Hermosa Beach CA Nov 13 2016 Hermosa Beach has hired a private security company to temporarily help police the popular, alcohol-fueled downtown district in the aftermath of an early-morning fight that injured three police officers.
One officer’s elbow was broken and another’s hand and wrist were injured as they stopped a Pier Plaza fight early on Nov. 5, police officials said. A third officer’s hand was smashed as he pushed a suspect against a wall to arrest him in the fracas. He already has recovered.
The clash highlights the small beach town’s ongoing anxiety about its nightlife scene, which it’s been trying unsuccessfully to quell for years so it can focus on other things, such as becoming carbon neutral and modernizing its Civic Center and major thoroughfares.
The City Council plans to review the incident at its next meeting on Nov. 22.
“Three of our officers suffered some injuries. Fortunately, they are doing quite well,” said interim City Manager John Jalili, adding that they should return to work within weeks.
In the meantime, he said, Police Chief Sharon Papa has “increased security substantially downtown.”
Officers stopped Daniel Carrillo, 20, from fighting on Pier Plaza at about 1:30 a.m. that Saturday. But, as they were arresting him, his brother, Sergio Carrillo, distracted them.
While the officers weren’t looking, Daniel ran away, prompting the arresting officer to run after him, according to police spokesman Sgt. Robert Higgins.
His brother allegedly intervened again.
Sergio Carrillo “pushed our officer from behind while he was in a full sprint, so he fell to the ground and broke his elbow,” Higgins said.
“He had scrapes all over his face. To his credit, he got up and kept chasing (Daniel). Another officer got his wrist and hand smashed during an arrest.”
Daniel Carrillo has since reached a plea agreement with prosecutors on misdemeanor charges of assault, battery and resisting arrest. His 22-year-old brother faces felony charges that could send him to prison for several years. He’s due for a hearing in Torrance Superior Court on Nov. 28 on felony charges of assault causing great bodily injury, battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.
The City Council has wrestled for years with trying to reign in its downtown alcohol problems.
Public urination was the most commonly reported police response downtown in 2014, followed by alcohol- and drug-related disorderly conduct, according to a city review last year. Together, those reports accounted for about half of downtown police calls a year.
A city-commissioned analysis of the cost of downtown police services versus the income generated from alcohol-serving businesses determined the city just barely earns more than it spends. The report found that downtown businesses generate $6.8 million a year, and that services there cost the city about $6.5 million.
A 2013 ballot measure that would have forced downtown bars to close earlier, therefore causing less problems, was rejected by voters.
Last year, the City Council demanded that downtown alcohol-serving establishments with late-night hours prove they serve at least as much food as they do alcohol. The so-called ‘50-50’ ordinance requires those roughly two dozen businesses to furnish sales receipts at the city’s request.
Since then, Papa has worked closely with the roughly two dozen businesses that make up the heart of the nightlife scene to get them to conform to a variety of city codes designed to clean things up. She also implemented a video surveillance system downtown.
Since the Nov. 5 incident, police presence was beefed up downtown and Papa is preparing a report on the issue for the City Council.