Sunday, June 6, 2010

More Fun With Police

I'm really jazzed up by the comments from last post *insert jazz hands if you wish* and I've got more to tell. It's fun and sort of a relief to finally share this stuff!

Ok, here's one of the crazier stories from a couple of months ago. Chino went off to the recycling center to hand in a bunch of coke cans and on the way there a traffic officer who was standing out on the corner of the street suddenly stepped IN to the street and in front of Chino's moving vehicle. Chino slammed his brakes and swerved to avoid lambasting this guy and then the officer waved at him to pull over. He read Chino a big riot act about how he was going to have to take him to jail for nearly killing a police officer and that it was all Chino's fault and many horrible things were going to happen to him. Chino tried to argue that the it was the officers fault and much arguing later came to the inevitable compromise of Chino giving the man some peso's "for the cokes" and heading on about his way.

When he arrived shaken at the recycling center and relayed what happened they laughed at him and said that that officer stands there all day every day doing the same exact thing to passers by. I know it's wrong, but I hope one of these days he really does get hit. Just a wee bit, not to kill or anything..... just you know.... a good wallop.

MATHILDE in Puerto Vallarta mentioned in the comments section of the last post that she's brave enough to refuse to pay the officers and make them take her to the actual station for a real ticket. We're too afraid to do that - especially with me, an American in the car. We've heard many stories about how if they think you or your family have money they'll "hold" you (i.e. kidnap) and try and scare you into taking out as much as you can from your ATM card or even making your family wire money. One man I know paid 2,000.00 USD to get out and that's something we're to scared to risk.

Chino was super pissed on night when an officer pulled us over for running a light (falsely, we were in the green) After arguing and much voice raising and chest puffing he officer told Chino that he should just pay him because otherwise the fine would be 400 dollars if we went to the station and if we didn't have the money that they would take our car away from us. Chino called the officers bluff and for the first time it backfired and the officer called CHINOs bluff back! (shit!) He told us we would have to follow him to the station but he warned first "Do you really want your pregnant wife walking home?" Chino was sooooo pissed (CHISPAS!) and didn't care at this point so off we went.

After about 1/4 of a mile of following the officer to the station he pulled over again in a grocery store lot and made Chino talk to him some more. He said "You're real brave, you must think you're really something to have the balls to go to the station." Chino told the man that he didn't HAVE 200 pesos to pay him and that he didn't have a choice but to go to the station. Thankfully the officer finally gave up and told Chino just to empty his pockets and give him everything he had and that would be fine. I think he ended up with about 86 pesos in change. Chino DID have the 200 pesos - he actually had our rent money in his wallet (2,500 pesos) but was smart enough to leave the wallet with me. (By the way, I was SOOO shitting my pants during this ordeal but Chino said he knew the whole time that the officer wouldn't go through with it.)


It's like a ritual that you have to carry out, it reminds me of some elaborate dance and sometimes it gets pretty elaborate. There's the arguing, the threatening, the excuses and finally the bargaining (we always bargain them down) and finally payment and telling each other to have a good day.

On Mexican Time mentioned that she was surprised that they pull us over (I think it's been about 12 times since we've lived here) sometimes without reason. They always say that they're just doing a random check to see if you have all of your paperwork in order or they'll come up with something silly like maybe your license sticker isn't in the right spot or your license plate is crooked. So yes, it really does happen and here it's actually not directed to tourists but to everyday citizens. Here on the border anyone with a vehicle is considered to have money and therefore is a target.
Anyhoo, it doesn't freak me out anymore but is sure has been fun to share it with you all! It's nice to be able to share what happens here and hear that it's not just us, and be reminded that the some of the Americans that don't know what it's like here find it shocking. I remember when I used to be shocked. LOL those days are long gone.

23 comments:

The Blog Whore said...

Wow, those police stories are crazy! There is nothing you can do, what? Call the cops?! LOL...

Good to know. I've always wanted to visit Mexico, had no clue they get up to that kind of stuff. If I ever get there at least I'll be prepared with a few bucks and hopefully be able to keep my cool.

Mary C said...

I must be lucky. I have driven all around the San Miguel, Queretaro, and San Jose Iturbide areas for two years, and I've driven to Mexico four times from Laredo, and have never been stopped by the police. At the border, those teenagers with the machine guns have always waved me right through. Guess older Americanos in Subarus are not a target (and I'm knocking on wood right now.)

On the other hand, my daughter and Mexican son-in-law were stopped in the states for "touching the yellow line" and "driving erratically," and the cops asked for HIS ID even though he wasn't driving. Once, in Arizona (of course,) they were stopped and the cops sent drug-sniffing dogs through their car. When no drugs were found, my daughter asked why they were stopped and the cop said, “you know, you see a nice car, a young couple, a Mexican….”

On Mexican Time said...

OMG, I honestly don't know what to say!! Like I said, I do "hear" about these types of things all the time, but never from anyone that it happens too!! EXCEPT for all my friends who are ALWAYS doing something wrong...

I feel SOOO bad for you guys. I mean seriously, that shit is scary. I think it's just wrong, wrong, wrong. Can't you just report them? Bwaaahahahahaha, yeah, i know, right? LOL!!!!

Leah Flinn said...

Here if you have US plates you WILL get pulled over repeatedly. Otherwise, you usually won't unless you are in the wrong or are driving a pickup truck with stuff in the back. Near the border it is definitely worse! Saul was pulled over on his way to Veracruz for driving in the city of Monterrey with a proper 'city' driving sticker. He had been driving around for over an hour completely lost, trying to find the highway south. They told him to pay them each (there were 3) 300 pesos or they would tow his car and he would have to pay 1200 to get it back. Saul called his bluff and the cops called the two truck. Saul told them he didn't have that much money but he could give them 100 pesos each and they would have to drive him out onto the highway where he needed to go. Deal. Then he was pulled over about half a dozen times in Veracruz until he got rid of the US plates. No problems since.

Kristi said...

Fuckin A. This just pisses me off on your behalf. Your parents must be freaking out that you live there...

MTBLaura said...

OK, after reading your last two posts and the horror of living somewhere like that with such blatant police corruption, all I can say is you must truly love your husband to put up with it. I can't imagine giving up my American freedoms to live like that. Well, I could if the situation was like yours and love motivated me to live somewhere else.
At least I know why so many Mexicans want to stay over here despite the consequences.
Scary corrupt cops and inedible water? Man those tripe tacos must be something else :-)

raúl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
raúl said...

My best friend was driving me from Mex City to Larry's in Tepoztlan. He was pulled over because they had just started some Can't-Drive-On-Saturday-Without-A-Special-Sticker problem. He threatened to tow the car..etc. We paid him the $80 dollar 'favor' and were promised that he was the last and only cop that would pull us over until we got out of the city. That was my first experience. I thought,'Wow! Who are the cops and who are the criminals.' I'm not going to get a car while I live here. It isn't worth the hassle.

Chris Allin said...

In the seven months I was there we weren't pulled over once, it's really the luck of the draw, we did a lot of illegal things while driving and got away with it.

We were parked up once looking for a street name, the police pulled up and asked us what we were doing. But they were Metropolicia so we sped off in the other direction. It's lucky that I lived with experienced Mexicans.

Refried Dreamer said...

Damn! I gotta check out your last blog! We have a SUV that still has US plates and get pulled over weekly. Same cops. Different story. We let them check the truck, usually it's for drugs. And everytime, they check our papers and try to find something wrong. Usually they want a payoff, but we refuse... unless of course, we KNOW we were in the wrong. (Like that time we were getting kinky and got caught by the po-po's... yeah, that cost us pretty big (2000 pesos.) Or the time we ran the light and flipped a bitch etc... yeah, we earned that one too. Or the time we all got hit for money when we were literally partying on a main street, cops pulled up, friend pulled up behind him and started honking HIS horn at them to move, only to pull up and start "bouncing" his truck. (that one hurt too.)But for anything else, give me the damn ticket. In fact, from what I"ve heard, the gov't cuts the bill in half if you pay it within 5 days at any OXXO etc... (don't quote me on that one.) But I've learned, if you give the cops shit back, they won't even waste their time. Good luck.

PuertoVallartaGirl said...

I always say - one thing i like about mexico is that there is corruption and no one pretends there isn't. I like it because there is alot of corruption in the US too, but everyone tries to preten that there isn't.

PuertoVallartaGirl said...

PS - my husband was pulled over probably 10 times in 2 years also. sometimes it was 400 pesos.

MTBLaura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PuertoVallartaGirl said...

maybe I said it wrong - its not that i like that there is corruption (NO ONE LIKES THAT) its that they admit it ( like that atleast in mexico there are no false pretenses about it)- unlike here in the us there is corruption everywhere - but everyone pretends there isn't - I used to work for the city and even at that the city level there is alot of corruption - I still hear about it constantly, corruption in the US governement lobbying system. corruption is everywhere our whole society in the US is built on many things that have come about because of a few people with money wanting their way - to get richer.

MTBLaura said...

PVG- I understand what you are trying to say, but sorry, while corruption does exist in the US, our Constitution makes that kind of thing (shake downs in the street and out and out bribery from Gov't. officials hired to protect and serve) a rarity rather than the norm.
The idea of paying off cops to avoid jail is a bunch of bullshite...and you don't have to be an American citizen to realize that is something we are lucky to not have to ever worry about.

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

Whore - Lol "call the cops" bwaaahahaha I know right? Where's Ghost Busters damn it??

Mary - Yes you ARE lucky as hell!!

OMT - awww you don't have to feel bad, we're used to it and actually after getting a lot of good advice from the comments of these last two posts I think we're going to do what some of the people said and try to fight it! I'm kinda excited!! :) Show me the ticket BITCHES!!!! HA!

Leah - Chino's been pulled over three times in his Mexican plated truck since he got it in April - so no need for US tags here. One of the three times was the step out in the street guy and the other was a random. :P NICE.

Kristi - Lol Thank You :D And yes and no, they know we stay out of the way of the worst stuff most of the time. :)

Laura - It makes me feel really good (great!) to hear you say that - about how much I love him - because I DO and there IS no way in hell I'd be here if it weren't for that love :) I'm glad someone can see it :)

Raul - lol at the Saturday sticker - that sounds SOOO Mexico!

Chris - lol we're some unlucky sons of bitches then! LOL I'm glad it went better for you :)

Refried - lol I totally remember the kinky post :D Give them shit back... Damn, Chino gives them TONS of shit - but always pays in the end - he needs to revamp his style! :D

PVG - You're adorable with all the disclaimers and explaining - I got you the first time! :) And I understand there's corruption somewhere in Govt. with lobbying and stuff like that but I'm SO not educated about it like I am about things here - it's so much more IN YOUR FACE here, that's for sure! :)

Mathilde said...

Lindy, i really have tons of stories about me getting stopped by the cops here in PV. And i drive a car with mexican plates, as dirty as it can be so they know i live here. Maybe it's my flawless spanish or my "i'm not afraid of you" attitude that takes them aback. One day a cop pulled me over (i U-turned where i shouldnt have) and started bla-bla-ing to get $$ out of me. I gave him my tarjeta de circulacion and told me: fine me, i'm in a hurry. He tried some more and when i noted down his name he let me go without fining me in the end! jaja. Pussy.
On a lighter note though, i've never been pulled over randomly, it's always been justified ... Maybe because you're living close to the boarder they think they can get more cash out of you. But man, your stories are pretty wild.
Keep telling them though, i'm so used to it right now (8 years living in Mexico) it's nice to read other foreigners point of view on stuff that shocked me back in the days and that are now just part of my everyday life!!
You surely make me laugh a lot! What you write and the way you write is hilarious...

Mathilde said...

Lindy, i really have tons of stories about me getting stopped by the cops here in PV. And i drive a car with mexican plates, as dirty as it can be so they know i live here. Maybe it's my flawless spanish or my "i'm not afraid of you" attitude that takes them aback. One day a cop pulled me over (i U-turned where i shouldnt have) and started bla-bla-ing to get $$ out of me. I gave him my tarjeta de circulacion and told me: fine me, i'm in a hurry. He tried some more and when i noted down his name he let me go without fining me in the end! jaja. Pussy.
On a lighter note though, i've never been pulled over randomly, it's always been justified ... Maybe because you're living close to the boarder they think they can get more cash out of you. But man, your stories are pretty wild.
Keep telling them though, i'm so used to it right now (8 years living in Mexico) it's nice to read other foreigners point of view on stuff that shocked me back in the days and that are now just part of my everyday life!!
You surely make me laugh a lot! What you write and the way you write is hilarious...

Mathilde said...

Lindy, i really have tons of stories about me getting stopped by the cops here in PV. And i drive a car with mexican plates, as dirty as it can be so they know i live here. Maybe it's my flawless spanish or my "i'm not afraid of you" attitude that takes them aback. One day a cop pulled me over (i U-turned where i shouldnt have) and started bla-bla-ing to get $$ out of me. I gave him my tarjeta de circulacion and told me: fine me, i'm in a hurry. He tried some more and when i noted down his name he let me go without fining me in the end! jaja. Pussy.
On a lighter note though, i've never been pulled over randomly, it's always been justified ... Maybe because you're living close to the boarder they think they can get more cash out of you. But man, your stories are pretty wild.
Keep telling them though, i'm so used to it right now (8 years living in Mexico) it's nice to read other foreigners point of view on stuff that shocked me back in the days and that are now just part of my everyday life!!
You surely make me laugh a lot! What you write and the way you write is hilarious...

Sparx said...

Man, this is wild... wild wild wild... you know, you hear about it but you can't quite believe it...

Chris Allin said...

While we are sharing stories....

Last year in Guadalajara, a small group of exchange students were travelling around Jalisco when they were pulled over by the police. The police made up a charge, indicated they wanted a bribe, and demanded they hand over 5000 pesos.

These students did not have 5000 pesos between them.

They had however, been training for a Michael Jackson production.

Instead of paying 5000 pesos, they played and danced the routine to thriller in full. Afterwards the police were satisfied enough to let them go without paying a single peso.

Lucky SOBs.

Mary C said...

Gringa, I've been thinking you and your husband are guilty of DWY - driving while young. Those cops think they can get away with it.

Did you know there is a police fraud line? Also, use that camera you always have on you to take photos of your adorable daughter. Snap a picture of the cop and make a point of writing down his badge number.

Here is advice from our old fogies yahoo group:

"You can call the emergency number, 066, from anywhere with your cell if you feel you need help. There is no circumstance where a fine can legally be settled on the street, outside of the Capital.
Your car is your personal property. No one at the transito level should be allowed to search or even ask what you have in your car. This includes what amount of money you have.
Laws vary State by State, but there are very, very few infractions where a car can be impounded. Speeding, U-turns and such are not one of them.
It's all bluff and wasted time. Lock your doors and roll your window down just partway. Your glove compartment should be fortified with copies of all necessary documents. Be firm, but most of all be respectful and keep things on as friendly a level as possible."

And try to look as old as possible.

gringationcancun said...

That's odd that they make you go to the station with them!! In Cancun they give you a ticket, and you pay it whenever you want. If you pay within the first 2 weeks, you get a 50% discount.

What the hell is up with the cop who steps into the street? I wonder how that's working for him.