By LILA SEIDMAN | Reporter
It was a “good day/bad day” on Saturday, Sept. 3 for well-known Palisadian activist Sue Kohl.
Pacific Palisades Community Council election votes were being counted, ultimately returning Kohl to the board for a second two-year term.
It also happened to be the day that Kohl and a hiking companion were menaced by a stranger, who jumped out of a car as they walked along Temescal Canyon Road.
The stout, 40-something man in a white T-shirt and black, baggy shorts was holding a camera phone in front of him as he bellowed, “Are you frightened yet? Are you? Are you frightened yet?”
As he stepped closer, Kohl and her friend dashed across mid-day traffic to the other side of Temescal Canyon Road.
But, to their horror, the stranger got back into his car—an older-model station wagon being driven by someone else hidden by tinted glass—flipped a U-turn in the canyon and started ranting at them again.
“It was very spooky and weird,” Kohl recalled last week. “We did not know what was going on or what he was trying to do with his bullying—or how far he would go.”
Kohl said she felt weird “that it might be film that ends up on the net.”
The car kept driving up and down, and on the third pass she got a partial license plate. She passed it on to the police.
Police officer John “Rusty” Redican took the first report and told Kohl he might know who the drive-by bully is, suggesting this type of incident has happened before.
It’s unclear whether such anti-social behavior amounts to a punishable offense.
As the stranger did not touch Kohl or her companion, free speech laws would likely shield him from criminal charges. And “If it’s in a public place, you can pretty much [legally] video tape all you want,” explained Los Angeles Police Department officer Tony Im.
Had he threatened to kill or harm the women, he could have faced a charge of criminal threats, which carries a prison sentence of up to five years.
Kohl described the incident as “disturbing,” but is putting it behind her. She urged anyone else, particularly women walking solo, to dial 911 immediately if they find themselves in a similar situation.
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