It took me by surprise when the police car suddenly pulled up alongside me. Two Dutch police officers quickly exited the vehicle with the determination of movie cops on their way to stop some nearby crime in progress. Looking around I didn’t see any bank robberies or shoot outs going on. The little Dutch village was quiet. When I looked back towards the two police officers I was slightly alarmed to see they were walking towards me with very intense looks on their faces.
I was living in Weesp at the time and I’d been out for a jog. It was already late and had become dark. My choice to dress in all black running gear probably wasn’t the smartest idea but there were not many cars on the roads. During the run I’d got a stitch in my side. The pain had become so bad at one point that I’d been forced to stop and slowly walk home while holding my side. It was at this point the police car had suddenly appeared.
One of the officers quickly started saying something that I did not understand. In confusion I explained in my bad Dutch that I was having trouble following what they were saying.
“Ah, English.” The first officer replied with a quick glance to his partner. “No problem. Can you tell us what you are doing out here?”
“Sure. I’m jogging. Well, I was. I got a stitch in my side and had to stop. I’m just on my way home now. Is something wrong?” I asked.
“Yes. You were seen breaking into a car,” the second officer replied.
Out of all the replies I had expected that one had not been on the list, mainly because I didn’t remember breaking into any cars.
“Someone matching your description was witnessed breaking into a car.” The first officer repeated using a slightly less scary phrasing of words than his colleague.
“Errr… Ok. But it wasn’t me.” It was not the most water tight legal defense but it was all I could think of at the time.
They asked to see my passport for identification purposes. I’d not brought it with me since I’d not been planning to jog across the border of any neighboring countries. I didn’t have any other form of identification on me either and apparently, “I didn’t think I would need it,” was not a good enough excuse. I was promptly informed that I was supposed to carry it with me at all times. If I’d known I was going to be stopped by the police I would have brought my passport, my birth certificate, several character witnesses and a whole legal team.
“My colleague is going to talk to the owner of the car while I take your details. Don’t worry. We’ll see if we can get this all sorted out.” the first officer informed me after they had spoken in private for a bit.
The second officer drove off while the first officer sat with me on a nearby wall. I answered all his questions and gave him my details. He could tell I was understandably worried and tried to calm me down.
“It’s probably just a misunderstanding,” he reassured me, “We’ll get it all sorted out.”
I allowed myself to calm down a little. This lasted until his intense colleague returned ten minutes later.
“We have a problem,” he stated authoritatively, “The owner of the car said it was you. You took the radio.”
After I was done panicking and failed to convince them I’d done nothing the two officers swapped places. The scary second officer sat with me while the reassuring first officer walked back to the car to radio in to the station. We sat in silence for a long time until a question I had not been expecting was suddenly asked.
“Do you like cars?” the second officer asked.
I was a little confused by the situation and my mind was distracted by wondering what prison food tasted like. I didn’t quite understand the relatively simple question at first. Was he trying to make small talk? Was he asking me if I liked watching racing on television?
“No, not really,” I replied.
“No? But you like what’s in them, don’t you!” He said, suddenly looking me directly in the eyes with all the intensity of an American 80’s movie cop. It was like he had used the last few moments of silence to think up that come back but I was too freaked out to notice at the time.
“What?! I didn’t do anything! Look, I don’t have anything on me,” I panicked while turning out my pockets.
“That doesn’t mean anything. You could have thrown it in the bushes somewhere,” he replied casually.
I was seriously starting to think that I would be spending the night in jail. I didn’t seem to have any chance of making this guy believe I was innocent. He was convinced of my guilt. He was going to make me pay. He was going to use the full force of the law. He was… the bad cop. It suddenly hit me. The first officer had been kind and understanding. He’d tried to assure me it was all probably just a misunderstanding. The second officer was the polar opposite. They were bloody playing good cop/bad cop.
“Ok. We have your details if we need to contact you,” the good cop said returning from the car, “You can go.”
As I was still reeling from the good cop/bad cop realization the two of them got back in the car and drove away. The situation had ended as soon as it had started. Had there even been a crime committed? Had they just decided I looked suspicious in my black hoody and wanted to see if I was up to something? I never found out and I never heard from them again. One thing was for sure. The next time I was going out jogging I was dressing like a proper jogger.
Little did I know I would end up bleeding in a police station a few years later.Tags: Dutch Law, Dutch Police