Friday, March 02, 2007

Yet another restatement of the case…

I finally got something like a reply letter from Fair Trials Abroad and getting their brief letter got me to thinking about my case again. I hate when this happens. I would genuinely like to have the whole thing behind me. Really, you have no idea what it is like to be held in Poland; about their methods and what it is like to have to deal with them. I hate that this event is even in my consciousness because it colors every aspect of my life and thinking now; all interactions, all new acquaintances, everything.

But let me give it another try here today. Perhaps at least if I can get this essay right, maybe I could stick it in the case section of

Ok, briefly said: I got attacked by an off duty cop in Warsaw on May 15th, 2002. The cop, Tomaz Zaremba, was driving his car and I was riding my bike and he came from behind me at an intersection and tried to run me into a standing bus. When Zaremba refused to get out of his car to tell me why he had done what he had done, or to apologize, I hit him. After a brief scuffle, I rode my bike over to a police station about 200 meters away, he followed me and told the police it had been me who arbitrarily attacked him, that I had caused all of the damage that had ever been done to his 8-year-old car and that I was also guilty of breaking four of his teeth.

Despite there being no evidence saying I was in anyway responsible for anything and a ridiculous amount of evidence that said Zaremba was lying, the police arrested me, the public prosecutor decided to press charges against me and the courts, rather than taking bail, took my passport away so that I could not leave Poland. They kept me there for a farce of a trial that lasted 11 months. I, as you can imagine have not been back since.

As for specifics, I offer a few points.

  • The story Zaremba told the officer who was sent to the scene was that the incident was at the crossing, that he had driven in front of me and that I came to him though I wasn't hurt. This resembles pretty much my story exactly. However, Zaremba changed his story at the police station, added a quote for damages and embellished on the story trying to make my actions fit the damages on his car. (In subsequent interviews he embellished even more). No statements from the more than forty people who were at the intersection were ever taken.

  • Photographs taken by the cop himself proved that the damage was old. When told about this, the cop changed his story to account for it, claiming that the inspection report was taken in the rain. A check of the weather report showed that he was again, lying.

  • The official medical report showed he was lying about his teeth.

  • The original justification for the case going to trial claimed that at least one witness would be called. This claim was never honored. Neither of the two people he called was at the scene, nor did they even have anything to say about the incident. The first was the arresting officer who testified only that he could not remember anything- My own lawyer advised me also not to press him on this. The second was the man who bought the car from Zaremba. In his testimony however, we learned that Zaremba had been in yet another accident six weeks after our confrontation.

  • The only "official" estimate of damages ever turned in to the courts was made after this second accident. Apparently, the reason for never offering a damage report was that the damages to the car would have matched exactly an insurance claim made by Zaremba after yet another accident, in January of 2002 from which he had already been paid.

  • The only pro-active statement made against me was from an "auto-expert" who claimed that the damages to the car "could have been caused by a hand." Fingerprints were taken from myself and from the car. There was never any evidence in any way that said this was my hand.

  • Called as the only eye witness by myself, Zaremba's daughter told the court that her parents had told her what to say. Her testimony proves this to be true.

  • During the "discovery period, the prosecutor, Stanislav Wiesniakowski, called me into his office and had a friendly conversation with me in which he insisted on speaking about how little money a public prosecutor in Poland made. He also told me that the cop had insisted he wanted to get a gun and shoot me.

  • My attorneys refused in any meaningful way to help my case

  • The judges refused in any meaningful way to hear the case or accept any evidence from my side

  • I have never been allowed to press charges against the cop, not at the desk on May 15th, not after at the police stations, not through any of my attorney's or at any place during the trial.

    This blog, the book BEING HAD, the website, the BHTimes, the Polish Corruption page and all of the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of words I have written since then have been about this case and my life since all of this happened.

    As a result of Poland's holding me, the lives of my friends, family and myself have been irrevocably altered, my reputation tarnished and my name run through the mud. I have since then been disallowed from participating in anything even remotely close to the life I had before. This is what I have been left to do in its place.

    So you know that is what it is all about. You can look at the site and find all of the papers and evidence there. If you have any questions or comments, if you want to help, to contribute to the cause, please do. Please write to me, please give your opinions, and please hit the pay pal. I haven't quit. I probably haven't even really gotten started; but I will have my day and that is what this is all about.

    More soon…