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Reap the Whirlwind

Nonfiction: Biography
Unabridged   12 hour(s)
Publication date: 07/23/2024

F O R T H C O M I N G ! Available July

Reap the Whirlwind

Violence, Race, Justice, and the Story of Sagon Penn

Available from major retailers
Digital Download ISBN:9781696616263


The bestselling author of Norco '80 returns with a riveting story of mid-1980s San Diego that placed one young Black man at the center of a whirlwind of crime and punishment that profoundly altered Southern California.

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Product Description

March 31, 1985. Two white patrol officers in search of a gang member followed a pickup truck carrying seven young Black men up a dirt driveway in the Encanto neighborhood of San Diego. Minutes later, gunshots rang out, and the truck's driver, Sagon Penn, fled the scene in an officer's patrol car.

Penn was an idealist who believed in the power of Buddhist chants to bring about the oneness of humanity. The two police officers were rising stars in one of the most progressive police departments in the country, yet one that had suffered more officers killed in the line of duty than any other. While the facts of the case were never in dispute, what remained unresolved was what, if anything, could justify such a violent confrontation? For over two years, a determined prosecutor and a charismatic defense attorney engaged in a sensational courtroom drama that revolved around matters of mental health, racial biases, and the self-image of a once-sleepy beach town grappling with its transformation into a major metropolitan area. The Sagon Penn incident forever altered how San Diego would respond to incidents involving police and communities of color.

Based on court transcripts, personal interviews, and archival police reports, Reap the Whirlwind is a gripping true-crime narrative set against the evocative backdrop of Southern California.

Author Bio

Peter Houlahan is an author, freelance writer, and book review contributor. His work has appeared in CrimeReads, Salon, Los Angeles Magazine, Police1, Hearst, Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. His first book, Norco '80, was a finalist for an Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Hammett Prize, and a Macavity Award.