At 3:40 Sunday, May 2, the following could be heard echoing through the second floor of the La Jolla Library: “I may be a nigger, but you’re a nothing…less than a nothing. Sir, sir, have a nice day.”
Moments later two SDPD officers walked upstairs behind an elderly man wearing a brimmed blue jean hat, jean shorts, camouflage jacket, and white elastic, knee-high stockings.
I asked the library attendant if she could fill me in on what had happened, and why the police were inside the library. “A patron has a problem with someone. He wanted a citizen’s arrest but we had to call the police,” said the attendant.
I asked if the incident had anything to do with the racial slur I’d overheard earlier.
“Ironically, no, it has nothing to do with that. That was a completely different incident,” said the attendant.
I spoke with one of the police officers and asked if he could share any information with me. The officer said, “It’s something that happened last week…they [two elderly, male, library patrons] had a disagreement about a newspaper and we’re here to sort that out.”
I spoke with a bespectacled individual named Kent seated nearby, his legs crossed, reading a novel. “Do you know anything about what just happened here with the police and the man in the camouflage jacket?” I asked.
“It was a non-incident with a local jerk. It happened last week. The guy in the camouflage jacket had two newspapers. An older guy, older even than him, said, ‘You can’t read two newspapers. Can I have one?’ The guy in the camo jacket said no. It escalated and the guy in the camo jacket said to the other guy, ‘I don’t care how old you are, I’ll kick
your ass.’ That’s when I grabbed the paper and gave it to the older guy. I pointed my finger at the trouble maker and he grabbed my arm. See?” Kent showed me several scabbed-over fingernail scratch marks from where the man had grabbed him.
“He’s always causing problems,” said Kent.