From Conway Police Department reports

The soul of night’s lament

Something was going on, but they weren’t sure what, being a "unknown call" which dispatched officers to the Conway Human Development Center Wednesday, Dec. 6 at (and you knew this was coming) 40 minutes after midnight. And there, in the early morning cold, the investigation began.

One of the first officers to arrive, not the reporting officer, pulled up and a woman walked up to his car began speaking with him, walking up to the car to do so. The reporting officer got out of his car and joined the conversation. As he did so, there it was, the "odor of intoxicants" from the woman. The officer got a name.

While this was going on the officer called Center staff and was told the woman, the same one currently engaged as a conversation partner, had walked up to one of the residence buildings a short time earlier and told the attendant her car had broken down on the road. With that, the officer was told, the woman declared she was having a "panic attack" in the bathroom of the residence building.

The attendant told her to take a deep breath. The woman turned to her and asked, she told the officer "Did you tell me to take a deep breath?" At which she began yelling and cursing, before storming out of the building.

At which point the attendant told staff to lock all doors, he said.

And with that, the woman tried to get back in, outside the building, yelling and cursing as well as banging at the entrance at her efforts in futility to get past the locked doors.

The officer got off the phone, his attention returning to the woman, still in conversation with the officer. Was there somebody who could pick her up, the officer asked? The answer was not clear, the woman, 55, instead telling police that she prayed for the police, and that she loved them.

The officer tried a different question: Did the woman have her phone? She thought, maybe, it was in her purse, she replied. Did she know where her purse was? No, no she didn’t because "they," as she put it, were chasing her.

Question: "Who are they?" She would not answer this.

A third officer joined the conversation (because, I mean really, why not?) while the reporting officer got back on the phone to staff there, asking if, perhaps, the woman had left her purse in the building.

It was there, and, to the officer’s request, agreed to bring the purse to where police were. The purse was handed over to the woman who pulled her phone out and started going through her contacts. She didn’t really have anyone who could come and get her, she told police. The reporting officer asked if she could think of anyone who might, and the woman replied she could call her ex-husband, but doubted he would come for her. She then began looking through her contacts for that man’s name.

An officer offered to call a cab for the woman. She doubted she could pay for it, was her reply. With some back and forth the woman called Yellow Cab to take her to her home. While waiting, the reporting officer offered for her sit in his car, in the back, where she could stay warm. (She was lightly dressed, in only a light sweater.)

The woman began crying and yelling, telling the gathered officers she would not get in the back of a police car because she would "never get out." The officer worked to calm her down, telling her he would not close the door on her, and that this was an offer for her to get out of the cold. She kept crying, and the officer turned and closed the car door.

The woman continued crying and an officer encouraged her to calm down. She would not calm down, she replied, instead cursing at the officer and telling him, "I prayed for your ass." The officer raised his voice, again encouraging the woman to calm down. She would not, instead continuing to cry and yell.

And there, the very early morning hours, the blue dark cold of winter’s closing solstice, the three officers, the odor of intoxicants, the crying, the yelling, the cursing, the, even, having prayed for one’s donkey, the handcuffs came out. She was, once cuffed, loaded into the same patrol car she had earlier refused to get in, continuing to yell, telling the gathered officers that she prayed for them and she loved them and why, in light of this prayerful love, was she being arrested?

As two officers got her in the car and third worked on the tow form for her car. The reporting officer offered to help.

There was a set of keys in the car’s ignition, the officer was told, and he went to the car, a 2016 Kia Soul to check. Yes, there in the ignition, keys. The officer recalled the woman said she parked her car because it would not shift out of first gear, and here he noticed the car was still in drive. He moved to shift it into park but found the gear shift would not move.

And it was here he realized the car was in the manual shift mode - hence it was in first gear because nobody was shifting gears. He put the car in automatic mode and put the gearshift in park. He left the car with the tow-sheet preparing officer, taking the woman to jail.

On the way she continued to ask why she was being arrested, her praying for and loving the officers as she did. She also, the officer reported, kicked and banged on the car’s front-back seat divider all the way to the jail.