Yasha Levine, Occupy L.A. Protester, Says He Got Scabies at LAPD's Downtown Jail
"Out of jail, thinking that the worst was behind me..."
Well, this is awkward.
The same citizen journalist who started a firestorm against the LAPD last winter (for allegedly using brutality against Occupy L.A. protesters while forcing them out of their City Hall encampment) now claims he contracted more than bruises from the encounter.
Levine was arrested in the wee hours of November 30, 2011...
But the saga didn't end there. In a blog post on The Exiled dated April 13, Levine says his doctor recently diagnosed him with scabies.
There's no way to be sure they came from the detention center, but when Levine told his doctor about his time in jail, he says the doctor agreed: "Yeah, that's where you picked it up."
Gross. Levine, a hard-hitting lefty journalist whose claim to fame was exposing the billionaire Koch brothers' financial backing of the Tea Party, also happens to have a knack for telling Goosebumps-style horror thrillers. A couple choice excerpts from his battle with the scabes:
"The little buggers use their pudgy claw-limbs and stringy suction-cup grapples to latch on to your body during skin-to-skin contact and then instantly mobilize for a full colonization. Their goal: to turn your dermal layer into a vertically integrated parasite production machine. You are their food, their shelter and their toilet. Unlike many other parasites, scabies crabs go through all of their reproductive steps on one host--as in "you." Mother-parasites use incisors on their hind legs to plow your skin like a fertile field and lay their lay eggs just below the surface. After the egglings mature into larvae, they burst through to the surface of the skin and look for a suitable place to start burrowing again, this time to drill personal breeding vats where they will mature into full-grown, fertile adult parasites."
"According to my doctor, scabies parasites don't usually attack anywhere higher than the neckline. But mine got a big boost from the poison oak. The rash I picked up in the Santa Monica mountains covered my shins, calves and ankles and oozed with a clear white liquid. It was on fire, and before long I was scratching my legs raw. The mites loved that--it was like tenderized meat. Plus, with all the scratching that I did, they hitched free rides to just about every part of my body, colonizing even a far-flung flesh mass like my right earlobe. They also got another boost from the cortisone cream that I started using in the hopes of reducing the itching. That proved to be a big mistake. There's nothing scabies love more than cortisone, which helps soften and marinate the skin, and sends scabies parasites into a tunneling and egg-laying frenzy."
Levine points out that scabies eggs often take weeks, even months, to hatch. Also, mise-en-scene: "I can feel the tiny welts on my fingertips hitting the keyboard keys as I type these words right now." (We told you he was good.)
The journalist guesses he may have picked up the skin-sect army from a ratty old blanket he was given for warmth at the jail.
That's very possible, according to the federal Center for Disease Prevention and Control website:
"Scabies can spread rapidly under crowded conditions where close body contact is frequent. Institutions such as nursing homes, extended-care facilities, and prisons are often sites of scabies outbreaks."
Many criticized the 1,500-odd LAPD officers in the Occupy raid for arresting all the protesters they could get their hands on, rather than just the ones who wouldn't budge from City Hall lawn. Hundreds of occupiers were squeezed into the detention center -- causing a complete clusterfuck of minor offenders needing to be processed.
A bunch of unshowered hippies huddled together under one roof for two days? Sounds like a parasite's wet dream!
LAPD Sergeant Alex Bautista, watch commander at the Metropolitan Detention Center, says of Levine's claims: "We don't have that report. If that person's making a claim, they can call headquarters or make a complaint with Internet Affairs."
The watch commander adds that the jail has a full cleaning staff, and that if there were ever a complaint of scabies, they would "section off" the area and clean it thoroughly.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.