As the Beachhead reported in the June issue, Solomon, also known as Willie Lee Turner, or the Snake Man, was arrested in Santa Monica for allegedly hitting someone in Hollywood. Now that the trial is over and all charges against him were dropped, it’s time to find out what happened.
Solomon: Thanks to my family, friends and supporters, I wish a Happy 2013 Year of the Snake to you all. The crown of my hope was the fact that I knew I didn’t do it. I didn’t even worry about proving my innocence, I just let them worry about how they would prove me guilty.
BH: So what happened?
Solomon: The two witnesses based on whose testimonies I was arrested recanted their statements and the case was dropped.
BH: Why did they identify you as the perpetrator in the first place?
Solomon: Sergeant Marc Reina was promoted to Lieutenant and moved from Venice to Hollywood. When a 911 call came in that a Black man in his 20’s hit someone in Hollywood, Reina placed a 20-year old picture of me in the photo line-up. The witnesses did not pick me as a suspect, but Reina then showed them videos of me protesting in Venice. A week later, the two witnesses were driven in a police car to Santa Monica, where I was jogging, and were coerced into saying that I was the one whom they saw in Hollywood. The suspect was described as wearing a baseball cap and riding a beach cruiser with a milk crate on it, which definitely does not fit my description.
BH: It sounds like a Hollywood movie.
Solomon: Ya, like a nightmare on Elm Street. I had to spend 19 days in jail and now I have to pay back $5000 to my family, who posted $50,000 bail for me. But I count my blessings and feel victorious for defeating their efforts to frame me. It never ends, though. The other day I was performing two feet out of a marked spot, and the police wrote me a ticket. They want to keep me in the box. When I asked the policeman where to sign the ticket, he said: “in the box.” But I am one of those who thinks outside of the box, and I think that self-expression should not be limited to the spaces currently marked on the boardwalk. I was one of the few who did not join the Lottery system, which created the assigned spots, and which was deemed unconstitutional since.
BH: Thanks for giving us the latest on your endeavors, we wish you good luck in what you do.
Solomon: I want to thank the divine force for always bringing truth to the light.