Thursday, September 11, 2014

People v. Venegas (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 11, 2014)

How tough can it be to be a police officer in Compton?  At least this tough.

The Born Krazy Minded gang got pushed out of some territory on Indigo Street in Compton and wanted to reclaim it, so one night, some gang members shoot up one of the houses on the street.  The police are called about a shooting on Indigo Street, and officers Orozco and Robles, who were in the vicinity, promptly saw two cars travelling on Indigo at a high rate of speed.  One was green, one was gold, and both ran a stop sign on Indigo, narrowly missing the officers' vehicle.  Since there were two perpetrators and one cop car, the officers decided to follow the green one.

The officers sped after Greenie, which accelerated even faster, ran another stop sign, and turned onto Tamarind Street.  The officers then saw the driver throw something out of the vehicle, and called for another officer to try to find what was discarded.  Which turned out (of course) to be a Glock.

Greenie then turns onto Cocoa, at which point the gold car reappeared, driving the other way.  Ha!  Now we might even get you both.

So the officers and Greenie are speeding towards Goldie, and as the gap closes (and Greenie passes Goldie), the gold car swerves towards the officers, who are forced to themselves swerve to avoid a collision.  That bastard!  Goldie tried to make us spin out so that Greenie can get away!

But the officers are driving Dukes of Hazzard style, and keep up their pursuit of Greenie despite the serendipitous reappearance of Goldie driving the other way.  Greenie continues to blow through stop signs and drive on the wrong side of the street, but the officers keep up the pursuit.

Greenie eventually returns to Tamarind Street, with the officers closing in.  At which point Goldie appears yet again, and this time, when the cars pass each other, Goldie crashes head on into the patrol car, disabling the vehicle.

The officers eventually recover from the crash and arrest the driver of the gold car.  Backup officers also eventually come to the crash site, and then drive down Estrada (where Greenie was headed) and eventually find that vehicle abandoned on East Caldwell, with no one in it.  They eventually find the driver of Greenie stashed in a home, surround the place, and force him to surrender.  So in the end, the pursuit succeeds.  Everyone's arrested, and convictions follow.

But geeze.  Deliberately smashing into a patrol car head-on so your fellow gang member might escape a pursuit.  That's hard core.  For both the gang member as well as the officers.

They say that police work entails long periods of boredom punctuated by brief periods of extreme danger.

That's certainly true in Compton.