Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
A Los Angeles blog
from Echo Park

Bio | archive
RSS feed

Meanwhile, black at the ranch

A scene I semi-witnessed in passing Saturday night proves, unfortunately, that in some ways Echo Park is not so special. At least it wasn't so special at about 9:30 p.m. Saturday when I drove past Chicken Corner, and saw a young man handcuffed, some police and some onlookers, including a guy, Jason, from whom I had bought a chair earlier in the day. Jason looked very glum, sitting alone on something that looked like a flower pot. The person in handcuffs probably looked unhappy, too, but I couldn't see his face. I kept driving.

Then, on Sunday I started to hear reports from different people of the police action I'd glimpsed. Seems the handcuffed person had been some kind of mad U-turner. According to what I was hearing first-, second- and third-hand was: A young man of color had made a U-turn at Chicken Corner. The police pulled him over, and then handcuffed him and held him there for well over an hour, searched his pockets and asked lots of personal, repetitive questions in a disrespectful manner before deciding to let him go with a ticket. The young man, whose nickname is Toks, lives across from the Del Mor Apartments. And the reason everyone's talking about what looks like an instance of racial profiling is that he happened to be pulled over in a place where he had friends. He asked his friends to stay with him while he was handcuffed because he wanted witnesses in case anything went awry. His mission that night: to bring chicken soup and Gatorade to his sick girlfriend. Toks wrote in a long email to me that he had made a 3-point turn, and one of his tail lights had a burned out bulb. In any case, Toks is an upstanding arts person in the neighborhood. He is the one who commissioned the lovely hummingbird murals and the skull mural on the garage door across from Chango. He's a DJ and, recently, a curator for Han Cholo's art shows on Chicken Corner row. He's also brown and, even in Echo Park, on an ordinary Saturday night that made him a suspect.

In his own defense, our U-turner described himself:

I might be annoying, attention hungry, loud what have you but I am also quick to lend a helping hand or an ear....and am really into community building and music.

That is, when he's not making U-turns....

More by Jenny Burman:
Up close at Caine's Arcade
LAAS New Hope connection on block
More breaking news
Bear in tree
Polly want a better cage
Recent stories on LA Observed:
WeHo News goes away for awhile, comes back
Glendale ex-official stole from Montrose farmers market, DA says
Another media job open in LA: associate editor for Ms.
LA Times posts books editor opening with a new twist
Disney beats earnings estimates - even with 'John Carter' disaster
Previous story on Chicken Corner: May the record reflect the missing record

Next story on Chickn Corner: Here's an "e" in your "i"*

New at LA Observed
Follow us on Twitter

On the Media Page
Go to Media
On the Politics Page
Go to Politics

LA Biz Observed
Arts and culture

Sign up for daily email from LA Observed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Show Jenny some love