By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
—Hope Urban, 35,
associate editor, publications division, Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association and a Weeklycontributor
A German woman lives in my building on Wilton Avenue, and she is a paranoid schizophrenic. I have been a manager in the building for the last seven years, and at least three or four times a year she calls the police complaining about voices she hears outside her window or people trying to break in. The last incident occurred about seven months ago. The patrol officers knew who made the anonymous call.
"It's Renata again, isn't it?" one said matter-of-factly as they walked toward her apartment.
"Yep," I said.
Even though they knew there was nobody around, they checked the second floor and the basement for her. They even let her come along as they checked around the grounds with flashlights. They are very receptive, open and kind to her. It is a pain in the butt for them, but they handle it very respectfully.
—Michael Savage, 50,
When I was 15 years old, I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. It was the end of the L.A. Street Scene downtown, and the L.A. Dream Team had just finished its concert when someone shot at an LAPD horse. A riot erupted. I wanted to get out of there, so I started to walk toward my bicycle. The LAPD was in full riot gear and was dispersing the crowd by swinging batons wildly at anyone who happened by. Unfortunately, I was happening by. I can remember hearing the officer's keys jingling and the sound of his leather belt just as I was turning around. I was struck in the face with a billy bat.
After the blows, the officer threw my friend and me into the back of a squad car, took us down to the station and charged us with assaulting an officer with a deadly weapon. They claimed they saw me throw a bottle.
I was in a daze and blood was pouring down my face. I passed out and woke up on a gurney at the hospital throwing up blood. I got 12 stitches to the lip and had six chipped teeth. I was ordered to appear in court.
At court, I took a plea bargain and had the original charge of felony assault on an officer dropped to misdemeanor assault. I received six months' probation.
—David Bloom, 33,
Last summer, my very large, muscular friend got into a fight with three African-American guys on his block in the Venice area. They beat him with a pipe and broke his nose real bad. Extremely angry about what happened to him, he called up a few of his buddies and myself to help him find the guys. A few hours later, cruising along the neighborhood, we found the culprits standing in an alleyway just off Venice Beach. One of my friends threatened them with a gun while the other three beat them with baseball bats. I was in the car acting as scout. A few minutes into the beating, a cop car, with two white officers, pulled around the corner about 20 feet away and started cruising towards us. I honked the horn to alert the guys, but they just didn't want to stop. I thought we were in big trouble. Instead, the cruiser rolled up real slow and looked to see what was happening; the officers smiled and kept rolling on.
Santa Monica resident
On June 29, I was performing "the art of not doing" or stationary art in the front of Hollywood & Highland, right next to the Gap on Hollywood Boulevard. I paint my face silver, wear a full-bodied silver costume and stand completely still on a 1-foot-square black box. In front of me is a bucket for tips.
I arrived at my usual time, around 7 p.m., and shortly afterwards was approached by an officer who told me that I couldn't stand there because I was being a nuisance to pedestrians and local businesses.
I told him that I had been performing in the same location for a few months and hadn't been a nuisance to anyone. The officer told me to leave.
I went for lunch, then decided to resume my art. A small crowd was around me when the same officer returned and told me he was giving me a ticket because he had warned me to leave. The crowd started booing the officer. I asked the crowd in front of the officer if they liked what I was doing and if they wanted me to stay. They said yes. The officer then said, "Why don't you ask them if they want tickets for blocking the sidewalk?" The crowd dispersed. I left a few minutes later myself with my notice to appear.
—Victor Cretella, 26, performance artist
I was on Moonstone and Huntington in El Sereno in the summer of 1999. My two friends and I were heading to a friend's house with beer when the cops pulled up beside us and asked us if we were on parole.
We said no.
They told us to get on our knees. We followed the program and they called in for backup. They asked us about gang incidents that happened in the area and wanted us to give them information about what was going on in the neighborhood.