What kind of a world do we live in when a single prank phone call is considered an act of terrorism, resulting in a 4 month investigation by detectives?
I am talking, of course, about my own life. Seriously. I am the person that was harassed by detectives, threatened with terrorist charges, and subpoenaed by the assistant district attorney because someone, not me, made a prank call from my cell phone.
It all has to do with Sioux City’s selfish and closed minded city council. A couple of years ago, the state of Iowa legalized gay marriage. This upset the conservative, rigidly Christian, city council. They made slanderous remarks about homosexuals and wasted tax payer money to exclude sexual orientation from the cities list of groups protected against discrimination. They made the public statement that even though you legally could be gay and get married in Sioux City, the city does not approve or welcome you.
So, one of those councilmen received an anonymous voicemail. The message was a man saying something about being a bear and gay anal sex.
It may not have been an appropriate voicemail, but certainly not an act of terrorism, on the part of the prank caller or the innocent person whose phone was used.
Yet there I was, in an interrogation room with a detective trying to play the “good cop” mind game, pretending that he thought the whole thing was stupid, and asking me questions that shouldn’t matter to the law, such as “What are your views on gay marriage,” and “Do you know what a bear is?”
He played the voicemail back to me off a poor quality handheld tape recorder, and I tried my best not to laugh; how was I supposed to take this serious? [Seriously?] He demanded that I tell him who the voice belonged to, and I honestly didn’t recognize the dude’s voice. I told him I wasn’t sure who did it but I might have an idea. He said I better find out and get him the man’s name.
So I left the station and went about life as normal. That is until about two weeks later when he called me back, asking why I haven’t called him with the person’s name. I told him I didn’t know who did it, and that is when he threatened me.
“This is a very serious, Mindee. If you do not help us find the person who made this call, you will be charged with aiding and abetting, and terrorism,” he threatened.
I went to a lawyer. I told him the whole situation and he just laughed, telling me that I have nothing to worry about. I did nothing wrong and they are just trying to get information out of me. This was a big relief, and once again I went back to life as normal.
Then, about two months later, I get a call from the detective. He needed to meet up with me to serve me subpoena papers.
[Wait…. what the FUCK]
Back to the lawyer I go, who is in comical disbelief at seeing me again, and that the subpoena is being heard by the assistant district attorney, someone who usually only hears the most heinous of criminal cases.
The day of the subpoena, I entered a small room with my lawyer, the detective, and the assistant district attorney [And that note taking lady]. For almost two hours they probe into my personal life, getting the names of all my friends, where I work, what bands I am in, and questioning my personal beliefs. They accused me of lying, and saying it’s not possible that I don’t know who did this. [Hey, I got a lot of friends, most of them slowly going insane, thanks to you Sioux City .]
They ask me how I could tell the detective that I might know who did it, but now I have no idea, and I respond with “Well, I thought I knew which of my friends would find this funny, but it turns out everyone thinks this is hilarious.”
This upset the detective, who responded by screaming “Anal sex is NOT FUNNY Miss Jorgensen!” [OH MAN! Torture! , do you KNOW how hard it is not to laugh in that situation. This was REALITY man…] My lawyer later assured me that I am allowed to think anal sex is funny if I want- it’s a basic freedom the law can’t take away. [HA!]
Of course, it didn’t end after the subpoena. The detective went to a show and began questioning my friends and band mates. I felt harassed and violated. I decided I could no longer live in this ass backwards city, put in my two weeks at work, and promptly moved to Los Angeles. I assumed that the LAPD has real crime to worry about other than a single prank call that jokingly accuses a homophobic of being gay..