By Ed Meckle, Retired LAPD
This tale was told to me many years ago by Dick Moody, a friend and classmate. While assigned a Central radio car (downtown L.A.), he and his probationary partner received a call, “390-415,” (drunk disturbance) at an upscale restaurant in “J” town—the Japanese version of Chinatown—and a major tourist attraction. It is directly across the street (s) of the Police Administrative Building. Upon arrival, they found an honest to God Japanese sumo wrestler destroying the restaurant. His weight was later determined at 450 pounds. Even without knowing his exact weight, Dick was worried as the sumo weighed more than the two officers combined.
When confronted however, the sumo became very respectful and compliant and accompanied them to the sidewalk. Where he began to take off all, and I mean all of his clothes. He then climbed naked to the top of the police car and squatted cross legged behind the “roof reds” Any attempt to stop his actions, he just “brushed” off.
By now, a growing crowd of mostly Japanese tourists had gathered to watch the spectacle. It is my sincere belief that there is a hard and fast rule stating every Japanese tourist must have at least one camera with which to photograph any or all moving objects—or stationary objects—or each other—or any combination of the three. At a moment’s notice, the incident had now become the ultimate photo op.
A sergeant and several more cars had arrived and all were conferring. The crowd stayed respectfully quiet, politely applauds any and all movements by sumo or police. It had become sidewalk theatre at its best. Someone (hopefully in jest) suggested since the jail entrance is only several yards away, they leave him in place and drive very carefully to the booking area. That suggestion is soon shot down and the decision is made to have half the officers push with the balance pulling. It works, accompanied by many “ohhs” and “ahhs”’ from the crowd.
The restaurant produced a tablecloth as a makeshift sarong. The sumo bows, returned by the crowd. Due to the fact that his arms were too heavy, officers could not get them behind him. His wrists were also too large for cuffs so the entire bunch followed by the applauding crowd marched several hundred yards to the jail.
Never a dull moment.