Jack's Press Clippings

JACKASS PAGE

1 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2000 Orange County Register  
Orange County Register (California)

June 10, 2000 Saturday MORNING EDITION

SECTION: LOCAL NEWS; Pg. B04

LENGTH: 623 words

HEADLINE: Man faces charges for radio jibes;
COURTS: Police were repeatedly called 'Rampart Pigs' on their own channels.

BYLINE: JOHN McDONALD, The Orange County Register

BODY:

A 64-year old radio buff from Bell, who admits to taunting police
for more than 3-months over their own radio channels, will be the
first person prosecuted in Orange County for interfering with police
communications.

The broadcasts came from the home of Jack Gerritsen from Nov. 4
until Dec. 9 and were bounced off radio repeaters to break into
police communications channels as far south as San Clemente,
according to charges filed in Santa Ana.

Gerritsen is charged with 34 misdemeanor counts, one for each
day his broadcasts broke into Orange County police channels.

Officials at the district attorney's office and police
communications said they are unaware of any previous prosecution
for interfering with police communications.

At the height of the broadcasts, Orange County officials called
up the Radio Amateurs Civil Emergency Service, a Cold War-eraseems
like there should be a hyphen before era, but looks weird --ew
network of ham radio volunteers, said Joseph Robben, communications
manager for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.  Law-enforcement
agencies receiving the broadcasts included the Sheriff's Department
and Irvine and Garden Grove police.

Unauthorized broadcasts on police channels pose a danger to the
public, said Robben: "Emergency communications get misinterpreted
and dispatches get delayed. "
It took electronic radio source detection efforts by
communications experts from the Federal Communications Commission
and the California Highway Patrol before Gerritsen was shut down,
he said.

"You Rampart pigs," began the single sentence message broadcast
an estimated 1,000 times last fall by Gerritsen, said Los Angeles
County Deputy District Attorney Steven J. Ipsen.  Gerritsen was
sentenced Thursday in Los Angeles County to a five-year jail term
for violating police frequencies there.

Ipsen said Gerritsen attempted to avoid detection by limiting
his broadcasts to 10 seconds on any one frequency.  The FCC worked
the case and the CHP became involved after Gerritsen's broadcasts
fouled up communications during the pursuit of a vandalism suspect,
who escaped, Ipsen said.

Gerritsen represented himself at the trial in Downey and sang
the theme from "Cops" to the jury as part of his closing argument,
Ipsen said.  He said Gerritsen contended his broadcasts never
interfered with police and were protected by his right to free
speech.

The element of interference is an important one, said
Westminster police Capt.  Andy Hall.  Westminster police were
rebuffed by the district attorney when they attempted to bring
charges against a businessman they suspected of breaking into
police communications with racial slurs during the Vietnamese
community demonstrations in 1999.

"They said we couldn't bring the charge because we couldn't
prove the broadcasts interfered with police communications," said
Hall.  He added that the problem of civilians breaking into police
channels is growing with the increasing availability of
sophisticated radio equipment.  "It used to be the only time we had
somebody breaking into police channels was when we had a portable
radio stolen out of a police car.  The problem would end when the
battery went dead.  Now anybody with a hobbyist's level of knowledge
about radios seems to be able to do it. "

Orange County Deputy District Attorney John Christl said that
the current charges filed last month include the element of
interference with police communications.  He declined to provide
details of the interference.  He said Gerritsen is currently serving
his five-year sentence in Los Angeles and will be brought to Orange
County to face charges here within a few weeks.

LOAD-DATE: June 22, 2000



2 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2000 Associated Press 
All Rights Reserved

The Associated Press State & Local Wire

 

These materials may not be republished without the express written consent of The Associated Press

June 10, 2000, Saturday, BC cycle

SECTION: State and Regional

LENGTH: 319 words

HEADLINE: Radio hacker sentenced to five-year term for interfering with police

DATELINE: LOS ANGELES

BODY:

An amateur radio operator was sentenced to a five-year prison sentence for interfering with police radio frequencies.

Jack Gerritsen admitted he broadcast an obscene message on police frequencies that began "you Rampart pigs" more than 1,000 times last fall, said Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Steven J. Ipsen.

The 64-year old from Bell, a community 16 miles southeast of Los Angeles, was arrested in December after a lengthy investigation by the California Highway Patrol and the Federal Communications Commission. The CHP got involved after Gerritsen's interference disrupted the pursuit of a suspect who eventually escaped.

Gerritsen was sentenced Thursday.

His interference of police activities was not limited to radio, Ipsen said. Gerritsen has been present at several police raids, pointing out undercover officers to suspects, and has been a regular fixture at DUI checkpoints for the last ten years, authorities said.

"Most people who are in touch with reality know there are situations which require police involvement," Ipsen said. "Mr. Gerritsen doesn't believe that police involvement is ever justified."

Gerritsen, who represented himself at trial and sang the theme song from the TV show "Cops" in his closing argument, said his broadcasts did not interfere with police and were protected by his First Amendment rights.

Gerritsen also faces 34 misdemeanor counts of violating police frequencies in nearby Orange County.

Interference with police frequencies was a rare occurrence until a few years ago, when sophisticated radio equipment became available, police said.

Gerritsen has been the most significant problem of this kind in Los Angeles county, Ipsen said. "No one is as prolific as this guy."

With Gerritson's conviction, "a lot of police officers are going to be able to focus on their jobs without being insulted on a daily basis," Ipsen said.

LOAD-DATE: June 11, 2000



3 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2000 City News Service, Inc.  
City News Service

No City News Service material may be republished without the express written permission of City News Service, Inc.

June 9, 2000, Friday

LENGTH: 168 words

HEADLINE: Radio Hacker

DATELINE: SANTA ANA

BODY:

A Bell businessman already facing a five-year jail term for sending expletive-laced diatribes over police frequencies in Los Angeles
County allegedly has done the same thing in neighboring Orange County.  

Jack Gerritsen, 64, was sentenced yesterday in Downey to the jail term, but will still face 34 misdemeanor counts in Orange County of interfering with law $ % enforcement communications, said Tori Richards of the district attorney's
office.

''What he did was use a device to break into the transmission of various police agencies, including Orange County Sheriff, Garden Grove police and San
Clemente, and play a pre-recorded conversation that talked about how the
Rampart Division, LAPD scandal was a very bad thing,'' Richards said.

''He was cussing and swearing during the transmission and this was on the recording,'' she said.

Even though prosecutors filed 34 counts, ''we believe he called hundreds of times to different agencies,'' Richards said.

LOAD-DATE: June 10, 2000



4 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2000 Times Mirror Company  
Los Angeles Times

 

June 9, 2000, Friday, Orange County Edition

SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 1; Metro Desk

LENGTH: 461 words

HEADLINE: PROSECUTORS HIT HARD AT POLICE-FREQUENCY HACKER

BYLINE: JACK LEONARD, TIMES STAFF WRITER 

BODY:

Alarmed over hackers breaching police radio frequencies, Orange County prosecutors have filed 34 misdemeanor charges against a businessman suspected of interfering with law enforcement communications.

The move marks an attempt to crack down on the alleged activities of Jack Gerritsen, whom authorities accuse of transmitting a barrage of rogue broadcasts last year that disrupted police channels across Southern California.

The district attorney's office charges that Gerritsen repeatedly invaded emergency frequencies used by Orange County sheriff's deputies and Garden Grove and Irvine police officers, taunting them about the LAPD Rampart Division corruption scandal.

Earlier this week, a Downey jury found the Bell businessman guilty of transmitting the recorded messages over law enforcement frequencies used by Long Beach, Beverly Hills, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the California Highway Patrol. Gerritsen, 64, was sentenced Thursday to five years in jail for the misdemeanor--the maximum sentence possible.

Following the sentencing, Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven J. Ipsen decried how state law prevents prosecutors from filing anything more than misdemeanor charges against radio hackers.

But he said the heavy punishment imposed on Gerritsen should send a powerful message to others that disrupting police communications--even for just a few seconds--can have serious consequences.

"It's an appropriate sentence," Ipsen said. "These are dispatchers who are dispatching 911 calls. And 10 to 15 seconds is fairly often in L.A. County a matter of life and death."

In Orange County, a warrant was issued for Gerritsen's arrest after prosecutors filed charges last month. Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. John Christl said Gerritsen will eventually be transported to Orange County for an arraignment hearing.

In an earlier interview with the Times, Gerritsen acknowledged that he made such broadcasts thousands of times last year. But he said his intention was to protest police abuses, not to interfere with officers' work.

"People have a right to use words on the public airwaves," he said. "People should not be punished for speaking out against police brutality."

He could not reached for comment Thursday.

The case comes as many local law enforcement officials warn that widely available radio technology has allowed hackers to more easily breach police channels, sometimes with disruptive effects.

Law enforcement officers said one extended series of messages transmitted by Gerritsen prevented CHP officers from sending or receiving broadcasts for half an hour. On another occasion, the rogue transmissions interfered with a foot pursuit of a vandalism suspect in Los Angeles' Chinatown.

LOAD-DATE: June 9, 2000



5 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2000 Associated Press 
All Rights Reserved


The Associated Press State & Local Wire

 

These materials may not be republished without the express written consent of The Associated Press

February 7, 2000, Monday, AM cycle

SECTION: State and Regional

LENGTH: 366 words

HEADLINE: Hackers invading law enforcement radio calls

DATELINE: LOS ANGELES

BODY:

Radio hackers are increasingly making bogus broadcasts on law enforcement frequencies in Southern California.

The broadcasts, which were rare just a few years ago, have become a nearly daily annoyance.

The increasing availability of inexpensive, high-tech radios have been blamed for the rise in hacking incidents. Gadgets that can be modified to transmit on police channels can be purchased from private sellers and at swap meets for as low as $300.

"I think it's become more prevalent because you're getting more people out there who like to mess around with radios," said California Highway Patrol Detective David Flores. "And the technology has become more sophisticated."

In once case, CHP investigators in December arrested Jack Gerritsen, 63, of Bell, Calif., for allegedly recording messages filled with foul language and transmitting them on police frequencies at least 100 times.

Authorities also are seeking another hacker, called "the phantom," who for the past five years has made regular broadcasts on the Huntington Beach system. The hacker, who normally makes burping noises, sometimes pretends to be an officer under attack, which has caused panic and confusion, said police Lt. Chuck Thomas.

A hacker masquerading as a Brea police officer last summer warned of shots fired near City Hall, which forced police to evacuate parts of the civic center while they searched for a gunman.

In response, police agencies in Orange County are turning to a multimillion-dollar radio system that will encrypt police frequencies.

The security breaches have not been confined to Southern California.

A hacker fooled CHP dispatchers in December by broadcasting that a fellow officer was seriously injured near Fresno. A ground and air search was called off hours later when it was determined the distress call was a hoax.

It is believed the same hacker broadcast fake calls of officers injured and shots fired in Berkeley, Richmond, Oakland and Vallejo, said Sgt. Mike Walter of the Richmond Police Department.

"My impression is that it's going on all over the country," said Alan Burton, a Benicia, Calif.-based consultant on emergency communications systems.

LOAD-DATE: February 8, 2000



6 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2000 Times Mirror Company  
Los Angeles Times

 

February 7, 2000, Monday, Home Edition

SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 1; Metro Desk

LENGTH: 1647 words

HEADLINE: RADIO HACKERS INTERFERING WITH POLICE CALLS; 
TECHNOLOGY: IN A GROWING PROBLEM, PRANKSTERS ON LAW ENFORCEMENT FREQUENCIES HAVE BROADCAST BOGUS EMERGENCY CALLS AND RANTS.

BYLINE: JACK LEONARD, TIMES STAFF WRITER 

BODY:

Emboldened by new technology, hackers are invading police emergency networks with increasing frequency, confusing officers across Southern California with hundreds of rogue broadcasts last year that wasted police time and in extreme cases delayed responses to emergencies.

Such security breaches, which a few years ago occurred only a handful of times a year, are becoming a common problem that affects one local agency or another almost daily.

Police channels were once "sacred ground. . . . But with new technology, that's not the case," said Santa Ana Police Sgt. Raul Luna. "We're much more vulnerable."

Although it might seem like the harmless work of a few pranksters, police say the security breaches have serious consequences. Consider:

* In one of the most serious cases in recent months, a hacker interfered with a California Highway Patrol pursuit of a tagger in Los Angeles' Chinatown. The rogue broadcast delayed officers' calls for backup. By the time police units arrived, the tagger had slipped away.

"It definitely interrupted the pursuit," said CHP Det. David Flores, adding that future transmissions could have more serious consequences. "An officer could be out there with something overwhelming happening, and he cannot get on the air. It could cost somebody their life."

An investigation into the incident led CHP investigators to arrest 63-year-old Bell businessman Jack Gerritsen. He is also the subject of an investigation by Orange County sheriff's officials into more than 100 breaches of their radio channels over the last year.

* A burping hacker--dubbed "the phantom"--regularly breaks into the Huntington Beach band, sometimes masquerading as an officer under attack. The hoax broadcasts have thrown staff into a panic and forced them to make hurried checks on patrol units to ensure none are in danger.

* Last summer, a hacker posing as a Brea police officer warned of shots fired near City Hall, prompting police to evacuate portions of the civic center and seal off surrounding streets as they combed the area for a possible gunman.

* Santa Ana officials alerted officers last month to a singer belting out gangsta rap lyrics over the city's police channel. The transmission prevented officers from calling in their positions for more than a minute until the song had finished.

Officials blame the increase in hackers on the growing availability of cheap high-tech radios. Swap meets and private sellers offer gadgets for as little as $ 300 that can be modified to transmit on police channels.

"I think it's becoming more prevalent because you're getting more people out there who like to mess around with radios," Flores said. "And the technology has become more sophisticated."

Other hackers are opportunists who manage to get their hands on a police officer's hand-held radio.

"An officer will leave their radio lying inside their car, and someone will snap it up," said Long Beach Police Sgt. Steve Filippini. "Usually they can use it for a few days and the battery will go dead."

Police agencies, officials said, are virtually helpless when their radio channels are invaded because some current networks lack the security features of newer ones. Overriding the messages, they said, is impossible without cutting off some officers' access to the frequency. Officers who try to talk over the hackers only broadcast garbled messages.

Catching hackers is notoriously difficult. Law enforcement officials must be prepared to track the transmission when it begins if they hope to pinpoint the source. Even when caught, suspects face misdemeanor charges, bringing a fine and a maximum jail term of a year.

Orange County agencies are spending millions of dollars on a new radio system that will--among other features--encrypt police frequencies and better protect channels from invasion. Irvine and Tustin police are scheduled to start using the system this month, with the rest of the county joining by year's end.

The new technology will allow agencies to determine whether prank broadcasts were made by police radios or outsiders. But law enforcement officials said they believe the system will provide a respite rather than a cure.

"Technology will eventually come on line so that hackers will be able to figure out how to interfere again," said Orange County Sheriff's Capt. Joe Davis.

Los Angeles County has no immediate plans to install such safeguards.

Pranks Pose Potential for Substantial Harm

So far, local officers said they have been lucky; no one has been hurt because of prank interference. But interruptions make it difficult for police officers to communicate with each other or with headquarters. Officials said it's only a matter of time until a security breach occurs at the wrong moment, putting officers or the public in harm's way.

There have been close calls.

The Chinatown incident occurred last November as CHP officers were staking out an area around the Pasadena Freeway that has been repeatedly hit by taggers.

About 7:30 p.m., officers noticed a tagger spraying the wall and began pursuing him by car and foot. Just as officers were about to broadcast instructions to set up a perimeter around the area, the hacker breached their frequency and began a 20-second rant against the LAPD Rampart Division.

"It was so frustrating that this guy was interfering," said the CHP's Flores. "We were trying to catch this guy."

By the time the radio became free again, it was too late, Flores said. Officers arrived at their perimeter positions, but the suspect had slipped through.

In Northern California, CHP dispatchers in December heard a plea for help from someone claiming to be a police officer. The voice said a fellow officer was injured and near death at a location near Fresno.

Officials dispatched officers from various agencies and sent a helicopter and airplane to scour the area, but concluded after hours of hunting that the call was a hoax.

The same hacker is believed to be responsible for fake calls of officers injured and shots fired in Berkeley, Richmond, Oakland and Vallejo, said Richmond Police Sgt. Mike Walter.

Police departments from Oregon to Florida report similar problems.

"My impression is that it's going on all over the country," said Alan Burton, a Benicia, Calif.-based consultant on 911 systems. "The thing has been a continuing problem."

Burton said the digitalization of radio systems could help, but he doubts it will completely keep hackers off the airwaves.

"Even then, I'm not sure we ever will," he said. "There are guys who stay up all night trying to hack into whatever they can, police radios, the Pentagon."

Police in Huntington Beach have for five years listened to "the phantom," who interferes with the agency's radio band two or three times a month, said Lt. Chuck Thomas.

"He'll burp, he'll make noises like he's going to the bathroom," Thomas said. "It's disruptive. We've had him come on the radio and say, 'Shots fired.' That perks everyone up."

Mimicking Police Distress Calls

The phantom has even pretended to be a police officer in distress, sending other officers into a panicked hunt for their colleague in trouble, Thomas said.

"This happens fairly regularly to us," he said. "We've instructed people to completely ignore him. He wants us to react. Maybe he gets a kick out of us reacting."

Often, hackers' primary motive appears to be crude.

Police officers in Santa Ana last month were forced to listen to a rap song from another hacker whose profanity-filled lyrics assailed officers, said Sgt. Luna. Under such verbal assaults, some officers try to use their radios to order hackers to stop broadcasting, but the tactic rarely works.

Luna heard one 60-second rant in which the hacker sang profanity-laden rap songs attacking Santa Ana officers.

"I was stunned," he said. "He was so forthright and brazen with his comments. . . . It's almost like he's got a personal vendetta."

In the case of the Bell businessman arrested last year on suspicion of hacking, personal experience played a key role. Gerritsen said in an interview that he played the recording on thousands of occasions over numerous radio bands, some of which were probably used by police. He said he was once the victim of police brutality, and argued that broadcasting his message condemning the LAPD's Rampart Division should be protected by free speech rights.

He said his intention was to protest police misconduct, not to interfere with police work.

Police accuse him of going on a rampage, hitting police in Beverly Hills, Long Beach, Maywood, Garden Grove and the Orange County Sheriff's Department with a barrage of transmissions. The recording attacked police officers, particularly the Rampart Division, where some gang officers are being investigated for alleged corruption.

For more than a month, prerecorded messages came over the airwaves. Sometimes, the messages were repeated again and again. Orange County sheriff's officials logged 133 broadcasts of the message in just over a month before they stopped counting.

Alarmed by the extent of the problem, CHP detectives teamed up with investigators from the Federal Communications Commission to trace the transmissions' source. They began a painstaking probe, using high-tech equipment. Investigators eventually made their way to a currency exchange shop in Bell.

The CHP's Flores said that on Dec. 28, he and other investigators watched as Gerritsen left the business, walked to the parking lot and activated a pocket-sized radio. They listened, Flores said, as he made an identical broadcast.

He was booked on suspicion of disrupting public safety communications. The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is reviewing the case. Orange County sheriff's investigators said he also could face prosecution in Orange County.

LOAD-DATE: February 7, 2000



7 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 2000 Times Mirror Company  
Los Angeles Times

 

February 7, 2000, Monday, Orange County Edition

SECTION: Part A; Page 1; Metro Desk

LENGTH: 1757 words

HEADLINE: RADIO HACKERS INTERFERING WITH LOCAL POLICE CALLS; 
TECHNOLOGY: PRANKSTERS ON LAW ENFORCEMENT FREQUENCIES BROADCAST BOGUS EMERGENCY CALLS AND RANTS.

BYLINE: JACK LEONARD, TIMES STAFF WRITER 

BODY:

Emboldened by new technology, hackers increasingly are invading police emergency networks, confusing officers across Southern California with hundreds of rogue broadcasts last year that wasted police time and in extreme cases delayed responses to emergencies.

Such security breaches, which a few years ago occurred only a handful of times a year, are becoming a problem that affects one local agency or another almost daily.

Police channels were once "sacred ground. . . . But with new technology, that's not the case," said Santa Ana Police Sgt. Raul Luna. "We're much more vulnerable."

Although it might seem like the harmless work of a few pranksters, police say the security breaches have serious consequences. Consider:

* In one of the most serious cases in recent months, a hacker interfered with a California Highway Patrol pursuit of a tagger in Los Angeles' Chinatown. The rogue broadcast delayed officers' calls for backup. By the time police units arrived, the tagger had slipped away.

"It definitely interrupted the pursuit," said CHP Det. David Flores, adding that future transmissions could have more serious consequences. "An officer could be out there with something overwhelming happening, and he cannot get on the air. It could cost somebody their life."

An investigation into the incident led CHP investigators to arrest 63-year-old Bell businessman Jack Gerritsen. He is also the subject of an investigation by Orange County sheriff's officials, who suspect him of breaching their radio channels more than 100 times last year.

* A burping hacker--dubbed "the phantom"--regularly breaks into the Huntington Beach band, sometimes masquerading as an officer under attack. The hoax broadcasts have thrown staff into a panic and forced them to make hurried checks on patrol units to ensure none are in danger.

* Last summer, a hacker posing as a Brea police officer warned of shots fired near City Hall, prompting police to evacuate portions of the civic center and seal off surrounding streets as they combed the area for a possible gunman.

* Santa Ana officials alerted officers last month to a singer belting out gangsta rap lyrics over the city's police channel. The transmission prevented officers from calling in their positions for more than a minute until the song had finished.

Officials blame the increase in hackers on the growing availability of cheap high-tech radios. Swap meets and private sellers offer gadgets for as little as $ 300 that can be modified to transmit on police channels.

"I think it's becoming more prevalent because you're getting more people out there who like to mess around with radios," Flores said. "And the technology has become more sophisticated."

Other hackers are opportunists who manage to get their hands on a police officer's hand-held radio.

"An officer will leave their radio lying inside their car, and someone will snap it up," said Long Beach Police Sgt. Steve Filippini. "Usually they can use it for a few days and the battery will go dead."

Police agencies, officials said, are virtually helpless when their radio channels are invaded because some current networks lack the security features of newer ones. Overriding the messages, they said, is impossible without cutting off some officers' access to the frequency. Officers who try to talk over the hackers only broadcast garbled messages.

Catching hackers is notoriously difficult. Law enforcement officials must be prepared to track the transmission when it begins if they hope to pinpoint the source. Even when caught, suspects face misdemeanor charges, bringing a fine and a maximum jail term of a year.

Orange County agencies are spending millions of dollars on a new radio system that will--among other features--encrypt police frequencies and better protect channels from invasion. Irvine and Tustin police are scheduled to start using the system this month, with the rest of the county joining by year's end.

The new technology will allow agencies to determine whether prank broadcasts were made by police radios or outsiders. But law enforcement officials said they believe the system will provide a respite rather than a cure.

"Technology will eventually come on line so that hackers will be able to figure out how to interfere again," said Orange County Sheriff's Capt. Joe Davis.

Los Angeles County has no immediate plans to install such safeguards.

Pranks Pose Potential for Substantial Harm

So far, local officers said they have been lucky; no one has been hurt because of prank interference. But interruptions make it difficult for police officers to communicate with each other or with headquarters. Officials said it's only a matter of time until a security breach occurs at the wrong moment, putting officers or the public in harm's way.

There have been close calls.

The Chinatown incident occurred last November as CHP officers were staking out an area around the Pasadena Freeway that has been repeatedly hit by taggers.

About 7:30 p.m., officers noticed a tagger spraying the wall and began pursuing him by car and foot. Just as officers were about to broadcast instructions to set up a perimeter around the area, the hacker breached their frequency and began a 20-second rant against the LAPD Rampart Division.

"It was so frustrating that this guy was interfering," said the CHP's Flores. "We were trying to catch this guy."

By the time the radio became free again, it was too late, Flores said. Officers arrived at their perimeter positions, but the suspect had slipped through.

In Northern California, CHP dispatchers in December heard a plea for help from someone claiming to be a police officer. The voice said a fellow officer was injured and near death at a location near Fresno.

Officials dispatched officers from various agencies and sent a helicopter and airplane to scour the area, but concluded after hours of hunting that the call was a hoax.

The same hacker is believed to be responsible for fake calls of officers injured and shots fired in Berkeley, Richmond, Oakland and Vallejo, said Richmond Police Sgt. Mike Walter.

Police departments from Oregon to Florida report similar problems.

"My impression is that it's going on all over the country," said Alan Burton, a Benicia, Calif.-based consultant on 911 systems. "The thing has been a continuing problem."

Burton said the digitalization of radio systems could help, but he doubts it will completely keep hackers off the airwaves.

"Even then, I'm not sure we ever will," he said. "There are guys who stay up all night trying to hack into whatever they can, police radios, the Pentagon."

Police in Huntington Beach have for five years listened to "the phantom," who interferes with the agency's radio band two or three times a month, said Lt. Chuck Thomas.

"He'll burp, he'll make noises like he's going to the bathroom," Thomas said. "It's disruptive. We've had him come on the radio and say, 'Shots fired.' That perks everyone up."

Mimicking Police Distress Calls

The phantom has even pretended to be a police officer in distress, sending other officers into a panicked hunt for their colleague in trouble, Thomas said.

"This happens fairly regularly to us," he said. "We've instructed people to completely ignore him. He wants us to react. Maybe he gets a kick out of us reacting."

Often, hackers' primary motive appears to be crude.

Police officers in Santa Ana last month were forced to listen to a rap song from another hacker whose profanity-filled lyrics assailed officers, said Sgt. Luna. Under such verbal assaults, some officers try to use their radios to order hackers to stop broadcasting, but the tactic rarely works.

Luna heard one 60-second rant in which the hacker sang profanity-laden rap songs attacking Santa Ana officers.

"I was stunned," he said. "He was so forthright and brazen with his comments. . . . It's almost like he's got a personal vendetta."

Westminster officers came under suspicion last year when racial slurs were heard over police frequencies. The first remarks were overheard during the Little Saigon protests last February, sparking an uproar in the Vietnamese community and straining relations with police. Internal-affairs investigators said they suspected an amateur radio operator of making the slurs but did not have enough evidence to press charges.

More ethnic insults were overheard last month as Westminster and Huntington Beach officers hunted for two bank robbery suspects. Probes by both agencies failed to find a culprit but concluded that the remarks were probably not made by officers.

In the case of the Bell businessman arrested last year on suspicion of hacking, personal experience played a key role. Gerritsen said in an interview that he played the recording on thousands of occasions over numerous radio bands, some of which were probably used by police. He said he was once the victim of police brutality, and argued that broadcasting his message condemning the LAPD's Rampart Division should be protected by free speech rights.

He said his intention was to protest police misconduct, not to interfere with police work.

Police accuse him of going on a rampage, hitting police in Beverly Hills, Long Beach, Maywood, Garden Grove and the Orange County Sheriff's Department with a barrage of transmissions. The recording attacked police officers, particularly the Rampart Division, where some gang officers are being investigated for alleged corruption.

For more than a month, prerecorded messages came over the airwaves. Sometimes, the messages were repeated again and again. Orange County sheriff's officials logged 133 broadcasts of the message in just over a month before they stopped counting.

Alarmed by the extent of the problem, CHP detectives teamed up with investigators from the Federal Communications Commission to trace the transmissions' source. They began a painstaking probe, using high-tech equipment. Investigators eventually made their way to a currency exchange shop in Bell.

The CHP's Flores said that on Dec. 28, he and other investigators watched as Gerritsen left the business, walked to the parking lot and activated a pocket-sized radio. They listened, Flores said, as he made an identical broadcast.

He was booked on suspicion of disrupting public safety communications. The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is reviewing the case. Orange County sheriff's investigators said he also could face prosecution in Orange County.

GRAPHIC: PHOTO: (B1) Emergency Situation: Hackers are increasingly invading police emergency networks, confusing officers and police dispatchers with rogue broadcasts.

LOAD-DATE: February 7, 2000



8 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 1999 Tower Media, Inc.  
The Daily News of Los Angeles

December 30, 1999, Thursday,

SECTION: NEWS,

LENGTH: 472 words

HEADLINE: BRIEFLY;
TODDLER DISCOVERED IN VALLEY POOL DIES

BODY:

NORTHRIDGE - A 19-month-old boy pulled from a swimming pool Monday was declared dead at Northridge Hospital Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

Hospital officials said the parents of Nathan Powell decided following his death to have his major organs donated to help others.

Nathan, who was from Chico, was visiting his grandfather in Northridge for the Christmas holidays when he was found unconscious in the swimming pool, authorities said.

-Daily News
 

Probation operation results in 11 arrests
 

FILLMORE - Eight adults and three teens were arrested early Wednesday morning during a three-hour probation search, authorities said.

Thirty law enforcement officers from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, the Fillmore Police Department, Ventura County Probation Department and state parole searched 36 locations in the Fillmore area, police said.

During the searches officers seized small amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana, drug paraphernalia, weapons, illegal fireworks and ammunition, authorities said.

-Daily News
 

CHP says suspect flooded police band
 

A 63-year-old man was arrested for allegedly recording messages filled with foul language and then transmitting them on police radio frequencies at least 100 times.

Jack Gerritsen of Bell was arrested Wednesday for investigation of interfering with police radio communications and intercepting police radio communications.

According to a news release from the California Highway Patrol, investigators caught Gerritsen in the act as he stood in front of his coin-exchange business using a hand-held transmitter.

Investigators believe he interfered with and transmitted on police radio frequencies at least 100 times. In doing so, they said, he interfered with the radio communications of the CHP, other law enforcement agencies, private and public businesses, and a local news agency.

-Daily News
 

Man faces life term in 'staring' slaying
 

A 25-year-old man was convicted of first-degree murder for shooting to death a bus passenger who stared at him.

Byron Dwayne Cuff also was found guilty Wednesday of the special circumstance of using a gun during the crime, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman with the District Attorney's Office.

Cuff faces a minimum sentence of 50 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Jan. 12 by Superior Court Judge Curtis Rappe.

The jury deliberated less than a day before reaching its verdict, Gibbons said.

Police said the Feb. 7 shooting aboard a transit bus in Hollywood took place when passenger Paul Edward Johnson, 26, stared at Cuff too long.

The two exchanged words after Cuff asked Johnson what he was looking at, then Johnson was shot several times as passengers were getting off at a stop.

-Associated Press

LOAD-DATE: December 31, 1999



9 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 1999 City News Service, Inc.  
City News Service

No City News Service material may be republished without the express written permission of City News Service, Inc.

December 29, 1999, Wednesday

LENGTH: 230 words

HEADLINE: Hacker Arrested

DATELINE: BELL

BODY:

A Bell resident who runs a coin exchange business was arrested for allegedly interfering with police, municipal and media radio
transmissions, a California Highway Patrol detective said today.

Jack Gerritsen, 63, was taken into custody in front of his business in the 4800 block of East Gage Avenue in Bell at 10:30 a.m. yesterday, said CHP
investigator David Flores.

Gerritsen was allegedly caught while using a handheld transmitter in front of his business, said Flores, whose agency worked with federal investigators
on the case.

The suspect is believed responsible for hundreds of such transmissions over the last few months, targeting CHP radio signals, municipal transmissions from La Canada and Bell, the American Red Cross and even an NBC news transmitter,
Flores said.

''He would use pretaped foul-language messages and interrupt transmissions at all different times of the day,'' Gerritsen alleged.

Gerritsen worked with agents from the Federal Communications Commission in identifying Gerritsen as the alleged source of the transmissions.

''You have to have some technical knowledge to know how to program the frequencies and tones,'' he said. ''He apparently was just getting his fun out of disrupting police frequencies.''

Anyone with further information about the case should call Flores at (323) 644-9550.

LOAD-DATE: December 30, 1999



10 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 1999 Associated Press 
All Rights Reserved


The Associated Press State & Local Wire

 

These materials may not be republished without the express written consent of The Associated Press

December 29, 1999, Wednesday, BC cycle

SECTION: State and Regional

LENGTH: 133 words

HEADLINE: Man arrested for allegedly broadcasting obscene messages on police frequencies

DATELINE: LOS ANGELES

BODY:

A 63-year-old man was arrested for allegedly recording messages filled with foul language and then transmitting them on police radio frequencies at least 100 times.

Jack Gerritsen of Bell was arrested Wednesday for investigation of interfering with police radio communications and intercepting police radio communications.

According to a news release from the California Highway Patrol, investigators caught Gerritsen in the act as he stood in front of his coin-exchange business using a handheld transmitter.

Investigators believe he interfered with and transmitted on police radio frequencies at least 100 times. In doing so, they said, he interfered with the radio communications of the CHP, other law enforcement agencies, private and public businesses, and a local news agency.

LOAD-DATE: December 30, 1999



11 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 1994 The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times

 All Rights Reserved  
Los Angeles Times

September 27, 1994, Tuesday, Home Edition

SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 1; Column 2; Metro Desk

LENGTH: 882 words

HEADLINE: THE SIMPSON TRIAL;
TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS;
COURTS: FOR SOME IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM, THE CRUSH OF MEDIA AND CURIOSITY SEEKERS FOR THE O.J. SIMPSON CASE NEARLY FORCES THE WHEELS OF JUSTICE TO GRIND TO A HALT.

BYLINE: By BOB POOL, TIMES STAFF WRITER

BODY:

The guy suspected of stealing her car was on trial on the inside. But it was Patricia Auger's patience that was being tried outside the Criminal Courts building Monday morning in Downtown Los Angeles.

Auger left her Victorville home before dawn to get to court on time to testify against the suspect. She even remembered to stop in Fontana to pick up a friend to ride in with her, "so we could drive in the car-pool lane and save time."

Too bad she forgot that O.J. Simpson's trial was beginning on the same day, at the same hour, at the same courthouse.

There was chaos when Auger arrived. A mob of photographers and reporters jousting for a glimpse of Simpson's attorneys blocked the door. A crowd of curious onlookers formed a tight knot behind them. And in back of them was a colorful gaggle of demonstrators trying to attract attention to their own causes.

"Only the O.J. people could go inside," said Auger, 31. "We saw O.J.'s friend, the guy with the white streak in his hair -- Mr. (Robert) Kardashian. We tried to sneak in through the door behind him, but they stopped us. They finally sent us to a door on the far side."

As it turned out, the courthouse had a "The Far Side" cartoon look to it all day.

On one side of the building, local disc jockey Rick Dees was broadcasting his drive-time show live, offering running commentary on the circus-like atmosphere. Out front, the real circus was unfolding as Pop Zhao unfurled a huge white drop cloth and started painting himself red.

Zhao, a 31-year-old Chinese performance artist, had driven from San Francisco. He was wearing a white jumpsuit and a painted question mark on his face. As he dripped paint to the strain of classical music blaring from a boombox, he handed out mock dollar bills to bystanders.

Simpson's picture replaced George Washington's portrait. "O.J. Innocent," proclaimed the writing over the picture.

The Simpson attorneys were inside the courthouse by now and reporters quickly turned their attention to Zhao. "I asked God about O.J. and God said he's innocent, that two other people did it," Zhao told them.

Suggested Norma Meyer of Copley News Service: "Why don't you go back and ask God tonight what their names are and come back tomorrow and tell us?"

In the background, laughing and taking snapshots was Irene Allen. She runs the courthouse shoeshine stand. It's called A.J.'s Shoe Shine Parlor. And O.J.'s been very, very good to A.J.'s.

"Business has tripled since the O.J. thing came here," confided Allen, 50. "I've had to buy a $900 electric shoeshine machine to keep up."

When she's not seeing that the shoes of celebrity lawyers and celebrity news correspondents are being polished, Allen is polishing up her own celebrityhood.

"I also do a live talk show three times a week. An Illinois radio station calls up and asks what's going on and I tell them what's happened," she said. "They're paying me."

There was a flurry of activity at noon when jurors were released for lunch. Those not called for the Simpson case came outside to look at the show. Several purchased $1 buttons from salesman Eddie Dee, 63, of La Canada Flintridge. The biggest seller: "O.J. Simpson Jury Reject: did not make the cut."

One woman wearing a juror's badge berated Dee -- who normally sells buttons at sporting events. "Everybody's making money on this except O.J.," she screamed.

Demonstrator Jack Gerritsen, 58, of Bell, handed brochures demanding jury reform to jurors as they walked out. "Thanks for serving," he said, wearing sandals with his maroon suit.

Down the sidewalk, court workers and jurors lined up at Alfredo Uycabaodeci's hot dog cart. Fernando Mejia, a cameraman for Channel 52, helped out by making change while he waited his turn.

During the afternoon, as the first of hundreds of potential Simpson jurors were being assembled on the 11th floor, jurors in other parts of the courthouse idled away the time as they waited to be called to duty for less sensational trials.

Some played cards in the hallway. Others gossiped about the excitement outside and their good fortune at not being called for a trial that could last six months or longer, as Simpson's might.

On the 15th floor, jurors in Judge Carlos R. Moreno's courtroom sat placidly while a hapless defendant in a drug case tried to defend himself by acting as his own attorney.

Next door, Judge Jan A. Pluim was questioning potential jurors for another drug case. When he asked the first six if any had been a victim of crime, hands went up and a litany of burglary stories and car-theft and purse-snatching tales poured out.

In an 11th-floor courtroom, a woman stepping out of a jury box tripped, hit her head and was knocked out cold. An ambulance was summoned.

Its siren interrupted TV correspondent Lisa Stark, who was outside the courthouse filing a live report for a St. Louis station.

It was one of 15 such reports she would do this day for local ABC affiliates across the country, said Stark, of Washington, D.C. "This is a light day," she said.

Patricia Auger, meantime, was heading back to Victorville after finally testifying in her car-theft case. It had been a heavy day for her.

"It worked out in the end, though," Auger explained. "I was late getting there. But the judge was too."

GRAPHIC: Photo, COLOR, Celestine Hinchen examines the buttons on the shirt of Eddie Dee outside the Criminal Courts building. ; Photo, COLOR, Nathaniel Jones finds a perch with a view above reporters covering trial. ; Photo, (A2) Simpson Trial Opens: The O.J. Simpson murder trial officially began as more than 200 prospective jurors reported for duty. A1 . . . Chaos met others who had business at the Criminal Courts Building, which was awash in demonstrators and news media. Above, television crews do live stand-ups at an outdoor media center. ANDY SCOTTS / Los Angeles Times

LOAD-DATE: September 28, 1994



12 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 1994 Information Access Company, a Thomson Corporation Company
ASAP
Copyright 1994 National Recreation and Park Association  
Parks & Recreation

July, 1994

SECTION: Vol. 29 ; No. 7 ; Pg. 20; ISSN: 0031-2215

LENGTH: 2619 words

HEADLINE: Park regulations unconstitutional as applied to political protester.

BYLINE: Kozlowski, James C.

BODY:

The Gerritsen decision described herein illustrates the constitutional ramifications of attempting to develop park regulations based on someone's political activities or beliefs. In this particular instance, the challenged park regulations were unconstitutional because the city admitted enacting the permit scheme was to discourage Gerritsen's protest activities in the park. This case suggests that parks would be wise to implement policies concerning the distribution of literature before it becomes an issue. If if appears that the policy was developed in response the the activities of a particular individual or group, there can be legal trouble.

Land of a Thousand Handbills

In the case of Gerritsen v. City of Los Angeles, 994 F.2d 570 (9th Cir. 1993), plaintiff Jack Gerritsen alleged that the City's regulation regarding handbill distribution in an urban park deprived him of his First Amendment rights. A summary of the case follows.

Jack Gerritsen has strongly held opinions about the Mexican government and United States-Mexico relations. Gerritsen sought to express these views by distributing literature, giving speeches, and organizing rallies and other protest activities throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

Gerritsen distributed his literature and made speeches in various cities and parks in the Los Angeles area, but El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park ("El Pueblo Park") is one of his favorite sites because of its many Mexican-American and Mexican visitors. He believes this audience is more likely than others to be receptive to his message critical of Mexican government policies and the United States' relationship with Mexico. He estimates that between 1986 and 1991, the period during which he claims his rights were violated by the city and city officials, he visited the park 400 times and distributed more than 50,000 handbills.

Each year approximately two million people visit El Pueblo Park, located in downtown Los Angeles. The park was established to commemorate the City's Mexican heritage and recognize its present-day Mexican population. In addition to a plaza area with an open-air bandstand, El Pueblo Park contains the Olvera Street shopping and dining area with 78 businesses, the Plaza Catholic Church and the Biscailuz Building which houses the Mexican Consulate. The City's Board of Recreation and Parks sets policy for the park and controls its day-to-day operations.

During Gerritsen's visits to the park, he has had a number of conflicts with the park's security force, park administrators, officers of the Los Angeles Police Department, and representatives of the Mexican Consulate. Gerritsen testified to numerous incidents of harassment, verbal and physical intimidation, detention, arrest, and physical assault by park security guards, Mexican Consulate security officers, and Los Angeles police officers. At trial, the City argued that its official policy was not to enforce the policies and claimed that all of these altercations were provoked by Gerritsen, who was portrayed as an uncontrollable protester.

On August 11, 1983, in response to conflicts between Gerritsen and park administrators and security guards, the City's Board of Recreation and Parks Commission enacted provisions regarding handbill distribution in El Pueblo Park. Prior to the enactment of this policy, there was no formal policy regarding this. The City concedes that these provisions were prompted solely by Gerritsen's political activity in the park and were the result of consultations between El Pueblo Park Director Jerry Smart and the City Attorney's office. The guidelines never have been repealed.

The 1983 guidelines contain two basic policies. First, the so-called blue line policy prohibits all handbill distribution in certain areas of the park (indicated by blue demarcations on the pavement). These areas include two of the park's most popular areas--the area around the Mexican Consulate and the Olvera Street merchants area. The second policy establishes a permit scheme for limited handbill distribution in other areas of the park. According to the regulations, "the Park Director shall issue a permit immediately on proper application" unless one of five specified grounds for denial exist. If the director denies the permit, he is required to inform the applicant in writing and to specify the reasons for the denial."

The listed grounds for permit denial are that a prior permit has been granted for the same area, which is too small for multiple permits; a danger to public health or safety will result; the applicant desires too many persons to engage in the proposed distribution; distribution is prohibited in the target location (e.g., the blue-line areas); the activity would constitute a violation of local, state or federal law.

Both park director Jerry Smart and Gerritsen testified at trial that Smart informed Gerritsen of the new rules regarding handbill distribution in the park shortly after their passage. About a month later, Gerritsen filed the first of hundreds of applications for permits to distribute literature. In some cases Gerritsen received permits, but in other cases he was denied permission to distribute literature. Sometimes the denials were based on a reasons in the written guidelines; on other occasions, the director handwrote a reason for denying the permit which did not appear on the permit form. Gerritsen testified that he initially did not distribute literature in the blue-line areas but that he later distributed handbills throughout the park, regardless of whether he received permits to do so. He stated that he would have distributed even more handbills had the permit policy not been in existence.

Although the City Attorney's office helped draft the provisions, that office later advised park officials not to enforce either the blue-line ban or the permit scheme. The parties dispute exactly when the City ceased enforcing the policies.

Gerritsen testified that, even after Smart directed park security guards to stop enforcing the permit policy, the guards continued to harass Gerritsen about his political activities and detained him on more than 20 occasions: "These permit denials were enforced on many occasions by security guards. On numerous occasions, they would approach me and ask me for a permit. When I could not show them a granted permit, they would tell me to get out of the park or attempt to arrest me or handcuff me."

The federal district court found that "the El Pueblo Park guidelines were not enforced by the City" and, thus, "they were not applied to Gerritsen." The court did not address Gerritsen's claim that "the blue-line ban and the permit scheme are unconstitutional." Gerritsen appealed.

Protected, Public Forum, Reasonable Regs?

On appeal, Gerritsen argued that "the City's policy regarding the distribution of handbills in El Pueblo Park is unconstitutional as applied to him ." Specifically, Gerritsen contended that "neither the blue-line ban nor the permit scheme are valid time, place or manner restrictions on protected speech in public forums."

In addressing Gerritsen's "as applied First Amendment challenge," the federal appeals court acknowledged that the specific inquiry was "whether or not the plaintiff's activities are protected speech or conduct." If so, the court than would determine "whether the government restriction occurs in a public or non-public forum, and whether or not the restriction is a valid time, place or manner regulation."

In this particular instance, the federal appeals court found that "Gerritsen's speech clearly is protected by the First Amendment" because "he attempted to distribute handbills discussing his political beliefs." Accordingly, the appeals court considered "whether or not the blue-line ban involved a public forum."

Since public parks such as El Pueblo represent the quintessential public forum, the City bears the burden of distinguishing these particular areas of the park as "non-public" in nature "... T he record reflects that the blue-line ban prohibited handbill distribution in two areas of the park: the Olvera Street merchants area and the sidewalk areas immediately surrounding the Mexican Consulate."

As described by the appeals court, the City maintained that "the blue-line areas are distinct from the rest of the park. which they concede is a public forum."

It claims that the Olvera Street area is a distinctive section of the park, with a unique historic and cultural atmosphere which is designed to foster commercial exchange. It claims that the area around the Mexican Consulate is semi-private in nature and has particular functions to carry out which necessitate separation from activities in other areas of the park.

The appeals court found "these arguments unconvincing." Specifically, the appeals court found that "the blue-line areas are indistinguishable from the park as a whole, and, thus, that these areas constitute a public forum."

While the Olvera Street area may have a special ambience, it is still part of the park and indistinguishable from other sections of the park in terms of vistors' expectations of its public forum status. Indeed, to many visitors, Olvera Street is the heart of El Pueblo Park. Similarly, walkways and sidewalks leading up to and surrounding the Mexican Consulate are no different from others in the park.

Valid Restrictions?

Having found that "the blue-line areas are a public forum," the appeals court acknowledged that "the ban on handbill distribution must be a valid time, place or manner restriction if it is to pass constitutional muster."

Traditional public forums such as parks and public streets, however, are open to all manner of speech, subject only to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions. Such a restriction must be content-neutral, narrowly tailored to serve a significant government interest, and leave ample natives of communication.

In this particular instance, the appeals court found that "the ban meets the first criterion, since it prohibits all handbills without regard to their content." In addition, the court found that the ban "also meets the third criterion since there are ample alternative channels of communication." Specifically, the court found that "Gerritsen could leaflet in other areas of the park or, presumably, he could use methods other than handbills to express his political views."

In the opinion of the appeals court, " t he more difficult question is whether the blue-line ban is narrowly tailored to achieve a significant government interest." The court noted that the City advanced the following "three significant government interests behind the blue-line ban": preserving the historic quality of the Olvera Street area; maintaining a calm, secure environment for the Consulate and its visitors; avoiding congestion in these often crowded areas.

While conceding that "these interests are substantial" the appeals court questioned "the City's manner of achieving them."

While the ban is narrow in its reach, in that it affects only these specific areas: " C ourts rarely have upheld complete bans on a category of First Amendment expression." Similarly, in the case at bar, the blue-line areas are indistinguishable from other parts of the park. Nor is there evidence that Gerritsen's handbill distribution interfered with operation of these park areas.

To the extent that City officials sought to curtail unprotected activity in the blue-line areas (such as disruption of other legitimate park activities, the business of the Mexican Consulate, or visitors' enjoyment of the park), the total ban on handbill distribution is substantially broader than necessary. Moreover, City officials already had in place regulations to prevent these behaviors, as indicated by the occasions (some of which are described later in this opinion) when park officials did not hesitate to enforce laws aimed at Gerritsen's unprotected, disruptive conduct.

Accordingly, the appeals court concluded that "a total ban on this activity in these areas is unjustified." The court then addressed the constitutionality of the permit scheme. In so doing, it applied the same analysis as that described above for the "blue-line ban portion of the El Pueblo Park guidelines." The appeals court reiterated its findings that "Gerritsen's activity is protected by the First Amendment and the park is a public forum." Accordingly, "in order to survive" Gerritsen's constitutional challenge, the appeals court found the permit scheme must satisfy the following three pronged test: " T he permit scheme must be (1) be contentneutral, (2) be narrowly tailored to serve a significant government interest, and (3) leave open ample alternative channels of expression."

Applying these criteria to the facts of the case, the appeals court found the permit scheme satisfied the first and third prongs of the test.

The permit scheme is content-neutral in that it applies across the board to all types of handbills. While a person who is denied a permit to distribute handbills would be denied that method of communication, he or she would still have the option of engaging in other forms of expressive activity.

No Significant Interest

The appeals court, however, found the challenged permit scheme failed the second prong of the test because the court was unable "to discern any significant government interest in proposing the permit rule".

In determining whether a permit scheme is tailored narrowly to serve a significant government interest, we look to the "fit" between the state's regulation and the stated purposes in making this determination. The record reveals only one express reason for the City's enacting the permit scheme--to make it more difficult for Gerritsen to distribute handbills regarding his political beliefs.

We hold that this purpose is not a significant government interest. Moreover, it is not a legitimate government interest. In fact, it is precisely the type of viewpoint censorship which the Constitution seeks to prevent. The Supreme Court and this court have made it clear that certain government interests are impermissible--the purpose of curtailing political speech which is controversial or anti-government is among these.

The impermissible government purpose here--to discourage Gerritsen from expressing his views in the park--comes close to destroying the permit scheme's content neutrality. Although the scheme is content neutral on its face, this purpose may convert it to a viewpoint-based regulation. Government regulation of expressive activity is content-neutral so long as it is justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech.

Since we cannot discern a significant government interest behind the permit scheme, the City cannot show that it is narrowly tailored to meet such an interest. Thus, the permit prong of the El Pueblo Park guidelines fails the test for a valid time, place, or manner restriction.

Accordingly, the appeals court concluded that "the city's El Pueblo Park policies, we hold that these regulations violate the First Amendment."

The blue-line ban is not narrowly tailored; the city failed to justify the need for a complete prohibition on handbill distribution in the blue-line areas. The permit scheme fails because the city's purpose in enacting the scheme--to discourage Gerritsen's protest activities in the park--was invalid.

The appeals court, therefore, sent this case back to the trial court "so that it may determine Gerritsen's damages against the City for violations of his constitutional rights."

IAC-NUMBER: IAC 15601039

IAC-CLASS: Magazine

LOAD-DATE: September 15, 1995



13 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 1993 The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times

 All Rights Reserved  
Los Angeles Times

May 28, 1993, Friday, Home Edition

SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 6; Column 5; Metro Desk

LENGTH: 157 words

HEADLINE: FREE SPEECH

BODY:

The article on the Jack Gerritsen affair (Metro, May 15) was very well done, and more than that, it hit at the very heart and soul of our democracy -- the right to be represented, the right to have our voices heard, the right to have our points of view considered.

However, before we congratulate ourselves too heartily we should look at the dates. From 1983 to 1993 Gerritsen was denied his right to express his ideas by the City of Los Angeles. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Not only are the federal courts so awfully slow as to be almost meaningless, but their timid, halfhearted narrowing of the right of free speech to "a limited public forum" (inside the blue lines in this case) makes you wonder if their hearts are really in it, or are they only giving lip service to the words of the Constitution and then only after so long a time that their judgment will have little or no practical effect.

JIM ARMSTRONG

Downey



14 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 1993 The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times

 All Rights Reserved  
Los Angeles Times

 

May 15, 1993, Saturday, Home Edition

SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 3; Column 2; Metro Desk

LENGTH: 935 words

HEADLINE: L.A. VIOLATED LEAFLET DISTRIBUTOR'S RIGHTS, U.S. APPEALS COURT RULES;
FREEDOM: CASE STEMS FROM 1983 REGULATIONS IMPOSING LIMITS ON DISSEMINATION OF HANDBILLS IN DOWNTOWN PARK.

BYLINE: By HENRY WEINSTEIN, TIMES LEGAL AFFAIRS WRITER

BODY:

Nearly a decade after the city of Los Angeles enacted regulations specifically designed to prevent a Bell man from distributing leaflets in a downtown park, a federal appeals court ruled unanimously Friday that the city violated his constitutional rights.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that August, 1983, regulations aimed at curbing Jack Gerritsen's dissemination of handbills critical of the Mexican government in El Pueblo de Los Angeles Park served no legitimate city interest.

In fact, the city's actions represented "precisely the type of viewpoint censorship which the Constitution seeks to prevent," wrote Appellate Judge Dorothy W. Nelson, whose opinion was joined by Judges Charles Wiggins and Edward Leavy.

Their ruling overturned decisions by federal trial judges in Los Angeles dismissing Gerritsen's suit and will result in a new hearing to determine to what extent Gerritsen was damaged.

Gerritsen, who acted as his own lawyer, testified in earlier hearings that he had been harassed, verbally intimidated and arrested by park security guards, Mexican Consulate security officers and Los Angeles police officers. The city claimed that all the altercations were provoked by Gerritsen, who was described as an uncontrollable protester.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Carol Sobel hailed the decision: "This reaffirms what Justice (William J.) Brennan said 30 years ago, which is that 'handbilling' is the classic means of expression of political views in this country from Thomas Paine to the present."

Gerritsen, 57, said in an interview that he was happy to have won the handbilling case. But he said he was disappointed that he had lost a separate challenge seeking permission to hang banners bearing political messages across city streets and an attempt to overturn his 1989 conviction for disturbing the peace during a Cinco de Mayo celebration in Lincoln Park.

The former currency exchange dealer said he has been detained by the police an average of eight or nine times a year for the past decade and convicted several times on a variety of what he called "trumped-up charges." Just a few weeks ago, Gerritsen said, a municipal judge sentenced him to 240 days in County Jail for incidents stemming from a protest he lodged against the Bell Gardens Police Department. He has not started serving the term.

The litigious Gerritsen said he began distributing handbills outside the Mexican Consulate more than a decade ago after he was detained and mistreated for three days at the same Rosarito Beach jail where a Los Angeles man recently was killed. In that early instance, Gerritsen said he had been incarcerated because local authorities objected to leaflets he was distributing. The leaflets predicted -- accurately -- the devaluation of the Mexican peso.

At the time Gerritsen became a self-styled activist, the Mexican Consulate was in El Pueblo de Los Angeles Park, which surrounds the Olvera Street shopping area.

Gerritsen estimated that he has distributed more than 50,000 handbills there, many of them attacking the Mexican government as a human rights violator. Others have said "Mexico -- World Class Drug Pusher."

In August, 1983, the city's Board of Recreation and Parks enacted new restrictions on distributing handbills, which local officials acknowledged were aimed at Gerritsen. The ordinance prohibited distribution of literature within a certain area marked by blue lines in the park and said permits would be required to distribute handbills in other parts of the park.

City officials allege that they stopped enforcing the law after only a few months, based on advice from the city attorney's office. But the regulations were never repealed, the appeals court noted.

Gerritsen filed suit, claiming that the regulations violated his 1st Amendment free speech rights. A federal trial judge dismissed the suit, agreeing with the city that the regulations were not being enforced.

But on Friday, Judge Nelson ruled that the lower court ruling was clearly erroneous. "Gerritsen testified that park officials and security guards' enforcement of the policy toward him had a chilling effect on his protest activity," the judge wrote.

The blue-line areas constitute a "public forum" and as such they must be open to anyone to express his or her beliefs, Nelson wrote.

Los Angeles officials asserted that the city had a need to keep the area around the consulate safe, to preserve the historic quality of the Olvera Street area and to avoid congestion.

"We concede that these interests are substantial, but we question the city's manner of achieving them," Nelson wrote. "While the ban is narrow in its reach, in that it affects only these specific areas, courts rarely have upheld complete bans on a category of 1st Amendment expression."

Deputy City Atty. Janet G. Bogigian maintained Friday that the city policies were never enforced. She said she was pleased that the city's policy on banners was upheld.

That policy restricts banners hung on city streets to those "announcing events in the civic or public interest." Judge Nelson said that since all of Gerritsen's banner applications expressed political beliefs or greetings, the city was entitled to reject them.

That is a controversial interpretation of the law. USC constitutional law professor Erwin Chemerinsky said that by permitting banners to be hung, the city had created another type of public forum.

"The Supreme Court has repeatedly said that once a limited public forum is created, government officials can't regulate based on subject matter," Chemerinsky said.



15 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 1992 The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times

 All Rights Reserved  
Los Angeles Times

March 9, 1992, Monday, Home Edition

SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 4; Column 5; Letters Desk

LENGTH: 62 words

HEADLINE: JAILHOUSE INFORMANTS

BODY:

The perverted nature of our justice system is revealed by jailhouse informants like Leslie Vernon White, who repeatedly get time off from sentences by reporting false confessions of murderers, and then when they finally report the truth they are punished by being indicted for perjury (March 4). The lie should be punished and the truth rewarded.

JACK GERRITSEN, Bell



16 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 1988 The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times

 All Rights Reserved  
Los Angeles Times

July 23, 1988, Saturday, Home Edition

SECTION: Metro; Part 2; Page 2; Column 5; Metro Desk

LENGTH: 177 words

HEADLINE: METRO DIGEST:  LOCAL NEWS IN BRIEF;
CONSULATE HARASSER GUILTY

BODY:

A man was convicted of filing a false police report accusing a Mexican consular official of carrying a concealed pistol outside the consulate in downtown Los Angeles, prosecutors said Friday.

Jack Gerritsen, 52, of Monterey Park, faces up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine or both when sentenced July 28 by Van Nuys Municipal Judge Robert Swasey.

Gerritsen was convicted by a jury of filing false reports April 1 to police and to a 911 emergency dispatcher, both misdemeanors, the city attorney's office said.

He is due to begin serving a six-month jail sentence July 29 for an earlier conviction for twice falsely claiming that he had planted a bomb at the consulate and making two annoying telephone calls to consular officials, prosecutors said.

Gerritsen, a former owner of a currency-exchange business, for six years has carried on an almost daily routine of picketing outside the consulate in the Olvera Street Plaza downtown. His protest stems from the nationalization of Mexican banks during devaluation of the peso, prosecutors said.



17 of 17 DOCUMENTS

Copyright 1987 The New York Law Publishing Company  
The National Law Journal

 

August 3, 1987

SECTION: CIVIL RICO; Pg. 28

LENGTH: 78 words

HEADLINE: Trial Court Has Jurisdiction Over Mexican Representatives

BODY:

THE DISTRICT Court had subject-matter jurisdiction over a torts and civil rights suit filed against Mexican officials over the treatment of a U.S. citizen who was handing out literature in front of the defendants' consulate in Los Angeles, the 9th Circuit held June 18.

In Gerritsen v. Hurtado, 86-5726, Jack Gerritsen filed a pro se suit claiming he had been beaten, kidnapped and interrogated by the defendants. The District Court dismissed the suit.

Copyright 1985 Associated Press

All Rights Reserved

 

The Associated Press

 

December 27, 1985, Friday, AM cycle

 

Consular Employee Charged

 

LOS ANGELES

 

A Mexican consular employee was charged Friday with swinging a metal post and chain at a man distributing leaflets in front of the consulate.

Salvador Ricardo Uribe, 26, will be arraigned Jan. 2 on misdemeanor charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery, said Deputy City Attorney Elizabeth Gertz. Uribe, an administrative aide at the consulate, was freed on $2,000 bond.

Uribe was accused of attacking Jack Gerritson, 49, who has been distributing the leaflets for several years, Ms. Gertz said. Gerritson was cut on the face, she said.

Consul Eduardo Ibarrola said the leaflets were critical of the Mexican government.

If convicted, Uribe faces up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine on the assault charge and six months in jail and a $2,000 fine for the battery charge, Ms. Gertz said.

 

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