Letter to the editor
Outrage at LAPD officers
I am outraged and disappointed by the fact that LAPD officers station themselves outside USC for the sole purpose of waiting for students to cross the street while there is still time left on the clock and issuing them three-figure pedestrian tickets. On Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard, there will oftentimes be LAPD officers posted on the east island dividing Exposition Boulevard and 37th Street.
They will wait and watch for students to cross the street (going north or south on Figueroa) while there are still 20 seconds or more left on the clock, stop them at the island and give them a ticket. This is clearly not a public safety concern, as the officers are waiting on the island with their motorcycles turned off to see if students will cross the street while there is time left on the clock.
If this were a matter of public safety, the officers would station themselves on the corners of Figueroa and Exposition, not on the center divide of Exposition and 37th, and warn the students before they actually start crossing the street that if they choose to cross, they will be fined for it.
Furthermore, they ticket without offering warnings, and I find this especially alarming, as many of us students being ticketed are international students and might be from countries where there is no concept of getting a ticket for using a crosswalk.
I was issued a ticket for this reason about a week ago. At the time I was issued my ticket, another officer in the same location was in the process of issuing two other students tickets, and the officer who issued my ticket also ticketed another person at the same time as me. Within a span of two minutes, four tickets had been issued. I can only imagine how many total tickets were issued that day at that one location and how much money the city stands to gain from us students, an extremely vulnerable population, as we do not have a steady source of income.
I am saddened and discouraged by the fact that the first time I am made aware that this is illegal is also the same time I am being punished for it. I have always tried to be a civically minded and politically engaged person. I vote in every local, state and national election for which I am eligible. The level of civic and political engagement among youth is extremely low, and now I know that it is for reasons such as this. Further, there have been countless times when I have heard my peers say derogatory and offensive comments about police.
I have never done this and have often defended the institution. I do this no more because I am so irate at this situation. I do not feel protected nor do I feel served when being issued a ticket for crossing the street with 20 seconds left on the timer while I am walking to class.
I am enraged and discouraged that the city’s resources are being spent on policemen stationed outside USC for the sole goal of giving students, who are simply walking to class, tickets for an action that they are completely unaware is illegal and which does not at all hinder public or even personal safety.
Master of public administration candidate 2012
School of Policy, Planning, and Development