John Flores IV says he’s scared.
And what scares him is his alleged recent encounter with a Los Angeles School Police (LASPD) officer he claims has harassed him ever since he was in high school. Flores, now 22, says that harassment became a more direct and worrisome incident.
Flores said that on Tuesday Jan. 20, between 7:30 and 8 a.m., he was driving to work along Laurel Canyon Boulevard, just before it intersects Hubbard Street. It was there, Flores said, he was pulled over by a LAPD car.
“I saw the sirens on and I stopped,” he recalled.
To his surprise, Flores said, the officer who approached him was LASPD officer Amirfar Zariett, whom Flores had filed a civil suit against eight years ago after accusing the officer of beating Flores’ head against the wall inside a Sylmar High School bathroom.
“I saw that it was the officer that I had a past with,” Flores said. “I got scared.”
He said Zariett told him to get out of his car and lay down on the hood of his vehicle. Zariett then put handcuffs on him without any explanation, Flores said
“He didn’t tell me I was under arrest,” Flores claims. Zariett allegedly didn’t ask for Flores’ driver's license or registration.
Flores said Zariett was driving along with another officer, but says he never saw that officer’s face.
Zariett then put him in the back of the patrol car, Flores alleged. “He throws me in there and told me ‘we’re going to go for a ride,’” he recounted.
He said he was driven a short distance away, then was pulled out of the patrol car on Pearwood Street where Flores claims Zariett thrust his baton into his stomach, “knocking the wind out of me.”
The officer, laughing, also told him that he “knows my dad takes my mom to work at 5 a.m.,” Flores said.
Flores said he was driven back to his car and left there, in shock and in pain.
No Help From Police
Flores called his father, John Flores III, after the alleged incident and he showed up right way at Laurel Canyon Boulevard, where Flores’ car was parked.
Flores III said he called 9-1-1 and the LAPD Mission Station to report the incident. He was transferred to the LASPD dispatcher who told them they would send an officer to the location.
“Nobody ever came,” Flores III said. After a half hour, the father said a supervisor called back to say no one was going to show up for fear of an ambush.
Flores III said they agreed to meet at the Mission Station where they hoped to file a police report, but said officers there would not let them file one. Instead, Flores III said, an officer at the front desk simply wrote an account of what happened on a piece of paper that he made the father sign. But there’s no report number or anything official on it, Flores III said.
The family claims it has not received a return call from the LASPD as to whether it is investigating the incident, or if a report was filed.
At press time, the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol newspaper had not received an answer to emails and phone calls asking for comment on the matter.
Flores was taken to a hospital, where doctors found contusions on his stomach and a bruise on his liver.
Harassment Through The Years
The alleged problems between John Flores IV and Amirfar Zariett began shortly after Flores entered Sylmar High School, in 2007. A few weeks into his freshman year there, Flores claimed he was taken into an unused girl’s bathroom by the fields, where Zariett allegedly pushed his head against a wall.
John Flores III said he had confronted the same officer three weeks before when, for allegedly no reason, he threw his son against the fence after he dropped him off at the school.
“From there it started and Amir would pick on him,” the father said.
The Los Angeles Unified School District conducted an investigation and cleared Zariett of any wrongdoing.
Flores transferred to Reseda High School but even there, he said, “Amir seemed to find him” and would show up at the school to harass him. Later on, he attended the North Valley Occupational Center, and claims Zariett would also show up there as well.
“Amir just won’t stop,” the father said.
The family filed an 11-count civil lawsuit against the officer, the district and the LASPD seeking damages. They lost the case, however.
“They paraded a lot of people we didn’t know,” John Flores III said, adding many of those witnesses “made allegations that were not true.”
The family is fearful that the pattern of harassment will continue, and even escalate. And they say no one seems to believe them nor will help them.
“I’m being oppressed by the oppressor,” Flores said.
“My wife is being followed. I see cop cars by the house all the time. It sounds outrageous, but that’s what’s happening," added John Flores III.
Flores is also worried that the school police officer might attempt to do something to his family in retaliation for speaking out.
“If he does this to me, what is he going to do to my daughter? I’m just scared. My wife drives the same car. What if she’s driving and this happens again?” Flores questioned.
“He (Zariett) is crazy in the head and he won’t stop until I’m dead,” Flores added.
With no other recourse or help from the authorities, the family decided to speak out and also plead with anybody who might have seen or witnessed the incident to come forward and corroborate their story. Maybe then they can have an investigation done, a police report filed.
"If somebody saw John pulled over on Jan. 20, if they saw him get out of the car, if they saw the police car there, anything, that would help us,” Flores III said.
Flores drives a 2007 gray Nissan Altima car.
"Think if this was one of your family members,” Flores III said. “We need to put a stop to this.”
If you know anything about this incident, you can call the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol at (818) 365-3111, Ext. 150, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.