I hesitated in writing this post, but I figured that now that there is a two-page typed letter to Congresswoman Roybal-Allard in the mail detailing my complaint, I may as well go ahead.
To say I am indifferent to the LAPD would be an understatement. I have never really gone out of my way to praise our police officers, but I also don’t possess the hatred that some people do. It’s one of those things that I truly believe I can’t be faulted for. If you look at the places I’ve lived and the places I’ve worked, it should make some sense. I don’t think the LAPD is the enemy. I truly don’t. But I also don’t think they are saviors.
Last weekend, I was having dinner with some friends. As we walked back to our car, we heard bone-chilling screams. We identified the screams as coming from a woman who seemed to be in an argument with a male companion. Before we realized what was happening, she ran toward us, crouched behind a car, and said that she “had never been so scared in her life” and that her boyfriend had told her if she told anyone “he would [expletive] kill her.” One of my friends was on the phone with 911 dispatch as she darted across the street. He ran after her and yelled as he passed us, “What did you [expletive] tell them?”
We had noticed LAPD squad cars in the area as we were eating, so I turned to see if I could find one. I ran over to a pair of officers and explained the situation and what we had been told. I pointed down the street to where the two were standing and asked if they could walk down and ask the woman if she was okay. They told me that they had already spoken with the male companion and he “assured” them that she was okay. I asked if they had asked her as well, and they replied, “no.”
When the car dispatched by 911 arrived, my friend walked over to them and pointed out their new location, relaying the same story and asking if they could check on the woman. They drove away, without checking on her, and did not return in the 20 or so minutes that we stood there.
Finally, as we were about to leave, we noticed a County Sheriff’s squad car parked on the street. As a last ditch effort, my friend approached them and asked if they could walk down the block to see how the couple was doing, as they continued to argue on the street. “Well,” one replied. “We’re going to go in there [pointed at a Starbucks] first and if we hear anything when we come out, we’ll check into it.”
On that night, I was absolutely shocked in a strange way. It’s comparable to times I have called dispatch, asked for a squad car, and was told point-blank, “no.” I think the shock came from the face-to-face contact. It’s awful to think that if another human came up to you and asked for help, you would find your coffee to be more important.
Now, it makes me really angry. As a single woman, I rely on things like peace officers to keep me safe and to allow me to live my life as I choose to. I walk alone often. I run errands alone, always. I go to ATM’s, grocery stores, bars….all alone. I have always had the security of knowing that should I need help, I could scream or call 911 and would be assisted. After the events last Saturday, I no longer have that assurance. Instead, I have a fear that I would be interrupting someone’s coffee break or that my fear would be disregarded if a man could explain it away.