Long before cell phones were in everyone's hands or home telephones were called landlines, phone booths could be found on many a street corner.
Ah, yesteryear. Much has changed since the old days. But too much has remained the same.
I quickly told the person on the other end of my call to get the police to the corner of Orange Grove Boulevard and Lake Avenue. Then I complied with the assailant's order. But on the walk I managed to pull my hysterical teenager free.
Mr. Blond disappeared into the night.
Pasadena police arrived and, with the description of the assailant, asked me to ride with them as they canvassed the area.
In an alley, their squad car came upon a crouched figure. The short Latino guy was ordered to stand with his hands in the air. I was asked to identify the suspect who wasn't tall, white or blond.
I said he wasn't the culprit, but the police handcuffed him anyway.
Recently Oscar Carrillo — who called in the false 911 report the night his car was allegedly burglarized by a 17-year-old aided by Kendrec McDade (killed later that night by police) — put himself in harm's way when he used his cell phone to make that report.
Carrillo's call, his subsequent arrest for lying about whether his assailants had guns, and his brush with immigration authorities regarding his status in this country, have wrongly placed him front and center in the tragedy that took place when Pasadena police officers Mathew Griffin and Jeff Newlen shot and killed the unarmed 19-year-old McDade.
Carrillo more than likely believed he would get a quicker police response if he reported weapons were used in the burglary. But exaggerating a problem is not an unfamiliar tactic when a person wants to shorten their wait time.
Nor is law enforcement's ability to select a scapegoat anything new.
On March 31 Pasadena Police Chief Sanchez held a meeting at New Revelation Missionary Baptist Church and provided attendees with his department's account of the killing, including a focus on the recording of Carrillo's 911 call.
Carrillo lied. But he did not shoot and kill, as the two officers did.
Like the Latino man in the alley who I watched get cuffed and shoved into a squad car while the blond-haired assailant was left afoot, if Chief Sanchez has his way in focusing on Carrillo's cell phone call, his officers will be left afoot to shoot down more unarmed young black men.