Police Crackdown at Pizza Party

During the Mister and Misses Tribute to Ugliness set at Che Café's "Ultimate Pizza Party," a Che staffer hurried onstage to tell any bands who had parked their vans in the "unofficial" loading area next to the building that a UCSD police officer was writing tickets. Tribute drummer Grm Graham had to move his van, which caused a delay in the middle of their set.

Rose For Bohdan's Brian Miller, from Los Angeles, was outside. He got into a verbal confrontation with the police officer because the officer had initially told Miller his van was okay where it was...then the officer began writing him a ticket.

"I reminded him that he had just instructed me to put my car there, and he took it as back-talk," Miller wrote in a recent e-mail conversation. "So I opened my van up and started taking out the equipment and said, 'Okay, we're unloading.' He was upset by this and said he was still going to write me a ticket. I started yelling for someone to get a video camera on us, so I would have proof that he was writing a ticket despite my unloading. There was some type of continued arguing; [he was] more concerned with me speaking to him in a personal manner, rather than with the respect of him being my 'authority figure.' I told him that it was he who was disrespecting everyone involved with the event."

Somewhat surprisingly, the conflict did not escalate. (At this year's L.A. Weekly Music Awards, Miller dumped his drink on an L.A. Weekly staffer during an altercation.)

"The officer just asked me why I considered his actions disrespectful," Miller said. "I told him that this was a very large and logistically complicated event, and that he really should be flexible about the parking situation and not to force everything to a halt and bum everyone out with the threat of tickets. I think he really did want to be serving and not punishing because he kinda mumbled about 'responsibility' to his sergeant at that point and then left."

Jessalyn Aaland, one of the Che's volunteers, said the parking situation is a continuing problem, but that all the tickets were voided. She's not sure whether there will be another "Ultimate Pizza Party" but said the Che is interested in making it an annual event.

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