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The morning headlines were not encouraging. According to witnesses present at the Occupy rally grounds, two attendees had gotten into some kind of squabble over drugs before one of them pulled out a pistol and shot the other in the head and chest. I had been wanting to go to the rally and check it out, but seeing this kind of violence among the most liberal set made me rethink that idea.

I was still in bed and it was approaching 7:00 AM; I had to get up soon and get ready for work. My employers had extended me a couple of emergency leave days courtesy of calls from the police to explain why I hadn’t been at work. Part of me wished that the police would come knocking again so I could skip work. I rolled out of bed and stood in front of the wall mount air conditioner for a minute enjoying the tiny bit of cool air the unit was managing to put out.

I grabbed the slacks I had worn the previous day, examining them for obvious stains. I slipped the pants on and began looking for a clean shirt. The light in my closet was obscured by a proliferation of clothes nearly negating the output of the little fluorescent light bulb. I was bent down to get the clothes up off the floor when a sound like a gunshot came from the living room. I looked through the bedroom door and saw a powerful flashlight sweeping around the living room area; my action-hero stalker friend must have finally come to call.

I jumped into the closet behind a stack of blankets and clothes meant for the wash. I hurriedly pulled some of the clothes over me and tried to still my breathing which was coming now in harsh ragged gasps.  I tried to lie still beneath the blankets, but my hands were shaking and I felt the overwhelming urge to use the bathroom right this minute.

I heard several voices coming from the living room and dining room area of my little house calling out “CLEAR!” followed by the muted tones of conversation that I couldn’t make out. I saw what I had to assume was a man –judging by size alone– enter my bedroom, covered head to foot in black including the helmet on his head with a long black gun pointed at my bed. The gun swept a half arc around my bedroom before settling on the closet area where I was hidden. The black clad figure waved his hand and another similarly dressed individual entered my bedroom; no words were exchanged between the two figures, just a couple of quick hand gestures. The first one to enter the bedroom turned back to my bed, grabbing the mattress and box spring lifting with one hand as the other managed the rifle he had slung across one shoulder.

Again the two figures exchanged a silent glance and nodded to each other before turning back to my hiding spot. This time the two, looking for all the world like executioners, reached forward and switched on small flashlights attached to their guns.  Even through the thin blanket I had over my head the light from the two flashlights was intense almost blinding me as they swept over the pile of clothes covering my body.

The figures glanced toward each other, the more recent arrival dropped to one knee and thrust his rifle forward into the closet.

“Got him! Bedroom!” the crouching man yelled as his friend leaped into the closet tearing away the thin subterfuge that had kept me hidden. The men began yelling commands as they pulled me out of the closet and yanked my arms behind my back. “Keep your hands where I can see them!!!Are there any weapons in the house?! Why were you hiding in the closet?! Do you have any weapons on you?! GET YOUR HANDS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM, MOTHERFUCKER!”

I tried to answer their questions but one of them had his knee on my neck so that I could barely breathe, much less talk. My bedroom was now filled with people pointing guns at me, most of them yelling commands or questions at me so that it was like a stereo with an echo. I tried to turn my head so I could see who they were. There were no badges or identification I could see: only men dressed in black with guns.

“Thomas Shannon?” one of the figures asked, kneeling down to look me in the eyes “Are you Thomas Shannon?”

I grunted an affirmative response and was yanked to my knees by unseen hands.  “Who are you people? What the . . . “

“You are under arrest for the murders of DeMarcus Johnson, Ty’rel Sanford and Officer Dave Minges.” Said the masked man.

I stared at the man, mouth agape. “Murder?!? What? How?” I had plenty of questions now that I could talk, but the invaders weren’t answering. Instead I was given a Miranda warning as I was hauled out of my house to an awaiting black truck that looked like it was part armored car part sci-fi movie escape vehicle. I could see most of the people in my neighborhood–those that didn’t have jobs anyway–had come out to watch the spectacle as I was unceremoniously tossed into the back of the truck.

One of the masked men waiting in the back of the truck pulled me upright and spun me around. I felt the restraints being removed from my hands as my new masked acquaintance spun me around yet again exchanging my old restraints for a set of handcuffs.

“Arms up” he said and yanked on the handcuffs when I didn’t immediately raise my arms.

A heavy vest of some kind was placed over my head and secured with Velcro around my torso.  The man forced me into a sitting position and then attached a label to the front of the vest I was wearing that now said prisoner on it. He sat down across from me and picked up a rifle like the others had held.

“Cop killer. Wouldn’ta guessed it.” He said before bringing up the end of his rifle and driving it into my face; before I lost consciousness I heard him yell “Stop resisting!” My world became a blur of nausea inducing blackness until we reached the police station.



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