April 15, 19945
by Ski Ingram
I was working as a Vice team leader with the Long Beach City Police Department. A few days before April 15th, our Lieutenant told me that there was trouble with overcrowding in the bars in the shore area. The shore is packed with students from California State University at Long Beach. He ordered us to inspect the bars on Saturday the 15th. It was fine with everyone on the team. Since our normal work week was Monday through Friday, this would be at least six hours of overtime, if not more.
My team consisted of me, Warren Harris, and Ken Turner. Warren Harris and I had graduated from the same academy class in September 1982. We arrived in the area of the “shore” around 7:00 pm. We were headed to Murphy’s Bar, one of the most popular bars on 2nd Street. As we passed by the Acapulco Inn, Warren contacted the door man and asked how many people were inside. The doorman, John Foster, asked Warren who he was. Warren said, “I’m Warren, what’s your name.” I held out my hand and said, “I’m Detective Ingram” and we shook hands. I explained why we were there and then we continued to Murphy’s bar.
Once inside we could see that it appeared to be overcrowded. The doorman had no way to keep track of how many people were in the bar and we could find no sign indicating what the max occupancy was allowed by law. I contacted the bar owner, Kara, and advised her of the violations. I also told her that we had no plans to cite her, but we would be back next week to ensure that the violations had been corrected.
After leaving Murphy’s bar we met up with Fire Inspector David Kean and Long Beach Police Officer Gary Dephillippo. They were also inspecting bars on the shore. Kean was concerned with bar overcrowding as it is a Fire Department violation. We decided to team up and inspect the bars together. I also hoped to take advantage of Firemen Kean’s knowledge of the fire regulations.
We next went into the Belmont Station. We saw that there was a large crowd in front of the door. We advised the doorman to keep people out of the doorway as it was the only violation we saw.
We then went into Panama Joe’s. We only saw one violation; their business licenses were not posted in a conspicuous place. I talked to the bar manager who told me the violation would be corrected before our next inspection.
We then walked into the Bayshore Saloon. We could see that it was very crowded. Warren asked the doorman how many people were in the bar. He told Warren, 89. I asked Warren and Fireman Kean to count the people in the bar.
I began checking the bar’s business licenses. I was behind the bar dressed in civilian clothes with my police badge hanging from a chain from around my neck. I admit that I didn’t look like your typical police officer, but my badge was in plain sight.
While I was behind the bar a male, who was obliviously intoxicated, was continually asking me for a beer as if I were the bartender. After a while the bartender, James Glascott, in a very angry voice, told the person “leave him alone, he’s a cop.”
Kean and Turner contacted me to tell me that they had finished the count of the patrons. As it was hard to make an accurate count in such a crowded bar, their best guess was 108 persons. Fireman Kean believed that the max occupancy should be 75 persons. He later found a hand printed sign on a wall that said the max occupancy was 76 persons. Detective Turner told me that many of the patrons appeared to be very drunk.
I observed a male subject enter the bar through a large open window next to the front door. The bar was so crowded that it was almost impossible to enter through the door. By entering the bar through the window this person was next to me behind the bar. He identified himself as the bar manager, Edward Lippert. I told Lippert who I was and why we were in the bar. I also told him that my officers had counted 108 persons in the bar. He refused to believe it and left to take a count of his own.
Lippert returned and told me that he had only counted 89 people in the bar. I noted that this was the same number that the doorman told officers when we first arrived at the bar. I told Lippert that the bar was still overcrowded and the only way to know for sure how many people were in the bar was for everyone to be counted as they left the bar one by one.
Detective Turner then came behind the bar and began checking liquor bottles to ensure they were not contaminated or putrid. After checking seven bottles Turner found four of them to be contaminated. When I told Lippert about the contaminated bottles, he accused us of harassing him and singling him out for no reason. Lippert was being very loud and animated. This caused many of the bar patrons to take more notice of the officers and what they were doing. I asked Lippert to step outside so we could talk about where it was quieter and out of the notice of the bar patrons. I started walking toward the door when Lippert stopped me and yelled in a very loud voice that I was harassing him for no reason.
It was later found that the space between the bar and the west wall was only five feet. This space was very crowded with people trying to order drinks from the bar. I tried to explain to Lippert that we needed to get outside and away from the crowd so that we could talk using our normal voices instead of trying to scream above the din of the crowd. Lippert yelled in a very loud voice “what do you want me to do?” I asked him for some identification as up to this point, I had not seen his ID. Fireman Kean then handed me Lippert’s temporary driver’s license. I put it in my pocket without looking at it and again began moving toward the door with Lippert in front of me.
I moved into the throng of mostly drunk people trying to get to the door and out of the bar. As I tried to move in that very narrow space toward the door, I found my path blocked by a very large male. I said, “excuse me” and tried to pass by him. He did not move. My badge was still in plain view on the chain around my neck. Again, I said, “excuse me.” This subject was approximately 22 years old, 6’1” with dark hair and blue eyes. He said something that I did not understand and moved closer to me pushing me backwards into the crowd. I informed the guy that I was a police officer and told him to step outside. He responded with “F*** you, I’m not going anywhere.”
I took hold of the guy’s elbow and began to guide him towards the door. He suddenly turned and struck me in the chest with his right forearm. I attempted to control him by placing him in a carotid hold. As I put my right arm around his neck my arm was grabbed by a very large white male approximately 6’ 8” tall. He jerked my arm violently causing me to lose my grip from around the other subject’s neck and causing me to lose control of him. At the same time, he grabbed me from behind and pulled me deeper into the crowd. I was then surrounded by young intoxicated male adults. They began to hit me very violently with their fists. I was being hit on my head and my body. My arms were being held by at least one person which prevented me from blocking their blows or striking back at them. After a short time, I was able to break free from his grasp, however I was still being hit by the fists of at least 10 or more persons.
I later was informed that Warren Harris ran into the bar and when he saw what was happening to me, he began to hit the subjects with his fist. He also prevented me from being hit with bar stools and beer bottles by knocking them out of the hands of people who were trying to hit me with them.
Kenny Turner jumped over the bar and began to pull the crowd away from me to save me from their violent attack. I heard Lippert yell “call the police, call the police.” I yelled back “I am the police.” This seemed to just inflame the crowd who began to attack me more violently. I was able to break free from the crowd’s grasp, however I was still being hit by members of the crowd. I then heard the bartender yelling “get the police, get the police,” to which I was yelling, “I am the police.” Again, this seemed to incite the crowd even more.
At this point I was beginning to grow very tired and feared that I may lose this fight and become seriously hurt in this melee. I saw Lippert on the outside of the crowd reaching in and hitting me in the head and face with his fists. Ignoring the other members in the crowd, I grabbed Lippert by his shirt and dragged him into the crowd with me. I then began to strike him on the head and face with my fist as hard as I was able in the small confines, we were in. After being hit three or four times, Lippert was able to break free from my grasp and run out of my sight. Detective Turner was able to grab Lippert and place him under arrest before he was able to get out.
I was still being hit by the members of the crowd. I then was grabbed from behind by a male subject who was later identified as Lawrence Hagadorn. Hagadorn had grabbed me from behind around my neck with his left arm and hit me in the head and face with his right fist. Fireman Kean grabbed Hagadorn by the neck and hair forcing him to let go of me. Kean dragged Hagadorn outside where he was arrested by assisting officers.
I was still being hit by the bar patrons when someone yelled “he’s got a gun.” I heard the word “gun” and became even more fearful for my safety thinking that one of the bar patrons had a gun. I then saw Detective Harris with his gun in one hand as he was knocking bottles and bar stools out of the hands of the people who were fighting with, (me).
I was also being hit by the male I had made earlier contact with at the Acapulco Inn named John Foster. Foster had grabbed me around the waist and began pushing me with his shoulder as if he was trying to tackle me. He pushed me up against the bar and then began hitting me with his fists. I began to hit him with my fists to break free from his grasp. I hit him as hard as I could until he let me go.
Backup officers were arriving and coming into the bar as the patrons were trying to get out the back door and away from the police officers coming in the front door. Foster let go of me and tried to follow the crowd as they rushed out the back door. I caught him next to the pool table as he was removing his tie and tossing it to the ground in an attempt to hide his identity. I grabbed Foster by the right arm and placed him in a rear wrist lock as I told him he was under arrest. He began to struggle which made it hard for me to handcuff him. Detective Harris came to my assistance. I then led him out of the bar and put him in the back of one of the police cars. He was taken to the police station and booked for battery on a police officer, me.
I began to look through the crowd for other subjects who had battered me. I found two very drunk guys who were identified as Robert Allsop and Christopher Hannawalt. Both guys were yelling at me and causing a crowd to form which also began to yell at me. They were placed under arrest after they refused to leave the area. Allsop later told me that it was his opinion that I was the one who started the fight and if I would have just stopped fighting, the others would have stopped hitting me.
I later talked to two brothers, Steven and Scott Eberlien. They told me that they had seen the fight break out. I asked Detective Turner to interview them. They told Turner that they could see that I was just doing my job when I was attacked by a big guy and right afterward the rest of the crowd began to hit me.
During the fight I suffered injuries to my head, jaw, right ear and ribs. Both fists were also sore from hitting those who were attacking me. I also suffered from a groin pull to my right leg, a sore neck, back and shoulders. I went to the hospital and was treated with ice packs, Naprosyn and Lortab.
Later that year there was a trial for Lippert, Hagadorn and Foster. They were all let go by the judge stating that they were all intoxicated and not responsible for their actions. Needless to say, I wasn’t very happy, but not surprised.
As remembered by Ski Ingram November 24, 2018