Women must become grievously injured before they merit police protection?
April 21, 2023 - Officers of the Santa Monica Police Department reportedly declined to help a young woman who was threatened by an apparently homeless man while she was taking a tennis lesson at Reed Park. In an email sent by the girl's mother to the Santa Monica Tennis Collective, she described a man who approached the court fence and screamed obscenities at the girl. He reportedly told her to "get the fuck out of [his] park" and added, "don't think I won't rape you." He then moved to the door of the neighboring court in order to gain access.
"The tennis office was called and the tennis attendant immediately called the police. They remarked that there was nothing that they could do unless a physical act of violence had occurred," the mother wrote. "The police never bothered to show up until 2 hours after the incident had taken place - offering no help at all."
According to the mom, the girl and her coach had to run to her car to escape the aggressive man.
Debbie Mahdessian of the Tennis Collective forwarded the email to the city manager, attorney, and entire city council, "in advance of our 2pm meeting today about the Dudley Cup & Reed Park." She said it was the second incident involving siblings of the same family. The previous incident had involved an 11-year-old boy. Both children had to end their lessons.
The email about the threats from homeless individuals toward children at the park has been making the rounds, and more emails about it are being sent to officials in city government. John Alle, founding member of the Santa Monica Coalition, a group of business and property owners lobbying to return cleanliness and safety to Santa Monica, wrote the council that the city is clearly at risk of losing the Dudley Cup tournament, which according to Alle is one of the most prestigious in the Southern California region. "We are an embarrassment to the Southern California Tennis Association, and country," Alle wrote.
Arthur Jeon, a former city council candidate, wrote the council in support of the mother, saying that Reed Park and the surrounding neighborhoods are becoming increasingly "impacted." He wrote, "several times, I too have been told by a transient addict to "Get the F out of 'his' park." Jeon said he disagreed with the Santa Monica Coalition storefront sign calling Santa Monica unclean, unsafe, and an outdoor mental asylum, but "I can't disagree with the description." Jeon added, "This issue can only be solved by an enforcement first approach, and from there, funneling them into services." He argued that "embedding 50 mentally ill and addicted people on 4th Street...should not be done," referring to the plan to put supportive housing for the homeless in place of the former Garage 3 along the Third Street Promenade.
Another resident, Madi Hertz, wrote the council that "It is a travesty that a young girl should be accosted verbally in a public park and not have anything happen as a result. Again, the "underserved" who really are the most served are allowed to act in any way they choose and no logical consequences are applied to control their behavior. "
The Los Angeles County Health Department operates an open-air needle exchange program in Reed Park, among other places in Santa Monica.