You may recall that late last year, on the basis of my complaint to the Police Commission, the City of LA resumed enforcement of LAMC 52.34 against BID security forces.1 Since then it’s been possible to track the progress of this massive project via various CPRA requests. So in November 2016 the Police Commission informed all BIDs of the registration requirement and, at the same time, told them that their BID patrollies would be subject to arrest if they didn’t submit. In December 2017 the Police Commission told the BIDs to quit whining about it because the law is the law.
I reported a couple months ago that as a direct result of my June 2016 petition to the Police Commission, BID Security would be required to abide by LAMC 52.34 and register with the City like all other private security patrol operators must do. At that time I had only the oral assurance1 of Police Commission enforcement officer Ernesto Vicencio that this was the case.
Here’s the story so far: In November 2015 the BID Patrol attacked a homeless man while in the process of arresting him. It really looks like excessive force, so, at the direction of Richard Tefank, Executive Director of the Police Commission, in September I submitted a complaint to him and also to Kerry Morrison.1 As I reported two months ago, the Police Commission agreed to investigate my complaint, and assigned it to Officer Ernesto Vicencio.
Earlier this afternoon I spoke with Ernesto Vicencio, who is an LAPD investigator assigned to the Police Commission. He told me that the City Attorney either has sent or will soon send a letter to all Los Angeles Business Improvement Districts informing them that their security patrols are required to register with the Los Angeles Police Commission per LAMC 52.34.
This incredibly welcome development is a direct result of my discovery in the Summer of 2016 that it was likely that BID security registration had inadvertently ceased in 2000 due to an oversight. I don’t believe I mentioned it at the time, but in addition to writing a number of posts on the subject, I also sent a petition to the Police Commission asking them to look into the matter and to conclude that BID security ought in fact to register with them.
According to Officer Vicencio the City Attorney has decided to implement this request.1 This development is hugely important, not least because LAMC 52.34 requires private patrol services to have a procedure for investigating citizen complaints. It also grants the Police Commission a great deal of regulatory power over the activities of security patrols who are required to register.
Which brings us to the second stunning and absolutely unexpected thing that Officer Vicencio told me. You may recall that I recently reported on what seemed like a clear use of excessive force by members of the Andrews International Hollywood BID Patrol. Well, about three weeks ago I submitted a report on this matter to Kerry Morrison of the HPOA and also to the Police Commission, as instructed by the Commission’s executive director, Richard Tefank.
According to a recent post on Facebook, Mike Bonin’s Venice Field Deputy Taylor Bazley is telling concerned constituents that1 they [the BID Patrol] cannot touch people at all. He said “They can not do anything that you or I could not do. They just alert police. That’s all.”
The second claim, that BID security cannot do anything that any private person can’t do, is true, but it doesn’t make the point that Taylor Bazley wants it to make. California has one of the most weirdly expansive citizens’ arrest statutes (PC 837 et seq.) in the known universe. A lawyer of my acquaintance once said2 that it essentially authorizes fricking Batman. So actually, you yourself can physically restrain people with handcuffs if they e.g. sit on the sidewalk in your presence.3
This would be unbelievable if the whole thing weren’t captured on video. On November 23, 2015, at least four BID Patrol security guards (Mike Coogle, along with Wissman, Tizano, and Cox) confronted a man who was sitting on the sidewalk in front of the Metro Red Line station at Hollywood and Vine. They talked to him for almost four minutes, during which time he didn’t answer their questions and mostly ignored them. At 3:55 in the video one officer says to another “you want him?” The other says yes, so they grab him and push him over.
Soon all four of them are piled on top of him and trying to put handcuffs on him. Coogle claimed that the man kicked him during this episode, and ultimately they didn’t even arrest him for violating LAMC 41.18(d). Instead they arrested him for battery for kicking Coogle. When LAPD officers Adams (#34837) and Galicia (#41404) showed up and accepted the man into custody with the approval of their supervisor, LAPD Sgt. Chuck Slater. You can read the full story in the arrest report, although it doesn’t answer the main question I have about this incident: How did the LAPD decide to arrest Jones for battery rather than the BID Patrol officers?
I’m searching through the 2015 BID Patrol daily logs and also the 2015 arrest reports as part of a major project I’m working on,1 and I just keep coming across more surreal and upsetting (albeit tangential) episodes. For instance, on June 25, 2015 BID Patrol gunmen Dennis Watkins (badge #104) and Steven Sewell (badge #111), whose pictures Kerry Morrison is willing to lie and to break the law in order to keep secret,2 told the following story:3
RADIO CALL: 6923 HOLLYWOOD BLVD. 415 MAN IN FRONT OF THE “METRO”. UPON ARRIVAL NUMEROUS PEOPLE WERE POINTING TO THE SUBJECT. THE SUBJECT IS “C***** B****’ A M / W / 40-45 YRS. HE IS A TRANSIENT AND CAUSES PROBLEMS WERE EVER HE MAY BE. HE HAS PERIODS OF TIME WHERE HE WILL USE THE MOST VULGAR LANGUAGE TOWARD ANYONE IN EAR SHOT. HE PULLS A CHILD TYPE WAGON WITH ALL OF HIS POSSESSIONS. THERE IS NO REASONING OR CALMING THIS INDIVIDUAL DOWN. OFFICERS HAVE TO TAKE A FIRM POSTURE AND DIRECT HIM AWAY FROM PEOPLE. OFFICERS WILL ESCORT HIM TO A SIDE STREET OR OTHER LESS TRAVELED LOCATION. HE IS SWEARING AT THE OFFICERS DURING ALL OF THIS. IT IS UNKNOWN IF HE IS UNDER A DOCTORS CARE. IT IS AMAZING THAT HE HAS NOT BEEN ASSAULTED BY OTHER CITIZENS. HE IS SLIGHT OF BUILD AND NOT A PHYSICAL THREAT.