By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD

Perception—an interesting word as any police officer will tell you. The luxury of calm reflection is not always possible. Too often, it is “act and react.” What you think you see and hear is not always what you get. With that in mind, I give you—

The Screaming Woman

I was a uniformed sergeant assigned to the 77th Street Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. It is a high crime area of South LA. I am working the night watch and am in my black and white patrol car parked on a nearly deserted restaurant parking lot on Manchester Boulevard, a main thoroughfare. Parked next to me, driver door to driver door is a uniformed traffic sergeant we will call, “Rudy.”

We are having a conversation about who knows what. It is late and quiet, the streets are empty. A speeder goes by eastbound toward the freeway. Rudy later guestimated his speed at 75 mph plus. Tally ho and away goes Rudy with me right behind. It took several miles but Rudy “lit him up” and the car pulled over immediately.

Rudy stopped directly to his rear with me behind. We are both out and up toward the driver’s side. As Rudy gets to the front of his patrol car, the sound of a woman screaming takes him to the passenger side of the speeder’s vehicle.                                      

As I get to the left rear, the driver jumps out screaming something I can’t understand. He’s flailing his arms while running toward me. He tries to push past me to follow Rudy. I can’t allow that, so I grab his right shoulder but he spins out of my grip. I grab him again and he turns to face me screaming unintelligibly while still flailing. Even though smaller, he was very strong and determined to get by.

As a police officer, I carried a “sap” or blackjack. It was now in my hand and I smacked him behind his left hear. He went down like he’d been shot, first to his knees, then fell on his face.

I then approached Rudy. “What have we got?”

“She’s having a baby and it’s coming right now. Call for a G-unit (ambulance).”

Which I did.

 

The baby, however, would not wait and Rudy delivered while I assisted mostly by giving unneeded advice. The entire time, while waiting for the ambulance, all I could think was, “I cold-cocked daddy.” How do I explain that?

When the ambulance arrived, the too charge, pronouncing mother and child in good condition. They revived “daddy” and treated the lump on his head. As soon as he found out momma and baby were fine, he actually apologized for “making me hit him.” He had been screaming in Romanian or Lithuanian—he was so excited, he forgot to speak English.

A big relief.

Nowadays there would be a major investigation of “use of force” with statements, photos, deposition and on and on—

Mine was handled by a line in my log: “Assisted 12TL30 with birthing a baby.”

 

Perception…