Anger Directed at Officers and School Misplaced

 

LAPD were on hand to help the kids that were in front of the American Legion on March 1.
Photo: JOHN ALLE

Criminal activity and fighting by teens have caused anger to be directed at Senior Lead Officer Brian Espin and Palisades High School.

Instead, that anger should be towards the teens exhibiting criminal behavior and the parents who are unwilling to hold their children responsible for their actions – and those unwilling to file police reports.

Here are some facts:

There were almost 30 calls for police service that were generated by juvenile activity in the park, or park adjacent, from January 2023 to present.

Of those, only two people in the Palisades filed a police report. Many say that they are worried that if they file a report, their kid will suffer greater consequences.

But by not filing, the teen thugs continue to run free. “If I don’t have a police report, very little can be done,” Espin said. “If it is reported and there is retaliation, there could be a harsher punishment.”

Police, including the SLO, can only arrest or issue citations if they see a crime committed in their presence.

But, if there are fireworks and there is no positive identification of the individual who ignited the fireworks, then there can be no follow-up by detectives. (A photo of someone who may have been in the area does not serve as positive identification of a crime.)

Once there’s a police report, detectives can do follow-ups like they did for the two reports that were filed and speak with witnesses and parties involved to determine what transpired. Police can then make recommendations to the City Attorney’s office.

LAPD has put the park on their extra patrol locations list. A patrol car checks the park when they are available, but the moment the car leaves (possibly because of another call) that’s when the teen “cockroaches” creep back and cause problems.

LAPD has limited resources, which doesn’t allow it to have Officers sit at the park hoping to deter juvenile behavior.

SLO Espin has asked for and received undercover Officers to periodically monitor the park. On one occasion the undercover Officers were part of a group sent away by a private security company and another time it rained so there was very little activity in the park.

The two police reports that were filed were investigated by Detectives and sent to the City Attorney’s Office for filing. (As of November 2023, there are no longer Neighborhood Prosecutors to help police. City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto discontinued that program.)

Current DA George Gascon handles all juvenile cases. After an arrest, juveniles are generally recommended for the Juvenile Diversion program and spend little or no time in formal custody.

Espin describes the Juvenile Diversion Program as a kind of probation. “The courts want to avoid giving youth a criminal record, so youth are given the option for Diversion,” he said. “That may include community service, anger management class and counseling.”

There are confidentiality issues with minors, which means the high school can’t share the steps they are taking.

One person wrote to CTN: “Enough talk. Enough of you saying your hands are tied. Stop putting it back on us. We’ve given you everything you asked for. Video evidence. Photographic evidence. Firsthand accounts. Filed charges. Nothing has changed. It’s gotten worse. Do your job. If you’re admitting defeat, then find someone willing to take on the fight.”

Only two police reports have been filed. People are not filing police reports, even after beatings have taken place. They say they are afraid.

Another reader harangued the police and then said, “Where are Pacific Palisades Community Council and other voices of the community not echoing our outrage and demanding accountability from our local patrol?”

Once again charges need to be filed to effect change.

Resident John Alle sent photos of a scene in front of Ronald Reagan Post 283 on March 1 around 9 p.m. He wrote, “I was at CVS last night picking up last-minute items. I noticed two LAPD cars in the area which showed me they really care and are trying.

“I parked on the second level of CVS and saw a squad car on the first level at the very end of the first level facing the CVS entry. I left CVS 20 minutes later and it looked like two of the kids were intoxicated, unfortunately,” Alle said.

A reader also disparaged the Park Board. “And where is our so-called Park Advisory Board? They have literally played no role in calling for park management and leadership to shut down this garbage. The Park cherry picks individuals who will say and do nothing to serve on this board. It’s time for them to all step down in the face of this complete failure.”

According to the City, “A Park Advisory Board (PAB) consists of individuals, selected by Department of Recreation and Parks staff, who are community residents, business members, and those who work or spend time in the community they are chosen to represent as volunteer board members. The mission of every PAB is to strengthen their facility’s recreation programs and services.”

PAB members are not paid, meet quarterly and try to assist the staff at the park.

The current director Jasmine Dowlatshahi, through Park and Recs, hired a park monitor, Trentin Nelson in February. Jasmine explained that “He’s not a ranger. He simply monitors the park and the patrons. He asks them to stop or leave. He calls law enforcement; parking enforcement and he writes reports.

“We’re one of the only parks that was allowed to hire someone in this position,” Dowlatshahi said. “We have to pay him through our recreation center funding. So, it’s a big expense for us.

“The teens are beyond out of hand at this community. I have never seen anything like them,” she said. “They walk in groups of 30-50 and are not worried about people filming their behavior. It’s sad to see.”

Kids were on the roof of the new gym. The Park has been the site of fireworks activity, racing motorbikes and graffiti.

(Editor’s note: to the families that have not reported crimes to the police or not sent in photos or videos to the police because they are afraid – if something does happen to a kid and you didn’t speak up, the blood is on your hands. John Stuart Mill said, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”)

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9 Responses to Anger Directed at Officers and School Misplaced

  1. Henry Strauss says:

    Why can’t someone at the high-school ID these punks? Then tell the parents they’re responsible for the damages, press charges. Do something. This is nuts. How did this country get to be so stupid???

  2. Jim McCashin II says:

    Keep up the good reporting!

  3. Sue says:

    Henry,

    If no one reports it to the police or the high school, nothing happens. As of yesterday, several of the people have been identified.

    Sue

  4. Samuel says:

    Anger at the school does not seem misplaced. They are allowing these violent criminals to walk among their student population with no repercussions. They leave school and terrorize the community. They know who these kids are, have access to their parents, and do absolutely nothing. These kids walk around with knives, beat up innocent kids, and steal from local stores. This should be a HUGE concern for Pali High and shame on them for not taking action to protect their own student body and community. Who would want to send their kids to this school when this is the type of behavior they allow.

  5. Tia says:

    Since the boys’s identities are known, why not shine sunlight on the parents?

  6. Sick of It says:

    Misplaced ?? I don’t think so. This article is thorough, brave and well written. Bravo. People in charge at the high school should have to have the photo of that knocked out kid on their office wall as punishment. Their reluctance to protect this community is laying right there on the ground for everyone to see. And all the kids named in this article were all at school this week. After brandishing weapons. Beating multiple kids up. And threatening even more. Nothing happens to the kids.

    https://www.circlingthenews.com/violence-was-posted-to-kids-tiktok-account/

  7. Concerned says:

    What happened after the two police reports were filed? Were there any arrests or citations? What was done?

  8. Sue says:

    Detectives investigated and the kids received Juvenile Diversion–(like probation)

  9. Melissa Schilling says:

    Palisades Charter High School cooperates with the LAPD on these issues and will help identify kids from photos. Regarding the recent incidents with high school fighting, the students have been cited and will face repercussions through the court system. One of those kids has already been withdrawn from school. It’s important to note that Pali high doesn’t have the resources to hire extra security around the village and it would not make sense for them to take ownership over patrolling outside of school grounds. It might also be worth knowing that the kids who are setting off fireworks over by the rec center are middle school kids — not Pali High kids. Parents and community members are going to have to help deal with these issues — it’s not something we can pin on one school.

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