My Meeting with Curtis Hooley Regarding My Complaint Against Hayden Nelson of the Logan City Police Department
This saga of my police conduct complaint has now become a trilogy. I think trilogies are overrated. Let something be a standalone work for a change, or just give it a number of works that best serve the needs of the story instead of being dictated by the need to make it a trilogy, that's what I say. I will, at least, probably have a postscript in the near future, because the police department is still required by state law to give me written documentation of the investigation.
I misheard the police captain's last name over the phone multiple times and consequently misreported it in last week's post. It's not Hill, it's Hooley, as in "Hooley dooley, they've come a gutser." I apologize for the misinformation.
Curtis Hooley had to reschedule our meeting to attend a funeral, so I went on Thursday at 10:30, accompanied by my emotional supporter Kylie. As a classmate, she had read my essay about Calise, Talease and the police, and I feel closest to her out of all my graduate instructor colleagues because we shared an office last year and have had deep discussions about spirituality and faith crisis on social media. She left The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but wishes she could have stayed, and I'm the opposite, so that gave us a lot to talk about. She rearranged her busy schedule to be there for me and I am most grateful. It was nice, too, that I had a woman with me to send the message "Look, I have friends who are women who don't think I'm a creep."
I know that mentioning Calise and Talease by name after going to the trouble of blotting out their names when I posted my complaint a couple weeks ago makes no sense. Here's the thing. On the one hand, I have no desire to embarrass them or appear vindictive, but on the other hand, I really believe that if they ever happened to stumble upon any of these accounts and read about themselves, they'd realize how badly they ----ed up and feel remorse and want to make it right. Unless and until that happens, the closure I got this week is probably the most I'm going to get. So I go back and forth on the name thing to get the best of both worlds and probably accomplish nothing at all.
Curtis had a nice little office with some toy police cars and fire trucks and a poster that said "I don't need anger management, I need people to stop pissing me off!" That's funny and I personally can relate to it very much, but I'm not sure it's something I want to hear from somebody with a gun and qualified immunity. Likewise, before the police station parking lot was fenced off to be annoying, I used to shortcut through it after jaywalking across Main Street as a preferable alternative to walking an additional block and waiting five minutes at the crosswalk to get to the library, and one of the police cars had a bumper sticker that said "Nobody cares about your stick figure family" and showed a car plowing through somebody's stick figure family, and I found that funnier at the time than I would now. But it appears that Curtis just has a desk job and is too old and heavyset to be out killing people anyway. He was nice, asked me about myself and stuff. I wanted to trust him and believe it wasn't a façade. Having Kylie at my side made that a lot easier.
He asked me to explain what happened before Hayden Nelson showed up - the pre-incident incident, as it were - and I did my best, though I stressed that I don't know what exactly I did that bothered Calise and Talease so much since neither they nor Hayden ever bothered to tell me. Curtis then made it sound like this is not an altogether uncommon situation - boy likes girl, girl decides she doesn't like boy, girl calls police on boy. That simultaneously made me feel better about myself and made me want this whole planet to burn.
We didn't return to the pre-incident incident a lot because Curtis wasn't there to investigate it or take sides, but this was the first time anyone in authority bothered to ask me about it or listen to me. Hayden didn't care, the staff at Logan Regional Hospital didn't care, my bishop didn't care. Hayden should have asked me about my side of the story in the first place even if it didn't make a difference to what he had to do. He should have been smarter than to take my neighbors' false witness against me as the final word. I'm still kind of frustrated that they've faced no repercussions for bearing false witness against me. I don't want them to be in trouble, I just want them to be told off for it. Part of me wishes they'd pressed charges, because I would have immediately fought them in court instead of just marinating in trauma for the next year and a half.
My frustration increased a little today when Curtis mentioned a detail I wasn't previously aware of. Not taking sides, not saying it was true or not, he said that Calise said I had "jumped out at her in the dark". I did no such thing at any time. I believe she was referring to the time a week or so before Hayden yelled at me, when she left their little dog Paisley tied up in the snow and forgot about her, then came outside and saw me playing with her. Calise was startled to see me, and I was in turn startled by her yelp, and I later heard from a thirdhand source that she and Talease were ridiculously upset about it, but I did not jump out at her by any stretch of the imagination. I wasn't even standing up. I was sitting cross-legged in the snow on the opposite side of the decorative iron fence around the lower level of our apartment complex. Hayden never even mentioned this particular falsehood to me, even though it sounds worse than any of the falsehoods and distorted truths he actually yelled at me about, but what do I know about police work?
I have only jumped out at a woman in the dark once in my entire life. Ten years ago, still naïve to the ways of the horrible adult world, I was in the campus cemetery at night when I saw two women coming up the path and thought it would be funny to jump out from behind a large tombstone and scare them. I picked up this sense of humor from my dad, but didn't grasp at the time that it was entirely inappropriate in this context. Now it's just one of hundreds of things I've done that I feel really bad about. I'm glad they didn't shoot me. Even back then, though, I wouldn't have considered jumping out at a woman in the dark to be a viable method of making her want to date me, so I don't know why Calise would have thought I'd try it on her and then go on like nothing had happened.
As requested, I brought a printout of the email that the police department never responded to. Curtis was very bothered that nobody ever responded. I had assumed it was intentional. Being ignored is a constant fact of life for me, and I assumed that whoever read the email just thought "Oh, Stalky McStalkerton is mad at us for telling him not to stalk his neighbors" and deleted it. I still wouldn't be surprised if that happened. But Curtis said that while the address I contacted is legit, he didn't recognize it, and he wasn't sure if anybody at the department was even checking it. The address, firstname.lastname@example.org, was the address that I saw the police department telling negative Google Reviewers to contact when I tried to leave a negative Google Review last year but couldn't because the pandemic somehow prevented Google employees from working online. If someone had taken my email seriously at that time, they could have checked Hayden's body camera footage, but by now it's been deleted. So that's pretty ----ing convenient for them.
Curtis agreed that Hayden had erred in not telling me which of my neighbors I wasn't allowed to text, call, or talk to. After being harangued about "Your neighbors" this and "your neighbors" that, I thought it was all five of them when it was only two. Kristina said "Hi" to me one evening and I thought maybe she was trying to get me in trouble. So that was kind of a crappy thing for Hayden to do to me.
As far as looking into Hayden's unwarranted choice to intimidate, threaten and yell at me, it would have been really helpful to have the body camera footage, so that's nice. He won't likely face any consequences but Curtis asked me what I think he should have done differently (besides everything) and promised to bring that up with him. At the time, Curtis said, Hayden had been a cop for about a year, and now he's not the same cop he was a year and a half ago. I don't find it reassuring at all that the trauma I've lived with for the last year and a half was contingent on how much experience the cop had, or in other words on bad luck, but at least he's probably not still doing that to people? Curtis said the cops are busy going to one call after another after another, and dealing with suicidal people literally every day, and sometimes they forget to slow down and listen and focus less on the authoritarian side of things. Yeah, any cop like Hayden who depends on their authority to demand respect as a first resort is only proving that they deserve none.
But he was glad Hayden had made me go to the hospital. Hopefully that helped, at least. No, I explained, they also treated me like garbage and made everything worse. Curtis (who really liked to make excuses while claiming that he wasn't making excuses) said that the hospital is also very busy with mentally ill and suicidal people, which is consistent with my experience of its staff treating me like an assembly line product they wanted to finish with as fast as possible. It doesn't explain why they felt a need to congregate in the corner of my room and gossip about me, though.
Kylie wasn't there to testify on my behalf or anything, but she chimed in a little and I really appreciated it. I had been talking the whole time about mental illness. There shouldn't be a stigma attached to mental illness, so I'd been openly saying that I'm mentally ill, that Hayden was well aware of that fact and should have acted accordingly instead of proceeding from the incorrect assumption that I acted out of conscious malicious intent; that Talease is mentally ill, that Hayden should have been well aware of that fact just like everyone else except me and Calise was, and should have adjusted his perspective accordingly instead of employing Calise's double standard where the weird things I said made me a villain while the weird things Talease said were just delightfully eccentric. But Kylie used more enlightened terminology. She asked Curtis what kind of policies or training the department has around neurodivergence. To nobody's surprise, he admitted that he'd never even heard the term before.
She explained the term and pointed out that this incident involved three neurodivergent people. He explained what we already knew - that Utah is way behind in this area. Yes, we all remember how the Salt Lake Police Department dealt with 13-year-old Linden Cameron's mental health crisis by shooting him eleven times as he ran away from them. He said there's crisis intervention training, but not every officer has it, and it's hard to get every officer trained in it when they're so busy and there's such a high turnover. I don't know if there's always been a high turnover or if this is specifically because cops in the post-George Floyd era think being held accountable for their actions is persecution. This is why people say "Defund the Police" - because most police officers simply don't know what the hell they're doing around neurodivergent people, and have killed far too many of us. This should not be one of their responsibilities. Why the hell did we as a country decide that it is?
As we were wrapping up, Curtis asked if I've had other encounters with the police, and if they were better. My last one was after I got in a car crash, and I mentioned it on my blog but I never told the story - there's not much to tell, but I'll set it down here for posterity anyway. It was kind of my fault. I walked down to the grocery store one afternoon, got some stuff, discovered that I didn't have my wallet, put the stuff back, walked back home, and explained to my neighbor Hailey that I'd gone to the grocery store and discovered that I didn't have my wallet, because she was out in the yard doing homework and I didn't want her to think I was weird. She said she had to go somewhere in a few minutes and did I want a ride? I would have been just fine without a ride, but I figured why not spend a couple minutes with my friend Hailey? So the grocery store was in sight just across the street, we didn't have a stop sign, and the guy coming in a perpendicular direction to us did have a stop sign but didn't wait.
His van loomed into view, Hailey screamed and slammed on the brake, and I thought, We're not seriously about to hit this guy, are we? Oh, we did. That really just happened and there's nothing we can do about it. We're alive. Of course I'm alive; God hasn't finished playing with me yet.
The guy came out with a fistful of cash and tried to pay for the damage right there without exchanging insurance information, but Hailey wouldn't have it. I stayed with her and talked to the cop when he arrived. His name was Officer Deras, but he wasn't the same Officer Deras as the Officer Deras from the University of Utah who shared explicit pictures of Lauren McCkluskey with his co-workers, then got fired and went to work for the Logan City Police Department instead, then got fired again. This was, ironically, a different Officer Deras. As far as I know he was fine. By the end, he was chatting and laughing with the guy in the other car about all the money the latter had recently made from Bitcoin. Hailey's car was crumpled up, and because she'd tensed up before the crash she had some back pain, but I was fine aside from my permanent guilt for being the reason she was there in the first place.
Anyway, after the meeting with Curtis Hooley, Kylie asked how I thought it went, and needlessly apologized for chiming in with her helpful remarks, and asked what my next step was in this process. I would like to sue Logan Regional Hospital for doing things to me without a consent form and then frantically calling me five times to get retroactive verbal consent after I'd already left, but I can't because they have a lot more money than I do. I would like to file a complaint against my ex-neighbors who got me into this by bearing false witness against me in the first place, but even if such a thing is possible, which I doubt, it would be too much work for too little payoff. So I guess I'm done for now. I'm not done speaking out against police brutality and incompetence, though. And Hayden Nelson can still go choke on a cactus.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.