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Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2001 at 11:27 AM
Police profiling in playa del rey CA. When is it going to stop? Please read and bear with this story. It gets better. Any ideas or help would be appreciated.
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Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2001 at 11:28 AM
I really do not know where to begin so I will let you know about me first. I am 27 years old. I am of european decent (white). I am a techno dj. I have blue eyes and brown hair. I wear baggy clothes. I don't have much money (djing is expensive). I work for independent club organizers and promoters. I have lived in california all my life. I have lived in Playa del rey california for 2 and a half years. I used to live in Sacramento. I have been to a few protests in my day. (d2k, oct,22 police brutality, anti war, "We the people" freedom festival.) I am a green party registered voter and I follow politics a great deal. Thanks to Tipper Gore, I have found that I HAVE to keep up on politics or My freedoms (djing) will be erased.
I first moved to playa del rey in march of 1999. When I moved to LA I had high hopes of becoming a star like everyone else. I was hoping the dj career would take off and everything would be fine. I moved into a small affordable apartment in playa del rey. I was surrounded by people of my own age. I was surrounded by "skaters", "college students", and generally poor people. After I moved into the apartment, I found out that they were going to sell the complex, tear it down, and build new "luxury condos". So I had until january 2000 to find another place to live. What I noticed by all of the skaters, college students and lower middle class leaving is that this area had suddenly become overrun by conservative republicans all of the sudden. Houses being bought and sold left and right. Suddenly I was becoming a minority in playa del rey. And the sneers on peoples faces changed overnight it seemed. Topple that with bush being elected and all of the sudden I was as unwelcome as it gets. Especially after the recent riots. (which I had nothing to do with) What was going on was a minute form of genocide. I noticed it. Thats what the problem was. They wanted me gone because it is not good policy to have Young people near the Airport I guess?
As my deadline got closer and closer, I started to panic. I had no money to move. Djing was not cuttin it anymore. I met this guy who lived in the complex and we became friends. He informed me that he was buying a condo and he needed to rent out an extra room. This was great because I really did not wanna move from the area. This condo he bought was nice and in a really conservative "family" enviroment. So I thought to myself, "cool They won't get rid of me". The sneers and judgemental looks got worse. Almost like they had secret meetings on how to remove the nuisance from the playa. I was practically the only one under 30. Lets be honest all the stuff my generation (X) has done to remedy the "whole problem" seemed to really piss these people off. And they had no problem letting me know it. This was the first time I had really expirenced hatred.
Once I moved into the "pacific club" condos, things steadily got worse for me. With all of bush's crack downs on clubs and raves I was starting to see my dreams dissappear. I had little or no money and I had no car. No new clothes. No food sometimes. I started to notice that people in my condo were tired of seeing me walk to the store and going thru the parking garage.
One time, I was returning from the store and this older white man decided he did not think I belonged in the parking garage so he asked what I was doing. I had key in my hand which I used to unlock the gate that I had just come walking thru. He said it like this, "Can I help you?" like I was lost or something. Like I was going to steal a car or something? This was a profile. I told him that I was minding my own business and that I lived here. I then showed him my keys. He then said "where?" I told him to mind his own business. He said "not for long" and this is where my troubles started.
My upstairs neighbor is a customs agent and she once told me that she confiscated a shipment of exstacy. I don't really know why she would offer that info to me? perhaps because she noticed I wear "raver" type clothes I guess? Or maybe she heard me playing techno on my turntables? So she assumed that this was a drug thing? I told her that she should check the record cases when at work. I was pissed off this kind of hatred was minute but effective in "profiling" me as a druggy.
Later after the election 2000 robbery, I was harrased for putting up a Nader laduke 2000 campaign flyer in my bedroom window. I was told by the management team (cammarata management) that putting stickers or signs up in windows was against management policy. So I removed it because they threatened me with a fine. Soon after a neighbor of mine who happens to be directly in my walking path put a sticker up in there window saying "Vote Republican, Restore Integrity". This infuriated me!! I knew who it was targeted for. When I told the management about this rule infraction they ignored it (even though they said they were democrats) and then gave me another threatening letter saying that I had an "unsightly patio and lattice". They said it needed to be removed before a certain date or I would be fined. Even tho half of the residents have lattice on their porches. The sticker remains in the window to this day.
I started during the election to put up nader laduke 2000 flyers in my area and had them tore down by republicans and democrats in the area. Police started to take notice. One time, while placing one of these flyers up high on a pole a police officer stopped me and asked for my info saying I was littering. Even tho I saw flyers on this same pole for bush, gore, vilagrosa, hahn, they decided to question me.
Which now enters me into police "profiling" as well. I normally go to the local ampm to get a late night coffee of snack and I have had at least a dozen problems with police profiling. Some have been way out of line and in violation of my rights.
In at least 5 or six times the police have shined a light on me while walking in the neighborhood. Lets start with the first time they did it, I was walking to ampm about 2:00 am in the night and a LAPD car slowed down and shined a light on me while walking down the street. I was doing nothing but walking. I decided the next day to carry a digital camera and document the police harrasment. Sure enough the very next day walking to ampm 2 LAPD officers where outside talking to a lady about whatever, and as I was walking down the street they shined their flashlights on me and asked what I was doing? As if I was in the wrong nieghborhood. I looked guilty because I was a young "raver type" I suppose? I told them to mind their own business and I snapped a photo of them shining the flashlight on me. It did not come out tho. They then got inside their cruiser and preceeded to follow me to the store. Creeping along like a lion ready to pounce on its prey. I did nothing but walk at 1:30 am to ampm. I got inside the store and informed the clerk (who I have become friends with) that the police were tailing me for some reason. I noticed that they parked across the street waiting for me to come out of the store. I waited. They waited. I joked to the ampm clerk about How I had a camera and took pictures of them doing this and he (who is black) said "thats about all you can do anymore". I decided that he was right and that I should not be intimidated by these hunters of prey and return home. Allthough I enjoyed the escort home I was not sure that is what they were doing. The next couple of days, The protests were going on in quebec canada against the free trade of the americas. I again walked to ampm and was harrased by police again. This time I noticed a Private security car that must have phoned in a "suspicious person". It was about 12:00 am or so. As I got closer to ampm I noticed an LAPD cruiser was speeding down the street and came to a halt at ampm. They then shined the light into ampm as if to see if I was allready in there. I was walking in a unlit area and I kept going towards ampm. Once they saw nobody was inside ampm, they slowly pulled away, Scanning the area for any persons. I emerged from the light and crossed the street (not a crosswalk) illegally and proceeded to AMPM. I noticed that the police cruiser was waiting again for me to come out. I again got a police escort home.
I had more problems with the management team in my friends condo. One day, after walking home from AMPM One of the security guards (who was a new one) jumped out of his chair and followed me thru the parking area. I begun to get fed up with all of this "profiling" goin on. He asked where I was going again as if I did not belong here. I silently turned around and walked towards him and put my hand behind my back. He turned around and ran like a coward. I assume he thought I had a gun and was going to kill him. I never even touched a gun. I felt sorry for him because I think he thought I had a gun. I learned that from Diallo. I also calmly told him that I lived here and that prejudging is a horrible thing. I never saw him again.
On another occaison I was mixing "online" live in my living room to a promoter in chicago when I heard (after taking my headphones off) a loud banging on the door. I asked who it was and they said "LAPD open the door NOW"!! I was playing rage against the machine fairly loudly. I came to the door and asked what the problem was? The music was loud but only if you are inside the house. (or directly outside the door) I asked "what for"? They said "OPEN THE DOOR NOW or WE WILL BREAK IT" I asked if they had a search warrant. They said "OPEN THE DOOR NOW". I told them that I would not open the door unless they showed some proof of who they were. (they were hiding from the peep hole) They said they were LAPD. I said "how do I know that? I just saw on the news how people were doing home invasion robberys dressed as police". They told me that they had a 911 call from this address. Now at the time I had two phone lines. One to the computer, one for the telephone. I knew they were lying because the computer was online and I was running out of music to mix into it because they distracted me. I told them that there was no way that I could've called 911 because I am online. They then shouted "Open the door now or we will kick it down!" So I opened it as was welcomed by a 2 9mm barrels in my face. They then came into my house uninvited and I shouted to them to get out they had no right to be in here. Then they said that he would pepper spray me if I did not calm down. So I did. Actually, I lowered my voice is all. I explained to them that I was online and I have not made any phone calls today at all. This was about 2:00pm. I asked what proof did they have that I called 911? They told me the number and It happened to be the one listed in the yellow pages and on the guest telephones in front of the condo. It was also the number used when online. I showed him on my computer that I had been online for at least 45 minutes. They other open line was not used very often. It was used for booking me as a dj. Because I am always online, I needed it. I informed the officer that I have no reason to call 911. He then asked why I was so upset and If anybody else was in the house. I told him no. They stood in the foyer of the condo and never looked around anywhere. I told them that they cannot control me or fashion me or violate my rights as they started to leave. They other officer said totally out of the blue, "next time you threaten a cop with a gun you will be sorry". I wish I had recorded that!! I suppose that was related to the "new security guard"?
In the neiborhood I noticed signs that said "help keep the criminal element out of playa del rey and off the streets". They were posted in my direct vicinity. It was put there by a citizen and he left a email contact. So I emailed him and informed him that this does not help me in any way. I don't need the people around here assuming or linking me to break ins and such. I am the only one who slightly resembles a criminal around here. I guess? I found out later that this was part of mayor jim hahns "take back the streets" neighborhood watch inititive.
After the genoa killing in italy I became more weary of my place in the world. I felt that protesting what I believe in would get me killed so I approached an LAPD officer inside AMPM. I asked him nicely if I could speak to him about them targeting youth and their culture. He was at first very apprehencsive and threatening. I asked why they were going after the youth for speaking up and being demacratic. I asked why they were cracking down on festivals and raves and concerts. He informed me that he goes to raves and ozzy osbourne concerts and that they only go after protesters because they destroy property. I told him that I believe in peace and that he was unaware of the firestorm they were creating. He told me that he does not listen to police cheif bernard parks and that they will continue to harrass protesters because they are funded by the chinese government.
Some time went by and I tried to not go out in the late night to avoid police harrassment. Then on the 4th of july 2001, I decided to go catch the fireworks display over marina del rey. I live right by the beach and I decided to walk alone to the beach to witness the bombs bursting in air. Everyone in my neighborhood was out walking down the street at approximately 8:45pm and I definetly stood out because most of these people were all conservative middle aged yuppies. (sorry to judge)I noticed a LAPD cruiser that passed me by and then made an immediate illegal u turn and drove slowly besides me. Then they shined their light on me as if to point out to the crowd "watch this one". I immediately Put my hands in the air and said "Is that a profile?" And they turned the light off. I then said " you know your not supposed to do that"! Both officers in the car were black. I said to them "Why me?" they did not answer. There must have been 50 people walking down the street that witnessed it. I think the police were suprised I responded. Two women standing nearby asked what was that for and I explained to them that they were being assholes. I went down to the beach and watched this holiday of freedom explode in the night sky and pondered to myself why me? What this meant to me is that I am not free. Especially on a day like the 4th of july.
Later on that night I roamed thru the neighborhood looking for a ploice officer to speak to about this issue. Luckily on my corner there was an accident and police officers were present so I stood and waited to speak my mind to them. I was wearing a hat that had the nasa symbol on it only in said MDMA(exstacy) instead of nasa. I had a devil on my shirt as well. I approached the officer with the most stripes and told him what happened. He acted like "geez I am so sorry they shit on your parade" sarcastically. He then said that it had to do with my hat(which they could not have seen) and that I was probobly suspected of selling drugs.
I called the police department and imformed them of what happened and they just ignored what happen. Maybe it was not a big deal to them but, it was to me. This ruined my 4th of july. This proved that I was not free. Not even to walk down the street.
During the month of august 2001 I seemed to have little problem except for one instance where I was hanging out at a bus stop where a poster of "planet of the apes" was present and It was like 11:30 pm and the buses stopped running about 6. I just wanted to see how long it would take for one of the "apes" to harrass me. Not one, not 2, not 3, but 5 cops drove by slowly and one of then shined a light on me. All of them drove away after they saw that I had a camera.
Meanwhile, after the management team in the condo I live in found out I was gay. (maybe they heard something I was watching on tv or heard my friends taking) They decided to put a family van in our parking space and leave it there. They also put womens clothes in front of our door. I was cornered by two of the management team people who wanted to pick my brain. Somehow we got onto the chandra levy/gary condit thing and I said they were making a big deal out of nothin. I said If I came up missing nobody would care. They said that if the gay congressman from virginia (I dont know his name) was caught "sucking my dick" then people would care. I said "Huh?" I never told them I was gay. I did'nt even know that a congressman was gay much less his name and state. So the hatred at home continued.
Now September 11th and the tradgedy in new york had changed everything. Everyone was on alert. I was beginning to think that the government was assuming that the "Youth" did this. Or the "movement". I became weary of leaving the house for any reason. I assumed that my radical political beliefs would land me in more trouble and harrassment. You see I live Right next to the LAX runway. I walk out 20 feet from my door and I can see the planes take off. I saw the presidents plane a few times from my own home. I knew things would get worse. So I stayed inside the home like a prisoner. Doing exactly what the terrorsts wanted. I had fun I made some great music during that time. I was inspired all over again by my musical catalog. I was healing myself and I thought "everything is going to be allright".
WRONG! This is where it gets interesting.
September 23rd was my birthday and I was up all night typing, mixing, working on tracks when I got tired and needed a coffee. So I put on my camoflage backpack, my baggy jeans, my dj shirt and walked down to AMPM. As I was walking at 4:30 am or so, I noticed a police cruiser (airport police) that slowed down once he saw me walking to ampm. I told the clerk in ampm that I was being harrased again and he said "AGAIN"? So I walked out of ampm with my backpack on and a coffee in my hand. The police cruiser had snuk up around me and came from behind me so this let me know right off he wanted to harrass me. He then passed by me slowly as if to check me out. I had a coffee in my hand. I stopped, pulled out a ciggarette and lit it. He stopped in the middle of a green light, in the right lane and shined his right light on me. In a time where everyone is seeing the light, I see the light of the left and I assume he knew that. Thats why he went out of his way to shine his right (conservative right wing) light on me. I have complained about that before right? So he slowly pulls into the winchells parking lot and gets out of his car and waits for me to walk by. So I (having gone thru this before) took my backpack off and put it on in front of me on my chest. A friend of mine had given me this pen that said "lefthander.com & left handed liberationfront & lefties are always right" on it. I pulled it out with coffee, a ciggarette, a pen, and my backpack on frontwards (I did this to let him know I do things different). I calmly walked up to him and asked why He shined the light on me? He denied doing so. He then said "are you on drugs"? I said "no. I want to know why you shined the light on me?" He denied it again. I then showed him my pen. I showed him the side that said "lefthanded liberationfront" on it. I then looked at his badge and said "Yaeger is your name?" and then I preceeded to reach into my bag (frontwards) and he then tackled me, threw me against the car and wedged my hand behind my back and spilled my coffee and ciggerette all over the trunk of his car. He kept pushing my face into the hood of his car. Getting me all wet from the spilled coffee. I kept asking him what was his problem and he said "I dont know you What if you have a gun"? I said I don't and that I was reaching into my bag to get a peice of paper to write down his name and badge number. He then placed me in handcuffs and slammed me down to the ground. He asked if "I was high". I told him no I am going home with my coffee. He asked if "I was on crystal meth"? I assume because it was 4:30 in the morning? He asked if "I am under the influence of alchohol". I said no. He asked if "I was on any medications". He asked if "I was crazy." I told him no. He asked for my name and I said "for what"? he said cause I was under arrest. I refused. He called into his supervisor and said "possible 5150". I know what that means. Crazy for asking a legitimate question. He argued with me about whether or not he shined the light on me. I said if you did not shine the light on me why would I ask you why you did? He said cause I was crazy. He the searched my pockets and removed the items from my backpack. He told me I was lucky he did not kick my ass more. He told me that he was going to pepper spray me. As he was removing the contents of my backpack, He found a t-shirt, a mix tape, a notepad, qtips, and a surgical mask. He then said "you been huffin man?" I don't know what that means? He called into his radio and said "He's on exstacy" he has been "huffing". I had a 1 1/2 inch knife on my key chain and he asked if I was planning on using it on something. I said "yeah, my letters". He told me that I would be arrested for interfering with a police officer. I still would not give him my name. I waited for his supervisor and he finally showed up. The sun was coming up now. The supervisor showed up and he was nice. He asked me what day it was and I told him today is my birthday. He asked if I knew who the president was? I said smirkingly, "Bill Clinton." He laughed. I said no I guess its bush. The first officer yaeger was frantically going thru all of my items and he informed me that if he found anything illegal I was going to jail. I said "I thought I was allready going to jail?" He searched my hat, made me take off my shoes, removed the soles, took my socks off and had all my stuff spread out in front of winchells. I told him "wow this is like getting into a rave!" I told the supervisor my story and he knew his officer was out of line. I told the supervisor "talk to him man". He knew I was sober and I had Every right to ask him the question. He then conferred with officer yaeger and told him to let me go. Yaeger said not without my name. He wanted to run my name. His supervisor said "for what?" You are not even in your juristiction. So he unwillingly took the handcuffs off and I gathered up all my belongings. I picked up the surgical mask and I said, "Huffing what is that?" He said "those ravers use those when they are on exstacy". I said "Or they use them in new york city when they are cleaning up the rubble". I then walked away and apoligized. It was 6:00 am.
I was thinking to myself, "wow" they have a chip on their shoulder around here! They are determined to harrass me out of this hood. I then told my roomate what happened and he said he was tired of it and that they win. He is leaving and I hope to move with him into a home. So I can play my stereo as loud as I want. I continued to stay prisoner in my home and work on music. I called the airport police and told them about what had happened and they brushed me off and gave me the runaround. I think the informed the LAPD.
Yesterday, Oct. 14th I was walking down to this arab guys store that I have learned to like and know. We talked about religion and I assured him that he was cool with me and that I am buhddist and I believe in all things. He is a nice guy but, I know how people in the neighborhood can be so, during this crisis I wanted to assure him that he was allright. I prefer going to this store now instead of AMPM. When I was paying, I noticed a LAPD police car drive up and stop outside the store as if they were looking for me. I paid my arab friend and walked outside to the crosswalk. They did another illegal U-Turn and drove back towards me. The crosswalk hand was red but, The light was green. I did not get there in time to press the button. They were at least 200 yards away. After the cars turned into the lane in front of me I preceeded to cross to the middle divider where there is another button and an island for pedestrians. They slammed on their brakes across the "white line" and told me I was jaywalking. I said "HUH"? They repeated. I said "HUH"? they repeated. (there are jets flying all the time here) They then got out of their car rather fast and stormed up to me in a threatening way. I told them (while standing on the middle island crosswalk) that I did not cross illegally. Police have seen me and many others (including themselves) cross out of crosswalks almost daily. They told me they were going to write me a ticket. I said "what for?" This was so pityful. They wanted to harrass me. My arab friend was standing outside his store and saw everything. They asked for my name. Again I said no. They said "Give me your name or your going to jail". I said "for what jaywalking?" The asked again. I said "no" then they physically placed cuffs on me and threw me into the car. Slamming the door Hard. I said while in the car on the way to the police station, "you can't catch real criminals so you go after the ones that are easy to assure the public that you are doing your job"!
Once I got to the police station (culver city) They took me in front of the watch commander and he did not even let me explain which I thought was funny. He just asked for my name and I said. "I cannot plead the first so I plead the 5th". He said " I sign the booking papers". So I sat there for an hour and a half. I asked the officers why me? They said because "I broke the LAW". This brings up an older issue when I was crossing the street, I hit the crosswalk button and waited for the walk signal. Because across the street I saw about 6 officers chatting outside the store. This lady (in her minivan) pulled up into the crosswalk while making a right. She had to of seen me on the corner waiting for my pedestrian sign. As she pulled across the white line the crosswalk turned green. I immediatly ran around her car Shouting "SHE'S BREAKING THE LAW, SHE'S BREAKING THE LAW, SHE'S BREAKING THE LAW!!!" All of the officers heard me and did nothing. She sped away after she noticed me yelling and pointing my finger in her direction. The cops were laughing as if they would help a "punk" like me. I then shouted "Man, You can't catch a cold!"
So the law only works for certain people and in this neighborhood it is not enforced fairly. Even tho I am white, It still exists on all fronts. When I was A kid I would get hassled simply for wearing a "metallica" T-shirt. Nothing is changed since. In fact It has gotten worse.
So as I sit chained to this police bench, I wonder If I should just let them know my name so I could go home. So I asked if they would hear me story and I told them "have you never crossed a crosswalk when there is no cars?" They said all I would have to do is give them my name and sign the ticket then I can go. Well, after another hour and a half of sitting there they inform me that I am on probation. and that I have a long history of crime. Which is bull. They run my name thru FBI and all sorts of things and since I was on probation, I am supposed to follow all laws (jaywalking) and now I can face jail time because I jaywalked. I have no choice. If I ignore it I will have a warrant. If I pay the $25 dollar fine, they win. Even tho I was not guilty of anything. My arab friend saw the whole thing. After they released me to walk all the way home, I went to the arab guy and asked him about if he saw what happened? He was the one that said, "They were looking for you. I watched them look into the store and make the u turn just to attack you."
When will this end?
Do I not belong here because I look like a "whatever"? Is this whole hood against me and do they really want me away fron the Airport that badly to stoop so low and to violate my rights? What is next a bullet in my head? They are facsists. I have my own veiws and I suppose they are threatening to them? I believe in peace, I am a dj. I love to dance and be positive and uplift my brothers and sisters. I am a hermit. I rarely leave the house for fear of police misconduct. I don't use drugs either. In fact I don't condone it in any way. If playing techno/dance music is drug related then I don't advocate it. I rarely drink. I am so broke. The "Exstacy prevention act" and the "crack house law" have severely cut into my finances.
I don't know where to turn? I don't have a lawyer? I don't have any elected officials that would care. I don't have any family. I don't have that many friends. I do however have a dream.
I do want my rights. If Ashcroft had it his way, He would wipe the constituition out completely. He made profiling legal and extended it to clothes and content of character. In LA this corrupt law enforcement has turned my area around LAX into a war zone where rights don't exist.
Call me paranoid all you want. I care about what is going on around me. I am aware. I am pleading with you for your help. I cannot allow this to continue to me. I will not leave here. I have managed to stay alive in playa del rey even tho it is quite clear,
"YOUNG PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO LIVE IN PLAYA DEL REY OR BY THE AIRPORT SO WE MUST SINGLE OUT POTENTIAL TROUBLEMAKERS AND NUETRALIZE THEM."
I will do anything I can to help resolve this. I beleive in you and I know you are hard at work nowadays and you have alot of things going. Help me, Help you. I need your help. I do not know where to start. I fear for my freedom.
Ps. In new york, It says "FREEDOM WILL BE DEFENDED"!
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Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2001 at 9:01 PM
This is terrible. It sounds like they want to contain 'your type' in Venice, if you catch my drift.
The author has a chip on his shoulder. (Though, who can blame him?)
I'd guess he's not being "profiled" but targeted.
Some of his neighbors have probably targeted him for harassment. If they are as conservative as he says, assume they know all the tricks in the books.
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Thursday, Oct. 18, 2001 at 9:46 PM
What happened to you is terrible.
I wish I could offer some advise to help you out.
Maybe someone on IMC knows of a low cost legal team? I know that during big demonstrations, organizers have legal advisors available.
Can anyone offer a referral to help this guy out with his legal problems?
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