Skateboarding is Not a Crime
A short drabble by renagrrl
Author's note: I saw a similar story on the news not too long ago and it inspired this little drabble about Jet. I decided to post it now since someone mentioned that they wanted to know more about Katara's and Jet's relationship. Please note that this takes place prior to "College Daze," approximately during Katara's freshman year at BSSU. Enjoy!
Jet was cruising towards the Ba Sing Se University campus on his skateboard, attempting to make it to class on time for once. As soon as he entered the main walkway onto university property, a campus police officer stopped him.
"Please get off your skateboard, sir—there's no skateboarding on campus," the office asked patiently.
"I'm not getting off my board—skateboarding isn't a crime buddy," Jet coolly replied. As he tried to push off to continue along his way, the officer stood there unmoving and blocking his way.
"Well then, I'm afraid I'm going to have to give you a ticket and confiscate your board," the sideburned policeman responded in kind, staring Jet straight in the eyes.
"I'm not letting you confiscate my board! Now, just give me the ticket and get out of my fucking way," Jet said, his voice raised ever so slightly. His eyes were thin, reflecting his rising anger at being ticketed—not to mention taking my board!—for a victimless crime.
"Excuse me, but you shouldn't talk to an officer like that," the uniformed man replied seriously, pulling out a notepad to write a ticket for the bushy haired teenager before him.
"Excuse me, but you're not a real cop anyways. I know all you guys are just shitty rent-a-cops hired out by the university," Jet sneered back.
"Oh really," the officer replied. Turning his head to speak into the radio on his shoulder, the cop continued, "This is Officer Zhao. I'm gonna need some backup. I'm at the main walkway with a skateboarder that refuses to respond to orders."
"Look toy cop, I'm not giving you my fucking skateboard! This is my main mode of transportation—what if somebody took away your pig-mobile?" with that, Jet got in the cop's face as if to emphasize his point, poking his index finger into the man's wide chest.
"You better step away and relinquish your skateboard young man, or you're gonna be sorry," the cop said sternly as he took an aggressive stance with the young man refusing his orders.
"I'm not doing anything—I'm just minding my business trying to get to class ASSHOLE," Jet bellowed, successful in his attempt to make a scene and attract the attention of passers-by.
Upon hearing Jet's accusation, a crowd built up around the two and another cop car drove up quickly, screeching to a halt as it approached the scene. The new officer ran up to Jet and his colleague. That's when Jet made a very wrong move--some would even go so far as to say it was a stupid move. Turning away from the officers, Jet picked up his board and tried to run into the crowd. Man, I don't need this shit right now. I fucking hate cops…he thought as he dashed into the densely packed group of bodies.
As soon as Jet turned with his board in hand, the policeman that he had been arguing with took out a small remote control-looking device.
"Stop right where you are mister!" the officer barked.
When Jet didn't respond, the cop quickly caught up to Jet, who was caught in the surrounding crowd. Upon reaching his prey, the officer placed the small black box against his back and pressed a button. With that, Jet screamed something inaudible and fell to the ground. As he fell, the crowd scattered, forming a large circle around the injured young man and the officer.
The new cop that had recently arrived at the scene quickly descended on Jet's tensed body, crouching alongside his fellow officer. Officer Zhao ordered Jet to take his hands out from under him to be handcuffed, to which Jet shouted, "FUCK YOU!" Again, many would say this was a stupid move...
With that, Jet was tasered a second time for resisting arrest, or so he would later be told. After the second shockwave of electricity coursed through his body, Jet complied fully with any and all of the officers' requests. While he was being loaded into the back seat of the black-and-white car, students stood nearby, shocked by what they had witnessed. Within moments of their departure, the crowd dispersed, returning to their normal routine of heading to class, lunch or the library.
After pulling away from the scene of the Jet's supposed "crime," they drove the lanky young man to the university's on-campus police station. They held him in one of the detention cells while he recuperated and calmed down. When Jet was allowed to make a phone call for someone to pick him up, he called the only person he thought would care. I just hope she picks up...he thought as he dialed the memorized number.
"Hello?" the female voice at the other end answered in confusion, not recognizing the number on her caller ID.
"Hey Katara. It's Jet. I got into some trouble. Can you come by the campus police station and pick me up? I've got a helluva story to tell you," Jet replied deadpan into the mouthpiece.
"Yeah, I'll be there in a minute, Jet. I hope you're okay," Katara replied worriedly before hanging up the phone.
After Katara stopped by the station to pick him up, they walked towards the quiet pond on campus. While relating the story to Katara, he never looked her in the eyes and instead stared at the turtle-ducks sunning on the rocks, the koi fish swimming in the pond— anything except those big blue eyes staring incredulously at him. After Jet finished his story, Katara sat there cross-legged on the grass mortified.
"Well?" Jet asked as coolly as possible, ever-present toothpick in his mouth, not knowing how to handle her shocked face and wanting to break the silence between them. Is she upset with me? Angry? What? Say something Katara, anything…
"Well, nothing. That's just crazy what happened to you Jet! They absolutely used excessive force on you. We've got to tell somebody about what happened. I'm calling someone at the school paper—they've got to hear about this!" the brunette said with finality. This is fucking crazy...How is he so calm about what happened?!? Doesn't he realize the injustice of it all? That's it, I've got to do something!
Soon enough, Katara was on the phone, relaying Jet's story to the editor of the school newspaper. The next day, an article on Jet's altercation with the cops was front page news. The BSSU administration was up in arms about the incident and insisted on a full investigation into what happened. Officer Zhao and the officer were both placed on administrative leave until the situation could be sorted out. University administrators thought the bad publicity in the school newspaper was enough, but that wasn't the half of it.
Unbeknownst to both Jet and the cops, a student had gotten the last 30 seconds of the scene taped on their cell phone camera. Within 24 hours, the footage of the young man being tasered was out to all the TV stations in Ba Sing Se and an article ran in The Ba Sing Se Times two days later. Upon seeing the article—which ran on the front page of the local section—BSSU administrators knew they had a serious public image problem on their hands when The Ba Sing Se Times ran a full-color photo of Jet on his skateboard wearing his "Skateboarding is Not a Crime" T-shirt.