ABC | With Extreme Prejudice: How ABC News “investigates” a horrific crime

Written on:July 26, 2012
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ABC | With Extreme Prejudice: How ABC News “investigates” a horrific crime

“An off-duty Los Angeles police officer and three bodybuilder friends have been arrested for allegedly punching and kicking a New York man in an alley near a cafe on West Hollywood’s Restaurant Row,” the Los Angeles Timesreported July 30, 1991.

The foursome, including 25-year-old Officer Scott Defoe, “were leaving Pennyfeathers Cafe on La Cienega Boulevard at 3 a.m. Sunday when one of the four kicked a chair occupied by 33-year-old Jianvy Morales, a visitor from the Bronx.” An exchange of “angry words” ensued, whereupon the suspects allegedly chased Morales out of the restaurant.

“When they caught up with him, they ripped off his leather coat, knocked him down and began hitting and kicking him while he was on the ground,” a sheriff’s spokesman told the Times. By the time deputies arrived, the suspects had fled the scene, “skipping out on a $50 tab,” according to the restaurant’s owner.

We’re glad this was only a local story. Had it been a national one, investigative reporter Brian Ross might have blamed us on national television.

“Those arrested along with Defoe were Edward Spencer, 29, Ken Spencer, 27, and James Taranto, 27, all of Staten Island, N.Y.,” the Times report added.

That James Taranto, you will be relieved to learn, was not the one who became your humble columnist. We were, however, also in our mid-20s; we lived not far from Staten Island, in New Jersey; and it would not have been unusual for us to visit the Los Angeles area, where our parents lived. On the other hand, we were not a bodybuilder; it would be many years before we set foot in a gym.



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