We’ve written previously about John Tronson, who, for whatever reason, is no longer president of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID Board of Directors, and his disingenuous, self-serving, mendacious contention that the state of California has no need for the saintly Senator Carol Liu‘s recently introduced SB608, the Right to Rest Act. According to Tronson:
You know, I mean, it, the, the, the reality, the LAPD or the BID Patrol, nobody is gonna ask anybody to move who’s just resting for a couple minutes cause they need to rest. This is just another vehicle to, you know, allow permanent, facilitate, the living on the sidewalk.
He’s talking, of course, about the despicable LAMC 41.18(d), which prohibits sitting on sidewalks in the absence of a parade and which the Right to Rest Act is meant to send to a well-deserved oblivion. But, you know, perhaps we’re being too harsh on John Tronson. Perhaps it’s really true that the BID Patrol will not arrest people just for sitting on the sidewalk. We mean, the evidence seems to suggest that, on the one hand, they will arrest homeless black people for it but, to be sure, they will not arrest non-homeless, non-black people for it. Today’s series of videos reveals that sometimes, even when the citation reads LAMC 41.18(d), the real charge is contempt of cop.
Dude, I’m a veteran of a foreign war. Don’t fuck with me on this. Get a police officer here. You’re all gonna beat me up and mace me for sitting down. This dude’s about to mace me for sitting down. This dude’s about to mace me for sitting down. I’m sitting down. I’m about to be maced for sitting down. … What the fuck is the problem, man? … All I did was sit the fuck down! … Do you all see what’s going on in your goddamn city?
And you know, we see why he’s upset. All he’s doing is sitting down. That’s not actually against the law in sane places. So why, if what John Tronson says is true, did the BID Patrol choose to arrest this guy out of all the people who routinely violate this misbegotten statute? Actually, it’s all explained in the third video:
It doesn’t have to be this way. If you see us, just stand up. You know the rules. You know, you can challenge the white shirts, everybody else. You don’t challenge the BID officers. The BID officers have the authority to arrest you. What we do is blessed by the staff at Hollywood Division. We’re helping them out. They’re helping you out by citing you out and not detaining you. Please be more cooperative next time. … You know you can’t sit on the sidewalk and don’t challenge our authority next time and we’ll stop and chat and let you go on your way. All right?
There’s a hint in the second video as well:
Man: Like I did something wrong. I didn’t do nothing wrong. I don’t lie, cheat, or steal to fucking warrant this shit. I don’t even sell drugs or nothing. I play music on the sidewalk.
BID Patrollie: You told us we have no authority to make you get up off the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Man: After you fucking told me you were about to… you put gloves on like you’re about to butt-rape me and go and fucking start grabbing my arms and shit. Hell yeah.
So there we have it. The charge on the citation was violating LAMC 41.18(d). The unwritten charge but actual charge was not respecting the authority of the BID Patrol. Challenge “everybody else,” but “don’t challenge the BID officers.” We’ve seen what Berkeley BID officers do to people who don’t respect them. They beat the shit out of them. As far as we know, the Hollywood BID Patrol has at least restrained itself to arresting people who they wouldn’t otherwise have arrested. As always, contempt of cop is the first enforcement priority. The most ironic part of all this is that if it’s true that they wouldn’t have arrested the guy if he’d “respected their authority” then they’re the ones actually creating the problem. If they weren’t out on the streets insinuating their heavily armed presence into everyone’s business, there wouldn’t be any authority for anyone to disrespect, so their wouldn’t be any arrests. Their masters in the HPOA and at Andrews International claim that they’re “focused on community safety and quality of life solutions,” but what they’re really there for is to make people stand up when they walk by. If that’s their goal, all they have to do is stop patrolling and the problem will be solved, won’t it?
Image of U.S. Army veteran being arrested by the BID Patrol for violating LAMC 41.18(d) is a public record. Image of John Tronson is ©2015 MichaelKohlhaas.org.