By Mikey, Retired LAPD
MANNY AND THE COLLAPSIBLE BATON
Friday and Saturday nights in Hollywood rock, so I made every effort to be outside as the Watch Commander or assistant W/C. At the time, the clubs on Vine north of Hollywood Boulevard were some of our problem bars/clubs. Usually, if we anticipated trouble, we’d stop a cruiser or two in the center turn lanes of Vine Street just north of Hollywood Boulevard. The area was known for attracting opposing “groups,” so this location was a good place to be.
One summer night two officers and I had our units stationed in the middle of the street when a fight between four men broke out in a club parking lot. Officer Manny and I took off for the fight as his partner got on the radio requesting back-up. While running I pulled my collapsible baton from its holder, snapping it back to let gravity do its work. I got to where two of the combatants were on the ground and yelled, “police, break it up!”
The men kept fighting so I struck the guy who was on top and he fell to the ground holding his right shoulder. The guy on the bottom took off, so I concentrated on the guy on the ground. Knowing Manny was behind me I holstered the baton and began handcuffing the guy.
Just then I heard Manny say, “Sarge, we need to talk after you finish.”
After I got my arrestee handcuffed, I looked up at Manny and saw that he was bleeding from the top of his forehead. “What the hell happened Manny!?”
“I was running behind you when you struck me with your baton, Sarge. I fell to the ground and damn near passed out.”
Oh crap, this was not good!
Arriving back-up located all four guys thanks to witnesses and I transported Manny to the hospital. I cracked his head pretty good and he required some stitches. Manny was put off work for a few days. I was working the Watch Commander’s position when I got a call from Manny telling me that he was at the hospital obtaining a back to work release. I sent a field sergeant to meet Manny and complete the paper work. The sergeant phoned me and said that Manny was with his mother and added that they were enroute to the station.
When Manny and his mother walked into the office, I immediately apologized to the man. I said, “Manny, let me buy you a bottle of your favorite Tequila.”
Manny said, “Don’t drink, Sarge.’”
But before I could respond his mother said, “Tequila es bueno.” Well, at least she wasn’t angry with me.
It was New Years day, 2004 and I was on patrol west bound on Hollywood Boulevard when I observed a rather portly man at Cherokee Avenue standing outside the crosswalk half way into the street. He was leaning on a cane, totally ignoring the cars that had to go around him to avoid hitting him.
I stopped, exited my cruiser and approached the man. “Sir, are you okay?”
“What do you want,” was his reply.
“Can I help you back onto the side walk?”
“I’m fine right where I’m at!”
This back and forth went on until I felt that the gentleman was not about to move. I asked for a unit to meet me. When they arrived the three of us escorted the “protesting” and angry man to the side walk. The guy had not been drinking but his attitude was terrible. Now, I have never been a ticket writer, but this guy needed to start the New Year off with an attitude adjustment. I borrowed one of the officer’s citation book and I issued the man a citation for “pedestrian in the roadway.”
Several months later I received a subpoena for traffic court. Yup, my Hollywood and Cherokee guy, Mr. Smith. So here we are, in traffic court. Mr. Smith is helped up to his podium by two men, maybe his sons. I’m standing at my podium as the judge tells Mr. Smith he can tell his side of the story. Smith jumps into a story of bad cop nothing better to do, harassment, didn’t happen, crippled, on and on. After Smith completed his tirate speech the judge looked at me.
“Sergeant Diaz, do sergeants usually issue traffic citations?”
“No, your honor”
“How long have you been with the department, Sergeant?”
“Over 30 years, your honor”
The judge looked at Mr. Smith and stated the following, (he did because I was there……..) “Mr. Smith, we are about ready to put this man out to pasture. Something happened out there that made the Sergeant get out of his police car. Something you caused.”