Man Reported for Pulling a Knife

In between refereeing soccer games at the historic Belmar Park on Sunday, November 5, this editor called 911.

The Park is 3.5-acres, but the centerpiece is a large artificial turf field, which is located across from Santa Monica High School on 4th Street.

The field is fenced in, and kids as young as eight years old accompanied by parents and relatives, were coming for games on the field.

Waiting for my third game, which started around noon, I was in the far corner under the trees at 4th and Pico. A loud argument filled with expletives erupted. I looked over the bushes and saw a skinny white male, in his thirties, shouting and gesturing at a black male, probably in his 50s. They were located under some palm trees and near some bushes that frame the park.

The white male was telling the black guy to get away from there, that it was his place. The black guy, who was carrying bags wasn’t moving. The argument escalated and then the white guy pulled a knife and threatened the other guy, who stopped his motion. The skinny guy kept brandishing the knife until the black guy backed up and went towards a bus stop.

I called 911, gave my name, told them what I saw, and police were sent.

Once they arrived, the guy was handcuffed.

Later I found out, that the police, who were great, did find the knife. They also discovered the guy had nunchucks. That martial weapon is illegal in California, because the sticks can reach high speeds and can strike an object with tremendous force. (Some of the injuries nunchucks can cause include, broken bones, cuts, concussions, eye and nose injuries, bruises.)

Later a police officer took my information and told me the guy had swastika tattoo on the back of his neck.

Then it was back on the field for two more games. As I was finishing the final one, I saw the guy that had been taken away, was back at the corner of the street at 4th and Pico. Maybe booked and released?

Threatening someone with a knife, especially if it’s another transient, means that person couldn’t or wouldn’t press charges? I don’t know.

I do know that after my game, I walked the long way around, because I didn’t want to walk by the transient.

And I do know that I called 911 initially because I was concerned for the kids who were coming on the field to play soccer, their parents, and yes, even the homeless man, who was initially threatened.

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3 Responses to Man Reported for Pulling a Knife

  1. Jon Girard says:

    Your concern and calling the police is commendable, but I find it unnecessary to describe the race/color (black/white) of the men involved in the incident. As a person who believes in the virtue of being colorblind, I agree with Justice Roberts who said something like: “The Way to Stop Discrimination on the Basis of Race Is to Stop Discriminating on the Basis of Race”. The one thing every one of us can do to change our culture for the better is to model the cultural values we desire, so if you are like me and believe in the virtue of a colorblind society, let’s not go out of our way to point out race/color. Eventually, more and more people, peculiarly our kids, will do the same.

  2. Sue says:

    Jon,

    When I called 911, I was asked the skin color of each person. They also asked for sex. I could have also given the police the color of the suspect/victim’s hair, but they didn’t ask for it. I really worry about people like you. Our society should be color blind (and not sexist) when it comes to opportunity, but it should not be color blind when crimes are committed. Then people are turning a blind eye to trying to solve a problem. It’s easier to repeat dogma than think.

    Sue

  3. Jon Girard says:

    I agree that race/color is important when identifying people for the police to find and there are many other “exceptions” that make sense such as in the context of medical research. But I believe that we would make faster progress towards a better, more civil, color-blind society if we did not ask or consider race/color in school admissions, employment hiring, symphony auditions, etc. One thing we can all do is stop referring to the race/color of people when it is merely gratuitous. It is very common for people to add the race/color description when it completely unnecessary. People don’t do it because they are racist, it’s just a habit and way of talking that most of us grew up with. But I think it is counterproductive to the concept that we are all more alike that different and the differences that we have very little to do with race/color. Maybe one day we will hear “a very nice black doctor helped us in the ER” as infrequently as we hear “a very nice brown-haired doctor helped us in the ER”. While it was critical to tell the 911 operator the race/color of the men, describing their race/color in the story seems gratuitous, although I don’t think it suggests any racism on the writer’s part, it’s just a habit that most of us have.

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