Yesterday, another friend of the blog stopped by to tell me of an incident with the police. He was driving back from one of the casinos on the Malecon, when he was pulled over on Avenida Independencia. There were 2 cops on a motorcycle. Told him to turn in on a side-street. Mistake number 1. They told him he had ran a red light. Of course he had not, but facts get blurred when you come in contact with some policemen here. Anyway, long story short, he gave them RD$3,000 pesos (about $93 U.S.), cops saw money and said no, RD$2,000 (about $62) more.
Now let's analyze this. First, if you are driving and get stopped by the police NEVER turn on to a side street. Handle everything right there. Second, keep a copy of your passport and driver's license with you. You can keep your original license with you, but only give the copies if pulled over by police. Third, if you have done nothing wrong, then don't pay anything. Don't raise your voice, don't talk with indignant "I'm American!" tones. Just stand your ground, calmly, don't be nervous, again, as long as you have done nothing wrong. But, if they say we have to take you to jail, tell them okay. When you get there ask them to call the U.S. Embassy (809.221.2171/24-hour help). Once they know you are not going to cave, and are not scared, they will wave you along.
Now, every situation is different. I'm not telling you to take a bullet if you feel threatened. Each situation has to be handled on a case-by-case basis. Just know that you don't have to take any bullshit.
The Monaga Blogger
(Here is a great story about starting a school in the Dominican Republic)