Tuesday, November 29, 2005

l. a. p. d.

For a good time in south los angeles some steal old Toyota Camrys and joyride. That's exactly what Devee was up to the other day when my training officer and I spotted him. It's not usually good to get spotted by LAPD when you're in a stolen vehicle.

Devee's just a sisxteen year old kid, a small diamond stud in each ear, who likes to play football, lives in south l.a. and goes to school out in the valley. Devee's fifteen year old friend had just learned how to start up cars without a key and was driving his own stolen toyota just ahead of him. Originally we started taring down the street and screeching some corners for the friend. But just as we were trying to pass Devee on the inside of a corner and pull in behind his friend, we looked over and saw the look of terror in Devee's eyes. We realized at that moment that our chase after one stolen vehicle had suddenly become a chase after two. The friend ended up getting away, but we arrested Devee.

It's amazing talking to these kids as you're booking them into jail back at the station. Devee didn't seem to be tied into any gangs, wasn't into drugs, and probably wasn't planning on making any money on the car he was driving. He was just caught having what was his idea of some juvenile fun, which unfortunately for him was also society's idea of a juvenile felony offense.

It's funny how the world tends to get cast into black and whites when we go about theorizing or idealizing about it. I thought as a cop I was going to go out there and bust some hardened criminal scum. And, certainly I'll get to do that plenty. But I've been surprised at how not deep down bad the bad guys have been so far.


The other side of the coin could be that I'm still pretty naive. In fact, that's for sure the other side of the coin. It could be that Devee was planning on selling the car to some auto stripper, and that he's done this a hundred times with his friend and he just knows that joyriding is a lesser crime than grand theft auto. I mean shoot, they don't make video games of cussing, buffed out dudes with prison tats all up their arms, who break into cars shooting or running over pedestrians and police called "Joyriding". Who knows what Devee's story really is. But now that he's on our radar, and we know where he lives, we can be sure to stay in touch with him. Little by little I'm sure we'll keep getting a better sense for that story.


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