By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Afraid that people might not believe his story, Ambrose McCree has carried newspaper clippings of other black men who've been beaten by police officers. For this man, the Rodney King videotape proved what he'd said all along--these things happen.
Unlike McCree, whose story tumbles almost unbidden from his lips, Fay Wasp is reluctant to discuss what happened to her.
a body bag.' When he said that, I can't explain how I felt. I was scared. I didn't think I'd see my kids again. I was shaking and crying."
As she talks, Wasp breaks down and cries throughout the remainder of the interview.
"They say I struck my boyfriend. I did not strike anyone. This is the worst thing that's ever happened to me in my entire life. I tried to keep it from escalating. I kept thinking of that [King] video. I didn't want things to get out of hand."
Officer Paul Gottwald tells an entirely different story. In his departmental report he wrote: "Officer [Robert] Remsik told us neither subject furnished him with any identification. He also said Wasp admitted to striking the victim, Foster, her boyfriend, several times during the family fight that they had been involved in.
"Officer [Russel] Rader and I stood by with Officer Remsik while he attempted to verify who the two subjects were. As I was speaking with Wasp, we were standing at the curb to the rear of her vehicle and in front of Officer Remsik's vehicle, she became upset, said she was leaving. She turned and walked towards her car in an attempt to leave the scene. I caught up with her and took hold of her left upper arm. I told her she couldn't leave until we had finished our investigation. I turned her around and began leading her toward our car, telling her I was going to put her in the back of our car. At that time she attempted to stop her forward progress by holding back. I immediately took her by the left wrist with my left hand. As I did so, Wasp started to swing her right arm around in an attempt to strike me with her closed fist. I stepped back, pulling her around and off balance. I restrained her with my left arm across her shoulders and walked her, struggling, to our car. She was placed in our car and eventually transferred to 620 West Washington for processing.
"When we arrived, Wasp refused to get out of the back seat, saying several times, very loudly, `No, I'm not getting out, this is wrong, you fucking make me get out.' Officer Rader and I attempted to remove Wasp from the rear seat of our car and were successful, but she collapsed on the ground between our car and another next to it. Because of her extremely loud and uncooperative behavior, we decided to return her to our back seat and take her directly to Madison jail.
"He's no longer sleeping in his room," said Ransom. "I wake up in the morning and he's awake in the living room, watching TV. He never did that before the attack."
On March 2, 24 hours before Rodney King was videotaped in Los Angeles and while Chief Ortega's report was being revised at City Hall, Phoenix police turned one of their German shepherds loose on Jermond Ransom.
Jermond and his friend, David Lopez, were at a birthday party for a girl they knew. The celebration came as a surprise to the girl's mother, who, when she discovered what was going on, threw everybody out. Laughing over the uproar, Jermond Ransom and Lopez left and started jogging toward home.
"I had driven by the area moments earlier and noticed the cop cars and the helicopter," said Jermond's mother, "but I didn't think too much about it."
After jogging across an open field, Jermond and David squatted against a wall, catching their breath. From the far end of the field, the two boys noticed a group of men coming toward them.
"`Hey, hey you,' they shouted," said Jermond. "We saw these guys running at us with flashlights. It was dark out, and we could see these lights." Jermond said he didn't recognize the men advancing across the field as police officers.
"I was scared and kept running."
Jermond boosted himself up over the wall and ran a short distance until he saw several unattended squad cars parked near the side of the road.
His friend David, who never climbed the wall, was apprehended immediately and handcuffed.
When Jermond saw the cop cars, he ducked into the bushes nearby.
A police helicopter hovered above him, and momentarily the other officers arrived on the scene.
"They didn't need dogs to find me. I wasn't hid that good."
That is an understatement. The bushes Jermond Ransom crouched in are particularly thin and give the sort of camouflage that only a panicked thirteen-year-old would think offered any real concealment.
According to Jermond, the police officers quickly spotted him. Instead of reaching in and extracting the seventh grader, instead of ordering the kid out of the bushes, they put a dog on him.