Back in September, 2008 at 2:45 a.m. I was stopped by Altadena Deputy Sheriff Rosas, while delivering The Journal in Altadena, as I have done for years. I knew something was fi shy then and I wrote about it. After I began writing, others began to tell me stories about their experience with the Sheriff.
On October 2, 2008 I wrote in The Journal about how the patrol car behind me came up on me in a manner that I believed he was wanting to pass me. I pulled to the center of Lake Avenue, and the car which turned out to be Offi cer Rosas with lights glaring at me. In my opinion, Rosas was wanting trouble as he came up beside me, and in spite of my trying to explain to him that I was just delivering papers, he demanded that I stop and park in the middle of Lake Avenue. He then wrote me a ticket for failure to make a signal when stopping and parking in an intersection. I was not doing either. He stopped me and demanded that I park then gave me a ticket for not making a signal when stopping as if my rear brake lights weren’t working. And the one about parking in the intersection, he admitted he lied about that when we got to court.
This same cop gave me a ticket six months later, this time at 2:00 a.m. saying that I made a left turn without making a signal and making a left turn from the far right lane. Like the previous ticket, it’s false.
This past week a gentleman told me that he was stopped by Rosas who ran his police car up on him making it seem like he was going to run into the man. The gentleman said he thought the car was going to hit him so he did like I did abruptly, moved over to get out of the pending accident.
Lo and behold the cop car turned his lights on him, told him to pull over because he had made an unsafe lane change. He then gave him, a ticket for failing to make a signal when turning right turn after the man asked him what he was stopping him for and then saying that he may not have made a signal at the corner which was just a few blocks from his home. Under the circumstances, where there were no other cars were in the area, he knew it was safe. He was also faced with Deputy Rosas who was apparently looking for trouble. He also gave him a ticket because the man’s light over his license plate was out. Rosas apparently doesn’t believe in giving warnings, he gives tickets.
Another long time Altadena citizen who is a member of my church told me this week of how she was stopped by the sheriff for not having a current sticker on her license plate. The next thing that happened was the offi cer ordered her out of the car and into the back seat of his squad car. She sat there until he wrote the ticket. The next Sunday another one of our church members asked her why she was in the Police car. The embarrassment and humiliation she felt sitting in a police car was heightened by knowledge that her friends saw her in a cop car and assumed that she had done some criminal act.
People are asking me what is going on with the cops in Altadena. I don’t have any real answers except that Black folks have always been favorite targets for police whether we were in pre Civil Rights Mississippi or here in California. And we are sick of it and need to tell the Sheriff and the Altadena Council members and Supervisor Antonovich that it needs to stop. They want our respect, they need to give us respect. I’m sure there is enough real crime going on in the community for the police to try and stop instead of terrorizing our citizens.
Send this column to your local offi cial and tell them it needs to stop and cops like Rosas need to be sent to another neighborhood, maybe like the one he lives in. We don’t need or want him here.