The Glendale P.D. took the “all blacks look alike approach” on June 6thwhen they arrested Darris Love for something he had absolutely nothing to do with. What was it about him that made the arresting officers so sure he, a successfully actor, committed this crime? Answer: His race and the propensity for Americans to axiomatically associate black males with criminality. Darris Love is my friend and I can tell you that he knows everything about how to comply to survive. He’s extremely articulate and would have absolutely no issue giving Glendale P.D. the information they need to verify his innocence. Him being jailed for so long is solely due to Glendale’s law enforcement. I’ve been living on the Border of Glendale for 17 years so I can tell you first-hand that the Glendale Police Department has a problem with racism. Glendale used to be a “Sundown Town,” a city where black people were not allowed to be after dark. It still is a pseudo-Sundown Town in that it harasses and intimidates black people who are there after dark. Here is my list of experiences with Glendale P.D:
1. Circa 2004, Officer Anthony Hamilton and his partner randomly pulled my girlfriend and me over for no reason at the intersection of San Fernando Road and Los Feliz Blvd. The officers made us get out of the vehicle and sit on the curb while they violated my 4thamendment right, searching my car’s interior. They violated my girlfriend’s 4thamendment right by searching her purse, making her explain what her medications were for (something I didn’t even know until then). They ran our licenses for warrants and let us go without a citation.
2. Circa 2005, while making a left from San Fernando Blvd. onto Glendale Blvd. two officers pulled me over and questioned me about where I was going and if I had a criminal record. I asked for the reason they had stopped me and they declined to give me one. When asked about my criminal record, I told them I will use my 5thamendment privilege to which he replied, “when you do that it piques our curiosity.” I explained that if I were a felon I would be obligated to tell them so my taking the 5thshould make it obvious that I am not. He ran my license information for warrants and after more banter let me go without citation.
3. Circa 2006, while in a rush to return movies to 20/20 video on Central Avenue before they closed, Glendale P.D. pulled me over as I made a left from Los Feliz Blvd onto Central Ave. A young officer, presumably a training rookie, approached my window with his hand on his gun and explained that my third Brake light (the one in the window) was out. I told him that my dash panel did not indicate that and I’d like to inspect it myself. I stepped on the brake pedal and from the front seat saw that it was illuminated. I got out and explained to them that it was working and the rookie officer just repeated the violation code in a stern militant voice. I asked if one of them would mind stepping on the brake while I observed with the other officer and they said they couldn’t do that. They were lying about the reason they pulled me over. They ran my license information and let me go without being cited. I was late returning my DVDs that night and charged a late fee because of this fraudulent stop.
4. Circa 2009, while playing basketball at Pacific Park I noticed a police car pass by. 20 minutes later I left, traveling southbound on Pacific Ave. As I made a left onto San Fernando Road, I saw the blue lights. The officer approached and asked me where I was coming from and where I was going. I explained that I was playing basketball and headed home. Then I caught him off guard when I asked him what it was about me playing basketball that made him suspect me of a crime. He stumbled over his answer, saying something to the effect of “this neighborhood has a lot of crime.” I told him that that was the textbook definition of racial profiling. He checked my license information for warrants, asked me if I had any questions about the stop and I was let go without citation.
5. Circa 2011, while leaving the Glendale Galleria on the second level, taking the pedestrian bridge from J.C. Penney to the parking structure, several police officers had arrested two black suspects and were walking them back into the mall. As I passed them, two of the officers started towards me. I pointed at them and in a stern voice said “If you even think about it, I’ll sue your ass off.” They immediately stopped and continued in with their suspects.
6. Circa 2017, While washing clothes at the Laundromat adjacent to Vons on San Fernando and Los Feliz Blvd., I went into Vons to get more cash for the machines. As I was walking through the parking lot, I stopped for someone backing out. They noticed me and stopped so I gestured for them to continue and they did. I continued walking and a young Glendale PD officer in a patrol car pulled to my side and said, “How are you doing?” I said, “fine” and he began to drive away. That seemingly innocent gesture felt like something else to me so to gauge and possible correct my suspicion, I stopped him to clarify why he contacted me. My suspicions were right. I asked him, “If you don’t mind me asking, why did you stop and ask how I was doing?” He said, “well, you looked at that car and (making a gangster-like gesture) and said, ‘WHASSUPP,’ like you wanted to fight.” I told him I was simply gesturing for them to back out. He said, “ok” and at that point he realized that I was different that I appeared to be. I then asked him if he realized that his assumptions are dangerous and he just viewed me as aggressive when that was by no means the case. He told me that, I’ve “now ruined his day” and drove off.
These are my most memorable run-ins with Glendale Police Department. Thus far, I’ve never been cited despite well over 20 stops. I’ve been stopped several other times where they were supposedly “searching for a suspect” or car that fit my description but I can’t attribute that to racism, being that I don’t know if they actually had grounds to stop me. I’ve also been followed countless times, but again, these could have been for legitimate reasons. This department has systematic racism problems whether there’s record of it or not. Although I’ve thought about it, I’ve never formally complained so my experiences are completely off the radar. I’m sure that Darris’ experience is what black men in Glendale experienced overtly until the 1960s. I suspect that this behavior is a remnant of the City’s old “Sundown Town” policies. It’s just a matter of time before Glendale PD becomes the next national media focus because one of its officers has killed an unarmed black man. Alternatively, it could also become a shining example of how police departments can preempt the next neo-lynching by reforming itself on its own accord. The new Chief could blaze the trail by using Mr. Love’s incident as an opportunity to address an overall problem that affects so many police departments throughout the United States. What is it going to be?