It was an act of violence that far surpassed...anything ...I have seen in a lifetime of living in LA or my twenty years in Downtown. I had just watched a group of not particularly young men and woman stomping on the face, the head and body of a man lying in the street - 5th Street just before it meets Hill - directly across from the entrance to the subway.
I first knew something was happening when I noticed people standing in the street when I was a full block away, but didn't think anything of it, I then had to wait for two signals to change before I was even on that block - and it was only then that I noticed the people were still standing here. And as I got closer I heard one woman yell out to someone who was standing somewhat in front of her. She said - "You know this isn't making us look very good."
And as I got a bit closer, a few of the spectators broke away and I first saw a somewhat older black man lying in the street with several black men and one black woman with their backs to me - kicking his body - and his head - which was bleeding. And it was the woman who - at that point in time - was doing most of the yelling and most of the kicking to the head and the face - though they all seemed to be joining in.
And it was quickly apparent that most of the people closest to the fight knew the people they were watching as they were calling out to them by their names. So seeing as, I couldn't see anyone calling for help or even looking for help (though that could have happened earlier) - I went around the fight to get to a better reception area just as one of the attackers, who had been kneeling by then not moving body, appeared to be reaching into the victim's pockets and while I couldn't see him very well as he passed behind me, I did see a wad of bills in one of his hands.
And I was still trying to get to 911 with my phone - with busy signal after busy signal - as I could still hear the woman yelling and stomping the man's head ...as I kept on getting so busy signal. So I finally into Hill Street looking for a police officer - when I spotted a motorcycle officer coming up 5th - but in the far right hand lane where he would not see the body since the attackers at that moment had run off. So I ran down the street- and yelled at the police officer - and pointed towards the now totally motionless body - and just as he was about to pass me - his eyes saw where I was pointing and he made a U-turn. And one other person also tried to wave him down once he saw what I was doing.
Fortunately, the man came to before the ambulance arrived and he was alive when he was taken away. And I then left - after briefly telling the officers what I had seen - since there was nothing else I could do. I barely saw anyone's face through the crowd and even if I had, I have almost total facial blindness and I can barely recognize people I've known for years, and there were plenty of people there who knew who everyone was.
And - as I said earlier- I have never seen anything like this before anywhere in LA. But in the past year - with the violent crime wave that has engulfed the entire city - and the entire state - ever since the passage of Proposition 47 - I have been seeing a lot of things happening I never thought I'd ever seen happen in this city. And yet - all the politicians who lied to us about what it would do to our communities - still refuse to repeal it and start over.
And I had just discovered - only minutes before I had left my office - there is far worse proposition that is going to be on the fall ballot. A proposition that is supposed to reform sentencing guidelines for non-violent criminals. But this proposition will instead - as I just discovered after reading an article the LA Times linked to - unleash a tidal wave of violent criminals into our communities.
And I'll be posting on that tomorrow morning.