Policing Terrorism
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Man Under the Influence Dies After Arrest in Boyle Heights

Los Angeles:  An intoxicated man causing a disturbance died after his arrest early Monday in the Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.

On September 4, 2006, shortly before 1:00 a.m., officers from Hollenbeck Area Station were sent to a residence in the 3300 block of Whittier Boulevard after receiving reports of a disturbance. When police arrived, they found a man, later identified as Jesus Mejia, 31, in an agitated, combative state.  Judging from the suspect's excessive perspiration, glazed eyes and apparently heightened physical strength, officers deduced that Mejia was under the influence of narcotics.  Mejia refused to comply with officers' instructions.

Police Officer Victor Arellano, 43, was one of several officers who responded to the back-up call.  He administered the Taser as fellow officers subdued Mejia with their body weight.

Once in the police car, Mejia developed difficulty breathing.  Paramedics from the Los Angeles City Fire Department rushed him to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center, where he failed to respond to treatment and died.

Officer Arellano has been with the Department for ten years.

Force Investigation Division is handling the inquiry.  Questions on this matter may be directed to Media Relations Section.

Comments

My brother died as a result of a driver who had been drinking, and thought he was ok to drive. It is a sad day for the LAPD star struck over Paris Hilton. I thought it was LAPD's job to protect and serve, not set a double standard. In my opinion she has made the LAPD look foolish, and has hurt the credability of a fine Dept. LAPD missed an opportunity to send a message. Hilton is 25 going on 16, speeding and drinking, and not the first time LAPD has let her off the hook. LAPD's finest thought it prudent to bring her in, yet they release her! Who in the world gets released after speeding and legally intoxicated? My daughter is an honor student in high school, what kind of message are you sending to our young people. Start acting with integrity, and don't call me for donations this year.

Maybe I missed something, but how exactly did LAPD look foolish after arresting Paris Hilton for a DUI. She was pulled over, given a sobriety test, which she obviously failed, then she was hooked and booked, Just like any other person. The news media created the circus, as they always do. They did a good job in my opinion.

She didn't just get released. Get your facts and information right. She was booked into jail and has the oportunity, like all citizens to post bail. And that is exactly what she did. What do you think LAPD should do? It's a misdemenor crime in the state of California. It's not LAPD's falt she is able to bail out. IT'S THE LAW! LAPD enforces it! IF she would of hurt someone it would of been a felony and the bail is higher. But oh yeah she a millionare and probably could have afforded it. Get your facts right befor you start blaiming the PD! And Sorry about yout brother.

Peacemeal, although your post was way off topic, I feel obliged to respond. Paris Hilton was arrested, booked and released in the same manner as every other DUI arrest. The message is that anyone who is found to be driving under the influence will be arrested. And, if you are receiving telephone solicitations for money for the LAPD, it is a scam and you should hang up. Although there are legitimate charitable organizations who support the LAPD, the Department itself does not solicit donations.

Re Peacemeal,

Before you start bashing the LAPD for being "star Struck" and letting ANYONE off the hook, maybe you should review the law first. LAPD can't make a DUI driver stay in jail if they are eligible for OR release. That is a violation of their rights by the way, holding them without probable cause if they are eligible for release. DUI drivers by the THOUSANDS are OR released in this manner. The only requirement is that they stay in a cell long enough to sober them up and that is determined by the BAC level and a printed timeline on a chart. And at .8 BAC she would be eligible to be out before the paperwork was even written anyway since it takes HOURS to process an arrest. Even if they were not eligible for OR release, they would be able to bail themselves out, or they have the option to bail themselves out sooner that the time on that chart which is usually less than 1500 dollars. There is not enough jail space to hold every DUI driver until arraignment. Even if there was, that is still the law and jail policy. IF you don't like it talk to the jail and District Attorney, NOT the LAPD! Because if you are going to do that then you better start barking at every law enforcement agency in the country. That's just the way it is, regardless of WHO it is.

If you think there should be stiffer laws for drunk drivers, then you should probably wonder why most efforts to do so was overturned by the 9th circuit court of appeals and can't make it through California legislation!

On the subject of Paris Hilton, I hope the judge throws the proverbial book at her.

What's the first thing she does after being released from jail? Answer: turns her disgrace into yet another publicity stunt, going on the radio and whining about how all she wanted to do was go out for a hamburger and the big, bad policeman arrested her for being "tipsy."

A thousand hours of community service cleaning public restrooms at LAX would be the perfect sentence for her.

Peacemeal is unfortunately correct. She did make LAPD look like fools (again).

Here are the facts (just the facts):

1. She was OR'd at Hollywood Station before the requisite 3 hrs based on her B.A.C. of .08.

2. She was allowed to make phone calls before she was booked.

3. She was picked up in her handler's vehicle in the rear of the Police station, that is only accesible to Ofcrs.

Now if that doesn't smack of preferential treatment, I don't know what does.

If she was a non-celebrity, this is how the arrest process would have worked:

1. She would have been transported/booked at Van Nuys Jail. and been made to wait 3 hrs for her Blood Alcohol Content to lower.

2. Once booked at Van Nuys, she would have been allowed to use the phone inside the cells.

3. Based on her .08 BAC, she would have been detained for 3 hrs in the jail and THEN released on an O.R.

4. Once released, she would have been made to walk-out the front door of Van Nuys Station.

I don't mind giving someone special treatment, if they deserve it.

But this spoiled little girl is used to preferential treatment her whole life and she hasn't done anything to deserve it.

Not only that, but when given special treatment, she turns around and spits in LAPD's face.

Read her statements about her thinking that the only reason she was arrested is because 'LAPD was trying to make a statement'.

Nice guys finish last, just remember that one next time LT.

Dang, Peacemeal, you got knocked the @#$%! out!!!

My bad, Peacemeal, and apologies. Looks like myself & several others need to have our info straight...No hard feelings.

LAPD is a great department but your all kidding yourself if you think Paris was not getting special or easier treatment. HWD said it perfect. This is not an attack on the LAPD at all. It seesm to be human nature. Could you imagine how a PD in Black crow South Dakota would have handled this? They probably would have taken their pictures with her and took her out to breakfast.

This is not the first time that little dilitant managed to slide away,remember on the news when one of her friends hit someones car and they were all illegaly packed in one small car. For some reason they walked away becasue Paris was in the car and she thanks them by blowing them a kiss and in her sappy little voice says "thanks we love a policman" So sarcastic and disrespectful in my opinion,nobody else would get away with that, NOBODY!!!

I'm not blaming the police because like I said it seems to be human nature to let people like this slide a bit but I find her incredibly annoying and I hope they throw the book at her.

Her last statement was "Everyone is like,overreacting,all i wanted was a hamburger.......I mean like,my car is fast..It's just fast!"

I think picking up trash would be a good CS for her!!!

They were trying to make a statement!! just Like the Higher Ups try to make statements In many different ways. The only people exempt from DUI booking... IS????? I wont go there yet.... Two words LONG BEACH....... One officer may be proud they booked Paris Hilton.. but thousands would be ashamed If they knew WHO DIDNT GET BOOKED!!!!!!

v,

The Long Beach rumor is months old and bad info. I checked it out with very reliable sources in Long Beach and found it to be untrue and completely without foundation. Unless you have hard evidence to the contrary, that rumor should be left alone.

There was a time when we treated our own differently, but that time is gone. Just look at the last five discipline reports, one sergeant and three officers took a total of 42 suspension days for driving under the influence. And another officer resigned after a DUI.

Policegirl,
You really think any police department is going to admit that they let any Dui suspect whatever rank go..... Ok How do you know I wasnt the one that pulled that suspect over..... Just like BIGGIE SMALLS Case.... Orders Come from above and you follow. or your going to be sorry........ So LET It GO is exactly what happned!!! Spoken Like a true leader!!!

v,

Did I miss your hard evidence? I'm all for full disclosure of facts, but I'm not seeing any from you. If you pulled a high ranking officer over for DUI and it got covered up, then bring that info forward. Otherwise, you are perpetuating rumors without any substantiating info.

You post on other topics about unity, but here you strive to tear others down. And I don't even get the Biggie Smalls reference.

police girl
exactly you dont get it!! you just follow orders and dont question the true reason on the motive. There is no hard evidence if no one speaks. Just like Biggie smalls case. No one talks!! So You also dont understand unity.. it sounds like your a supervisor or if not a person the LAPD would like to be a supervisor to continue the tradition... One day you will have to choose I hope you choose the right side for the right cause!!!!!!

I guess v is right. I don't get it. I have absolutely no idea what v is talking about. Can someone help me?

V, I think you are the one that doesn't get it. First of all, I wonder if you really are a sworn officer anywhere, let alone LAPD, because your writing is so bad I don't see how you can produce reports. You are obviously breaking down under some kind of stress that you believe is job related, and maybe it is, so if you have a bad sergeant, go to someone you trust, anyone you trust, and tell them you need help. Don't wait, because even though what you are writing is a cry for help, no one is going to be brave enough to risk further enraging you by offering you help you are not asking for. If your life doesn't matter to you, just let me say it does matter to the rest of us. The hardest words you will ever say is, "I need help." Right now, it is your mind, body and spirit that needs unification, not your job. I care, so don't bite me.

I never said I was cop and in all reality, you dont know. So citizen and police girl Im not sitting here complaining or spitting out B.S. The truth and reality is that LAPD is going down and all you guys are watching the ship sink and no one is doing anything about it. Im just sitting back watching no stress because im not on that ship. So Im just calling it how I see it. So remember remember ME... Im the Idea that cant be shot down!!!

V, what are you talking about?

Did you work at Long Beach Police Department? I doubt you work for the LAPD now. Maybe elsewhere?

I do recall hearing something about a law suit filed against LBPD a while back because some individuals were given preferential treatment instead of traffic citations when stopped on violations. Two motor officers did their jobs and cited some out of town officers anyway and allegedly experienced problems from management. However, as I recall, it was tossed out.

As for Paris, I suspect she'll receive a small fine, community service hours(which are great for photo ops)and summary probation. She is not going to jail. Celebrities do not go to jail unless they are studying for an upcoming role or see it as a career move like the actress who was on the television show, "Lost".

Citizen, I doubt you are the first person to tell "V" that he needs help nor will you be the last.

Career burnout and stress can be a difficult situation to admit to, let alone face. Hopefully, he will take that first step and seek help from a sympathetic employer.

Perhaps if it's appropriate to say this here, we can include him in our prayers.

There is something really wrong with the LAPD, Where morale is down and officers are leaving every month. It has trouble hiring and has trouble holding rising crime. Officers are afraid to speak their mind. Only if they type it here where you dont Id yourself. They are Afraid of the pen! They will not unite because of this fear.

I am not a person I am a mask. Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. There is an idea, and ideas are bulletproof." "The only verdict is vengeance. The vendetta." "Officers should not be afraid of their departments, The department should be afraid of their officers!! Strength through unity!

V,

Why are you so concerned as you have said, you are not on that "ship"?

Has morale in the LAPD ever been really good? It does not appear so and it seems as if its officers, some good, some bad, have been leaving that agency for quite some time for what they see as greener pastures. At least, back to the time of the Christopher Commission.

The LAPD should be staffed with at least 10,000 and it is still quite a bit below that figure. With hiring levels being what they are, the department will have a very difficult time reaching this goal without improving its infrastructure to better its retention rates and implementing aggressive and more innovative recruitment measures without compromising things like background checks and psychological evaluations.

The consent decree was a very necessary thing and the federal judge was right to extend it. It would have been over and done with if the city and the department had not spent several years fighting a losing battle against it. It can be viewed as an opportunity to vastly improve your agency or a curse to complain about. It's the choice of each officer in that department from top to bottom as to how they choose to see it. It's the responsibility of those in charge to support it and be held as accountable to it as they hold their officers.

In response to a wave of criticism of police actions concerning Paris Hilton’s arrest, booking and release, let me explain the rationale and considerations that were involved in her arrest that evening.

Yes, Hilton was placed in a separate detention tank to maintain peace in the station and for her personal protection as would be done for any highly visible public or private person who might suffer physical injury from another arrestee. The County Jail, as a matter of policy, classifies and segregates inmates.

Hilton sat in the same chair and used the same testing machine that everyone else uses. She was booked, fingerprinted, and photographed. An Arrest Report was completed to seek filing for misdemeanor DUI. Same process as everyone else.

LAPD’s Jail Division has a sliding scale policy whereby a person arrested for drunk driving can be released on their own recognizance after a certain period of time. In the case of Paris Hilton, with a blood alcohol level of .08, the release time should have been 3 hours after her arrest.
The policy was prescribed to reduce the possibility the arrestee would be driving a vehicle after their release and cause an accident.

There is no statutory or mandated law requiring an arrestee be held until sober, unless there is an opinion the person is a danger to themselves or others or unable to care for themselves, they won’t be released. Clearly, Ms. Hilton did not fit those descriptions and there was a responsible person who was willing to accept responsibility for her safety and actions after release.

The next issue is why wasn’t Hilton taken to Van Nuys Jail for the three-hour detention. Van Nuys is the designated female detention facility.

The following description is a purely fictional scenario but…it could happen…

SCENARIO:

The Hollywood Watch Commander decides to detain Hilton at Van Nuys Jail. There are over 100 paparazzi assembled outside the station on the sidewalk and driving around the station.

Hollywood has about 28 officers or 14 cars working on an average shift to primarily handle calls for service.

As it was, four officers kept the driveway clear for emergency vehicles and general station security.

So, Ms Hilton is readied for transport in a black and white with two officers. Being a good planner, I know that a gaggle of paparrazzi will follow the black and white and create a caravan procession that might…will present a general traffic safely hazard when they run red lights to catch up to the procession.

So I plan on having two more units to provide transport/security for the primary vehicle. More units are called in to close the street in front of the station and move people back away from the driveway entrance. This is starting to sound like a Presidential protection detail isn’t it?

The transport team is lined up in the parking lot. Lead car, primary, rear guard, and a Supervisor. The procession leaves the driveway on dimly lit Wilcox Ave. Hundreds of motor driven cameras with strobe flash units start to flash and click. The driver in the first car is temporarily blinded and cannot see. The driver instinctively hits the brakes because they can’t see where they are going. The follow car rear-ends the first car…and so forth. Now, we have an officer involved traffic collision. A whole new set of officers and vehicles need to be called in to assemble a new transport team, if there are any units available to respond…while a Traffic Division unit and supervisor responds to investigate the collision, if there are any available…

The procession gets going toward the Van Nuys Jail. I call the Van Nuys Watch Commander and advise him/her of the Hilton arrest, booking, and the caravan of officers and paparazzi enroute to Van Nuys. They cringe and think…How many officers do I needed to provide station security and manage the crush of paparazzi around the station. The Van Nuys Civic facility around the station is huge…at least four city blocks square …How many officers do I need to manage this…All of the available units in the Valley, is the answer.

Meanwhile, calls for service in Hollywood and Van Nuys Patrol Divisions calls are being sent to outside divisions. The outside divisions start to call the Hollywood and Van Nuys Watch Commanders to find out why their units are being depleted. Ms. Hilton’s three hours are almost up…

The question is, Lt. Wong, can you release her on her own recognizance and stop this mad endeavor?” “Yes!!!”, I said. “Let’s do it.” But, they are almost at Van Nuys and there is no turning back. Response times go up through the roof.

You say, Shooting in Progress - Multiple Victims Down, Robbery Just Occurred, Attack in Progress, 5A1 (Harbor Division) no units in Valley, Central or West Bureau, handle in Foothill Division…

Ms. Hilton is released at Van Nuys. She has no transport escort and paparazzi start to follow and chase her and Mr. Mintz. A crash occurs… A flashback to Princess Diana…Lindsey Lohan, there is a celebrity precedent and the City is sued for wrongful death or injury regardless if the City was directly involved.

Public Safety and Risk Management.

What did occur was that Paris Hilton was lawfully released to a responsible party as prescribed by law. Once she left Hollywood Station (from an exit away from paparazzi) it was over…OVER.

I appreciate the feedback from both camps on this issue. My decision to choose this course of action is based on the knowledge, experience, and training, of over 25 years of service as a Los Angeles Police Officer. I made this decision in consideration of the 500 men and women working the night shift on this night. In consideration of the 4 million plus residents in the City of Los Angeles, whose police service was not disrupted for the sake of the celebrity transport booking that was lawfully and ethically avoided.

Ms. Hilton was charged and scheduled to appear for her day in court to contest or admit the allegation. No preferential treatment.

Respectfully,

Lieutenant Russell Wong
AM Watch Commander (on the night of…)
Hollywood Patrol Division

The Watch Commander can spin it in any way he wants. The bottom line is that Paris got special treatment for who she is.

The paparazzi follows her everywhere she goes, it's nothing new. Her trip to Van Nuys Jail wouldn't have been any different.

The scenario that the Lt painted reeks of mental impairment and/or desperation. The LAPD needs leaders and risk takers, not worry warts and wusses.

I just want to thank the staff at Hollenbeck for their wonderful support. My brother James is fine. I love you James, and I'm glad you're home now. Rosie

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