SOME DAMAGE TO VEHICLES; NO INJURIES; NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN CASE

by Sharon Rondeau

(Feb. 15, 2018) — On October 11, 2017, The Post & Email learned that the father of a then-34-month-old child who was the subject of a fierce custody battle on the part of mother Michelle Robinson* was reported to the Hawthorne, CA Police Department as having purposely hit her vehicle while they were both traveling west on 120th Street and then northbound on South Crenshaw Blvd. on Sunday, October 8, 2017.

On Monday, October 9, Robinson reported the occurrence to the Hawthorne Police, stating that the father of her child, Eric Crutchfield, intentionally “rammed” her car after she turned onto Crenshaw.

Both Robinson and Crutchfield had active restraining orders against the other.  Crutchfield was awarded permanent custody of their daughter last April as a result of a physical altercation between the parents on December 20, 2015, after which LAPD Detective Sean Horton alleged that Robinson was the “aggressor” based on a video not produced at any of the custody hearings.

Although Robinson sustained a human bite from the altercation and filed a complaint against Crutchfield with the LAPD in the early hours of December 21, 2015, she was prosecuted for “battery” and “spousal abuse” by the city attorney’s office, while Crutchfield was not prosecuted at all.

Robinson’s trial, held this past July, concluded with an acquittal on the charge of spousal abuse but a conviction on the “battery” charge.  She was sentenced to community service and a fine.

Robinson has characterized Crutchfield as a drug user who abused her physically over a number of months in 2015, prompting her to seek a restraining order against him which was granted.  She has provided photographs of injuries to her person and damage to her home which prompted her to seek a temporary, and later permanent, restraining order against him in March 2015.

In October of that year, Robinson was granted “full and legal custody” of their child as a result of her restraining order against Crutchfield.

In April of this year, Crutchfield requested and obtained a restraining order against Robinson as their daughter’s custody was being decided at the Edelman Children’s Court, alleging that she had improperly contacted his employer.

Robinson has expressed to The Post & Email that she believes Crutchfield’s granting of full custody over their daughter was a foregone conclusion on the part of a corrupt child-protective system, the Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS), influenced by false statements and testimony from Horton.

In July 2016, Crutchfield was arrested by the California Highway Patrol and spent a day in jail for having violated Robinson’s restraining order.  Robinson has no knowledge of the arrangements made for the care of their daughter during his time in custody and continues to be gravely concerned for her well-being.

Robinson has learned that their daughter has been diagnosed with developmental delay, but she has been shut out of all educational and medical decisions and has not seen her in over a year. The child turned three years old on December 20.

At 8:23 p.m. on Monday, October 9, The Post & Email received the following email from Robinson:

I am at the Hawthorne Police station insisting that they take my report but am getting much push back.

Yesterday Eric was clearly following me before I noticed his car approach mine at a major intersection in Hawthorne.

When I noticed him I panicked and tried to abruptly change the direction I was intending to travel. As I attempted to do that he hit my car and then fled the scene.

I called 911. There was a witness that didn’t wait around for the police to respond nor gave his contact info.

When the police arrived I gave them a copy of my restraining order and specifically requested that a report be taken.

I assumed a report would be taken and documented. I found out today it was merely labeled as an incident report.

I am here now because I am flabbergasted. I don’t know what else can go wrong.

The Watch Commander Romero says that the report was first and Eric’s more recent order issued by Edelman has precedence. And since I don’t have a copy of the RO against me, he doesn’t want to take my report.

I am currently waiting to make a report.

At 11:36 p.m. EDT, we received a follow-up email:

cc: (Redacted)

      Editor, Post & Email

Re: Abuser Eric Lamont Crutchfield

Dear City of Hawthorne:

Ms. Tomita, per your request, please find information regarding my call this evening.

On Sunday, October 8, 2017, I was a victim of the following crimes perpetrated by Eric Lamont Crutchfiled (DOB 11/14/1972) in the City of Hawthorne:

  1. Stalking – Penal Code 646.9(b) PC 
  2. Violation of a Restraining Order – Penal Code 273.6 PC 
  3. Assault with a Deadly Weapon (vehicle) – PCPenal Code 245(a)(1)
  4. Hit & Run – CA Vehicle Code 20002 (a)

After Hawthorne Police Department responded following my 911 call, I stated to female officer Fasullo #385 that I wanted to “file a report” against my ex-boyfriend Eric Lamont Crutchfield at the location of the incident immediately following the crimes above. I was under the impression that DR#410 was a report number to obtain a copy of a formal complaint against Eric Crutchfield.

I provided full copy of the Restraining Order issued against Eric Cruthchfield to both Officers Fasullo #385 and Ceniceros #382 on site at 120th Crenshaw at the time of their response. The female officer took a photo of page one of the restraining order issued by Torrrance Court on 12/10/2015. I also gave a statement of the events that transpired and also made both officers aware of prior and previous violence perpetrated against me by Eric Cruthfield. The female officer appeared to demonstrate empathy and gave advice that made me feel supported in the moment despite the fact that when I insisted that Crutchfield be arrested the male officer stated that, “if he was here we would arrest him.” I was visibly emotionally upset and shaken. However, I was told that since Crutchfield had fled and left the scene of the crime and had called into the Hawthorne police department from Carson (according to the female officer) they would file the report and make an arrest determination at a later date. The female officer stated that since I was issued a restraining order against Crutchfield before he was given a mutual restraining order against me that is under appeal, my restraining order would “trump” his.

I called into Hawthorne Police Department today to inquire into obtaining a copy of the report file and information for the assigned detective and was told that a report was not taken, only an incident report.

After much insistence, I spoke with Watch Commander Romero who initially gave me the impression that he would not allow me to make a formal police report against my abuser, Eric Crutchfield. He stated that he would need a copy of my restraining order. I immediately went to my car to obtain a copy and returned to the interview room. Romero subsequently stated that he needed a copy of any restraining order against me. He further stated that the more recent restraining order would supersede any order I had obtained first. I verbally pushed back and told him that was untrue. He went on to imply that he knew the law and that my position as a victim was weak in this incident.

Finally, I was permitted to make a report with S. Yoshida #387. A sight for sore eyes. Yoshida had previously been the officer that had to make Crutchfield comply with the Court’s custody order giving me full legal and physical custody of my baby in October of 2015. Officer Yoshida listened and sought to understand the details of my reporting. Yoshida had allowed me to review the “incident” report taken at the scene that incorrectly characterized the assault with a deadly weapon as an unintentional or accidental car collision. Crutchfield was lying in wait, stalked and followed me, and then maliciously assaulted me with his vehicle and fled the scene because he was guilty.

Crutchfield was previously arrested by CHP on 7/26/2016 for stalking and violation of a restraining order. CHP recommended that Crutchfield be prosecuted. Due to Crutchfield’s unspecified relationship with a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles, he has been successful at avoiding prosecution.

I request that Eric Lamont Crutchfield be arrested for at least the crimes enumerated above. I request that the City of Hawthorne not endorse the continuous and unrelenting victimization of a domestic violence victim [myself] and my children. Please send a message to abuse perpetrators that the City of Hawthorne is not a haven for violence.

Respectfully,

 

The nine-page police report shows that the officer to whom the incident was reported is Shelly Yoshida, Badge #50387, that it was reported at 15:33 hours on October 9, 2017; and that the report, #17-12490, was printed at 9:41 p.m. on October 10, 2017.

Both vehicles sustained damages; Yoshida described Robinson’s as “minor” and Crutchfield’s as “moderate.”

Page 4 of the report indicates that Yoshida contacted Crutchfield by phone and that he faulted Robinson for allegedly “intentionally causing him to collide into her vehicle.”

In response, Robinson told The Post & Email:

He also claims (according to the incident report) that I attempted to block him from getting on the freeway. But, that isn’t at all what happened. I didn’t notice him until his car was next to mine. I was in the turning lane to enter the freeway (the lane closest to entrance). I panicked and decided to change my route so he wouldn’t know where I was headed and forced myself forward and to avoid the on ramp to go northbound instead of eastbound. He was attempting to control my movement and then hit my car. I was nervous and shaking. I got out of my car to attempt to take a picture of him so I would have proof. I called 911 and thought I was making a formal report. I was crying, visibly shaken, and insisted that the officers arrest him, but was not successful. The male officer said he would have arrested Crutchfield, but he couldn’t because he [was] not present. I became more distraught. I hope they had body cameras.

He was clearly following me and I am not sure for how long. If he wasn’t guilty he should not have left the area.

According to the report, each wants the other prosecuted.

On October 26, 2017, Robinson was notified that the Los Angeles District Attorney declined to prosecute Crutchfield.

This past Friday, Robinson said she saw Crutchfield “stalking” her as she was returning to her car after work.  Although the high-traffic commuter area is normally patrolled by a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department car, Robinson said that no such presence was there that day.

In an interview on Sunday, Robinson told The Post & Email:

He had seen me come down the stairs, but I wasn’t paying attention, because I didn’t expect him to be there. As I came down the stairs, I said to myself, “That’s Eric,” and then I said, “No, it’s not.”  You know how when a group of people walks past you, you turn to look?  He never turned to look.  I said to myself, “That’s him.”  So I looked at the back of his head, his body, I looked at his shoes; and then I passed him and became terrified.

A million things were going through my mind at that time.  I knew I couldn’t say anything because it would backfire on me.  When I got to about 50 feet away from him, I grabbed my cell phone.  I couldn’t take a picture because I was too nervous and somebody could say that I stalked him.  So I called my girlfriend who I knew would be home at that time and said, “He’s here.”  She said, “Who?” and I said, “Eric; he’s here at the parking lot.” And she said, “No, he can’t be.” And I said, “Yes, he is.”  And she said, “What is he doing there?” and I said, “He’s following me.  He’s stalking me.”

I got in my car; I drove where I could see him.  He was still standing there; when I had come down the stairs to the street level, he had his back to me as if he was buying a transit ticket.  When I got to my car, I drove back around where I could still see him and sat there for about five minutes, he was still standing there as if he was buying a transit ticket.

It doesn’t take that long to get a ticket. He used to ride the transit; he knows the process, and it shouldn’t have taken longer than a minute if he really was buying a ticket.

Robinson went to the Hawthorne Police Department to report the incident, although when she arrived, she was told to report it to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.  “No, I’m not going to go there because they’re going to tell me to report it where the crime occurred,” Robinson said she told the HPD officer.  “Are you sure, before I go all the way there and they send me back here?” ‘Yeah, you need to go there,’ he told me.  I said, ‘But I want to report it here because this is the same intersection where he hit my car.  There was a detective here who was working on the case.’ And he asked me, ‘Did she take it to the DA for prosecution?’ and I said, ‘No, she didn’t,’ and he probably thought, ‘Well, there wasn’t anything there.’

“So I stood to the side and called the Sheriff’s Department, and I told them what happened and where I was.  The deputy said, ‘You need to contact Hawthorne.  Are you there now?’ and I said, ‘I’m in the lobby right now.’ So now the officer at Hawthorne signaled that he will take my report. Then the deputy said, ‘If he doesn’t take your report, I will send someone there to take it or send someone to your house to take your report.’

Then the Hawthorne officer said, ‘I’ll take your report; I’ll make it an incident report.’

“So I thought, ‘OK, I’ll take that for now.'”


*Not her real name

[Editor’s Note:  Please look for a continuation to this story in the near future.]

 

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