Tactical Alert

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"He Just Gutted His Own Department!"

Central Station. Maybe I should call it Central Infirmary? Two Nightwatch units were down in Avalon Division along with us, though we didn’t see them at the time. They got every bit as banged up as we did. I think Harper took the worst of it. He’s been limping ever since we managed to disperse that crowd at the park. We’re all crashed out in the Captain’s Conference Room with ice packs and bandages on various parts of our bodies. Poor Acevedo looks like he tried to fight the whole crowd hand-to-hand. His shirt is practically torn off and his vest cover doesn’t look much better. As for me, I’m lying face down on the table while Harper keeps an Ice pack on my back where that asshole hit me. He really nailed the shit out of me and the vest didn’t do much to soften the blow. I’m going to get up now. The sergeants are on the way over here and I don’t want to be stretched out on this table like a client at a massage parlor when they get here. It’s undignified. I also think these guys have been staring at my ass. That’s pretty undignified, too.

I was right about that meeting at the community center: it was an outreach thing about the Woodlawn shooting. It didn’t go well, to say the least. They heckled the Senior Lead Officer right off the stage and it went downhill from there. Three officers tried to escort him out the door on the north side of the building and as soon as they got outside, some idiot started shooting at them. They missed the cops, but they hit two guys standing nearby who were out there for a smoke. Now one of them is dead and the other guy is circling the drain, all because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’ll make a hell of an inscription on their tombstones. People heard the shots and ran outside and when they say the two guys on the ground and four cops standing right next to them, some fucking asshole shouted that the police had shot them. All hell broke loose after that. By the time it was over, there were at least forty people who got injured; some of them seriously. It’s just like I said: it was a preview of what’s coming.

“Harper, help me off of this table. Gently! My back is really killing me!”

“I know the feeling. Give me your hands. Ready? Up you go!”

Oh, Jesus! That felt like I got hit all over again! I need to sit down! I really need to sit down! Chair! Nice and easy! God, it really hurts! What the fuck did that asshole hit me with? A lead pipe? It sure as hell feels like it!

“How’s the knee, Harper?”

“The truth? Pretty bad. It hurts like a son of a bitch.”

Coming from Harper, that’s like saying he just got shot. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what he did say when he got shot. He’s hiding the pain and he’s not doing a very good job of it. I’m starting to get very worried. Maybe he should go to the hospital and get it checked out?

That’s going to have to wait. Here comes Lieutenant Hagan and Sergeant Hendrickson. I can’t tell for sure, but they don’t look very happy. I think Lieutenant Hagan is going to take the lead. Sergeant Hendrickson will just sit back and watch the eight of us squirm. At least, we’d squirm if we weren’t all in so much pain.

“All right, everyone! Let me get this out of the way first: I don’t have a problem with any of you leaving the division to go on that help call. I would’ve appreciated a heads-up, though. In the future, I don’t want anybody leaving the division on my watch without letting me know first. Is that understood?”

Jesus, we can’t even answer him! The best most of us can do is groan!

“Now, I think I can speak for Sergeant Hendrickson when I say that you people look like warmed-over shit! Braucitsch! What the hell happened down there?”

“I’m not sure, sir. We were in the east side of the park. We were trying to scatter about thirty people when all of a sudden there were about a hundred people. They just swarmed us. It was us, Ninety-Five, and an Avalon unit. Six officers? We didn’t stand a chance, sir.”

“How’s the wrist?”

“It hurts like a mother, sir.”

“You’re off the record, Braucitsch. You can say motherfucker in here. Lynott, you look like you got run over by a car! What happened?”

“We were on a skirmish line on the west side of the park, sir. Sergeant Monroe was leading it…”

“Geoff Monroe? I know him. He’s a good sergeant.”

“Yes, sir. We were advancing on the main body of the crowd and they wouldn’t stand down. When we clashed, a lot of the assholes fought back. There were only about twenty of us, sir. Plus the two K9 units. Harper got cracked on the knee and I got hit across the back. The whole line got pretty banged up. The crowd didn’t really start to disperse until the additional units arrived. They were seriously pissed off, sir.”

Hey, if you can say motherfucker, then you can say pissed off, right?

“You worked the Gang Unit. Who controls that park?”

“Who else? The Amaro Park Raiders. They’re named after the place. But they’re a Hispanic gang. I don’t think they give a shit about the Woodlawn shooting.”

“Did anyone get a look at the shooter?”

“Harper, you talked to some guys who said they saw him, right?”

“Roger that. They said the shooters were two male blacks, young, dark clothing. That’s as much as I got, sir.”

“I’d say you got a lot more than that. Harper, can you even walk on that knee? And don’t give me the usual Marine bullshit. If you tell me you’re fine, I’m going to have you do fifty lunges right here to prove it to me. How bad is it?”

“It really hurts, sir. I’m sure it’ll be better in the morning.”

Lieutenant Hagan isn’t buying it. Hell, I don’t buy it! I’m taking a damned good look at that knee when we get home. And if I think it’s more than just a bad bruise, I’m dragging his Marine ass straight to the doctor in the morning.

“Lynott, I’m not even going to ask how you’re feeling. One look at you tells me everything I need to know. Acevedo, what the hell did you get into out there? You look like you got jumped into a gang tonight!”

“I never went down on the mat, sir! They look a lot worse than I do.”

“I don’t doubt it, but you still look like shit. All right, here’s what we’re going to do: Braucitsch and Shire, you two are done for the night. Get your gear, clean out the car, and go home. If you’re not up to it tomorrow, you let me know and you’ll go on IOD for a day. Midwatch, you guys are on the desk for the rest of the night. Tell the desk officers to put on their vests and Sam Brownes and see me for unit assignments. They’ll go out until Graveyard comes down. And I’ll be watching the four of you! If I see anything that looks like you’re more banged up than you say you are, I’m sending you home. There will be no discussion about it. Is that understood?”

More groaning indicates we understand it. Hey, I’m not complaining about finishing the shift on the front desk. That should tell you how much my back is killing me. One thing I’d better clear up before we leave here, though.

“Sir? What about the tac alert?”

“It was lifted a few minutes ago. The park’s clear and the crowd didn’t go somewhere else. Jesus, Lynott! Are you even able to sit in a chair? The way you’re leaning over right now, your back looks like a Slinky!”

“As long as I can lean my elbows on the desk, I’ll be fine, sir.”

“I’ll be the judge of that. All of you drop your gunbelts and take a load off. Off-duty holsters and at least one magazine while you’re up there. Acevedo! I don’t want to see you with your gun shoved in your waistband! We don’t carry our weapons cholo-style around here! That’s all! Dismissed!”

And now comes the hard part: getting out of this chair. Every time I try to straighten my back, I feel like I’m going to have a muscle spasm. One…two…three! Oh, Christ! Pain! Massive pain!

“Harper, give me a gentle push, would you?”

“As long as my knee doesn’t give out.”

I think maybe we’re both going to the doctor tomorrow. Doctor Palma is just going to love seeing me in there again with another on-duty injury! Damn! I can’t have Harper climbing the stairs to dump his gear in the locker room. Not with that knee. I’ll do it for him. At least I can hold onto the railing.

“Give me your Sam Browne. I’ll get your holster out of your locker.”

“I was hoping you’d say that. I think I’ve got exactly one trip up those stairs left in me right now.”

Yeah, he’s hurting a lot worse than I thought. We must really be getting old. All right, up the stairs. Fortunately, I know which locker is Harper’s and I know the combination to his lock. I’m his wife, you know. Jesus Christ! Each step feels like I’ve got a metal rod in my back and it’s twisting! Just keep going! And don’t go near the cot room! I’m afraid that if I did, I’d go in there and lie down and I’d never be able to get up again!

The men’s locker room. I can’t get over what a pigsty it is. What is it about male cops? Why do they insist on living in a dungeon? God, I can smell it already! What the fuck is that? No, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. There’s Harper’s locker. And set the combo and…open sesame! Jesus, look at this thing! They ought to take a picture of it and use it as the model for a squared-away locker! Hang his belt up. It really weighs a lot more than mine, but that’s to be expected. He’s a lot bigger than me. And look at that: there’s my picture on the door. I always liked that one. It almost looks like a professional headshot photo. He’s really sweet to have it up there.

Hang on! What’s this? It’s a letter from Lieutenant Stukhart. He’s the lieutenant over at SWAT. Jesus, I knew SWAT was interested in him, but this thing practically reads like a job offer! He says they’re finally expanding the SWAT team to a second platoon and he wants Harper to put in for it. It’s dated four days ago. Why wouldn’t he tell me about this? He’s talked about going to SWAT since we first met. All right, we’re definitely talking about this when we get home. Something tells me he doesn’t want to leave me in the lurch over here and that’s why he didn’t tell me about it. Hey, I love working with Harper more than anyone I ever worked with, but I’m not going to stand in the way of his dream. I’m sure as hell not going to stand in the way of his career, either. If he does a few years on SWAT, he can pretty much write his own ticket after that. No way in this or any universe known to man or God am I going to take that away from him. I’ll straighten him out. As much as I’ll hate to see our partnership end, He needs to go for this. He was born for that unit. He’s going to answer this letter and he’s going to say yes. I know all sorts of ways to convince him. Some of them will have to wait until I can stand up straight, though.


The front desk at Central Station. Next to the guard shack that occasionally has to be manned by a sworn officer, this is without a doubt the most boring detail in the division. The only reason we’re not all going out of our minds is because we know we don’t belong out in the field right now. One night, we can handle. Anything more than that and they’d need to put us in straightjackets. The front desk of a police station is as boring as hell, and you frequently get stuck with some bullshit report that’s practically impossible to complete without going out in the field. And then there’s the phone. The goddamned fucking phone! The calls you get working the front desk are beyond belief! For one thing, half of the people who call don’t speak English. If they speak Spanish, you can either find someone around the station to translate or you can transfer them to the Spanish line. But what about the other eighty or ninety languages that people in the Emerald City tend to speak? Russian? Serbo-Croatian? Tagalog? Mandarin? Cantonese? Palembang? Yeah, that can be a real problem. Throw in the drunks, crackheads, and the occasional psycho who wants to report a bunch of little green men trying to break into his basement and you wonder how anyone can stand it. During Daywatch, the biggest drones actually volunteer for it. Why not? Monday through Friday, regular hours and weekends off? It’s a drone’s dream come true. Beyond that, most of the officers who work the desks at the stations are injured or pregnant. It’s just not a high-demand job.

I don’t know if they’re going to keep us here for the entire Midwatch shift, since there’s no such thing as a Midwatch desk. When the guys from Graveyard come down here, it’s going to get crowded. We’ll see if they send us home early. God knows we have enough overtime to cover a few hours off. We could all use the time off, seeing as we all ache so much that we can barely sit up straight. Garcia’s got a split lip and a chest full of bruises, and you already know about me and Harper. The only one who seems to be able to stand up straight is Acevedo. Don’t ask me how. He’s the Latin King: Mister Invincible. He doesn’t just play the role; he lives it. Anyone else and you’d say they were full of shit, but he backs it up with deeds, not words. I’m kind of surprised his girlfriend hasn’t dragged him into a shotgun wedding already. If you’re a woman who’s into the flamboyant bad-boy type –which she clearly is – then I think you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Acevedo.

Harper’s got one of those chemical icepacks on his knee. I’m really worried about him. I have a feeling that by tomorrow, that knee is going to be the size of a football. Knee injuries are bad things. They take forever to heal because you have to walk and walking just makes it worse. I know. I’ve had my share of them, including being nailed by a line drive when I was fourteen. I swear to God, a doctor couldn’t have done a better job of picking the exact spot on my knee where it would hurt the worst. I have a feeling that his injury is exactly the same kind. I may have to drive us home tonight. I just hope I can keep upright for the drive home. Lieutenant Hagan was right: I’m hunched over so much that my back looks like a circle.

Do you want to know what the worst thing is? Harper’s sitting over there across from me and I just know he’s looking at motorcycles on the computer, but it hurts too much for me to turn and see the screen!

“Harper? Sweetheart? Forget it! Turn that thing off! You’re not getting a motorcycle!”

“I’m not looking at motorcycles. I’m reading an article on search tactics. See for yourself.”

He’d better be! Getting off of this chair is no easy feat right now! All right, let’s see what he’s been up to. Son of a bitch! He’s telling the truth! It’s an article on search tactics in a cluttered building. That’s actually a good thing to know in this division.

“All right, I’m sorry. I guess my brain is a little scrambled right now.”

“I forgive you.”

Hmm. He’s being a little too nonchalant about it. My spider senses are tingling. There’s something not right about this.

“Let me see that for a minute.”

“Do you want me to print it out for you?”

“No, I just want to see something.”

I want to see the browser history on this thing. There! A-ha! I knew it! I told you he was a lousy liar!

Motorcycles! I knew it! Ryan Harper, you wipe that shit from your brain! You’re not getting one! Good God! Look at those things! They’re ninety percent rust!”

“But they’re being sold for parts! I could pick up everything I need to finish…”

“I’ll finish you if you say one more word about it! Forget it! You are forbidden to get a motorcycle! You’re not making me a widow! Done! End of story!”

“Dani!”

“I still have the strength to punch you in the balls, mister! And with that bum knee, you can’t get away! Erase that shit!”

Oh, hell! Here comes Lieutenant Hagan! I guess my yelling attracted a little too much attention.

“What the hell is going on out here?”

“Sir, I need you to issue Harper a direct order: he is not allowed to have a motorcycle!”

“Why? What’s wrong with motorcycles? You don’t ride? Seriously, Lynott. I thought you’d be a natural for them.”

“Don’t encourage him! He’ll buy some piece of junk and take a year to fix it up! And I’ll go out of my mind from the noise and the mess!”

“So don’t get a fixer-upper. Harper, I’ll sell you my 2010 FXLR cheap. I never ride it.”

Oh, my God! He’s one of them! Look at the light in Harper’s eyes! I can’t believe this shit!

“What happened to ‘don’t encourage him,’ sir?”

“Lynott, I’ve been riding since I was fifteen. As long as you don’t go crazy, you’ll be fine. I’m serious, Harper. Ever since I got my Road King, it just sits in my garage.”

Jesus Christ! He’s got two of them? He’s even crazier than I thought!

“Lieutenant, you’re not helping! I don’t want him to have one! Ask Sergeant Gellar! Those things are called ‘murder cycles’ for a reason!”

“Lynott, Lee Gellar spent the better part of twenty years in motors. He loves them even more than I do. Have you ever seen his bike? He’s got a Gold Wing with all the trimmings. It’s not a Harley, but he’s an old motor cop with a bad back, so he’s excused.”

They’re ganging up on me! This isn’t fair! He’s supposed to back me up! Oh, he is not unloading that suicide machine on us! No fucking way!

“Harper? I said forget it. You wouldn’t want to see me get upset, would you? You know how I get when I’m upset. You know what happens to your balls, too.”

“Lieutenant, do you have any pictures of your bike?”

“Plenty. Step into my office and I’ll show them to you.”

What? Oh, this is so fucked up! He is not doing this! No fucking way! This shit ceases this instant!

“Stay there, Lynott. Cover the desk. You wouldn’t be interested in this. This is man stuff.”

I’m going to fucking kill him! I’m going to fucking kill them both! He is not buying that motorcycle! A Harley Davidson? I know how much those things cost! That’ll be the end of our discretionary budget for two years! No fucking way in this or any universe known to man or God! It is not happening!

Oh, hell! The phones’ ringing! And suddenly I’m the only one up here! I’m telling you, someone up there is out to get me!

“Metropolitan Police Central Division, Officer Lynott. Is this an emergency call?”

“No, this is Commander Weiland from the Chief’s Office. Let me speak to the Watch Commander. My list says it’s Lieutenant Jack Hagan. Is that correct?”

It is until I put my foot up his ass! Then he’ll be the late Watch Commander!

“Yes, sir. He’s the Nightwatch Watch Commander. He’s in a meeting right now, sir. Can I give him a message?”

I really should put him right through and ruin their plans to provide Harper with a death machine, but I’m kind of curious about this call.

“Yeah, tell him the department is releasing the body camera video from the Woodlawn incident the day after tomorrow. I’m notifying all of the Watch Commanders tonight because we only just got the word. Chief Mooney will have an announcement to go along with it.”

It’s about fucking time! Better late than never, I guess. Too bad it might be too late to do any good.

“Roger that, sir. Do you have any information as to what the chief is going to say?”

“I don’t have a clue. He’s keeping it to himself for now. It looks like the report of the Shooting Team is going to be submitted sometime tomorrow, so it’ll probably be in response to it. Make sure he gets this message code two-high.”

“Will do, sir. Anything else?”

“Yeah! If you’re religious, start praying! Weiland out.”

Wow! I can’t believe I actually took that call! I wouldn’t know Commander Weiland if he came up and bit me on the ass. I know his name and that’s about it. So the chief is finally going to break his silence. After what happened in Avalon Division tonight, I’m thinking it’s too late to make a difference. Well, look on the bright side: I don’t see how it could make things any worse.

Time to drop the bomb on the Lieutenant. I wonder how he’s going to react?

“Excuse me, sir? I don’t mean to interrupt when you’re both plotting your own deaths at my hands, but I just took a call from Commander Weiland from the Chief’s Office. He says the department is releasing the Woodlawn body camera videos the day after tomorrow, in conjunction with a statement from Chief Mooney. He didn’t know what the chief is planning to say.”

Harper looks as stunned as I was, but Lieutenant Hagan looks almost pained. Why? What did I miss?

“Sir?”

“Did he say anything about the results of the investigation?”

“Yes, sir. He said the investigation is finished and the chief is getting it sometime tomorrow. He didn’t say what was in it, though.”

“Uh-huh. Did he say anything else?”

“Yeah, he said we should start praying. Those were his words, sir.”

“All right. Thanks for letting me know. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. You’re sure it was Commander Weiland?”

“That’s what he said.”

That information seems to trouble him a lot. I wonder why? I don’t know where Commander Weiland works. He said he was calling on behalf of the Chief’s Office, but he didn’t say he worked there. And it’s awfully late for a commander to be working at all. They tend to work banker’s hours unless there’s something unusual going on.

“Sir? Who’s Commander Weiland?”

“He’s the new chief’s fireman.”

OK, that explains some of it. When someone is your fireman, it means he’s basically your fixer. He’s the guy that goes around and puts out the fires for you. It’s a lot cooler-sounding than the chief’s shit scooper, but it’s basically the same thing. My guess is that if the fireman is given the job of calling the Watch Commanders to break this news to them, then it has to be something bad as far as the brass is concerned. Whatever it is, we’ll find out in two days.

“Fair enough. Lieutenant, if you sell him that bike, I’ll kill you both. I’m going back to the desk. If you hear me scream, it means my back locked up and I can’t move. I’m thinking it’s a definite possibility tonight.”

Trying to stand up right now is really painful. I never should’ve gotten out of that chair. I need something to sit in that supports my back. God, I may actually have to sit in Harper’s ugly MARPAT chair! A recliner upholstered in Marine camouflage that looks like the dog puked up pea soup on it? What was I thinking, letting him bring that thing into our home? Still, it might come in handy tonight. It’s hideous, but extremely comfortable. As long as he doesn’t try to take a picture of me in it, I’ll be all right.


Morning in the Harper House. It’s about eleven o’clock and I can actually stand up and walk! Hooray! By the time we left the station at end of watch, we were both pretty much a wreck. Interestingly, Harper was more of a wreck than I was. He literally couldn’t walk on that knee. Signolo and Goren went over to the Jail Division infirmary and borrowed a pair of crutches for him. I’m trying not to think about what kind of diseases might be growing on them. His knee isn’t too badly swollen, but that’s because he kept that chemical icepack thing strapped to it until this morning. Right now, it’s in the freezer being recharged, or whatever you call making it cold again. As for me, my back feels a lot better. Not one hundred percent, but a lot better. You should’ve seen us when we got home. We were like an old invalid couple, slowly making our way to the couch. I’m sure it looked funny, but we definitely weren’t laughing. I think we just hit our unlucky number. By that, I mean we’ve both been beaten up worse and didn’t suffer as much, so we just ran out of luck. I’m just glad that when we woke up this morning, we weren’t both crippled. If you’d seen us when we came in the door, you’d have thought we’d be in wheelchairs by now.

Needless to say, our injuries really fucked up my plans for a repeat performance with Harper when we got home. That really sucked. I’ll have to reschedule for when I can touch my toes without falling over. That’s OK, though. One of those new lingerie outfits has some pretty intricate lacing and I want to be able to tie them when I wear it. Right now, it’s plain old shorts and a t-shirt and sitting in the MARPAT chair. I have to admit, it’s pretty damned comfortable. Hideous, but comfortable. The only drawback is that Highway the enormous dog has decided that whenever anybody sits in it, it’s an invitation for him to join them. It’s bad enough when he sits on me while I’m in bed, but when my back hurts and I’m trapped in a recliner, it’s ten times worse. We really need to find someone who can train him. He’s too damned big to let him just do whatever the hell he wants.

Emily is right here in her cradle and she’s is finally asleep, thank God! The little pill was up at the crack of dawn and seemed to wake up every fifteen minutes after that. I think she played with her baby toys until she wore herself out. We’ll see how long that lasts. Harper’s upstairs in bed. He’s under strict orders from me to stay off of that knee until this afternoon. We didn’t go to the doctor because we were just too tired, but if he’s not able to walk around by three o’clock, we’re calling the station and telling them that we can’t come in tonight. Frankly, I’m not sure that I want to come in to work. I’ve been thinking about that call we got from Commander Weiland last night. He didn’t sound good when he said the chief would get the completed report from the Shooting Team today. Jesus, he should be thrilled! We know it was a good shooting and now he’ll have the official report to back it up. The DA’s Office will get a copy of it and as long as the chief handles it properly, it should help take at least some of the wind out of the idiot fringe’s sails. So why were Commander Weiland and Lieutenant Hagan treating it like it was a death knell? Right now, I don’t think I want to know. I watched the news already and they didn’t have anything about it. I guess the press doesn’t have the coziest relationship with the department these days. It’s not like the old days. You know, back in the forties, when reporters wore suits and fedoras and they actually hung out in the Press Office in Police Headquarters and they were in good with everyone on the department? Trust me, those days are gone forever. Our relations with the media couldn’t be worse. They’ve been screaming about excessive force and too many police shootings for years now, starting in large part with that Robbery Suppression Detail we ran and then the fiasco at the Terminal Firing Range. Yeah, we ended up getting into a shitload of shootings, but those were unprecedented events. And I hate to say it, but the only reason why the fallout from the shootouts with the Ghost Dragons wasn’t ten times worse was because all of the suspects were Asian. Among the idiot fringe, it’s like they don’t count. It’s sick, but it’s the truth. You remember the shit storm we went through after the RSD. In both instances, the suspects were all gangbangers. In both instances, the suspects were major assholes who posed a serious threat to public safety, and in both cases, the sons of bitches did their best to kill us. So why did the idiot fringe go ape shit over the former and barely made a peep over the latter? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. The hypocrisy of the far left knows no bounds and if you ask me, the media is leading the pack.

As Sergeant Hendrickson would say, I’d give my left nut – assuming I had one – to know exactly what’s in that report from the Shooting Team. I’m sure it’s going to say that the shooting was justified and in-policy, but I’d still love to read it. Those things are insanely detailed. A real cluster fuck of a shooting like the one at the St. George can take as much as a year to complete. A cut-and-dry one like this one? No witnesses, body camera video showing the whole incident, only two officers involved? They can wrap that one up in less than two weeks. The findings come down to questions of tactics, judgement, and whether the force used was reasonable and necessary; which is to say, was it in-policy or not? Those can get a little biased. I’ve seen them hammer officers on tactics but still claim that the force used was reasonable and necessary under the circumstances. It’s like they don’t ever want to admit that a shooting was a good one from start to finish. In a way, they remind me of the DMV. No, that’s not a joke. I may have told you about this once before. The next time you go to the DMV to renew your driver’s license, pay close attention to the vision test. If you pass with flying colors, they still write down that your vision is 20/30. Why? Because for some inexplicable reason, they want people to believe that their equipment is so precise that it measures your vision better than anything else on earth. No one has truly perfect vision, right? Certainly not on our super-secret DMV ninja gear! So they sort of ding you on it. Of course, that ding from the DMV doesn’t turn into a personnel complaint and a possible suspension.

While there’s no news of the completion of the Shooting Team’s investigation, I’ll tell you what did make the news: that fracas in Avalon Division at Amaro Park. Yeah, that one was all over the news. And what exactly was that news? One station actually interviewed a bunch of assholes who claimed that the two people who got shot were gunned down in cold blood by the police! Can you believe it? Two local stations aired a video from a security camera across the street that showed the real shooter firing at our officers, but that one station was talking about how the whole incident raised “serious questions” about police involvement in the shootings! I was ready to put my foot through the fucking TV screen! Both victims have been identified. The dead guy was thirty-six years old with a wife and four kids. He was a contractor’s assistant, which sort of hit home for me because my dad was a contractor. The other guy was thirty-one, married, no criminal record. His wife was on TV saying how he wanted to go to the meeting because he was praying that cooler heads would prevail and they’d be able to send a message pleading for everyone to remain calm and don’t have a goddamned riot. For that, he got shot and he’s in a medically-induced coma because he lost so much blood. As far as I know, we still don’t have an ID on the shooter. He might never be caught, and that’s assuming it was a “he.” The video I saw wasn’t really that clear. It could’ve been a woman. Does it really matter? Whoever it was, they were a fucking asshole and a monster and they should be thrown in jail and the bars should be welded shut. I say bring back the death penalty and give it to any piece of shit who does anything remotely similar. I don’t care if it doesn’t deter the next one; at least it will send that asshole straight to hell where they belong.

Oh, look at this! Here comes Harper, hobbling down the stairs! What part of “stay in bed or I’ll kill you” did he fail to understand?

“What are you doing out of bed? Get back up there!”

“I’m going crazy just lying there. I need to move around. Don’t worry, I’m not putting any weight on it.”

Uh-huh! Ten bucks says if I turned my back for a minute, he’d grab his basketball and head for the court!

“Just try to keep it down. Emily’s finally asleep. That little gizmo we put over her cradle did the trick.”

“I told you it was a good investment.”

Yes, he did. And he hasn’t stopped reminding me of it since. It’s one of those things that has about six or eight noisemakers on it and your baby is supposed to enjoy making the different sounds. Emily certainly does. When Harper brought it home, I was sure it would drive us both insane. I was half right: it drives me insane. He thinks it’s cute.

“You missed the news. It was all about the dustup in Avalon last night. It seems one of our secret death squads mercilessly gunned down two more innocent people for no reason. At least, that’s what Channel 4 said. For some strange reason, the other channels said it was probably the guy they caught on video firing a gun at our officers. Go figure, huh?”

“They’re really buying into that crap? If this city blows, a lot of the blame is going to fall squarely on the shoulders of the media. They’re the ones stirring this shit up. Don’t they realize they’re going to get people killed?”

“What do they care? They’re the media. You know what they like to say: if it bleeds, it leads.”

“Do you really think they’d be willing to get people killed just for a story?”

“I don’t think they’ve thought about it that far. This crap is big news and that’s all they care about. If there’s a riot, they’ll have a story for months.”

“Dani, I’m not willing to believe anyone is that cynical. Stupid? Sure. Misinformed, even. But they can’t possibly want to see people get killed and their stores burned to the ground. This is still America.”

God, I hope so! Because I’m beginning to wonder. If this thing really goes down, then whatever is left might not look much like the America we’ve all come to know and love. At least, not in this town.

“Dani, we got something! Breaking news! That’s the DA!”

Yes, it’s our idiot DA standing in front of what looks like the rotunda inside City Hall. What’s he got to say now?

“Turn it up. And get me a barf bag.”

He doesn’t look happy. I’m guessing he read the Shooting Team’s report and he didn’t like what it had to say.

“The people of this city have had enough of their police behaving like an occupying force in their neighborhoods. The incident in the Metro South Woodlawn Division was only the latest incident of the police showing a criminal disregard for the lives of the people they’re sworn to protect. This must end, and it must end now.”

Oh, he’s in rare form today! Yeah, he definitely got that report! He probably also got the unedited videos, too!

“The police department cannot function without the trust and cooperation of the people they’ve sworn to serve and protect. That trust is dependent on police officers being held accountable when they abuse or exceed their authority, and we’ve documented countless instances of officers who have done exactly that. We are assured time and time again that such incidents are the exception, rather than the rule. I don’t believe that and neither do our citizens; particularly those in the minority communities that are constantly being over-policed and where the greatest number of police uses of deadly force occur.”

The same old story: the police are corrupt at an institutional level. Sure, guy! Do you even read your office’s reports? You people investigate every police shooting and serious use of force just like we do. You get the same information and the same results. Why don’t you talk about that for a change?

“We now have a critical opportunity for the police to demonstrate that they will be held to the same standards of conduct and respect for the rights of others as anyone else. If they fail to do so, then they will have said to the people of this city that they can’t be trusted. They will have said to myself and to my office that they can’t be trusted. I have instructed my staff to investigate the shooting in Metro South Woodlawn with an emphasis on determining whether the actions of the officers involved constitute a criminal abuse of the authority vested in them. If they are, then they must be held accountable. And I assure you, they shall be held accountable!”

Translation: they could’ve run away and left that maniac on the streets to do whatever the hell he wanted to do, so that means that the shooting could’ve been avoided. Therefore, it was unnecessary. Yeah, where have I heard that before?

“Dani, do you understand what he’s saying? Because as far as I can tell, he’s not really saying anything.”

“Yes, he is. You just have to read between the lines. He’s letting the chief know that unless he submits the shooting as out-of-policy and recommends an indictment, the DA’s Office is going to file on them anyway. It won’t go anywhere, but he’s trying to bully the chief.”

“He’s got to have that report by now. He’s got to know what it says.”

“He does. And he doesn’t like it one bit. That’s why he’s trying to play politics. The truth didn’t work out for him, so that’s all he’s got left.”

And here comes the reporter to recap the bullshit. I guess that’s the gist of what that idiot had to say, so they’re not going to broadcast any more of it.

“Harper, turn it off. I think I’m going to be sick.”

“You’re not the only one. Do you really think they’ll indict those guys even though they know the evidence doesn’t support it?”

“If it were up to him? Definitely. But it’s not. He doesn’t try the cases; his staff does. A bunch of lawyers aren’t going to go along with a witch hunt. If they bring a bullshit case against those guys, they could end up getting disbarred for malicious prosecution. No lawyer is going to risk that for an asshole, even if he is their boss.”

“Won’t he just fire them if they don’t go along with him?”

“They’re lawyers, Harper. They sue people for a living. They’d sue the shit out of him. If he tries to push this crap, he could end up sparking a palace revolt.”

“You mean the ADAs and DDAs will force him out?”

“That’s what I’d do. He wouldn’t be the first DA who got kicked out of office for being a dick.”

“But he has to know that, right?”

“You would think so, but he probably believes his own bullshit. If he does, then he’s in for a rude awakening. He’s an elected official and he’s term-limited. The people who try the cases aren’t. They’ll be around for a long time after he’s history.”

“So he’s just posturing for the cameras?”

“He’s got to have read that report and seen the videos. He knows he doesn’t have a leg to stand on and if he comes out in support of the department, the morons who got him elected will turn on him.”

“So he makes a big play for the cameras and when it doesn’t go his way, he claims that he’s a victim of the vast police conspiracy. That way, he preserves his reputation.”

And his chances to be elected to higher office. What a fucking snake! It makes me sick that someone could take an important job like the District Attorney and see it as nothing more than a stepping stone to the next higher position. I understand ambition. In some cases, I admire it. But not like this. This is just disgusting. It’s a shame that he’s in a position to do so much damage with that kind of thinking. Well, the ball’s in the department’s court now. We’ll find out tomorrow what they’re going to do. They’ll probably announce that it was a good shooting and that no further action will be taken. Alioto will make some bleeding-hearted speech about being betrayed and how he plans to fight on to the end, but then he’ll shut the fuck up and quietly sink into the background. And in the meantime, a lot of people are going to go ape shit. I have a feeling that tomorrow is going to be an interesting day. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that the chief will emphasize the facts and that will smooth things out a bit. God, I hope so!


Another morning at the Harper House. We didn’t go to work last night. Harper’s knee needed one more night’s rest. It worked, too. His knee is a lot better this morning. So is my back. A little Advil and I should be as good as new. We’ll definitely be going in tonight. Today is the day that the chief is supposed to make the report public, along with the findings. It’s make or break time, as they say. It’s just after nine o’clock in the morning, and we had a great night’s sleep. God, did we ever need it! I really feel refreshed. So does Harper. He’s downstairs playing with Emily while I’m up here in bed with Highway and Zephyr. They’re both crashed out and enjoying every minute of it. Zephyr’s perched at the top of the bed and he’s looking out the window; observing his domain – better known as the back yard. Highway’s snoozing at the foot of the bed, which means I have to lay here sort of diagonally in order to fit. It’s a testament to how greedy Highway is that we have a king-sized bed and he manages to pick a spot that makes it too small for me to lay on it properly.

I just finished taking a shower, so I’m lying here with a towel wrapped around me. I’ve got the window open, and it’s surprisingly warm outside for this time of year. We’ve got the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky, so it’s going to be a beautiful day. Let’s hope it stays that way. I’ve got to tell you, in spite of getting injured and all of the tension that we’re under right now, I feel surprisingly good. Part of it is no doubt due to the low impact workout that I got last night. That’s a delicate way of saying I gave Harper a blowjob that made his eyes roll back in his head. Mine, too! I didn’t want to injure my back again, so I just stuck to the low impact stuff. I just stayed in one place and straddled and sucked him while he went to work on me with his fingers. The man really knows how to use his fingers, let me tell you! We both had an absolute blast, with Harper literally giving me a blast right in the face! The naughty New England Housewife strikes again! I’m beginning to think I might have missed my calling: I’d have made a pretty good porn starlet, but only if I got to work exclusively with Harper. There’s something to be said for having the right chemistry.

So we’re going back to work tonight and we’ll see what happens when we get there. So far, there hasn’t been any announcement from the Chief’s Office, but it’s still early. The brass might be in a meeting in the Office of the Chief, strategizing about what to do next. If they are, then it’s the most they’ve done about the situation to date; at least as far as I’m aware of. I’m sure they’ll have an announcement by three o’clock. I wonder who’s going to make it? If they want to play down the whole situation, then they shouldn’t have the chief do it. Have either the official Department Spokesperson do it, or else the CO of Robbery-Homicide’s Shooting Team. If the chief makes the statement, then he’s going to get peppered with ten thousand questions. If it’s someone else – especially someone they don’t know – then the press might go easier on them. That’s what I’d do, but then again, I’m not on the command staff. Hell, I’m about to get passed over for sergeant. Things like that are definitely out of my league.

So what do I do now? I’d like to just lie here in this towel and enjoy the breeze coming through the window, but that’s not really an option. If I do that, then Harper will come up here and unwrap the towel and before we know it, neither one of us will be fit for duty tonight. That’s a shame. I’m really looking forward to this summer when we take that vacation in Tennessee. An east coast summer, complete with warm nights, hot and humid days, and ten million lightning bugs out in the middle of the woods with nobody around but nature’s furry creatures. You know, I might just take one or two sets of clothes and some naughty underwear and forgo wearing anything for most of the trip. I did that on our honeymoon and I loved it, but it was a little chilly for that sort of thing. Tennessee in the middle of the summer? I won’t have to worry about that. And lying in the grass without a stitch of clothes on and having the man you love come up and fuck your brains out right there is something that you really have to experience for yourself. Ladies, I highly recommend it!

But all of that is a few months down the road. Time to live in the now, as they say. I need to get up and get dressed. I’m not crazy enough to go for a run, but we could take Highway for a long walk. He’ll enjoy that, and it’ll tire him out for the rest of the day. Good plan, Officer Lynott! Proceed!

“Hey! Highway! Do you want to go for a walk? Just let me get dressed and your daddy and I will take you for a walk. We’ll take Emily along, too. She’ll be in the stroller, though. You can poke your head in and check on her from time to time.”

That got his attention! He definitely likes to go for walks, especially when it isn’t three o’clock in the morning. Harper and I may be night owls, but Highway is most definitely a daytime kind of dog.

“Dani! Dani! Turn on the TV! Right now!”

Jesus, Harper! Don’t run up the stairs like that! You’ll blow your knee out again!

“What’s wrong?”

“The chief’s about to make an announcement! They’re going to carry it live. Turn on Channel 5! Or any of them!”

All right, this is it! The moment of truth! I’d better grab my clothes. There’s the podium at Police Headquarters. So much for having someone else make the announcement. There he is. God, he looks like such a Harvey Milquetoast! I can’t believe he’s spent over thirty years in law enforcement. He looks like the kind of guy who would never make it through probation.

“At approximately ten o’clock this morning, the results of the investigation into the incident that occurred earlier this month at Metro South Woodlawn Division were submitted to my office. The official summary of this report has been placed on the department’s official website for anyone to view or download. Certain personal information has been redacted due to privacy restrictions, but the substance of the report has in no way been withheld. The unedited footage from the two involved officers’ body cameras has also been posted to the website. In addition, both the report and the videos have been turned over to the Office of the District Attorney, along with our findings and recommendations. All relevant information regarding this incident has now been made public, as required by law and departmental regulations.”

Exactly what we expected so far: the investigation is finished and everything connected with it is now in the public domain. So far, so good.

“The results of the investigation are as follows: both of the officers involved in the incident acted in accordance with state and federal law, as well as in accordance with established departmental policies governing the use of deadly force. The officers were presented with a clear and immediate threat to their lives. Less-lethal force options were employed, but were ineffective. Both officers attempted to de-escalate the situation, but were not successful. Once the threat to their lives had reached the point where no other action could reasonably be considered, the officers resorted to the use of deadly force, resulting in the death of the suspect. Because the investigation revealed that the officers acted in accordance with the law and policy, and because there is no evidence to question those findings, I have no grounds to overrule them. I do wish to say that if the decision were mine alone, I might well have come to a different conclusion. But it is not, and my hands are tied. This event was tragic in every sense of the word, and has understandably damaged the relations between the Metropolitan Police Department and the citizens we serve. I take these unfortunate collateral effects very seriously, and I realize that they present an enormous, perhaps an almost insurmountable challenge to restoring the bond of trust between the police and the citizens we serve.”

Translation: I feel your pain! Gee, how sweet! It’s like he’s going back on everything he just said! What does he expect to accomplish by doing that?

“Because I, as Chief of Police, must put the best interests of the citizens of this city above any personal or professional concerns that I might have, and in order to take the first step in attempting to heal the wounds that this incident has inflicted on the trust that the citizens have for their police department, I am resigning my position as Chief of Police effective immediately.”

What? Did I just hear that right?

“Dani…”

“I heard it! I can’t believe it, but I heard it!!”

He’s quitting? That’s his plan? He’s abandoning ship effective immediately? He’s leaving us leaderless on the eve of what could be the most devastating riot this city has ever seen? He’s fucking insane! He’s totally fucking insane! Talk about throwing gasoline on the campfire! He just told the assholes that the department is in shambles! Why not just wave a red flag in front of a fucking bull and stand in the way when he charges? You’re out of your fucking mind, you asshole!

“Harper, call Helena and tell her to get over here code three! We need to get to the station!”

“Do you think this is going to trigger the shit storm?”

“I think it’s going to trigger an atomic bomb! He just gutted his own department on live TV! People are going to freak!

After listening to our idiot DA’s bullshit yesterday, this is going to hit the city like an asteroid strike! Our two highest law enforcement officers are essentially saying that they totally disagree with the official findings and they’d have them jailed the involved officers if it were up to them, but the evil machinations of the police prevented them from doing it! It’s an incitement to riot! He just dropped a fucking nuke on the city! They should arrest his ass right there on the spot! No, they should shoot his ass for being a fucking idiot! Hurry! Get dressed! Jesus fucking Christ! I sure as hell didn’t see this shit coming! Now I know why Commander Weiland and Lieutenant Hagan were so unhappy! I’ll bet they saw it coming! They must’ve had a hint at least! Jesus, how the fuck did I miss it? I am so fucking stupid! I’d like to kick myself right in the ass!

“Dani, Helena’s on her way. She was watching it too.”

“Everybody in the goddamned city was probably watching it! The whole fucking place is going to explode!”

“I’m sending out a text message to everyone on the watch, telling them to get in as fast as they can!”

“Preface it with ‘911!!!’ Make sure they know what the hell they’re looking at!”

I’m guessing most of them were watching that shit. We all knew it was coming today. We just didn’t know at what time. God, people in the south end must be going out of their minds! They’re probably saying “See? I told you! I fucking told you! Fuck this shit! Burn it all down! The cops got away with murder again!” This is going to be bad! This is going to be beyond fucking bad! God help us all!

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