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Venice Beach Incident

by sidestepper Thursday, Mar. 06, 2008 at 2:57 PM

OPEN LETTER TO VENICE FREE-SPACE VENDOR REGULATORS: Venice Beach lottery creates Police Man's escalation of authoritarian attitude. But does Councilman Rosendahl care ?



How could the Venice-LA City Recreation Dept. hide behind the LAPD enforcers who act-out as Authoritarian Arbitrators of the City Laws ? Especially old laws that are being questioned in the courts, that have violated free-speech and free-food rights ? Laws that are being re-drafted and changed even now ?

In February 2008 a police MAN in full LAPD uniform came to demand a non-lotteryed user of a westside space to leave immediately - without any questions or answers allowed.

Not the Monitors of City Rec Dept, not a courteous discussion of what is still allowed and what laws have been changed and how to tell the difference between which rules are enforced and which not. The police made a rude demand for only “yes, Sir!”... no other question allowed, no comment, no consideration.

The space had apparently been ‘officially allotted’ to a man who arrived 3+ hrs after an elderly woman had set up there. No neighbor had mentioned that this spot was possibly reserved in advance. No one questioned her presence nor told her that maybe a portion of official rules was still in effect. Until a crass man with a foreign accent and rude threatening manner insisted she had to “Move!” claiming his space.

She attempted to negotiate with him, having already spent hours setting up a nice display, but he was adamant and threatening, not willing to trade & take another open space nearby. A musician attempted to mediate the dispute that escalated as the Man aggressively insisted on having His Spot “Now !”, saying “I own this space”. [doesnt the City own the sidewalk spaces being lotteried out ?]

Then the man went away, momentarily, but returned again to angrily & repeatedly harass the old woman about not occupying the space the next day. He seemed to want to be spiteful by standing very close and angrily threatening her if she...” .tomorrow...I will....” & actually breathing down her neck as she tried to move sideways. He was vengeful and was going to prove his manhood & power over her, regardless. He scared her.

That lottery-spaced-man then called the police to further play out his anger & vengeance. to show the old woman he really had power.

And an Officer played it out for him, acting just as harshly repeating over & over to the old woman, only saying “are you going to move or not?” threatening escalation if any answer but “yes, Sir!” was given, in fact. No other words were allowed by him, continually repeating his one demand with no other words but “yes, Sir!” permitted. As the woman repeatedly attempted to explain and be given some respect instead of strict orders, she was not allowed to respond to the police Man.

She attempted to say she had heard from Robert [Haskin] at Venice Rec Dept that the “rules are not being enforced for now...” but the police Man only repeatedly told her that Robert was no longer there...later saying that ‘Victor is his boss” to thus negate her understanding of the boardwalk rules, and reducing whatever Robert had said to her in person and also implying the Rec Director ‘s presence was no longer relevant to the lottery spaces.

Of course, Police Man knows everything and has the authority to prove it so, even if it is or is not so. The Officer then went to his parked car and as she approached him still asking to explain her understanding of the incident, he claimed [falsely] to her “you are interfering with my investigation...” and then pulled out his handcuffs threatening to arrest the old woman for daring to talk to him and say anything else but “yes, Sir !”.

She had to walk away to prevent the police provocation & escalation of what was a minor rule that was made which seemed to then produce such excessive enforcement. Of course, she moved her things, with the help of her neighbors, while being confronted with actual physical arrest on false charges.

Suddenly 3 other police Men arrived as ‘back up’ to insure that this officer’s authority was never to be questioned or discussed. Apparently it took 5 police Men to insure that 1 old woman would move her display off of a space allotted to a vengeful man that could not negotiate decently with anyone but wanted what he thought was His... as if he owned this piece of land by deed & decree.

Was this sexist as so many men had to have their authority confirmed with absolutely no questions asked ?

Was this ageism as she was not an attractive, sexy young woman who they may have treated very differently, as noted in various other scenarios with the old ?

Was this just plain arrogance & excessive use of force & authority in a very negotiable situation that should have been in the domain of the Monitors of Venice Rec Dept. ?

Was this just a way to intimidate the public with police Male authority for all to see and beware ?

In the end, that Officer had a male partner, who came over then, to play “good copy, bad copy” smiling and providing her with a card with their names, the information she had repeatedly already requested. As police are obliged to do if asked.

Is this how the Venice lottery is to be enforced ? Is this proper police intervention when more serious ‘crimes’ must be occurring simultaneously nearby ?

Does the Venice Rec Dept have no more jurisdiction or duties along the boardwalk now, escalating to police level for minor disputes or disagreements?

Is this whole scene another attempt to show that there should be No More vending, performing, etc. at Venice Beach so it can soon gentrify for only high-price landowners?

Can’t two people respectfully discuss & resolve a dispute without the hand-cuff-prone police Man jumping in ?

What is going on Venice Boardwalk to make it more like a poor-ghetto-crime- arresting-neighbor–hood instead of the preferred tourist attracting, city-family-walk we are used to having here ?

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