A resident wrote to Circling the News with a query about what to do in an incident that occurred on June 12 around 11 a.m. at Flour (formerly Estate Coffee) on Via de la Paz. The eatery is located across from Palisades Elementary School.
The man, described as an older, white, very tan with dreadlocks and torn, unwashed clothes sat down at the outside tables with a cup of coffee.
Shortly after sitting down, he began to loudly shout nonsensical phrases, perhaps because of a deteriorating mental condition.
Twenty minutes later, he got up and moved to the metal bench in front of Rodeo Real Estate, where he sat down and pulled his sweatpants down to his ankles.
“Although I didn’t take a close look, I can assure you he wasn’t wearing underwear,” the resident said. “A few of us inside Flour were wondering who to call, when two Palisades Patrol officers driving past stopped their cars on Via de la Paz and very swiftly (and kindly) approached the man, got him to put his pants back on, and then encouraged him to move along.
“I made sure to thank the security officers,” she said. “We were all very grateful for their timing. But later, when telling my husband about this incident, he thought that the man should have been arrested.”
Yesterday, CTN put this resident in touch with Palisades Senior Lead Officer Brian Espin, to find out if there is a correct way to handle this kind of incident “when someone who is mentally ill, is airing their private parts in a non-threatening but obviously inappropriate way, across the street from an elementary school.”
The reader wondered if Pali Patrol should have called the police. Or if the “move it along” approach was the most reasonable option.
Circling the News also sent the inquiry to the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness.
Espin responded: “The homeless person that you described is on our radar. We know who he is and have made numerous outreach contacts with him. He does appear to have some sort of mental illness and frequently yells and screams while walking down the street or sitting at a bench.
“When it comes to someone exposing themselves in public it is a misdemeanor offensive. A misdemeanor has to occur in the presence of a police officer in order for an officer to make an arrest,” Espin said.
“If it does not occur in the presence of a police officer, the person calling the police or person witnessing the event has the option to place the person (suspect) under a Private Persons Arrest,” he said. “The arresting private person would then be required to go to court at a later date to give their case to the courts for prosecution. In my experience, most people in this situation just want the issue to be resolved and they move on.”
Pacific Palisades Task Force co-president Sharon Kilbride also responded: “Yes, PPTFH knows this man. His name is Steve. He comes to the village by bus about once a month and stays a few days and leaves,” she said. “He is service resistant and refuses help.
“Steve is mentally unstable and sometimes is very lucid and then other times he rants to himself in a loud voice. LAPD has been made aware that he has been in the village for two days,” Kilbride said. “I would call 911 if his behaviors are threatening, or if he is exposing himself.”