Picture it: You’re a doctor. In fact, you run your own internal medicine practice. You’re a medical geneticist, in one of the hardest, most specialized fields in medicine. You get a patient emergency call, so you drop everything and go. Do you have your driver’s licenses on you? Maybe, not sure, GOTTA GO. Your husband is driving you, in his Jaguar. Are you speeding? Fuck yes, you’re speeding. If you get pulled over, you’ll pay the ticket. And you do get pulled over. And your husband says, “Officer, I know we were speeding, we’ll take the ticket. She’s a doctor and we’re rushing to a patient right now.” And the cop gives you the ticket and you go off to save your patient’s life or whatever. That’s what happens, right? Did we forget to mention that you’re a black lady and your husband is a black man?
Dr. Marcia Bowden of Memphis tells a different story of what happened when she and her husband were pulled over in the Memphis suburb of Southaven, Mississippi, on Sept. 7. Details are still one-sided, so we will issue a disclaimer and a trigger warning (because all internet articles need those), simply to say for the record that we have one account, from one person, and the Southaven Police Department isn’t talking. We’ve been racking our brain and haven’t figured out a reason for a woman of such prominence to lie, though.
Here’s how Dr. Bowden tells it, in an email to Memphis’s New Tri-State Defender:
My husband gave the officer my business card. He asked, ‘What is this for?’ My husband said this is my wife’s business card, we were heading to her office for a patient’s emergency. The officer said he didn’t care about that. The officer asked my husband for his name and address. […] The officer had called for backup and Officer Delany approached.
Backup, obviously, because black people are in a Jaguar, so it’s probably stolen, right? Dr. Bowden said in her email that at this point, the officer ran her husband’s license, but we’re going to guess she meant they ran other stuff, because clearly her husband did not have his license readily available:
My husband asked if he could look in the trunk for his license, the officer said yes. Officer Delany immediately talked about arresting my husband. My husband was allowed to look in the trunk. The officers at no time asked if they could search the car, but proceeded to look in the trunk and search the car.
According to the New Tri-State Defender, he thought he had his license, but they’d been to a formal social event the night before and it was in the jacket pocket of the tux he wore that night. Oops. We’ve all been jailed for that, haven’t we? But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Officer Delany asked who I was to ‘that man?’ I said he is my husband. Officer Delany said, ‘You are lying, y’all don’t even have the same last name.’ I said, officer I had a business 9-10 years before we got married and I didn’t change my name, My business is in my name “Bowden Internal Medicine” He (asked) where is that, I said Memphis. Officer Delany said you are lying, y’all don’t have the same address. I said we are married.
It’s super confusing how women don’t always automatically take their
guardians’ husbands’ names, especially when they own businesses and are known by their given names. This must be part of that thing rednecks are upset about when they say they want their country back.
Dr. Bowden’s husband, Ira Marche, was still reportedly trying to figure out where the fuck he had put his license. Maybe the glove box? He asked the officer permission to check there for it, Dr. Bowden swung her legs out of the way and out of the car, and that’s when she got scared:
I looked out of the door (and) Officer Delany had his hand on the trigger of his revolver and had it lifted in the holster on his right hip. I was terrified that he would shoot my husband in the back. ‘I said officers don’t shoot us, we are law abiding citizens. I support the police and donate to all police causes, I know how hard the job is, but we are not criminals. PLEASE, you do not have to take your gun out, I am afraid.’
“Officer Delany said, ‘shut up maam and get out of the car and let me see your license.’ My husband said to me, ‘Honey, be quiet, these people are red neck, they will hurt you. They don’t care who you are or what you have done for the community.
At some point during this interaction, Marche reportedly SAID A CUSS, which, as we know, is illegal under American Redneck White Trash Sharia Law.
So, Dr. Bowden tried to find her license, and she was getting scared and stressed out, and apparently her purse was a messy pit of hell no man dare rifle through, like many ladies’ purses are. (NOT JUDGING, JUST SAYING A TRUTH.)
Finally, she gave the officer her purse, because if he needs that license so bad, FEEL FREE TO FIND IT. At this point, sounds like everybody knows Mr. Marche’s driver’s license is somewhere else. Bowden offered that they probably accidentally left it at her dad’s house around the corner, maybe? They can just go there and get it? You can come with? Something other than jail? Nope. (Remember, it was in the tuxedo jacket from the night before.)
Officer Delany said, ‘I am not about to wait for you to do nothing. I will have this car towed and throw you in jail too; that man is going to jail today.’
“I said, I can call the mayor’s wife, she can vouch for us. Officer Delany yelled, ‘I don’t care who you call.’
“I was in the process of explaining to Mrs. Wharton (Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s wife) the situation. I was so frightened I couldn’t tell Mrs. Wharton the whole story and she asked to speak to the officer so that she could vouch for us. I gave the phone to Officer Delany. He told Mrs. Wharton, ‘I don’t care who you are’ and hung up on her. I tried to explain to Officer Delany that Mrs. Wharton could vouch for me and Officer Delany said, ‘I don’t care who you know, you are going to jail if you don’t show me your license.
Yr Wonkette knows Mrs. Wharton. She is lovely. We were playing piano at a party recently and she said we “made her night” by playing show tunes for her. She’s a big fan of “Phantom Of The Opera.” Anyway.
The cop cuffed Dr. Bowden, and she reports he put weight on the cuffs in a way that hurt and ultimately left marks on her. He didn’t let her have access to her inhaler. (Hey, remember what happened LAST TIME the Southaven Police Department wouldn’t let somebody have their inhaler?)
Then everybody got to go to jail:
“I asked Officer Delany what he was charging my husband with. He said the use of profane language. I said officer, ‘My husband was talking to me, you can’t charge him with the use of profanity. Officer Delany said, ‘He used profane language in the presence of two people, he is getting arrested today.’
COCK DICK MOTHERFUCKER TWAT GODDAMNED JESUS PUSSY BRITCHES. You gonna come arrest Wonkette now, Southaven PD? Haha just kidding, everybody who works at Wonkette is white.
Her asthma started acting up, and by the time she was in jail, she was full-on getting sick and throwing up. Finally, she convinced them to take her to the hospital, where the doctor said, surprise, you’re getting sick because of the stress they’re putting you through. Remember what happened LAST TIME somebody went to the hospital in the custody of Southaven PD?
When she was well enough to go back to jail (for ?????? crime), she was paraded in cuffs in front of her colleagues at the hospital. She reports that she was trying to be quiet and nice, but couldn’t help herself from yell-whispering, “THIS IS FOR A TRAFFIC VIOLATION” to the people who were probably all “Why is Dr. Bowden here in handcuffs?”
She did not have to stay in jail for very long after that:
“When I arrived at the Desoto jail, the jailer said, ‘I don’t know who you are, but you have friends in high places, everyone has called for you. I am going to book you in and book you back out.’
Oh, guess she wasn’t fucking around when she called THE MEMPHIS MAYOR’S WIFE.
About what happened, Dr. Bowden told the Tri-State Defender a story about her grandfather’s home being raided by the police without a warrant when her dad was four, and said this:
“It was such a different day in that time,” said Bowden, “but the situation is exactly the same. We haven’t made any progress in our nation. I love America; I love being an American. But what is happening in our country, we’ve got to address!”
The couple appears in court on Sept. 16, to get sentenced for being black or whatever.