Los Angeles: Los Angeles Police Department 77th Gang Enforcement Detail (GED) Officers showed professionalism, patience and restraint during a six-hour pursuit through the streets of Los Angeles, involving a 35- year-old suspect suffering from a mental illness.
On February 2, 2021, around 6:50 p.m., 77th Gang Enforcement Detail uniformed officers conducted a traffic stop in the area of Vermont Avenue and 65th Street. Officers stopped the suspect’s vehicle and began to approach on foot. Officers observed the suspect reaching under the seat and believed the suspect possibly was reaching for a weapon. Immediately, the officers stopped their approach and the suspect accelerated away in his sedan.
Officers went in pursuit of the suspect fearing he was a danger to the community. During this lengthy pursuit, the suspect’s family called Communications Division and provided the officers with the suspect’s identification. The suspect was identified as 35-year-old Michael Zinkiewitz, a resident of San Pedro. In addition, they advised the suspect suffers from mental illness.
The incident commander coordinated a plan to offer help, techniques to deescalate the situation, and a plea to the family so that the incident could come to an end safely for the suspect and community.
The officers deployed the spike strip, which disabled the vehicle resulting in the vehicle coming to a stop on the 10 Freeway near the Vineyard exit in the city of Ontario. As the suspect exited his car, he refused to comply with the officers’ commands. The Crisis Negotiation Team allowed the suspect’s brother to speak with him, which resulted in the suspect to moving closer to the officers. Officers formed a tactical plan and took the suspect into custody from the standing position without using force.
During a time of crisis, the suspect’s family and the officers had great communication to accommodate the suspect’s needs. Effective communication was just one tool that assisted in de-escalating this potentially violent encounter and the officers demonstrated a true reverence for human life.
The suspect was taken into custody without incident. There was no weapon recovered. The suspect was booked for two Burglary warrants and Felony Evading 2800.2 (a)VC.