A Malibu resident was arrested for battery on a traffic officer and obstructing an officer’s duties Saturday morning in front of Blockbuster Video on Webb Way.
The incident escalated from a citation for illegally parking in a handicap zone, into a dramatic arrest of Cindy Vandor, a resident of Malibu for 12 years.
Vandor, who has taught a class on broadcasting as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine for five years and has worked for 20 years as a TV news anchor for KCAL and KTTV, had pulled up into a handicap parking space in front of the Blockbuster store to drop off a video when Traffic Officer Cheryl Allen had pulled in behind Vandor and proceeded to write her a ticket for illegally parking in a handicap zone.
“I was with my 9-year-old son,” said Vandor. “The plan was that he was going to jump out of the car, drop the videotape and return immediately to the car.”
According to the police report filed by Deputy Frank Bausmith of the Lost Hills/Malibu Sheriff’s Department, Vandor allegedly became irate and asked Allen to give her a warning instead of a ticket.
“She [Allen] came up to the car without listening to my belief that I haven’t parked,” said Vandor.
“I said that we were simply dropping off a tape and were not parking,” said Vandor. “She immediately started to write a parking violation citation. I said, ‘wait a minute, I’m not parked.”
While Vandor admits that she may have been wrong in stopping in the handicap space, her account of what ensued after Allen began writing her the citation conflicts with that of the police report that was filed.
The police report states that Vandor shouted profanities at Allen and that she grabbed her hand and pulled it into the vehicle.
Vandor said she did become angry and did utter profanities at Allen. “I did not graciously accept it [the citation], I’ll admit that,” she said.
Vandor also said that she did reach for Allen’s pen while she was writing the citation.
However, Vandor stressed, “I never, ever, ever touched her.”
Vandor’s son, Jacob, who was in the car at the time with his mother, said in a phone interview that his mother did reach for Allen’s pen, but “took the pen not a centimeter off the page [citation].”
“My mom let go before Allen said let go,” said Jacob.
“She [Vandor] never touched the lady’s [Allen] hand,” he said.
Lt. Thom Bradstock, who is in charge of the Malibu area, in a phone interview said, “When one of our personnel is confronted by someone and endures verbal abuse, that’s one thing. But, when it’s physical, that’s another issue. I don’t feel that my personnel should endure that.”
What ensued afterwards, according the police report, is that Vandor, having exited her vehicle, “continued to yell profanities” at Allen. At one point, according to witnesses at the scene, Allen said she was going to call for backup and Vandor said “go ahead call for backup.”
“[I was] welcoming that deputies were on the scene,” said Vandor. “I wanted to explain that she [Allen] was being unfair and hostile.”
Three deputies arrived at the scene, including Bausmith and Deputy Steve Colitti.
Her arrest came at a point, witnesses said, when Allen was back in her vehicle about to leave. Vandor got back out of her van and said something else to Allen. At that point, witnesses said Allen got out of her car and went over to the deputies to confer with them. Vandor was then handcuffed and put into Bausmith’s patrol car.
However, before she was put into the patrol car, Vandor was cussing and yelling, trying to move away from the officers while she was handcuffed, the witnesses said. She was saying that she had a son in her car and couldn’t leave him alone the witnesses said.
“The worst nightmare,” said Vandor of the incident, “had to be my son. I could not see my son.”
Vandor said a woman that she did not know had later taken her son, while she was handcuffed, into the Blockbuster store to call his father.
“This very nice lady took care of me,” said Jacob.
As to what the deputies told Jacob about what was occurring with his mother he said, “I was told they put her in handcuffs to calm her down.”
“It was very scary,” he said. “Everybody in the shopping center didn’t agree with the officers. A few people were brave and did go up [to the deputies], but they [the deputies] didn’t listen.”
Vandor was cited for misdemeanor battery and obstruction of an officer’s duties.
Meanwhile, Vandor has filed her own complaint against Allen and deputies Bausmith and Colitti.
“They are manufacturing charges,” said Vandor of the complaint filed against her.
“[It’s a] very serious charge,” she said. “I tried to tell Bausmith he doesn’t really want to be arresting a Malibu mom in a mini-van.”