“Detective Hackett, my lawyer told me never to do anything without him present,” I said, “so if he’s not here, I’m refusing to be a part of this.”
“Listen to me, Gary,” Hackett replied. I could tell he was starting to get annoyed. “I’ve had a long, hard day so far, and I’m tired. This court order permits me to hold the lineup with or without your permission, so you might as well make things easy for all of us.”
“You’re tired?” I hollered back. “I’ve been locked up for four months now! I’m the one who’s tired!”
“Listen, you little prick,” Hackett said, gritting his teeth, “I was going to treat you to Chinese food for lunch later on, but now I’ve changed my mind. In fact, you can just sit here by yourself until the witness arrives.”
He then handcuffed me to the bench that I was sitting on, and slammed the door shut behind him.
After sitting alone for nearly twenty minutes, I began to hear some activity taking place on the other side of the one-way mirror. The female witness had arrived, and the lineup was about to begin. But there was no sign of Jankowitz anywhere.
Hackett then attempted to reenter the room, but couldn’t get in. He had inadvertently locked the door when he stormed out of the room in disgust earlier, and didn’t have the key.
It took a half an hour to find somebody with the correct key, and by then, Hackett was furious. However, with Barone in the room now, he didn’t exhibit any of his temper.
I was still adamant about not participating in the lineup, but permitted Barone to talk me into being in it. He assured me that Jankowitz authorized him to “represent” my interests and that he had done this many times in the past. Regrettably, I reluctantly agreed.
Into the room entered five “fillers” to sit in the lineup with me. They were all plain-clothes police officers, and barely matched my physical appearance, if at all. Most of them were at least three inches taller and fifty pounds heavier, but what could I really do at that point?
Hackett gave me my choice of seats to sit in, and I took number four. After the fillers took their respective positions, I, and the others who wore glasses, were told to take them off, and then we all put on a red baseball cap. Now, at least, there was some sort of uniformity in this lineup because, sitting, we all slightly resembled one another.
Hackett then knocked on the mirror three times, and the lineup actually began. I could hear Detective Harris and the witness speaking on the other side of the wall, and I just stared straight ahead without blinking an eye. I felt like I was guest-starring in an episode of N.Y.P.D. Blue, and I was the prime suspect.
“Take your time,” Harris told the witness.
“I think it’s number four, but I am not a hundred percent sure,” she said, after doing what she was instructed.
“Look them over again, and try to think back to the day your store was robbed,” Harris said next.
After a brief pause, the woman, in a timid voice, replied, “I’m sorry. I’m still not absolutely positive, but I think that number four is the one from that day. You know, I have so many customers and all.”
“That’s okay, you did fine,” Harris acknowledged, as he knocked three times on his side of the wall to signal the end of the lineup.
Barone entered the room as Hackett and the fillers departed, and we spoke alone one final time.
“I have good news and bad news, Gary,” he said. “The bad news is that the witness identified you, but the good news is that she wasn’t a hundred percent positive.”
“I know,” I revealed. “I heard the whole thing from in here.”
“Why did you stare straight ahead the entire time without moving?” asked Barone. “The other guys acted so naturally by turning their heads from side to side, but you looked guilty.”
“You never told me what to do,” I responded, itching to punch this so-called expert son-of-a-bitch right in his face.
“Well,” he said, “I believe that this lineup won’t hurt you anyway because of the fact that you weren’t positively identified by the witness. Also, I’m going to put in my report that it wasn’t conducted properly due to the discrepancy in the appearances of the fillers. So I wouldn’t worry if I were you.”
Yeah, right. That was easy for him to say.
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