Cop returns to the scene of the crime to apologize

Photo by Jazon Cozens

Cindy Larimore was upset last week after police kept her and a good many other Echo Park residents up for several hours on Wednesday night as they searched in vain for a suspect. It was not so much the noise that bothered her as it was the officers who trampled through her yard, broke padlocks on neighbors’ gates and barked orders at her family.  When she asked officers for names and badge numbers, they refused and were dismissive.  “That night was just a display of how bad they could be. They were just rude. They were destructive.”

She was surprised the next day when one of the officers from previous night’s search appeared at her home. Larimore’s husband feared Sgt. Victor Arellano was there to arrest  his wife.  Instead, Arrellano was there to present what he called an “olive branch.”  Said Arrellano: “It was my way to apologize.”

Arellano, who works with the Northeast Division’s gang unit, had met Larimore the night before as a small army officers, police dogs and a helicopter descended on her corner of Echo Park near Alvarado Street and Berkeley Avenue.

A suspected car thief and gang member who had twice before eluded police in Silver Lake and the Rampart area had been spotted in Echo Park on Alvarado Street. After the suspect was detained and handcuffed, another man with a gun approached the officers, Arellano said.  As officers were distracted by the man with the gun, the suspected car thief, still in hand cuffs, ran off.  Officers were able to quickly catch the man with the gun but spent several hours in a fruitless search for the suspected auto thief.  It was during this time that Larimore complained to Arellano and others about the officers’ behavior.

After hearing Larimore’s complaints, Arellano advised his team of officers still gathered in Echo Park that night about trying to be  “more respectful” with citizens even during such stressful conditions. Larimore appreciated that but said it fell short of what was needed: an apology. “They were nice,” she said of Arellano and other supervisors. “They were not just very remorseful. They didn’t want to admit fault.”

On Thursday afternoon, Arrellano was back at Larimore’s home with a new padlock to replace the one officers had broken the night before on a neighbor’s gate. Arellano described the padlock as his “olive branch” to Larimore and her family.  “If we break something, we try to make it right,” Arrellano said. “If I have to go back to her house, I want to make sure that we are Okay.”

Larimore accepted the “olive branch” and apology. After moving to Echo Park five years ago, Larimore said she appreciates the police  and has noticed a decline in crime but just did not agree with how they handled the situation last week . “I appreciate that they are here,” Larimore said. “I would rather have them here than the  alternatives.”


  1. Good story, great follow-up. Agree or disagree, lingering anger or over it, you have to admit that the LAPD of today is a hell of a lot better than 10 years ago. I’m glad LAPD put so much effort into catching the guy(s) and am happy that they’re on the job. I’d much rather deal with cops traipsing through my yard than car thieves and burglars.

  2. I am glad the police officers came to apologize but the big question is who is this suspect whose actions warranted this extensive of a search as well as the extensive helicopter search in Silver Lake previously (where he was also noted as having a gun)? This article makes it appear that both of those efforts were for the same guy (car thief/gang member).

    He must be considered quite dangerous to have warranted such action. And the fact that his friend would charge toward the police with a gun when they were trying to apprehend this guy is quite unnerving. That’s crazy! Why haven’t they publicized his name and mug shot so we can be on the look out? Have they found him yet?

  3. Between cops traipsing through her yard trying to apprehend a criminal, the homeless relieving themselves too close to her home for comfort,, and a 7/11threatening to sell beer on her corner, maybe Ms. Larimore will finally decide she’s more comfortable in a neighborhood more befitting her narrow views.

  4. Hi Ben,

    What narrow views are you talking about pray tell? That I don’t like cops overstepping their boundaries (which they even admitted to and apologized for – you CAN read right)? Or that I don’t want our neighborhood to be sold out to a large corporation (these same police and the chamber of commerce, along with the majority of the people who live on my street agree with me on that one by the way)? Or is it that I don’t want people loitering in front of my house, getting drunk, or using drugs, or urinating on my property (which my neighbors agree with too and which happens all the time even now)? God forbid I want my neighborhood to be a nice place to live. I’m such a jerk for caring about my community! I’m so glad you pointed that out! Tell you what, if you’re so pro this type of thing why don’t you move down here onto my block and then you can have all the fun experiences I have? Or maybe you can stop trying to pick fights for no reason online and get a life instead. Just a thought.

  5. rizzo… as stated in the article above the suspect was unarmed and in fact had his hands cuffed behind his back. He’s still a wanted criminal, but none of the charges mentioned here are for violent crimes. I understand the need to find this guy, but it was absolutely ridiculous to think he was still in the area after all those hours.

  6. Hi Cindy.

    I understand that he did not have a gun during your incident and was, in fact, handcuffed.

    What I didn’t realize before today is that it was the same suspect that the police helicopters were going after in my neighborhood in Silver Lake the week before. The search for him here was very intensive as well with helicopters circling from about 1:30am-4:30 or 5:00am. And it was reported that they were looking for a man with a gun during our search.

    Now hearing that is the same guy makes me think he must be a pretty serious criminal to warrant all the police reaction on at least two occasions. And even if he didn’t have a gun during your incident, he did during mine and his friend did during yours – and pointed it at the cops. That’s pretty serious.Was hoping to get more info about him and what he is wanted for and maybe a mugshot. Wasn’t criticizing your reaction to how the police handled things on your property…

    I am glad the police apologized to you. I would imagine they may have been more than a bit over-zealous and extra riled up the night of your incident as they had just accidentally let the guy get away when they had finally him in their possession and cuffed. Doh! Maybe a bit of bruised cop ego happening and extra determination to find him because of that. They obviously didn’t handle things with you or your neighbors very well but I am glad that they do those kind of searches in general. I will gladly have my sleep disturbed anytime if it helps catch a bad guy or at least scare him away.

    I hope there is more follow up here on if they do indeed catch the guy at some point and what the charges are.

  7. I don’t know why some are assuming the officers were incompetent for loosing the handcuffed suspect? It clearly said a man with a gun approached them. What would you do? Keep 100% of your attention and eyes on the guy with the gun or the handcuffed guy? Cops are suppose to think ‘safety first’, the public’s and their own. The handcuffed dude wasn’t posing a risk, the guy with gun was. It would have been ‘Stupid’ if they tried to partition their attention between keeping the handcuffed guy in custody and dealing with the gunman, then end up getting shot by the guy with the gun.

    Am I missing something here?

  8. Proud of the cops!

  9. Why wasn’t he inside the cop car while he was
    handcuffed if they knew he was wanted?

  10. Perhaps he was cuffed against the hood/car, while they patted him down, etc.,,, when the guy-with-gun approached them.

  11. i’d like to know if the cop had to pay for that new lock out of his or her own pocket — or if the City bought it.
    It might initially seem petty – but considering what the City’s teachers have to pay for out of their own pocket (and our military buying their own armor)…..i wonder now the same thing here…….anyone?

  12. Is it just me or is Ms. Larimore a little on edge? Maybe I’m reading between the lines but if her husband’s first thought was that the police would return to arrest her then it seems that she may have been more than a little upset. Ms. Larimore, relax. For you to assume that the suspect would not be in the same area hours after he was last seen is short sighted. Suspects’ behaviors are erratic at best, if the handcuffed suspect felt he had found a “safe” place to hide in your neighborhood then he will stay until the police leave. Police overstepping bounds is something the public should not be okay with but a wanted suspect that is possibly violent/armed/desperate is not an ordinary situation. You’re upset over a few hours of disruption and a broken lock? I think you need to reevaluate your priorities.

  13. Maybe the citizens of that area like living next to criminals and assholes..LAPD did a great job taking a gun off the streets.

  14. Ms. Larimore,

    You’re right. I shouldn’t have said narrow views. I think delicate sensibilities is the better phrase. One 7/11 is not a corporate takeover; it’s a convenience store in an area that could really use one. And as for making a neighborhood better, I’m of the opinion that actually catching a criminal to the detriment of a few flower beds is in fact making this neighborhood a better place. I won’t go into your lack of sensitivity regarding the homeless since it’s been well documented on these pages. Everybody has an opinion on what makes a neighborhood a good place to live, and they don’t always necessarily match yours.

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