“Do not stand idly by while your neighbor’s blood is shed … but love your neighbor as yourself… Leviticus 19:16,18
Last November my neighborhood was shocked by Manchester Police Department’s response to a mental health crisis. It began with a distraught neighbor and a call for service that escalated too fast.
Why didn’t these officers, or even our police chief, want to talk about what was going on? Instead, my neighbor and I were both arrested. I was booked and charged with crimes, no questions asked.
My crimes were disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Class A misdemeanors each carrying punishments up to one year in prison and $2,000 in fines. After paying $2,500 for an attorney, who got the prosecutor to drop one charge and reduce the other to a Class B misdemeanor – and then paying another $125 for my “crime,” the case is finally considered settled. I can expunge my record in a few years if I pay some more money to the court system.
But nothing really feels settled to me.
My greatest offense was stepping in the street in front of my house to hug my neighbor, honoring his request.
My biggest disappointment was being silenced by our “justice” system, punished for loving my neighbor, and rejected by our police chief. I lost my faith that day. Faith now means something very different, and mostly, useless.