Here’s what happened.
I drove up to Burbank from Huntington Beach with EdTempleton, Kevin “Spanky” Long and Raviv Moore. Kevinknew of a recently discovered spot at a school. It wasa nine-stair wooden bannister. On the way up we calledBoots (Kevin Barnett) to come and film. He brought afew more skateboarders with him, but Spanky hadalready arranged to meet Jon Miner and Justin Reaganwho in turn came with their own flotila. So 15 ,or so,of us met up at this In and Out Burger joint, where wespotted Jay Leno of all people, gassing up thismassive custom car. Ed and I went over and shot photosof Jay and his car and then everyone drove to thenearby school. Where local kids were already skating.
We all hopped the fence. Ed and some others startedskating the rail, so I set up and shot some photos. Ishot for about twenty minutes. I figured I hadeverything I needed, so I started to pack up. Rightthen one of the local kids told me that the police hadarrived. Everyone started hopping the fence. Everyonebut Me, Boots and Ed. Boots was still filming, Ed wasstill skating and I was still packing. A lady policeofficer came over and she yelled at Ed to stopskating, but Ed ignored her. He tried his trick twomore times, which further antogonized her. Shedemanded that he hand over his board, and he lookedright at her as he tossed it over the fence. Then hetried to runnaway. He was up on the fence before theofficer pulled him down. He later said that he didn’trealize that the woman was a police officer. In factshe was a K-9 unit officer, we were lucky not to havea dog sicked on us. Another officer arrived andstarted trying to coral Kevin who was packing hiscamera bag. Kevin and Ed were cuffed, but I was off tothe side, so no one bothered with me until I asked ifI should continue putting my gear away. Raviv wasoutside the perimeter playing a game of S-K-A-T-E orsomething. They gathered us up, the property ownerscame, inspected the ‘crime scene’ and decided to presscharges. At that point I too was cuffed, even though Iwas sitting there quietly and we were all placed inpolice cruisers, despite the fact that one of theofficers on the scene used to live beside Pat Chanita,so much for connections. Thanks for nothing Pat.
My car was impounded, my camera gear and Kevins videocamera was loaded into another car (by this time fourplus, cruisers had arrived as ‘back-up’) and we weretaken ‘downtown’ (only a few blocks away.) They tookall of our belongings and personal affects, and tossedin the clinck.Except for Raviv, who was released tohis parents since he was under 18 and wasn’t foundinside the fence when the cops came. Randomly, Ihappened to have a fake 10 dollar bill in my wallet. Ihad been short-changed at a dodgy convenience store orsomething and hadn’t bothered to get rid of the thing.
We were interviewed, photographed and fingerprinted.Then they handed us bedrolls and towels and wetransfered cells. We thought we were going to be heldovernight. But we were released a few hours later. Andhad our shoelaces and pocket lint returned to us. Ed’swife Deanna came and picked us up and we went out tosupper (or dinner, for you Americans) in L.A. I hadhot and sour soup. We were told that we could comeback the next day to pick up the remainder of ourpossessions. This turned out not to be the case. I wasable to pick up my car at the impound lot but thecamera and video equipment was held as ‘evidence.’This despite the fact that they had returned thepolaroid I’d shot of Ed skating the rail.
What was your initial reaction?
“Here we go again.”
What’s been going on with the courts/legal system?
Shortly thereafter we contacted a lawyer and hehasseled the D.A. to order the detective in charge ofthe case to return the equipment, but they heldsteadfast. The D.A. offered us a crap deal, 50 hoursof picking up trash on the side of the freeway orsomething. In fact that sweetheart deal wasn’t evenopen to me since they were convinced that they had atlast tracked down the ringleader in an extensivecounterfeitting operation.
At the arraignment the judge would not even let merequest that mine and Kevin’s equipment be returned.He cut me off before I could get the words out andsaid that we’d see what was evidence and what wasn’tat the trial.
After about three weeks and a couple of useless tripsto see the detective we finally had a pretrial whereour lawyer cut a deal with the D.A. We paid the city$500.00 a piece to cover the cost of their’investigation’ and they dropped all charges againstus. Basically they’d already exacted their punishmenton me sine I had to go three weeks without my gear, Ihad to pay for inferior rental equipment, pay for alawyer and make repeated trips up to Burbank in rushhour traffic. The whole thing was monumental waste oftime for everyone involved, with the possibleexception of our lawyer who bills by the minute.