Image taken in Harbor Regional park, Los Angeles.
Last Friday, LAPD held a news conference to tout their lewd conduct arrests in parks for last year.
Compared to the magnitude of the problem, the stats aren't very impressive, putting it mildly.
Arrests: 90, up roughly a dozen from the same period the previous year
Parks: 3, including Griffith Park, Elysian Park, and Sycamore Grove park
Erm..... (Ben Stein - Clear-Eyes voice) wow.
As someone who actively supports safe, clean, healthy parks in Los Angeles, I'm trying not to laugh out loud at this. Or cry.
There are places in Griffith Park where you could arrest 90 in one week if you worked it. Like shooting fish in a barrel. A particular small canyon between Victory Blvd and Live Steamers does that kind of illicit business over the weekend if authorities don't make a show of their presence a few times a day.
The vast majority of participants in this illegal behavior are males engaging males. They often travel quite a ways for a shag in the bushes with an anonymous male friend in Los Angeles parks.
Witness John Stolpe - an upstanding Long Beach PD captain and then-candidate for mayor of Long Beach who was caught literally with his pants down roughly 2 feet away from another male in this very canyon a couple years ago. He ran from the park ranger, who after a struggle was able to arrest Stolpe.
Stolpe's wife, a high-powered City of Long Beach attorney literally got him off in court, so technically he's innocent.
Same way O.J. Simpson is innocent.
You can thank the LA City Attorney's office for letting this clown get off, by the way. They utterly failed to respond to the case, instead allowing the defense to go on the offense with Long Beach PD "character witnesses" and then pursuing a "character assassination" strategy, propping up Stolpe and attacking the park ranger - one of the City's finest - who made the arrest. The City attorney sat around with his thumbs up his ass, letting people previously ticketed by the park ranger to exact revenge.
With what was effectively no response from the City, Stolpe's lawyers pulled it out. So to speak.
When you have a police officer lying to his wife and 8-year old son while committing felonies (lying about not being a police officer, resisting arrest), it is a complete perversion of justice. The City Attorney's total lack of any due diligence in paying attention to who the defendant was, realizing a vigorous bullshit defense was coming, and responding appropriately is also a complete perversion of justice.
If this had been the LAPD's case, and not the LA City Park Rangers, you can well imagine the City Attorney may have been just a teeny-tiny bit more interested.... ya think? But that in itself is a different problem.
Sex in parks is illegal. The activity creates health hazards, emotional trauma to youth witnessing the behavior, and attracts criminal behavior. Lewd conduct suspects are the number one cause of fires in Griffith Park ('cause after sex in the park bushes, you just gotta light one up) - and they do. A lot.
It does take time and resources to effectively address lewd conduct since the perpetrators must be caught in the act.
The LAPD, City Attorney, and City Council need to pull their heads out and truly apply themselves to addressing the problem.
More Park Rangers - not less - would be a good start.
After all, Park Rangers can arrest these creeps, and they can fight the fires the creeps set afterward, too. Can't say that about the LAPD.
Read Ranger Gord's summary of how John Stolpe explained his presence in Griffith Park on a weekday around 1 pm in the bushes, and his actions following discovery by a "man in a uniform" from the bottom the web page.
Try not to laugh too hard.
While Stolpe was out on a hike he saw two men masturbating. Stolpe told the men that they shouldn't be masturbating in public and one man zipped up and left. The other man zipped up listened to Stolpe lecture him on proper behavior when out in public. Suddenly, some guy wearing a uniform with a badge and carrying a radio, baton, and pepper spray jumped out of the dense brush and said "lewd conduct, head toward the street."
After noticing that he was not wearing a gun, Stolpe decided that this man was not a police officer. Stolpe figured that it would be pointless to tell this uniform man that he is a police officer who had just stopped some men from masturbating in public. Stolpe started walking down the trail towards the uniform man, but the trail was so steep Stolpe was unable to controll his speed and accidently ran past him. The crazed uniform man then pushed Stolpe to the ground and pepper sprayed him. Stolpe, scared for his life, tried to get up and run away, but the crazed uniform man pushed him down again, hit him with a police baton, and sprayed more pepper spray. Stolpe tried to get up again, but uniform man knocked him to the ground, hit him with the baton and then stomped on him. After all this, Stolpes (sic) somehow escaped from the uniform man by running up a hill and hiding in the brush.
After a long time, Stolpe heard a helicopter and the sounds of people searching the park. Stolpes may have thought that the masterbater had called the police to report that a crazed uniform man was attacking hikers in the park. Stolpes noticed that some of the searchers were wearing guns. At this point, Stolpes may have realized that these people were police officers, just like they have back at Stolpes job in Long Beach. At some point Stolpes must have decided that the uniform man was some sort of police officer that was trying to arrest him for some unknown reason. Stolpes announced, "I'm coming out now because there's going to be more witnesses to the arrest and I'm not going (to get another) beating." Stolpes then came out and surrendered to the people dressed like police officers. Stolpes may not have been completely convinced that these were real police, because he decides he should not reveal that he is a police officer and that he has a car parked in the park. Perhaps he thought that if they found out he was a police officer that had a car, then they could steal his gun and badge and then they could give it to the uniform man so that he would look like a police officer.