Civil Rights

Police and Selective Enforcement

In yet another incident exemplifying waste of time and resources on the part of the LAPD, Ibrahim Butler was arrested Friday, August 24.

A resident made a citizen’s arrest on him for playing drums in what the resident deemed to be noise violation. It took twelve officers and a whole lot of hoopla to take him to jail and to seize about 15 drums that belong to four different people.

Ibrahim was released on $100 bail that same day and the police released all drums as well. While waiting for him in the lobby of the Pacific Division, Shelly Rachel Gomez over-heard a child tell an officer that he wants to go and see inside the jail. The officer replied: “No, you don’t. It’s nothing but homeless, stinky people in there.”

On the other side of the wall, Ibrahim was a first-hand witness to the discrimination leading to most arrests. He called it “profiling based on race and socio-economics.”

The current Ocean Front Walk ordinance, which established the allowed noise levels, is one of the best examples of legislature created and used for the sole purpose of profiling and selectively targeting individuals.

Created with the stated intent of eliminating mass-produced items from the West side of the boardwalk, ordinance 42.15 was inaugurated with signs that listed LAMC 63.44.B.14(b) first. Although numerous community meetings were held and attended by hand-fulls of city higher-ups regarding the 42.15 vending and noise level ordinance, LAMC 63.44.B.14(b) was not once mentioned. The public did not know that it existed, let alone that the LAPD were getting ready to start enforcing it, and most definitely not that the signs concerning 42.15 were going to start out by listing 63.44.B.14(b).

By the way, 63.44.B.14(b) concerns the illegal curfew selectively now being enforced on OFW between midnight and 5:00 am. A person sleeping on OFW during that time is likely to be harassed by the police either with a ticket or an arrest, while someone walking his or her dog is likely to be ignored by those same cops.

According to the Coastal Act of 1976, “the public should have 24 hour access to the beaches.” Under that same act, the city needs a permit for “any sort of curfews or restrictive ordinances that have such a negative impact on coastal access” said Charles Posner, Coastal Program Analyst with the California Coastal Commission in a phone conversation with the Beachhead in January.

While the illegal curfew is being selectively enforced, vending of mass-produced items is in full swing just like before the dozens of hours spent arguing about the ordinance. The police do not enforce the backbone of the legislature, whose one and only goal was to free up the space for self-expression and free speech.

More times than not local artists and performers are harassed on slow, overcast afternoons during the week for being out of a spot or other petty BS while on a crowded, sunny Sunday all spots are taken by vendors selling made-in-China crap they bought downtown the day before.

For example, Sheila Richburg was found guilty of selling to an undercover officer a $3 bracelet with beads that she hand-made out of paper. She was ordered to pay a fine and to complete 19 hours of community service. “It’s like they’re trying to get rid of the people the ordinance was supposed to protect,” she said.

Ibrahim was arrested just because some lady told the cops to get him, and the cops complied. Meanwhile several others were performing on the boardwalk, some with amplified sound, which Ibrahim didn’t even have. Next time you see an officer shitting all over Venice on a horse, why not place a citizen’s arrest on him or her?

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