TALES FROM THE DONUT SHOP   BY JULES A. STAATS

 

Copyright 2014, Jules A. Staats; Library of Congress, USA.  All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. This work may be previewed only.

 

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Strongman

 

 

          Jay sorely hated working the Sheriff’s Jailer spot at the Industry Station Jail.  Even more, he disliked working the early morning shift from midnight to eight in the morning.  Put both the graveyard shift and Jailer duty and you had a very unhappy Deputy Sheriff.

 

          It was during those weary hours of midnight to three A.M. that the worst of the drunks were dragged into the station jail.  There were many aggressive men among these freshly arrested prisoners. Humans carry a terrible beast, buried deep inside their Id, otherwise known as their subconscious mind.  The presence of substantial quantities of alcohol in the body made the enragement of the beast within come to the surface. 

         

          The night was going by without any exceptional problems.  The usual drunks were being brought in by station Sheriff's Deputies. The California Highway Patrol officers and a city police department were also bringing in their fair share of drinking drivers.  Most of these men arrested, were violators of 23102a of the California Vehicle Code.  [1]

 

          The walking drunk and disorderly types were usually not tested for the amount of alcohol in their systems.  Usually, it was the unruly actions of these persons that got them a night in jail.  For the most part, the so-called, 647f drunks had a blood alcohol content far above .10.  Very drunk persons were slow on their feet and could be handled safely by police officers with keen observation, good training, good reaction time and experience.

 

          The deputy sheriff personally recalled that he once tested a man who registered .65 on the Intox Machine and the old Breathalyzer.  This man still walked and talked.  He even passed a drunk balance test in the testing room and hardly appeared intoxicated.  The medical profession still maintains that death is expected to occur over .50.  Persons who manage to survive, with bodies that contain so much alcohol, sometimes escape justice.  The reason is, since no person can survive such a high amount of alcohol in his system, either the system is in error, or the test is in error.  The reasonable doubt doctrine of the Court System allows this exceptional person who can escape death due to such a high blood alcohol content to avoid prosecution in many cases.  However the life expectancy of such a person is very limited.

 

          Then, there was the gasoline drinker.  Even though most gas in that era was full of lead in the early 1970's, there were a few young people who actually drank this stuff to get intoxicated.  The smell of the breath of such people was enough to quicken the pulse.  Presence of a person drunk on gasoline was dangerous and demanded no smoking in the area, please.  In fairness, Jay observed several gasoline drunks but never ever saw an elderly gasaholic.

 

          The deputy’s partner, call him Sam, as he is still around to read this, felt that the booking cage was full enough.  Most of the occupants of the cage were now processed and could be moved to a holding cell.  "Let's move some of these guys to the back, Jay," Sam said.

 

          Jay was waiting for just two more drunk drivers to get booked.  Then, he was going to move all five of them.  Upon hearing the suggestion from his partner to move some people back to the back, he thought it over.  Maybe it was a good idea if he would keep moving tonight.  That seemed to make the night pass by faster.  What the heck, he thought, let's move the three now.  He could come back for the remaining two bookings later.

 

          As Jay was pushing his chair away from the desk directly in front of the booking cage, Sam was already inside the front door of the twelve foot square booking room.  Sam quickly woke up the one of the three processed prisoners.  The two others were apparently ready to move.  One looked like he had his legs crossed and needed to use the bathroom.  Drunks need to take a leak more often, it seems.  Due to lack of foresight, there was no urinal available in the booking area.  The necessary toilets were on the other side of a steel door and back in the jail.

 

          Before moving the three prisoners, he had carefully reviewed the three respective booking sheets.  The three prisoners were not arrested together, and were from different parts of Los Angeles County.  One was arrested for 647 F of the Penal Code of California which is disorderly conduct, drunk, the two others for 23102A of the California Vehicle Code known as drink driving.  There were no notations of resisting arrest or any attempt battery on a police officer.  Jay was very careful about this, always checking out his prisoners.  One good reason was that major felonies and persons prone to commit an assault were placed in separate cells.  Those with dangerous attitude problems were, whenever possible, also kept by themselves.

 

          He also screened his new bookings for a personal reason.  He had seen several previous jailers get badly injured over the years.  He wanted to avoid being jumped and becoming one of those unhappy statistics.

 

          Sam escorted the three prisoners to "A" Tank, otherwise known as the "drunk tank" while Jay trailed behind.  This large holding cell was a 30 foot by 30 foot square shaped room with a twelve foot ceiling, cold green concrete block walls.  Concrete benches circled the wall, making a continuous band of seating.  The four light bulbs, recessed in the ceiling, were designed to last a long time without replacing, and therefore cast a dim yellow light on about fifteen quiet prisoners.

 

          Jay’s position was at the back of the line, and he was at the booking cage door which led to the jail hallway.  As he closed the heavy solid steel door behind him the combined smell of sweat, exhaled alcohol and smelly feet stung his nostrils.  At this time of night, the heavy odors from the drunk tank cell were also mixed with the smell of vomit.  As Jay was in charge he moved to the front of the line.  He had the three prisoners take off their shoes.  Belts, shoelaces and all other hazardous property had been placed in a property bag during the booking process.

 

          He reflected that he did not like being back here with prisoners.  With the steel door closed, it was difficult if not impossible to be heard back in the station area.   When the booking cage had noisy prisoners in it, yelling for help was not an option.  No one could hear a call for help from the interior of the Jail.  That was another reason, that he had a partner tonight.  As a safety measure, there was also a "panic button" on the wall by the door. That switch was hooked to an emergency console at the radio dispatcher's station.  Pushing the button caused everyone in the station to respond to the deputy's aid. Cops look after each other and this button would summon immediate backup in case of a prisoner assault.

 

          He always glanced at the panic button, when he walked by it.  Up to this point in time he had never pressed it.  It was tested by supervisors periodically.

 

          The second deputy and the three drunk drivers were standing in a group.  The three prisoners were all looking at the floor while they took off their boots and shoes.  Boots and shoes add more injury to a kick.  That is why footwear stayed out of the cells.

 

          Jay glanced at the three prisoners.  Then he walked by them, stepping up to the heavy barred metal sliding jail door to the drunk tank.  He placed the large six inch long Folger Adam jail key in the lock.  The heavy mechanism turned smoothly as the spring hook latch disengaged the door.  Jay pulled the massive door to the left on the sliding track.

 

          The door made a deep rumbling sound as the heavy rollers allowed the gate to slide open.

 

          Jay knew that there were fifteen men in this holding cell.  He also remembered, as he looked in the doorway, that five of these men, seated to his left, were members of a street motorcycle gang and were wearing their “colors” on motorcycle jackets that identified their specific group.

 

          He wanted to separate these gang members, but the individual felony cells were full.  Besides, these people were just picked up for being drunk in public.  Jay still did not like it.  He was leery of the ability of a team who could as a group, attack him.

 

          The members of the biker gang were dressed for the part, in dirty motorcycle jackets and blue jeans.  They were easy to spot.  All of them were sitting next to each other on the bench that was only a few feet from the entry gate.  They apparently were paying no particular attention to the cell door being opened.  He relaxed a bit, thinking to himself that they were disinterested and not a threat to the open door; No problem I just need to get this over with so I can breathe some fresh air.

         

          Shoes and boots had been taken off.  With this accomplished, Jay pointed at drunk driver #1 and told him to go inside.  The man quietly complied, and started to enter the cell.  Then it all broke loose as the attack on the two deputies started without warning:

 

          Almost simultaneously, Drunk #2 started punching Sam.  Drunk #3, who was behind Jay, was over six feet tall, and weighed just over two hundred pounds.  Jay felt a strong hairy forearm wrap around his throat.  The prisoner squeezed the tissues and airway of his neck together.  The result was immediate.  He could not breathe as his airway collapsed from the pressure.  The man who was holding him in a killer choke hold was much stronger.

 

          Jay was distantly aware of the other violent fight beside him between his fellow deputy and Drunk #2, and that the prisoner gate to the drunk tank was wide open.  The persons in this holding cell could easily come at him through this open door.

 

          The strong choking hold on Jay’s throat was having a quick effect.  His head was forced upwards and he could see the suspended ceiling on his side of the gate.  He could not see anyone in the drunk tank.  However he did hear a loud voice make a statement that was filled with hate, as one of the bikers got up from the bench.  He would never forget the words spoken in a low growl: "Let's kick their ass."

 

          He was well aware that he now faced a severe beating or even worse he could soon lose his life. 

 

          As he fought to breathe, the biker's statement seemed to bore inside of him.  Something about the five approaching hateful men struck to the core of the Deputy's soul.

 

          Jay had never felt such an inner fear of a dreadful incident to come.  His stomach felt like he was being stabbed deeply, with a dull knife.  He prayed for strength to overcome this.

 

          Then the supernatural happened as he felt a powerful, even supernatural strength come over him.  It was if another person had stepped inside his body, occupying the same space.  The feeling was a rush of great limitless power, complete confidence and control; no it was the ramification of pure Faith.  The feeling was so profound, taking away all pain, and changing the rules of physics and gravity.  It was far more than strength, caused by a mere adrenalin rush.  It was a pure supremacy of this place and time.  It was more than just mind over matter.  Jay was now in complete control of this new great force.

 

          The deputy flexed his neck muscles against the drunk’s choke hold.  He immediately started to breathe again.  No human being on the planet could prevent that restraint of his body any more.  He walked forward, with no effort, dragging the man still attached to his throat, now becoming frantic in his failing attempt to choke him.

 

          He pushed Drunk #1 in the chest with one hand.  Drunk #1 had turned around in the doorway to watch.  Drunk #1 flew through the air, skidded across the floor, and bounded off one of the cell walls.  Jay now had almost ignored the man who was still wrapping his arm around his neck.  Again with perceived little effort, he reached forward and slammed the door of the cell before the bikers got to the doorway.  The five biker gang members were now isolated from the deputies.

 

          With that accomplished, Jay started to pay attention to the adversary with the arm around his neck.  Jay just turned himself around, not needing anything to brace himself.  Now he was facing the two hundred pound man who towered over him.  This man was becoming very frightened, as he now knew he was being mightily overpowered.

 

          Jay grabbed the burly man by the front of the shirt and lifted him straight up and watched the drunks hands spread away from his body.  Jay pushed his arm up, until his elbow was straight, watching the prisoner's head push away a tile on the suspended jail hall ceiling.  He just held him there, as one would just hold a book, destined to be placed on a high shelf.  It was that easy.  This guy weighed only one pound, as far as he was concerned.

 

          As he just held the heavy set man in the air with only one arm, Jay's attention was drawn to his partner.  Sam was on his knees, facing the concrete wall.  The other drunk, who had jumped Sam, was kicking him in the back.  Inwardly, he instantly knew that Sam was already badly hurt, and was taking severe abuse that could lead to his death.

 

          Jay slowly lowered his man to the ground, placing a now, very frightened and very sober heavy set man on his feet.  For a second they just looked at each other.  Then the hatred started to well up, within the prisoner.  He was getting ready to attack again.

 

          Using almost no strength at all, Jay placed one hand in front of a shoulder and one behind.  Jay spun the man around like a top pulled down on his shoulders, and placed him in a police type choke hold,[2] the same one that had been previously applied on him but squeezing very gently.  The former adversary passed out almost at once.  Then, using only one hand, Jay gently set the now unconscious 200 pound plus suspect gently on the jail floor.  He remarked to himself that this large man only weighed about a single pound as he placed the limp and unconscious body on the concrete.

 

          He then turned to Sam's assailant, reached out with his right hand, and grabbed this next advisory by his denim jacket and clothing.  As he clutched the clothing he could hear and feel the material tearing within his grasp.  Using only his right arm, as an extension of his powers, he picked up the man and actually held him at arm’s length defying the laws of physics.  He yanked him up in the air with such force, that the suspect almost fainted from the manhandling.  Later, the assailant said that he felt that he had been picked up by a grizzly bear.  This 175 pound man later related to Detectives that anyone who could pick him up and hold him off the floor had to be a giant.  All he could do was give up, and hope that he was not going to die.  In short, the prisoner was absolutely terrified when Jay grabbed him.

 

          Seeing the man's terror, he let him go.  The prisoner, who was no longer feeling the alcohol, scrambled into a corner of the station jail hall and wrapped himself into a ball.  The deputy, for the moment, left him there.  While the man cowered on the concrete floor, sobbing, Jay finally pushed the panic button.  Within seconds there were twelve deputy sheriffs in the jail corridor.

 

          Actually assistance was not really needed at this time. There was nothing left to do. The situation was well under control.  Jay relaxed, now feeling a great weakness.  The force left from within him and had left quickly. He felt that he was very tired.  Assisting deputies determined that Sam needed to be transported to the hospital by ambulance.

 

          For Sam, his partner, there would be no more work days in the station jail.  Sam suffered permanent damage to his back.  He retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department about eighteen months later on a medical disability.

 

          The incident left a lasting impression on Jay.  He found out that this type of situation has happened to many others in the past.  As a result of this confrontation, he studied many unusual circumstances of super human deeds.  He determined, for instance, that a 90 pound woman had lifted a full size older Cadillac front end and wheels completely off the ground.  Her desire was to free her child, trapped under the car.  A fellow deputy sheriff personally observed the incident.  Cars had heavy steel bumpers in those days.  The lifting force necessary to raise the car would have caused the edges of the bumper to deeply lacerate her hands.  There were absolutely no marks on her hands from lifting the heavy car.  There are many stories like this and most readers have heard or read about some of them. 

 

          The incredible facts of this true story show that what did happen was impossible.  Most will say that this is a violation of the rules of the physical world.  It cannot be done; some will say or think, for a cop, no matter how strong, to be able to lift a person, who weighs more than he, in a straight arm position over his head.  The problem is obvious and a simple matter of balance.  A person cannot hold a heavy weight over his head and out at a forty-five degree angle with his feet side by side.  This was not a feat of strength, but something much greater.  Even the strongest person in the world could not hold a 200 plus person away from his body and over his head with a single straight arm.

 

          As an example, the strongest crane or derrick, not properly balanced with necessary outriggers, restraints, and supports, will fall and tip over.  Weight will topple this machine if the lifting task is not studied and prepared for.  Therefore holding a person like this is absolutely impossible.  Just using brute muscular strength will not work in this environment.   Could it be that there is something really supernatural about this?  Did a spirit actually enter Jay's being, giving him complete control of his emergency situation?  There are a lot of questions about what happened how all this was possible.  He finally found the answer that was written long ago in a book.  Jay had an answer based on the words confidence or faith; 

Matthew 17:20  For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”   The only answer available is that Jay is a Christian by faith and his faith overpowered evil.

 

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[1]   Police did not arrest persons in 1980 in California who were under the influence of alcohol unless they were highly intoxicated.  The minimum was .10 at that time.  In truth, most of these arrested people were too drunk to even walk the streets, much less try to drive a motor vehicle.  Still, below that .10 percent level, most of the suspects were released at the sheriff’s station without charges. A major exception was when the driver’s observed driving performance was extremely bad.  If the suspects drove very poorly, there was the possibility of alcohol with use of drugs being involved.  The synergism of drugs and alcohol, and drugs was just getting started at this time as substance use steadily increased.  The problem of this combination would become a real problem with Law Enforcement in the future.

 

[2] The police type “Sleeper Hold” was part of the tools and procedures for subduing persons at that time.  Due to a number of fatal incidents, this choke hold is no longer authorized by most Police and Sheriff’s departments.