading my laundry list of charges over her thick rimmed glasses. I wonder how she became a commissioner... and would she take pity on me as a female. As I sat wondering did I get through to her, all I could hear in the room was the sound of my heart bounding. Suddenly... she grabbed her pen and as I saw her write “$350,00” a sense of relief came over me. I would only need 10%, which is $3,500. I had already spoken to Joyce who already knew where I was and was just waiting to hear about my bond. *Whew*
And then… as if she sensed my joy… she added another zero and my bond now read “$350,000!!!!” Everything in me sank. 10% is $35,000!! No one I know has that kind of money!! As the tears started streaming down my face… I was ready to give up hope!!!! As I began to picture my life behind bars a glimmer of light beamed down when I was told..........
[to be continued]