Ernesto Rodriguez

As an immigrant from Cuba, Ernest (Ernie) Rodriguez was not fully aware of every US law. When stopped by the police, he was confused as to why they did so. The encounter remained civil.


Location: Near Fayze’s, 135 4th St. S, La Crosse, WI, 54601

One day, one time I was walking [on] Fourth Street. I was at Fayze’s, and I was going to Beethoven’s. And it was long times ago. And the police stopped me and asked me for my ID.
“Why you ask me for my ID? You don’t have no reason to ask me for my ID.”
“Well, if you don’t show me your ID I gonna give you a ticket”
“Okay, give me, give me the reason why you wanna give me a ticket.”
And they want to give me a ticket because I crossed the, the street. And they call it “jaywalking.”
“What’s jaywalking?”
“You don’t know what it is?”
“You don’t know the law?”
I go, “No, I’m from Cuba. How would I know the law? I’ve been here only for five years. I don’t know. I’ve never had a ticket for crossing the street.”
“Well can you show me your ID or driver’s license?”
“Okay, there you go. You are the police, I have to listen to you.”
I give them my ID. I say “Are you going to give me a ticket?”
“Well I’m going to give you a warning.”
“Okay, thank you. Bye.”
And that’s my story. My Name is Ernesto Rodriguez Reece, and I’m from Cuba, and I came in 1980.