Jones, Krystal Oral History Interview

Creator: Jones, Krystal | Date: 2015-08-18
Collection: Righting the Record Oral History Project

Jones: Okay, yesterday I had an incident with a police officer inside Cosgrove. I was actually – one of my friends was in line for breakfast – or maybe it was lunch, I don’t remember – but I went over to speak with her, and I was gonna get in front of her in line – like, I was gonna cut, or whatever, but then the police officer made a comment – and I knew that I was wrong – but I was talking with her for a minute and the police officer said, “Get to the back of the line where you belong,” and I just – I took that as very much offense, because, number one – and I don’t try to down anybody else, but I think that the officer may have gotten used to just seeing, you know, people around with mental health issues, or whatever, and he might have just gotten accustomed to talking to, you know, the people any old kind of way, and I had to let him know that I don’t belong at Cosgrove, you know, I’m just in transition in my life, trying to get housing. I’m not from here, I’m from South Carolina. So, this is all a new experience for me. And it just – it was more rude, than anything. It wasn’t any violence or anything like that. But just the fact that he said, you know, “Get back in the back of the line,” where I belong – I mean, he could have said, “Oh, miss,” you know, “You’re trying to break in line, you’ve gotta go to the end.” But for him to say, “Oh, where you belong,” I just – that flew all over me.

I mean, it’s kind of funny, but it was obvious that he talks to everybody like that. And, it’s like, you know, he met his match yesterday, because I let him know – in no uncertain terms – that, you know, you’re not going to talk to me like that. Like, I don’t – 

Drake: How did he respond when you told him that?

Jones: Nothing! He didn’t say nothing! He didn’t say nothing at all. Because I guess he was surprised that he – I guess people just view – the people that just work here, they view everybody that walks through the doors like they’ve got a problem – which, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of sick people that have mental health issues, but you’re still supposed to treat people with respect whether they have mental issues or not. And he was just surprised, I guess, that I had sense. I guess that’s what, you know, surprised him the most. That I talked back. But, yeah, I had to let him know that I don’t belong here, and if he wasn’t careful, he might be in that line, so, you know, that’s my story. I had to get him told.

Drake: Alright, well, thanks for sharing your story. Is there anything else you want to conclude with?

Jones: No, no. It’s not really a big issue, as far as violence – but I just feel like that’s a perfect example of how officers communicate with the public. You know, even a small situation like that – it was just extremely rude of him to say. You know, he could’ve went about that in a better way, but he just looked down upon everybody, so he just figured that I was one of them – you know, one of the people over there. His job is to protect and serve, you know. He’s protecting and serving the people – even the people with mental health issues, or people with disabilities – you know, you don’t put people down. You don’t just talk to people in that kind of way. You don’t do that. Especially an officer of the law – you know, we’re supposed to look up to them, and they’re supposed to, you know, protect us. You’re not supposed to look at one group of people different than the other, because that means that you’re not gonna do your job when it comes to them, you’re just gonna be like, “Oh, well, they’re crazy,” – you know, “I’m not gonna listen to them.” I just didn’t like that. I didn’t like it at all.

Drake: And I think the thing that I’m listening to as the interviewer is when you said – when the officer said, “Where you belong.”

Jones: Yeah!

Drake: That to me is an entirely different – 

Jones: Right. He could’ve said it in – I mean, I was wrong. I was in the wrong. I was trying to break in line, definitely, I was. But he could’ve handled that in a better way – it just shows me that that is how he is used to talking to people. Because if I had been anybody else, he would’ve went on with the conversation like it was, you know, nothing. But, being that it was me, I had to let him know – I don’t belong at Cosgrove, you’ve got me messed up. I don’t belong here, but I’m here. I’m going through a transition, you know. I’m not going to be here forever and a day. Not to judge anybody. People go through things, people make decisions in their life – if they want Cosgrove for the rest of their life, then that’s them, you know. But as far as me, I’m just in a transitional phase, and I didn’t appreciate him saying that because, I mean, what the hell? You know, “Where I belong.” Like, what? Are you trying to say I belong under a rock? I didn’t like that. And I thought that it was very rude and inappropriate of an officer of the law to be so – just to downgrade me like that. Like, you don’t even know me. I don’t know, I just – I didn’t like that. And I made it clear to him that I didn’t like it. And everybody around me knew that also.

Drake: And that’s some power in and of itself, to express that that was not an acceptable reaction from that officer.

Jones: Because the belong part – that’s what just threw me for a loop. Not where you belong – he could’ve been like, “Get to the back of the line where you,” you know – “You shouldn’t have cut the line, just go to the back,” but the where you belong part – that just flew all over me. I just couldn’t. I just had to go off on him.

Drake: Did you think that there were any power dynamics at play there? His gender, his race, or anything like that?

Jones: It was an African American, black male officer – I don’t think it was that, I think it’s just the kind of power situation where, like, “I’m the police,” you know? “I can talk to you in that kind of way. I’m up here and you’re down there.” Like, no, wait a minute. I’m not down there because, you know – I don’t feel like I’m better than anybody else, but I’m not going to allow somebody to degrade me as a person because I know who I am. I’m from elsewhere. I was who I was before I came here. And I just didn’t – I just didn’t like that.

Drake: Well, thank you for sharing and recording your story. And that is the end of this interview.

~ Jones, Krystal, “Jones, Krystal Oral History Interview,” A People's Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland, accessed April 26, 2018, http://www.archivingpoliceviolence.org/items/show/20.
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