By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
We said we didn't know anything, but they insisted. One of the officers grabbed my friend Manuel by the seat of his pants. They maced us, handcuffed us, then threw us into their squad car.
My friend kept saying that his eyes were burning. They ignored him and drove us to a secluded area at the top of Paradise Drive. They took our handcuffs off and said if we left now it would end quietly.
We started walking away, but my friend, who got beat up, wanted their badge numbers.
They began the assault again and knocked him down. They had us lie on the ground. They didn't mess with me until I told them to leave my friend alone. They started beating on me with their flashlights and boots. They busted my nose. One of the officers then said to me, "Do you know why you are getting this beating?"
"No," I said.
"Because of Rampart," he said. "Your homeboys get away with a lot of stuff, so you guys have to pay for it." They dropped us off about a quarter of a mile away.
Manuel was bleeding and had a gash on his head that needed stitches. I called my mother and she took all of us to the hospital.
It was five years ago, and I was living on Third and Mansfield on the second floor of a garage apartment. I had just gotten home from the late shift at Café Luna on Melrose. I hadn't been at home for more than a few minutes when I heard sirens, tires screeching and helicopters buzzing above. I went outside on my balcony and immediately had a light flashed on me. I heard a cop yelling for me to get inside and lock my doors and windows. I ran inside and locked everything up and pulled my blinds down.
A few minutes later, I heard whispering and sniffing. (I later found out that there was a SWAT team and K-9 unit in my backyard.) About 40 minutes later, the helicopter and cars went away. I wanted to know what was going on, but I didn't know what to do because I had been told to not go out.
I sat there for another 20 minutes, when I got a knock on the door. It was the LAPD officer who had yelled at me to stay inside. He let me know that they caught the guy. They had arrested my next-door neighbor's son for a carjacking. The cops had chased him to his mother's house, and he had run to hide in my back yard. I was very relieved. The police officer could have just left, but he didn't, he came back and made me feel really safe.
Six months ago, my dad, my two friends and I were dropping off six antique chairs at a lady's house near L.A. High. My father owns an upholstery business, and we were helping him out. After we brought the chairs into the house, my friends and I sat back in the van while my father settled the bill. He came out a few minutes later and told us that he had gotten into an argument with the woman, who said she had already paid. She finally agreed to pay the bill and told my father to wait outside while she wrote out a check.
A few minutes later an LAPD helicopter started buzzing over us; three cruisers pulled up and the officers jumped out with shotguns. One of the cops ran up to me on the passenger side and pointed a shotgun in my face. He told us to get out and lie on the ground. They handcuffed my dad, then pushed him up against the car. Another officer dropped down on my friend with his knees.
Another officer dropped down on me, too. My face smacked against the cement. The cops told us that the lady said we tried to rob her and threaten her with a knife. The cops frisked us and didn't find a knife.
They finally let us go two hours later.
Back in 1994, I was 14 years old and walking down Huntington Drive on my way home from a friend's house. I was carrying a can of spray paint my friend asked me to hide in my house. A car raced toward me really quick. It was dark and foggy, so I couldn't see it was a cop car. I was already running away when I realized it was a cop. They started chasing me, and they looked like they were really mad. I thought if they caught up to me, they were going to hurt me.
I jumped off a 9-foot concrete bridge to get away from them. One of the officers easily caught up to me and slammed me against a fence. He kicked me in the face with his boot, then asked me why I ran. He accused me of tagging.
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