• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

— "I'm not, like, a big racist person. I grew up in the South, but I didn't see that much of it down there. But I remember when I first came here, I was driving with my wife and I stopped. There was no one in the street, and a police officer came up behind me, followed me, and pulled me over. One guy stood where my wife was, one guy stood by my back door, one guy stood by my other back door, and one was talkin' to me. I asked him, 'What did I do?' and he said that in California you're not allowed to have air fresheners hanging on your mirror. That was the first I'd ever heard of that. He also said he stopped me because I made an illegal stop -- 'cause I stopped to show her something. He gave me a warning. Down in the South, they're open about it. They wear it and they're proud of it. But out here, it's undercover. You've got to get to know people before you understand them, and I do know a few undercover racists."

For Walker, the worst thing about his overnight stay was its injury to pride. "I was stuck in there, and I don't feel I really did anything. Then we had to pay $1500 to get me out for something I didn't do. If I can find that witness.... They did a lot of stuff to us that was crooked. No one read me my rights. I guess the reason I got arrested was for resisting arrest, but I figured you have to have a reason to arrest somebody, and then that person can resist arrest, and that would be, like, an add-on charge. They said, 'You bit an officer and that's resisting arrest,' and I said, 'Why was he on me in the first place?' Then [at the jail] they told me, 'Well, we weren't there, so we don't know what happened.'"

The amount of time it takes to get released is another sore spot. "My wife bailed me out. My bail was $15,000, but you only have to pay 10 percent. They told my wife you can't get someone out till they've been processed. It took them 16 hours to process me. You first get there and they put you in the holding cell downstairs. You're in there forever, then they move you to another cell and you're in there forever. Then they line you up and you go upstairs to the second floor and you're there forever. It just seemed like we'd go one place and do somethin', then sit. You sit for hours at a time. Most of the guys just slept. They'd move, find a spot on the ground, and sleep until it's time to go again. The whole time I was there, I was being processed. Then they said that once someone has made your bail, it takes four hours from the time your bail's made until you actually get out. I never heard of that. Due process should mean something, and I don't think it should take 16 hours to process people. I was arrested at 10:51 last night, and I was released at 3:00."

Until his arrest, Walker's life has been quiet. "I've never been in trouble with the law at all. I played linebacker on the high school football team. When I started out, my grades weren't too hot, and I started studying and they improved. I went to college for two years at the College of Charleston. I was gonna study business. I was offered a partial scholarship to Grambling, but I stayed in Charleston. It was a girl." He shakes his head. "I stayed home for her, and she cheated on me -- but that's cool." His right arm has tattoos with the word "mind" stacked over the word "matter" and a tiger below, all on the side of his bicep. "After she cheated on me, I knew I was goin' in the military, and I went out and got this tattoo. I was just bein' young and stupid. When I joined the Navy, I went through basic training at Great Lakes. I've got four more years, but most likely I'm gonna re-enlist. I've been married a year. I got a boy, four months old."

Walker recalls his past mistakes with regret, yet he is defiant. He speaks with humility while claiming smart-ass status. He insists he wouldn't do anything differently if he faced the cops again. "All my friends tell me, 'When the police come around, watch your mouth -- don't say anything.' But that's not me. If I didn't do anything, I'm not goin' to quiet up and run from 'em 'cause they got a badge. Tonight I paid for my mouth, but I wouldn't change anything. I'm pretty pissed about it, but there's nothin' I can do. I never wanted to go there in the first place, and I sure don't want to go back. Fifteen hundred dollars is a lot of money, but I don't want to stay in jail."

As tired as he is, Walker's first priority is to secure legal help. "I'm gonna fight it. I'm goin' to [naval legal services] first. Then I'm going to find the lady who called the house and said she saw it. I'll go to court either tomorrow or Wednesday. Other than that, I'm just lookin' forward to spendin' time with my son."

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!