The call was for an “OBS.”
If I’m remembering correctly, OBS is an acronym for Organic Brain Syndrome, but it’s used in my circles to refer to somebody who’s basically crazy.
I guess crazy isn’t politically correct, and maybe OBS isn’t either, but you get the picture.
OBS calls are by far my least favorite, because they almost always involve dealing with somebody who’s agitated, probably not taking necessary medication, and somebody often needs to go to a hospital against their will.
These calls are dispatched as two officer calls, and the other officer had arrived before I did. When I pulled up, I noticed the officer, who’s young and has been doing the job for less than two years, had his Taser out.
He’s a good, young officer. He’s not a hot head or one of those guys who makes a bad situation worse by escalating it with his mouth or actions.
In front of him was a large 19 year old, young man with his arms raised as he moved forward towards the officer. Another person tried to restrain him. The kid was waving his arms in the air and challenging the officer to shoot him with the Taser.
“Whatch you gonna do!? I don’t care, shoot me with dat Taser!”
He was loud and obnoxious and a pretty big kid to boot.
The guy trying to hold him back was trying to help with his actions, but his words were conspiring against those well intentioned actions.
I had grabbed my large flashlight and was walking towards the fun when I heard the other guy telling the OBS that “these officers ain’t gonna play wit you, man. They’s white dudes, man. They’ll shoot you dead.”
“Fuck them then! Let them shoot me; I don’t give a fuck!”
He was getting all wound up and I could feel my eyeball twitching. I’d be lying if I said the thought of drop kicking both of those men across the nearby park didn’t cross my mind.
As I got closer, the OBS turned his rage on me and asked what I was gonna do.
I ignored him and rolled my eyes to nobody in particular as I walked past the three of them to a woman I suspected was momma.
Momma said her son was schizophrenic and was two weeks overdue on his medicine.
“I ain’t taking my medicine!” the boy screamed at his mom.
“You need your medicine, Junior!” Momma said back to him calmly.
I could tell this poor woman was spent. She said Junior had torn up her house. The door was wide open and from the front yard, I could see a Christmas tree on the floor and broken ornaments all around.
“You’ve got your hands full, don’t you?” I’m the master at stating the obvious.
The guy who had been holding Junior back let him go and left in a car, obviously no longer concerned enough that we might shoot his loved one to stick around for it.
“Will you at least let the ambulance come to the house so the paramedics can talk to you, Junior?” I asked.
“I ain’t talking to nobody and I ain’t going nowhere! I need five dollars to buy my weed. That’ll calm me down!”
Junior unzipped his sweat jacket and took a couple of steps towards me.
“No sir,” I said in my regular tone. I pointed the butt end of my flashlight at Junior and said, “Come one step closer to me and you’re gonna need that ambulance for more than your medicine.”
Junior cursed me and started to walk away from the house. He walked down the sidewalk as I talked to mom about what we could do.
“I really don’t want to have to wrestle your son into the back of an ambulance, ma’am. Somebody’s going to get hurt.”
As we talked about different options, Junior came back ranting and raving about still wanting five dollars to buy some weed.
“Get off my property!” Junior yelled at me. “I need five dollars to buy some weed!”
“Oh my god, fuck! Go buy your weed, Junior.” I told him. I was frustrated by this point. “Buy your goddam weed and then come back here with it so we can throw your ass into the back of a police car and be done with you for the night.”
It wasn’t my finest moment, but this house wasn’t in my area and I was getting aggravated.
Junior walked around in a couple of circles before he finally sat down on his mom’s porch.
“Does he have medicine here, mom?” I asked.
“Yes, let me go get it,” she answered.
Momma walked into the house through the open door. I heard her say something to somebody and then say, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” probably to herself.
I felt bad for her.
Junior had lost much of his spunk and looked a little defeated when he looked towards me and said, “I ain’t taking my medicine.”
He said it matter of factly, not with anymore of the anger he had displayed just moments earlier.
Momma had come back out with several different bottles of medicine in her arms.
“Junior, if you let your mom give you your medicine, I’ll leave your property. I’ll leave you alone and you’ll never see me again,” I said. I don’t know how rational schizophrenics off their meds are, but getting rid of me seemed like one of the few positive outcomes for this kid at this point.
I started to walk away as momma coaxed some pills and a couple large spoonfuls of something down his throat.
We win, I thought to myself.
I turned back and walked a couple of steps closer to mom and Junior.
“Will that calm him down, mom? You’re going to be okay now?”
She assured us that he would be fine now and that they’d get him whatever more permanent shot he needed as soon as possible.
I thanked Junior for doing the right thing, wished he and his mom a Merry Christmas, and we left, without anybody getting hurt.
That’s a winning outcome.
Dealing with people suffering from mental disorders is one of the most challenging aspects of being a cop. Having mom here certainly helped to keep this from turning ugly. Had this kid left and been somewhere else, would we have known he had a mental condition and wasn’t just all worked up and angry about something or other? I don’t know the answer to that. People don’t carry signs with them indicating they have a mental disorder, and it’s not always easy to spot. I don’t know that he would have calmed down so quickly had he not been at home with his mom there. Had he continued on with his raging, he almost certainly would have been Tazed to keep him from hurting himself or somebody else, but that’s for another day, I guess.