L.A. Area Family Hopes to Win the 'Police Lottery'

AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Consider a hypothetical. You are at home alone when an intruder breaks in with the intent of doing you harm. You struggle with the intruder, but he is able to overpower and restrain you. Fortunately for you, the sounds of the struggle were heard by a neighbor, who calls 911 and brings the police to your doorstep.


Unfortunately for you, the police are operating under rules apparently endorsed by the Los Angeles Times. The intruder, having bound and gagged you and hidden you away, answers the door and tells the police there is no trouble inside. The police say they’d like to come in and make sure, but the intruder says he will not have it, pulling out his cellphone and threatening to post video of the abusive cops to the internet. The police, wary of the bad publicity that may follow, obediently depart and leave you to the predations of the intruder.

Does it sound farfetched? According to this Los Angeles Times story, there are those who would have the police act just this way in such a scenario. Last Oct. 22, L.A. County sheriff’s deputies were called to an apartment in South San Gabriel, a suburb about nine miles east of downtown L.A. According to the Sheriff’s Department, they received a call of someone screaming and being hit inside the apartment. When deputies arrived to investigate, they knocked but found the door ajar. After receiving no response, they entered the apartment where they were met by a 14-year-old girl.

The girl objected to the deputies’ presence and called her mother, who watched what followed via a security camera inside the apartment. So adamant was the girl in refusing the deputies’ effort to search for signs of the reported trouble, she was handcuffed and detained, as was her 19-year-old brother who arrived shortly thereafter and got similarly obstreperous with the deputies. Not to be outdone, their stepfather was also arrested when he rushed to the scene, running a stop sign in the process and failing to cooperate with the deputies.


The teenagers’ mother posted videos of her children being detained on her TikTok page, but, though the L.A. Times story refers to a video of her husband being arrested, she failed to post it. One may speculate it shows the deputies in a more favorable light than her husband.

It will surprise no one that the family plans to sue the Sheriff’s Department and has set up a GoFundMe page to help defray the costs of relocating. The family, says the GoFundMe page, is “afraid to be in the Temple City Sheriffs jurisdiction” and fears they’ll be “harassed” and “targeted” by the deputies.

Related: Three Police Officers Shot in Los Angeles and It Doesn’t Make the Front Page of the L.A. Times (but Look at What Does)

The family has retained attorney Narine Mkrtchyan, whose website promises that she “will vindicate your civil rights in courts [sic] but also will recover sizable damages for you and your family.” “It’s an outrageous case,” she told the L.A. Times.

As Ms. Mkrtchyan surely knows, there will be no “sizable damages” recovered in this case. There will, however, be a small settlement, probably for a few thousand dollars of what is known in the trade as “going away money.” Some significant share of this money will go to Ms. Mkrtchyan, who will have earned it by generating a press release and a few court filings, the bulk of which will be standard boilerplate rehashed from previous cases.


The law is well settled on warrantless police entries to a home under “exigent circumstances,” such as, as here, when police believe “an occupant is seriously injured or imminently threatened with such injury.” A report of screaming and the sound of someone being hit surely arouses such a belief.

The family and Ms. Mkrtchyan make an issue of what they claim to be the deputies’ “lie” that the apartment door was ajar rather than merely unlocked, but it makes no difference in evaluating the deputies’ conduct. In fact, even if the door had been locked, the deputies would have been within the law if they had kicked it open to investigate the reported emergency.

Any charges against those family members who were arrested will surely be dropped, as the incident occurred in the jurisdiction of district attorney George Gascón, who, as discussed here, would prefer to prosecute the involved deputies and will do so if he perceives political advantage in it.

For its part, the Los Angeles Times’s story is but the latest example of anti-police, agenda-driven journalism. The paper maintains a roster of purported law enforcement experts whose opinions they ordinarily rely on to buttress allegations of police misconduct, but for some reason no such expert is quoted in this story. This may be because no experts were contacted, or that they were but their opinions failed to support the paper’s preferred narrative. Either way, it’s the type of journalism we’ve come to expect from the L.A. Times.



Trending on PJ Media Videos

Join the conversation as a VIP Member