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My only brother died suddenly of pancreatic cancer the weekend before Labor Day weekend, 2006. My husband who was just my boyfriend at the time helped me so much with the cleaning and straightening up at my brother’s house. Due to his extended sickness over a period of months, he had piled up dirty dishes, dirty laundry, messes everywhere, and his Akita dog. There were hours of cleaning to do. Later, in the evening, my husband says, “hey, what do you think about getting a shower and going out for awhile?” “Actually, it didn’t sound bad.”
I drove my brother’s little white sports car. We went to Ye Ole Tavern. I tried a new drink and I liked the taste. It reminded me of sarsaparilla or root beer. So, I drank a little more. When I stood up I felt fine. My husband demanded to drive, but I argued with him because it was my brother’s car. We were in front of Fairborn High School. I remember my husband wanting me to pull over so he could drive, but I continued to argue. I would have pulled over, but there was not traffic at the time, so I just turned the ignition off at a red light at the intersection. There were no other cars at the intersection. But, it was just seconds, and cop car lights were in my rear mirror and my car door was opened and I was pulled out of the car. I was forced over to another location where one of the police officers was in my face asking me questions. It was dark and I didn’t see what he had in his hand. I now realize he was giving me a sobriety test. I still do not know what he had in his hand. I remember putting my hand up quickly to protect myself from whatever he was flashing in front of my face. I think I lost my balance and fell forward.
Because, before I knew it I was handcuffed and forced into the backseat of a police car. They left me there for a while. The handcuffs were so loose I managed to get my hands out of them. When the police officer returned and opened the door, I showed him. He wasn’t happy and put them back on me much tighter than before, and it hurt. I don’t remember much after out what was being said. I think I just blocked it all out. They were very rough and mean to me. I had bruises on my arms. I shut up.
They locked me into a small room with only a small pillow and a blanket. They took me out sometime after and sat me down on a bench in another room, taking my handcuffs off. Three police officers and I were in a room. A male police officer and a woman police officer were around a computer system while the other one stood near me. I didn’t pay much attention to him. I faced the other two.
I remember the two starting to ask me a couple questions and looking at themselves as if they were trying to figure out the situation, I suppose. I heard the female cop ask the male cop about my brother’s car while her back was to me. I remember feeling angry and I called her a very bad name. I really think I called her something as if the devil were inside me for a single moment and I let the word just roll off my tongue; and I didn’t care. My brother was gone forever and right here I was and perhaps this is what I deserved.
My attorney at the time advised me to plead guilty to avoid going to court where we would have to convince a panel of jurors against four police officers. My attorney knew me and my family. He also mentioned that we could plead insanity. Well, I certainly did not want to do that at the time. Looking back, I wish I would have plead temporary insanity, because I truly believe that I was because of the way I behaved that night which I am truly sorry for. I continue to pay the burden of grief everyday of my regret, knowing the accusation of a felony assault is on my record just after the passing of my brother. I know he would want me to be happy. I have learned from my mistake and will never drink Yeager Mister ever again. I worked hard to complete my Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from self-disciplined online studies through University of Phoenix, June 2013. I seek to find a career opportunity in a data entry field genuinely helping others.
It has been over seven years since the conviction, but it remains there like a huge red thumb pointing down, not up, to potential employers. In social environments, I feel like I have this dark shadow lingering over my shoulder. I wish I could find a way to get this shadow erased.

User story by Kat in Ohio

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