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South Bay Digest

Local News in Brief : Police Officer 'Counseled'

February 05, 1989

A Hawthorne police officer has been given "corrective counseling" by department superiors after he wrongly accused a man with a speech impediment of being intoxicated and refused to take a burglary report from him.

Philip Page, 46, has cerebral palsy that affects his speech. He said he called police when his apartment was burglarized Jan. 27. An officer arrived, Page said, but "he wouldn't take the report and said I was drunk." Page said he does not drink and was not intoxicated. The Inglewood Post Office custodian has been a postal employee for 18 years.

Paul Bruce, resident manager at Parkview Manor Apartments, said he tried to tell the officer that Page is not a drinker but that the officer refused to listen. "The officer told him to sober up and call them back later," Bruce said.

Police Capt. Stephen Port said department officials will send Page a letter of apology. Now that the department knows Page has a handicap and was not intoxicated, "we admit the officer should have taken a report out there," he said. Port said the Hawthorne Police Department will not release the name of the officer involved in the incident.

Page said that the incident is an example of "discrimination against the handicapped" and that he is starting a self-help group for disabled people. He may be contacted at P.O. Box 337, Lawndale, Calif., 90260.

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