After hanging out with some friends last night (and having a few too many drinks), I found myself wandering the streets of Uptown alone for a while. At the time, the idea of taking a walk sounded great, but this morning I was reminded of the last time I was out late and drunk.

The following happened a little more than a year ago:

In August 2011 I was at a bar, hanging out with a friend after watching a football game. After having a few drinks, we decided to take off. My friend pushed on the exit, only to see it wouldn’t move. He had gone in and out of this door several times that night, so it didn’t occur to him that this door might now be locked.

A security guard begins yelling at my friend for trying to go through a locked door. My friend tells the security guard to cool down. The guard then shoves me into a wall. Up until this point, I was just standing there, waiting for the door to open. At that moment, several police officers walk in. Seeing this security guard holding me against a wall, they ask what’s going on. The security guard tells them that we were “trying to destroy property” (huh?) and that he was “just defending himself” from me. (both statements are entirely false)

Now, I had thought that I would at least be asked for my side of the story. That never happened. The police officer nearest me went on to slam my face into the wall, then knocked me to the ground. One officer kicked me in the ribs, bruising them. My head was slammed into the floor, breaking my nose. At this point, I blacked out.

When I regain my bearings, my friend and I are locked in a cell, handcuffed to a bar that runs along the back. I try to ask the nearest police officer why I’m in there. He simply says: “you know what you did.” (nope). He then went on to harass me, call me names, mock me.

I’m eventually moved into my own individual cell, with only a tiny glass window facing the hallway. I’m still not told why I’m being held or how long I’ll be there. I start to worry about my girlfriend, who didn’t know that I had been arrested. I had disappeared as far as she knew.

Finally, at 7:30am the following day, I’m released. My keys, the cash inside my wallet, shoe laces and phone were all missing. The person at the front desk could only tell me that they did not have them.

Without keys, I headed out into the world (from the police station on the south side), walking in the general direction of where I knew my girlfriend would be at that time. I show up, bloodied. She takes me home, I begin trying to recover.

I had been charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery. In the end, video evidence eventually proved that I did not do anything wrong, and the charges were dropped. Even still, I have nightmares about that night.

All this happened when I was presenting as a cis male. Now that I’m presenting as obviously trans in public on a more regular basis, I need to be even more cautious. The CPD arrests and beats first, asks questions never.