By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD
A short recap: I arrested a man dressed as a woman, commonly call a drag
queen, in the mid 70’s. When I was booking him in the old Hollywood jail, a
men’s only facility, he stated, “I’m really a woman and if you strip search me
I’ll sue you and make a personnel complaint to your Watch Commander.”
Now, I only had about six years on the job but I was first sued with only two and a half weeks out of the academy. I remember telling my wife that I was being sued
for a million dollars and she said, “Hal, we don’t have that kind of money!”
Hell, I knew we didn’t have that kind of money—some nights I lived on free
coffee and a jelly donut. Just kidding. My point, being sued and a
personnel complaint didn’t scare me. My Watch Commander(W/C) was a different
story. He was a climber and worried that a complaint against him might slow
his climb to the top; which by the way, he never made it anywhere close to!
After talking to my arrestee, the W/C decided that we should take him/her
downtown to jail division and have a city doctor determine where this
individual should be housed. This easy arrest is turning into a nightmare!
I drive downtown and get in line at the jail dispensary behind the drunks
and DUI’s (drunk drivers) waiting to see the doctor. They were all well
enough to get drunk but too sick to go to jail! After an hour, it’s my turn
and the doctor tells my arrestee to strip. My arrestee tells the doctor if
you touch me I’ll sue you and everyone on the LAPD. This doctor must have
been on the same promotion list as my Watch Commander. He says take him/her
to USCMC (LA County Hospital Jail Ward) and have the sheriff deputies check
for his/her gender.
I’m about ready to let my arrestee escape and accept the days off without
pay for losing a prisoner! The jail ward at USCMC was a place where
seriously injured arrestees were treated and housed. It was never an in and
out trip. I often spent hours waiting for a doctor to look at my arrestee.
I once completed the whole five-page arrest report and got in a short nap
waiting for the doctor to spend ten minutes with my arrestee. Get my point?
The doctors were not in any rush.
So we take our arrestee up to the 13th floor where the jail ward is located.
We walk into the lobby and a sleepy deputy asks me, “What have you got?”
“I need a sex check.”
The look on his face showed he was in no mood for humor. I spent
the next ten minutes explaining why this rather ugly woman needs to have a
sex check. The deputy’s mood did not change. “Have a seat.
I have heard that before.”
Surprisingly, the deputy calls my name in a short time. Up walks the cutest LASD female deputy I have ever seen. She’s has blond hair, deep blue eyes and a she has a smile that will melt the heart of any man. For the fifth time I explain what I need. The deputy takes my ugly woman into a small room and returns in about seven minutes. She’s not smiling as she tells me, “Our woman is still a man and hasn’t had any surgery whatsoever.” She even told me that my arrestee wasn’t Jewish!
The only one smiling now is my ugly woman!
I thank the deputies and walk out of the lobby. As I’m getting in the
elevator I look back at the deputies and notice that female deputy is still
not smiling. It’s a quiet ride back to jail division to book my arrestee as
I was pissed and sat down to write an extra-long arrest report, documenting
the four-hour delay in booking this ugly man dressed as a woman. I requested
additional charges for delaying officers. He subjected my partner and I as
well as a doctor and a few deputies to hours of delay in a simple booking.
A few days later I received a notice from the District Attorney that my
arrest was dismissed due to time served and in the interest of justice.