Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Policeman Phillip J. Riley

Los Angeles Police Department, California

End of Watch Monday, October 25, 1971

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Reflections for Policeman Phillip J. Riley

Hey Riles. It’s Cima. We met in the 8th grade. We got into a scuffle at school and we were both sent to the vice principal’s office. While we were waiting, you extended you hand and said “My name is Phil Riley. I’m from Aurora, Colorado.” I shook your hand and I said I was Randy Cima, and we became best friends after that. You always called me “Cima,” and so did you mom and dad and little brother. I always called you Riles. You were my best man at my wedding.

Way back then you wanted to be a pilot. You read books, studied, took tests, and you got your license. You were an ex-Marine by then, you liked the military, you respected law and order, and you thought about becoming a policeman for awhile. You did. About a year after you were on the force I remember you telling me you couldn’t wait get up in the morning to put on your uniform. You didn’t want to be a pilot anymore. You wanted to be a policeman. You said you loved being a cop. Me and the rest of your buddies figured you’d be Chief of Police some day. We knew you were smart, dedicated, and honest. Then came that day 50 years ago today.

I saw Nancy at our 50th high school reunion. We talked about you. You met Nancy in the 8th grade too. You two were together through high school until you got married. You had just put a down payment on a new home in Orange county. You loved kids. We all figured the two of you would have a bunch of them. Then came that day 50 years ago today.

I never forgot you Riles. This is the 50th October 25th, and I remember every one of them. I still see a few of the guys that are left from those days. They never forgot you either. We've all missed you for a long time. Love you pal.

Randy Cima

Best friend
Best Friend

October 25, 2021

Officer Riley,
On today, the 50th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Los Angeles . And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

October 25, 2021

You have a lot of friends Phil, besides me. You see I was working with Phil that awful day. Phil was my training officer as I was 3 months out of the academy. He obsd a car going the wrong way on Venice blvd. He stopped the car southbound on Pacific. We exited our car and as approached theirs, they car sped off south, They TA'd into a guard rail along the Marina causeway. The driver, Brenenstahl, ran east with Phil in foot pursuit, the passebger ran west toward the beach, with me chasing him. As I was searching for him around buildings, a citizen came running and said your partner has been shot! I ran back, to our car, drove east to a large crowd of people, a lady said the guy jacked her car and gave me its description and license number which I radioed a help , officer down call and the description of the get
away car. This was about 5 pm now with peak traffic , the EMTs finally arrived and took Phil to the hospital. I got the news that Phil was EOW soon after . Phil was a good guy, partner and friend. Phil was just 27.
RIP partner , you'll never be forgotten!

Gary Larson
LAPD, partner and friend

June 12, 2020

Rest in peace Policeman Riley.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

August 16, 2019

Rest In Peace Brother. We remember and honor you on the 46th anniversary of your E.O.W.

Officer Mike Robinson, (Ret)
Upland Police Dept. CA

October 25, 2017

We called you "Smiley Riley". In Venice Records my BFF Bari (Grogan) Bentley was you play wife, I was your daughter, and Linda from clerical pool decided she was the black sheep of our family (she was a beautiful funny black girl). There was no prejudice in our little family! You were such a fair officer, greatly admired. I was working in the old Venie station on Venice Bl. the day you got shot. I prayed so hard for you and your beautiful wife who you loved so very much! I got mad at God for taking you. It changed my life. It also made me say no thank you to becoming a police officer that year as I had turned 21. Yours was the first officer funeral Bari and J ever attended. It was huge and it was sadness! Taken too young was a very caring and fair police officer and dear friend. Our good friend Jim Voge who had been a police student worker went into the Academy, ended up running Internal Affairs and ironically now resides with his beautiful wife Ramona here on the CA central coast. We all think of you to this day. Bari and I converse about you often. You are forever in our hearts and all of those who love you. You never saw me attain the position of Capt Secretary. RIP dear friend. I served almost 11 years at LAPD. I am turning 67 in Dec 2016 and retired last Feb. I feel watched over by you my forever play dad! We love you Phil!

Zita Lorraine Fortman
Pacific: Venice Div both Venice Bl & Culver and Centinela station

October 12, 2016

As a young cop in the academy we studied your case at length, through the years as a Deputy I thought of you a lot and being cautious kept me alive, thank you Officer.

Perry E Duffy
San Mateo Sheriff #62 Ret.

April 28, 2013

As the 41st anniversary of the death of my friend, former classmate and patrol officer partner, I reflect on the great man that died at such an early age defending the people in the City of Los Angeles. We will never know the potential that may have lied in wait for Phillips career within the LAPD. It are men and women like Phillip that have made the LAPD a great organization and I am proud to have been his classmate at the LAPD academy from December 1968 to May 1969 and have had the honor to follow him to our first assignment at Venice Division.

Louis C Rodriguez Retired US Spl Agt
Former LAPD Class of 5-1968

October 13, 2012

Officer Riley and Family,

I leave this reflection on behalf of the family of David William Brenenstahl.....the man who took your life. While I never personally knew "Billy" (as the family referred to him), I heard some of the stories about him. My mom and dad took guardianship of him and his brothers after their father died. This was before I was even born. I was 6 years of age when your watch concluded in 1971. While I don't know everything about Billy, I feel I can honestly say his actions brought anger and shame to our family. My dad was a huge supporter of law enforcement (Torrance P.D. specifically) and my mom brought us up to always obey & respect law enforcement. I worked as a counselor for the Orange County Probation Department for 5 years and continue to work with law enforcement and P.O.S.T. producing training materials. So not only do I sympathize with your family's loss, I can also empathize.

Billy was paroled in 1981 for reasons only God knows. While I don't know what exactly happened to him afterwards, I have reason to believe he is deceased.

With all of this said, please accept my family's personal thanks for your dedication, love and service to your community, as well as the truly heartfelt condolences for your tragic and completely senseless loss. May God continue to bless your family.

With Love and Respect,

Patrick Basnett

July 8, 2012

Rest in Peace, Policeman Riley. Your sacrifice is not forgotten.

Officer 11169

January 14, 2012

Phil-- I worked with your brother Stan-- we were firemen.... you were a tough loss for him and frankly one he never recovered from.... rest easy---------


December 30, 2011

Officer Riley,

Rest in peace brother.

Detective Dave Howell
Plano,Texas Police Dept-Auto Theft

October 25, 2010

Policeman Riley - May God bless and protect your family and friends. May He also grant you eternal rest. Thanks for your service to the people of Los Angeles.

Chief K. Moreland (Ret. Sgt.)
Palmer Lake CO, PD (Ret. LAPD)

April 14, 2010

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 38th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya


October 25, 2009



November 24, 2007

Policeman Riley:

I had a conversation with a retiree regarding that fateful day.

Back in the mid 1980's, I was assigned to Pacific Division (formerly known as Venice Division). Before he retired, I had a "Venice Old-Timer," take me to the exact location where Policeman RILEY was shot. Back in those days, I usually worked alone, and brought my lunch. I would often park at the site to eat my lunch.

Maj M. B. Riley

October 25, 2007

Officer Riley,

Rest in peace brother.
Never forgotten.

Detective Dave Howell
Plano,Texas Police Dept-Auto Theft Unit

October 25, 2007

You are remembered today and thank you Sir for your service


October 20, 2007

To my partner:
It's hard to believe that it's been over 35 years since we worked together at Venice Division LAPD. I was a wet-behind-the-ears rookie and you and Rich were my training officers. I had a little over 1 year on the job and had earned my first vacation. I decided to go visit my parents in Arkansas in October of 1971. I had only been there a few days when I saw a report on the TV news that a Los Angeles Police Officer had been killed in the line of duty .. his name was Phil Riley. I was in shock and returned the next day to do anything I could to help and eventually attend your service at Green Hill Memorial Park. I'll never forget that day or you my friend .. rest in peace. You were truly a hero to me .. then and now!

Detective III Edward L. Burrow
LAPD (Retired)

January 9, 2007

On your 35th End of watch anniversary, we continue to say job well done son, May God craddle you in his loving arms.

October 25, 2006

On the anniversary of your death, I salute you for your service and honor you for your sacrifice.

A hero never dies....

Rest in peace, hero.

October 25, 2004

Officer Riley,

I too wish to honor your memory. . . we will not forget you or your service and sacrifice. With brotherly love and respect, Jim Crotty (Former Richmond, VA Police Officer.)

Jim Crotty, Special Agent (Ret.)
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms

June 25, 2004

I agree with a previous writer who wrote “No officer’s death should be without reflection.” It is an honor to be the first to leave a reflection in your memory. May the memory of your service, heroism and sacrifice remain forever. You served us well......RIP brother.

Pennsylvania State Police

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