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.


Irene Nguyen

Master of public administration candidate 2012

School of Policy, Planning, and Development

9 replies
  1. Jack
    Jack says:

    These tickets (and the LAPD as an organization) are disgraceful. Surely LAPD has better things to worry about (like locals stealing from and shooting USC students) than jaywalking. Yet another case of absurd overzealousness on behalf of the law.

  2. Pay up
    Pay up says:

    I agree with Joe Friday. When you moved here to the states, you need to make yourself aware of the laws. Everyone needs to be help accountable for their actions. Be it the crosswalkers and/or drivers. Once again, be blessed it is only a fine you must pay. USC students are being ran over and killed left and right, because either the driver is not paying attention or the student is not paying attention. This is for your protection, if you don’t like it cross at another cross walk. Furthermore, no one is paying the tickets anyway. Also, officers did not join the LAPD, Sherrif, Highway Patrol, State Police, or any other entity, to monitor crosswalks. They are not looking for you. There is a reason for everything. PAY THE TICKET!

  3. Joe Friday
    Joe Friday says:

    Sorry that you received a jaywalking ticket, but there’s a price to breaking the law. Just ask USC student Marcus Garfinkle how easy it is to get hit by a car when you are LEGALLY in a cross walk. In 2009, he was hit and dragged 500 feet by a hit & run driver while his friend, Adrianna Bachan, was killed. So yes, this is about the safety of USC students even if the ticket hurts only your wallet.

    • Corruption
      Corruption says:

      Uh, Joe, don’t use fallacious arguments (in your case, a false analogy) to compare the tragic 2009 incident to cursory street crossings during daylight.

      It is a TRAP that the CORRUPT LAPD sets up.

      • Joe Friday.
        Joe Friday. says:

        Uh, Corrupt, if you don’t want to obey laws, be prepared to pay fines. Jaywalking laws and enforcement are designed with public safety in mind, but that must be beyond your comprehension.

        • CVC
          CVC says:

          Joe, it’s actually not “jaywalking,” it’s a violation of the California Vehicle Code, specifically of CVC §21456(b). If you want to look up the definition of jaywalking, I refer you to CVC §§21954-955.

          A quick summary if you don’t want to look it up, though, §21954 says that if a person is in the road, s/he must yield the right of way to a car that poses an “immediate hazard” to that person; this does not relieve the driver from his/her duty of care towards the pedestrian, however.

          §21955 says that if a person is somewhere on a street between two controlled intersections (controlled by traffic signals or police officers), s/he may not cross that street except at a crosswalk.

          Maybe you should learn the law before speaking yourself. Also, bringing up the 2009 accident means absolutely nothing. That was a failure of awareness on the part of both the driver (primarily) and the pedestrians. Even if a police officer had been there to ticket the pedestrians, that would not have stopped the car from striking them.

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