Many of you who read this column remember when Altadena Deputy Sheriff Rosas stopped me at 2:45 a.m. in front of Foxes restaurant and wrote me a ticket, approximately 3-4 months ago? I told the cop that I was delivering The Journal and he wrote me a ticket saying that I had stopped in an intersection and that I had stopped without making a signal. When we got to court and I pointed out to him in front of the judge that Foxes restaurant was not in the intersection, he admitted he had lied and that charge was dismissed. The other charge that I had made a left turn without a signal was sustained by the judge because the cop lied and said I had turned left from the curb lane to go to the middle of the street where I stopped when he put his light on me. I asked the judge why he believed this cop who had admitted he had just lied about my stopping in the intersection? When the judge in Department M in Pasadena said nothing, I asked him if he believed him because he was wearing a uniform. Again, the judge said nothing. He then fined me $176.00 for the lying cop. The economics of the ticket are the $176.00 and whatever the insurance company will increase my premiums by.
On March 26, 2009, the same Deputy Rosas stopped me again for allegedly making a left turn without a signal at 2:20 a.m. This time he hid by his car in the dark and let his partner ticket me. Again I was written up, they said, for making a left turn from the curb lane all the way across Lake into the car wash parking lot. This is the same lie that he obviously feels the judge will again agree with.
As I think about these incidents, I now understand why young Black men who get stopped get hurt because they ask the cop, "Why the Blankety, Blank, Blank are you stopping me again, you stupid so and so." I felt like them. I have heard the cops say, "I am stopping you because I can." I guess that's why the cops get cursed out (or worse) for harassing young Black men who they are profiling. So to those young Black men who I have criticized in the past for cursing out the cops, I now say, "I understand." But you can't curse them out until they get out of hearing. Then file a complaint against them and keep a copy of the complaint. If you have problems getting a complaint form, call me. I will send you one.
Now don't confuse a complaint form with a claim for damages form. If you are going to sue the cops, you will need to sue the city or county, and you must file a claim for damages form, not a complaint. The complaint just goes in their file and you may never find out what happens to your complaint. But understand that the cops will try to protect the other cops, so don't think your filing a complaint will get fair treatment. Why do you think we have yet to hear the names of the two cops who climbed in the car with Leroy Barnes and killed him? Why do you think Pasadena Police Chief Melekian doesn't want the public to see the video in the Barnes shooting? Why do you think Melekian is trying to keep the alleged Coroner's Report secret? By the way Deputy Chief Vicino said in one meeting that the reason they were keeping it secret was that "if it was exposed, the Department would have something to ATONE for." I bet they do have something to atone for.
I don't understand why so many people are so willing to go spend all of their time and energy talking to the cops about whether the cops did something wrong. Just ask yourself if the Lakers foul another player, say on the Bulls, and you ask a Laker who was wrong, the Bulls or the Lakers, they will tell you it was the Bulls. That is what you are getting from the police in their discussions with the community about the Barnes shooting. That's bull... Their motto should be changed from, "Protect and Serve" to "Protect and Defend" (themselves).
Do people really think Melekian is going to tell them that his cops were wrong in murdering Barnes? No. He is going to tell them that Barnes was a criminal and then he will stop just short of saying that he needed to die. What I have been told that he has said is he is glad his cops didn't get shot. For him, that is the main thing. For me the main thing is that nobody needed to get shot. In the meantime, the question remains. Why did they stop him in the first place? Did the car cross the lane when they made the right turn onto Mentone from Pepper? Or did they get stopped because, like me, they were driving while Black?
What we do know is that I have gotten stopped now, twice by the same cop, twice for delivering The Journal at 2:00 a.m. when there were no other cars on the street. The question is, why? The answer is, because it's a stupid cop and I was driving while Black. I will go to trial again and let everybody know when the trial is. My insurance rates will go up and I will need to change the time of day that I deliver The Journals in Altadena since Deputy Rosas and friends will probably still be on the prowl to target me. Or maybe I need to buy a Blonde wig to wear while delivering The Journal, since The Journal can't yet afford a new van.
Be careful out there!