Alexandra Vasquez, dressed in a gray crossover bodice and matching pencil skirt, paced back and forth in front of the precinct like an angry schoolteacher. Questions barked from the media about her sister’s incarceration. In all of her answers, Alex constantly used words like “alleged,” “supposedly,” and “inconclusive,” believing in Gina’s innocence.
“We don’t have the whole story yet is evidence as inconclusive at this time,” she stated to the press. “But we can assure you that a full investigation will be conducted. And those parties who are responsible for this tragic episode will be brought to justice as soon as possible.”
“So, what you’re telling us is that Detective Vasquez may have been framed?” a reporter shouted.
“But for a domestic violence charge?” interjected another reporter. “If sabotage is the key element you’re going with, then why wouldn’t she be framed for something harsher, like an assassination attempt?”
A third reported added to the brigade of scrutiny, “Besides, how can any person - be it a criminal or an average joe - goat an officer to attack their spouse in such brutal fashion? Unless there’s a hidden agenda involved, I seriously doubt that would be the case.”
Alex held her hands up and nodded in agreement with every statement. “Those are all excellent points and will be taken into consideration as we examine this case further,” she answered. “Rest assure, there is a helping of shadiness involved in this case, perhaps a ‘hidden agenda’ that the alleged victim may concur. For now, I have nothing more to add. Please clear this square and
let the NYPD do their job. Excuse me.”
After graduating from college, Alex was approached by several intelligent agencies like franchise teams looking to recruit the hot rookie. Ultimately, she fulfilled her longtime desire and joined the FBI. Working as an Intelligence Analyst for four years, she had been inspired by her sister’s blossoming career in law enforcement and chose to undergo field training to become a Special Agent.
Abruptly ending her interview to an uproar of unsatisfied news teams, Alex entered the police station and saw her mother waiting in the lobby. “We need to speak to Saxon now,” Sienna stressed. “Gina wants to go with a guilty plea.”
“She can’t be serious,” said a dispirited Alex. “This joker’s been provoking her for months and now she just wants him to get off scot-free?!”
“I hear you, mija, but she’s made up her mind. We have to get Sax involved. Maybe the three of us can put our heads together and plan out what’s best for
her. I’m not about to lose my baby over some sleazy, two-timing freak.”
Sienna and Alex zigzagged through lobby personnel and made their way to Captain Davis’ office. Although the door was open, they waited for a stressed- out Saxon to get off the phone. Hollering on the other line was Mayor Goldberg, who wanted Gina’s trial to be moved to first thing tomorrow morning.
“I’ve already talked to Commissioner Wood and he approved the investigation,” said the mayor. “The prosecutor and her staff will be seeing you within the hour and I want them to have whatever evidence necessary to convict Officer Vasquez as soon as possible. Also, have your officers escort my people
to the hospital. They need to interview the husband and the mistress tonight. I want this reported on every news station and printed on the front page of every newspaper in the country by morning. I want the people to have this story on their lips while jammed in the trains and during water cooler conversations.”
“I can’t do that, sir,” Saxon rejected. Noticing the Vasquez ladies standing outside, he motioned for them to enter and have a seat. “I can’t let Detective Vasquez’s fate be used as a public grandstand for ratings and gossip. From your
standpoint, wouldn’t it be better to delay the trial so that our city can save some money and - ?”
“Money?! This city will make plenty of money from the backlash this case will generate! As far as spending money? Within the few months I’ve been
in office, do you know how much unnecessary spending I’ve reduced? Look where we are! This is the greatest city in the world, and I’ve managed to keep it running strong by putting out less and gaining back more. Thousands of dollars will also be saved once my proposed cutbacks in city funding are approved.”
“Pensions and overtime wages for officers come largely from city funding. Many civil service departments will be affected, especially the police force. So are you implying that compensation for the men and women who put their lives on the line to preserve the safety of the public is considered a city expense?!”
“You’re out-of-order Captain! You are in no position to question my decisions! Before I was sworn into office, this city was overrun by the greedy and the wealthy. Now the wealth is under my control, underground syndicates have been put in their place and I’m showing New Yorkers that deplorable and inexcusable behavior will not go unpunished! Officer Vasquez falls under that category. The NYPD is a public servant to my city and their jobs are to protect and serve. That’s what they get paid to do. Nothing more. Nothing less.”
“With all due respect, sir. The only thing ‘deplorable’ is your attitude toward the NYPD. My officers work hard! Put their own lives on the line to keep this city safe, to let people walk down the street in the middle of the night without being afraid! How dare you talk about these dedicated officers as if their a liability?! Do you think stopping crime is the same as delivery pizzas? They deserve each dime you’re ripping them off with and more! And I would appreciate if you’d address Vasquez as Detective. I’m damn sure she’s earned it.”
“And you will address me as Mayor or Your honor - I’m pretty damn sure that I’ve earned it! Maybe you’ve gotten used to the loosey-goosey days when an officer can beat the hell out of a drunk driver for resisting arrest. Those days
are over, Davis. It’s time to restore order. Therefore, every officer must learn that they can’t abuse the law for their gratification! Don’t interfere with this, Captain. I want total cooperation from you and your officers when my people get there. Because if you don’t, your detective will only suffer.”
Saxon slammed the phone down on its receiver, infuriated at the mayor’s
pompous ignorance. Sienna and Alex knew it was more bad news. Saxon told them how Goldberg wanted to handle Gina’s case. The ladies were disgusted, to say the least.
“He wants to use Gina’s tragedy for political gain,” said Saxon. “Bastard. Representatives of City Hall are on their way right now to build their case. Word of this trial will spread across the country like wildfire and Gina won’t stand a chance. What also worries me is how my officers are going to react once they learn about Goldberg’s decision.”
“Let me run a background check on that weasel,” Alex suggested. “I
bet I can find a laundry list of crooked acts he’s committed. After all, he is a
“That’s not the answer, mija,” said Sienna. “We can’t just hand Gina over
to this animal on a silver platter. I promised to support her decision to surrender, but I won’t let my daughter’s life get turned into a dog-and-pony act. Hell no! We need to think about how to turn this case toward our favor.”
Sienna and Captain Davis exchanged ideas on which defense pleas would be most persuasive, while Alex calculated ways to blackmail Goldberg. Then, the light bulb turned on. Sienna found a loophole that the prosecutor might overlook. Alex and Captain Davis eagerly listened.
“No matter which way we look at it, Gina will be convicted,” Sienna explained. “However, if I can convince the jury that her actions were on the grounds of insanity, then she’ll be released in eighteen months.”
“You wanna claim that Gina’s crazy?” an outraged Alex asked. “Are you crazy, Mom?! No jury would ever believe that a disciplined officer like her had suddenly gone nuts!”
“But after they are reminded of Gina’s hard work and dedication to upholding the law, then we can say she snapped under the pressure. Any hardworking civilian would get angry from knowing their loved ones are taking them for granted. Gina caught her husband cheating. She overreacted. End of story.”
“I see the angle you want to exploit,” Saxon interjected. “But it sounds impossible to put such a defense together in only a matter of hours. First off, we don’t have enough evidence to prove your statement.”
“Yes, we do. Her medical records will show that she has no history of
mental illness. No criminal record. A registered voter. A 3.5 GPA in college. And she graduated at the top of the class at the Police Academy.”
“Well, she shared that spot with Owen Law,” Alex reminded.
“I know, mija. Also, her performance history will show no episodes of insubordination or mental breakdowns. All of her reviews have been stellar and squeaky clean. And you can vouch for her years of credibility, Sax. Now if any of you have a better solution, then I’m all ears. Other than that, I don’t see any other way for her to avoid years of incarceration.”
Saxon thought long and hard. Is this their only option? Gina will be exposed like an open wound and the public will pick her apart. However, she’s already under a negative light. Will it matter which one is shining on her dismal situation? Either way, her career may be over. Sienna was right. At least she’ll have enough years to rebuild her life. “Let’s do it,” said Saxon.
“Why don’t you two get started with whatever info you can get from here,” Alex said. “I’ll get her performance records.”
“Can someone help us at the Bureau?” “No.”
“Do you have friends at Internal Affairs?” “No.”
“Then how are you going to get those records?”
“Seriously, Mom? Should this even be a subject of concern?” Alex gave a wink and then exited the office. Getting access to undisclosed information was like borrowing books from the library. All she needed was a computer and a plan. This will break protocol if the Bureau ever unveiled her actions, but if it meant getting Gina out of jail, then Alex was willing the take the risk.
“Good start, Sienna,” said Davis. “Now what about the prosecutor? They
will show every fiber of that crime scene to prove that Gina had fatal intentions.”
“You’re right. And that’s precisely what we want.”
Saxon looked confused. “Wait. You’re going for the grounds of insanity, but you want Goldberg’s gophers to prove Gina is a killer? How is that going to help us persuade the jury in our favor?”
“While the prosecutor wastes time explaining the evidence against Gina, I’ll be exploiting the focal point to this case: the prior events leading to this assault, which will point out years of her hurt and frustration. How she was pushed over the edge by the despicable acts her husband committed. The police report will state that Paul spat in her face. To some degree, I can say that she was provoked. Once the jury hears all this, I know it’ll be just enough for the judge to grant me the insanity plea. Maybe I can’t portray my daughter as a saint, but what I can show is human error, something that every juror in that courtroom will have in common with her.”
“You know Gina will never go for that.” “That’s why I’m not going to tell her.”
“Sienna! It’s bad enough you’re ignoring your daughter’s plea, but you’re not even going to tell her about it? She’ll never forgive you.”
“What choice do we have, Sax? With Goldberg involved, he’ll never let Gina walk on good behavior unless it came down to a political play. This way he’ll get what he wants, but the blame will fall on his appointed lawyers for not getting the job done.”
Saxon took in a deep breath. “If we go down this route, Gina’s career is
Remorse read on Sienna’s face. Ruining her daughter’s career was never her intention. She leaned over sternly and said, “If that’s the case, then at least she’ll have the freedom to start a new one.”