Archive for November, 2010

Once again LAPD gives Neighborhood Councilmember meaningless ticket, then takes him to jail

November 22, 2010

To all,
For the second time in just over a week, a Board member of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council was handcuffed for no reason and this time was issued a ticket for standing in the street and taken into custody for refusal to sign the ticket.
Last Friday, Skid Row community activist and DLANC Board member General Jeff, who has played a vital role in establishing a “positive movement” by the Skid Row community, was giving a tour to a group of students and professors from Long Beach State when the group stopped at San Julian Park in Skid Row to wait for LAPD SLO Deon Joseph to take over the tour. This, along with their visit to the Weingart building, was to give the students different perspectives of the area so that the students could write an unbiased report for a class assignment that is worth 30 percent of the class’s overall grade.
While waiting for Officer Joseph, another DLANC Board member, Wendell Blassingame, also spoke to the students. During this period, an LAPD patrol car stopped at San Julian Park in an unrelated matter. Officers, heading southbound, shouted from the car and told a group of bongo and congo players, known as The Skid Row Drummers, to stop playing because their music was too loud. At the same time, a handicapped man in a wheelchair was passing by on the sidewalk. Because the group of 40-50 students and teachers took up most of the sidewalk, many in the group had to step into the street in order to let the wheelchair pass. Suddenly, one of the officer’s says “Get out of the street”, using the patrol car’s bullhorn. Both Blassingame and Jeff let the students and teachers proceed back on the sidewalk first. The officer unnecessarily repeats “Get out of the street!” with an increase in his demand.
General Jeff, making sure that everyone was back on the sidewalk, was the last to return to the sidewalk. Because it was crowded, Jeff had to walk around the students to an empty space, now close to the patrol car. General Jeff responded to officer’s stating “We heard you the first time. We are giving a tour to these students from Cal State Long Beach. What are you trying to do, make a point?” At this point, General Jeff was clearly back on the sidewalk.
Quickly, the officer who was driving the patrol car( name withheld due to an ongoing investigation), put the car in park and shouted “I’ll show you I can make a point” and got out of the car and summoned General Jeff to come over to the rear of the car. Standing amonst other community members near the opening of the park, Jeff replied “Me?”. The officer pointed and said “You!”, then proceeded to give General Jeff an infraction ticket for standing in the street, blocking traffic.
Refusing to sign the ticket, General Jeff was then handcuffed and taken to Central Division. He was booked, then released after he signed the ticket at the station only after it was explained by other officers that because it was Friday, he probably wouldn’t see a judge until Monday at the earliest.
This is the latest in an ongoing string of encounters with LAPD. The question obviously has to be asked, why is a person that isn’t doing anything illegal being targeted by so many LAPD officers? The fact that the person is also a Neighborhood Councilmember isn’t even a factor.
All of this is happening just as the Department of Justice, who has recently issued federal oversight over LAPD, publicly states that the LAPD needs to do a better job of curtailing racial profiling. A story by the LA Times giving details was released last week.
Several formal investigations are currently underway. All of the students and professors from Long Beach State along with several Skid Row community members have offered to come forward as witnesses. Stay tuned.
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