Ridley hung back with the body. After a minute, he started giving directions to the techs.
Twenty minutes later, they had triangulated the body in high beams and the alley had taken on an unnatural brilliance. The crime scene people had set up a cordon of yellow tape, uniformed officers, black and white police cars, all of them conspiring to block unauthorized access to Maiden Lane, although due to the hour that wasn't yet much of an issue. Still, half a dozen police radios crackled. The first news team had arrived--a van and its crew from a local television station--and the negotiations over access to the scene between the perky, aggressive newscaster and the supervising sergeant tempted Glitsky to take out his gun and shoot somebody.
Instead, he accompanied Ridley Banks to the squad car and the officers who had discovered the body and apprehended the suspect. Two uniformed men exited the vehicle from both front doors at the same time, introducing themselves as Medrano and Petrie.
"That the shooter?" Glitsky asked, pointing to the backseat where the suspect sat propped against the side door, slumped over. "I think I'll talk to him."
The two officers exchanged a glance and a shrug. The older officer, Medrano, replied. "You can try, sir. But he hasn't moved in an hour."
"At least that and plenty of it." The other uniform, Petrie, hesitated for an instant, then continued. "Also appears to be mainlining something. Tracks up his arms. He's gonna need some detox time."
Glitsky received this not entirely surprising news in silence. Then he nodded and walked around to the other side of the squad car, where the suspect leaned heavily against the door, and pulled it open quickly. With his hands cuffed behind him, the man fell sideways out onto the pavement. His feet stayed up in the car while his head hit the asphalt with a thick, hollow sound. The man moaned once and rolled over onto his back.
"Sounds like he's coming around," Glitsky said.
Ridley Banks pulled a toot sweet around the front of the car and got himself standing between his lieutenant and the lights at the head of the alley. There'd been so many accusations of police brutality lately that the media were watching for it at every opportunity. And now his lieutenant was giving them something. Ridley motioned with his head, a warning, then spoke in a whisper. "Cameras, Abe. Heads up."
Glitsky was all innocence. "What? The poor guy fell." The suspect lay unmoving at his feet. He hadn't moved after the first rollover. The lieutenant looked over the hood of the squad car to Medrano and Petrie. "Take this garbage to the detail until he wakes up."
Petrie looked at his partner again. Neither of them had ever met Glitsky before and he was making an impression--he wasn't one of your touchy-feely modern law enforcement community facilitators. The younger officer cleared his throat and Glitsky glared. "What?"
Petrie swallowed, finally got it out. "The detail, sir?"
"What about it?"
Medrano took over. "The guy looks good for medical eval, Lieutenant. We were thinking we'd show him to the paramedics."
Glitsky knew that this meant the suspect would probably wind up going to the hospital, where there were secure rooms for jail inmates who needed medical care. This prospect didn't much appeal to him. "What for?"
Medrano shrugged. It wasn't that he cared personally, but the lieutenant's suggestion ran counter to the protocol. He wanted to cover himself. "Get him cleared before we take him anywhere, maybe start detox before he goes into withdrawal."
Glitsky had a deep and ancient scar that ran across his mouth, and now with his lips pursed it burned as a whitish gash under the hawk nose, the jutting chin. Glitsky's mother had been African-American, his father Jewish--his visage was dark, intense, hooded. "How do we know he needs medical care?"
Reprinted from The Hearing by John Lescroart by permission of Dutton, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2001 by John Lescroart. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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