If you have been reading my weekly articles, then you can probably figure out that I write about what I know and what I experience. I also write from my gut and do not hold back. This week I am sharing my recent experience with the Torrance Police Department. On April 17, 2021, when I went outside of my house to move my car from in front of the driveway and park it in the driveway. I reached into my pocket, and my key was not there. A common occurrence, as my key seems to fall out of my pocket a lot. I quickly scanned my car and did not see the key. I went inside the house and asked my wife to bring me the spare key which I used to park the car.
The key is remote with a push-button start. Sunday, April 18, 2021, despite my wife telling me to look again for my key, I went right to the office to work and said I would do that later when I got home. When I got home, my wife again told me to look, and I said after we get back from lunch. We left for lunch in her car with our kids at 335pm. We returned at 630pm, and I took a few dabs then had to go to the store. I walked out of my garage to my driveway, where my car was parked. It was not there. I started walking up and down my street, almost in a daze, thinking to myself, did I park it somewhere else. I think I was in shock. I called 911. My car has been stolen. I gave 911 all the information then contacted the property manager of the GATED community we live. I informed him what happened and asked where I can obtain the footage from the security cameras facing the electronic GATE (which I had already noted had not been working for the previous three days and remained wide open). I tracked down the president of the HOA and was informed that the HOA is in the middle of a lawsuit with the security company, and the cameras are not working. As I write this, I have decided to share with everyone the complaint that I have filed with the Torrance Police Department.
Please keep in mind that on April 20, 2021 (as some of you may have seen), I was up and going IG LIVE at 420am, doing interviews, bringing people into the live to sesh and ask questions, all while taking BIG GLOB DABS and joints and celebrating 420. Then my brother and I were kidnapped by my nephew @jcures, owner of @westcoastcure_, and he took us on a tour of various Cannabis Store Fronts for some meet n greets. Needless to say, it was a typical 420 in terms of constantly medicating throughout the day. One thing I like to point out to my Cannabis audience is that not only did I start consuming at 420am, I stopped at 1030pm when I then took 7500 milligrams of THC capsules so that I could sleep until at least 2 PM the next day. The complaint picks up from there (12:58 AM). I will see you at the end of the complaint:
TO: TORRANCE POLICE DEPARTMENT CHIEF OF POLICE
FROM: MARC DAVID WASSERMAN
Re: COMPLAINT AGAINST TORRANCE PD for violating policy and procedure on April 21, 2021, when contacting the victim of a stolen car.
Related Case numbers:
Case #XXXXXXXX (stolen car case #)
Case# XXXXXXXX (criminal case # for the person caught behind the wheel of my car)
On April 18, 2021, at 640pm, I called 911 was and reported my car stolen out of my driveway in my gated community.
At approximately 7:20 PM, Officers Mathes (22116) and Bernier (19578) arrive at my home. Both officers introduced themselves and began asking questions about the incident. I was very pleased, felt comfortable, safe, and that this crime was being taken seriously. Both officers answered all of my questions and were professional, knowledgeable, and explained how matters like this typical go. The license plate recognition cameras were explained to me as well as the chance of recovery in these situations. I wanted to be sure to HIGHLIGHT Officers Mathes & Bernier as their interaction with me is what I expect from my community police department, in stark contrast to what happens later.
Later that evening, I obtained further information from a neighbor, so I was able to narrow the time of the theft to April 18, 2021, between 3:35 PM and 5:22 PM. I contacted the number given to me by the detectives and left a detailed message. On April 20, 2021, at 10 PM, I took a lot of medicinal cannabis to help me sleep. I was planning on sleeping from 10 PM until noon. At 12:58 AM, April 21, 2021, my wife and children were shaking me to wake me up (due to how heavily I was sedated, it took a few minutes for me to wake up). Once awake, I heard pounding at the door, and our doorbell being rang continuously. I asked who was at the door and heard, “Torrance PD.” The officers did not introduce themselves, just started asking me questions about my car and if I might know anyone who would have it, to which I replied no. I was told my car was recovered and was at 190th and Anza. I asked the officer to meet me in front as I had to get dressed.
Once outside in front of my house, the officers again said that I could get my car. Having heard my wife mention that our three children were asleep, one of the officers said they could give me a ride there. I got in the back of the squad car, and the officers drove to 190th and Anza. As we approached the intersection, I noticed a lot of flashing police lights, several police cars (5-8), and a lot of officers. I then saw my vehicle with the doors open and someone sitting on the curb. This was when I realized I was brought to AN ACTIVE FELONY STOP. The officer driving the squad car pulled into the parking lot, and then I was let out of the car. An officer (of whom I have no idea the name or badge number, as once again, not one officer introduced themselves to me, and no one informed me who was in charge). I also noticed not almost none of the officers had face masks on, except one TALL, DARK HAIRED officer, WEARING A (white or grey) NECKERCHIEF COVERING HIS FACE.
The officer standing next to me asked if that was my car. I said yes. He gave me a form to sign. I then realized I did not have my glasses on and told the officer I could not read it. What does it say? I was informed that it was a document acknowledging that the vehicle was mine, and I had to have the officer point to exactly where I needed to sign. Then the officer started to read from a card about doing a lineup. Having practiced criminal defense for 25 years, I knew I was about to take part in a “cold show” (which seemed wildly inappropriate, just like me being taken to an ACTIVE FELONY STOP).
The officer said you’re an attorney. You know I have to read this to you (I never told him I was, my assumption was that some of your officers checked out my social media POT BROTHERS AT LAW, and a few decided that they don’t like that I teach people how not to incriminate themselves). Once it was read to me, he said, are you sure there is no one you know who would have your car. Again, I said, “no, why do you keep asking me that? As when I first reported it stolen, I am the ONLY ONE whoever drives that car”. I was then asked to look at the suspect that was sitting on the curb. I asked the officer if that was the person who was behind the wheel of my car, he said yes. I instinctively lunged in the direction of the suspect (I wanted to go after them); the officer put his hands up and said, you can’t go there. Again the officer asked me to look at the suspect and tell me if I recognize her. As I squinted through the police car lights in my eyes and squinting because I do not have my glasses on, I saw a woman with her hands behind her back, long black hair covering her face. I said I could not tell, and I cannot really see the person’s name. The officer standing next to me yelled out, “What’s her name?” The TALL, DARK HAIRED officer, WEARING A NECKERCHIEF COVERING HIS FACE said, Holly Handy. I said I do not know a Holly Handy. Again, I am thinking, why did you bring me to an ACTIVE FELONY STOP, show me the suspect, do a cold show when I am groggy, do not have my glasses on and standing 20-30 feet away from the suspect and the lights are flashing in my eyes.
The officer standing next to me said, “You can take your car now.” I walked over to my car, doors still open, and then realized I do not have the key. I asked where the key was. The TALL, DARK HAIRED officer, WEARING A NECKERCHIEF COVERING HIS FACE, said it’s on the front driver’s seat. As I approached the driver’s side front seat, I saw a red neckerchief (not mine), I lifted it up, and my key was underneath it. I then noticed a large plastic Starbucks cup with red liquid in it (not mine), several cables and USB devices (not mine), and in the small center console, several half-burnt cannabis joints (not mine), and I then noticed my daughters car seat was gone. I turned away from my car and started approaching all of the officers and said, “Excuse me, officers, I noticed that my kid’s car seat is gone, what do I do to report…” This is when I was cut off by the TALL, DARK HAIRED officer, WEARING A NECKERCHIEF COVERING HIS FACE and he held up his hand, and in a very STERN, LOUD, SARCASTIC VOICE said, “Stop right there do not come any closer, you want the form, get him the form, here fill this out and put every little detail of what’s missing and we will be sure to get right on it.” I was completely shocked and still dazed from the entire incident I was going through, and walked back to my car, got in, and sat for a moment. The officers were not leaving the scene. I realized that there was cannabis in my car, in plain view. I was convinced, by the way, this all went down, that a few of those officers, particularly the TALL, DARK HAIRED officer, WEARING A NECKERCHIEF COVERING HIS FACE, wanted me to start my car and drive off so they could then pull me over. I am the victim of grand theft auto, and I was being treated like a suspect or perp. I then got out of my vehicle and sat on the curb to call my wife and let her know I need a ride home. After a few minutes, an officer approached me and asked, “What are you doing?”. I said, “I am too impaired to drive. You guys came to my house at 1 AM, woke me up, I took a lot of medication to help me sleep, and I am too impaired to drive.” To which the officer said, “Well you can’t leave your car parked in front of a fire hydrant.” (Point of clarification. I did not park my car in front of a fire hydrant, it was stolen and then recovered in this spot). I asked the officer, “Can you move my car”? He replied, “No, you need to move it into the parking lot.” The officer then said, “We will have to tow it if you do not move it.” I carefully, slowly (due to my impairment) moved the car into the parking lot. All of the officers left. I had two people come in one car so that I could be driven home in my car.
Once home, I was completely distraught, perplexed, and infuriated at the way I was treated. More importantly, it is my belief that this was planned. Once they knew who I was, they were going to get me one way or the other.
My questions are:
- Why was I brought to an ACTIVE FELONY STOP?
- Why wasn’t the scene cleared, the suspect taken away, one officer stays with my car while another officer comes to get me?
- Why wasn’t my car taken to the police department parking lot for me to pick up?
- Why wasn’t my car taken to an impound for me to pick up later?
- Why was I asked to participate in a cold show when the officer knew I did not have my glasses on and could not see clearly?
- Why was I continually asked if I knew the person driving my car?
- Why did the officers bang on my door and continuously ring the doorbell upon arrival?
- Why didn’t one single officer introduce themselves to me or tell me
who was in charge?
- Why didn’t the officers who arrived at my house inform me I was being taken to an ACTIVE FELONY STOP to partake in a cold show?
- When I told the officer I was too impaired to drive, why was I not offered a ride home?
- After I told the officer I was too impaired to drive, why did he insist I move the car myself?
All of the items left in my car could be evidence leading to the person who actually stole my car from my driveway. The officers decided to end any further investigation. I have preserved several of the items to give to the handling detective once assigned. I want the name and badge number of the TALL, DARK HAIRED officer, WEARING A NECKERCHIEF COVERING HIS FACE. He should not be a police officer. I can only imagine what he does to minorities and other people he does not like.
When I told this story to Sgt. Estrada, on April 22, 2021, was embarrassed at his officers’ actions and apologized for their behavior, and said that it is not reflective of Torrance Police Department and that taking the victim of a crime to an ACTIVE FELONY STOP was not proper procedure.
At least I found comfort speaking with Sgt. Estrada informed me to file a complaint online and in person, so the department will get to the bottom of this.
In the meantime, I already have and will continue to shine a spotlight on this through my numerous social media accounts. In this day and age, with police conduct under the most scrutiny in recent years, this incident was absolutely appalling, terrifying, and a perfect example of exposing people who should not be police officers. Where was the concern for my safety when they insisted I drive my vehicle impaired? Where was the civic duty to protect and serve when I needed a ride home? They were quick to take me to the scene but would not take me home, which is very peculiar as well.
I would like to review any and all body cams, dash cams, or any other video that exists capturing this incident. April 23, 2021
I filed the complaint and had it time-stamped at 4:59 PM April 23, 2021. I am going to be speaking with attorneys regarding a lawsuit. As an attorney, I know first hand the pains and process of litigation and will have to evaluate a lot of factors before I make a decision to enter into formal litigation. I also want to wait and see the response from the Torrance Police Department. Since I woke up at 4:00 AM on 420, by the time the dust settled, I had been awake for 53 hours, and that was the HIGHEST I have ever been. You can keep up with this in real-time via our IG @pot_brothers_at_law, and I will continue to write what I experience as it happens and keep you informed.