Is Abel Turner a Real Police Officer? Where is Irsie Henry Now?

The 2008 crime thriller movie helmed by Neil LaBute, ‘Lakeview Terrace’ follows a racist LAPD officer who goes by the name of Abel Turner and holds a prejudiced grudge against his new neighbors, a friendly interracial couple — Chris and Lisa Mattson. With nothing but his racist nature driving him to terrorize the harmless couple, the officer ensures that he makes their life in the neighborhood a living nightmare.

Abel, uncomfortable with the relationship between Chris and Lisa, represents the people with bigotry and unwarranted hatred in their hearts for others, solely because of the color of their skin. While the storyline tends to be parallel to reality in certain instances, the character of Abel gives rise to curiosity about whether he is based on an actual police officer or not.

The Real Police Officer Who Inspired the Character of Abel Turner

Just like ‘Lakeview Terrace’ is inspired by the real-life events that occurred in Altadena, California, involving an interracial couple and an LAPD officer, the character of Abel Turner is based on Irsie Henry, the racist police officer who troubled John and Melanie Hamilton, his next-door neighbors. The prejudice against interracial relationships and the harassment that Irsie Henry inflicts on his neighbors is reminiscent of what the character of Abel Turner represents and does in the film.

It all started in February or March 2001 when Henry bought a house in Altadena, where he met the Hamiltons. Having sent a plant as a gift to them, Henry shared a cordial relationship with them in the beginning. The first crack in their neighborly relationship came a few months later when Henry and John argued about a fence that was right on the border of the former’s property. While Henry was inclined toward replacing the fence altogether, John was not interested at all. In September 2001, Henry reportedly started blowing leaves and other debris into the Hamiltons’ yard using a blower.

When John installed a chicken wire to stop this behavior, Henry began throwing the leaves over the fence that divided their property with his hands, per reports. In ‘Lakeview Terrace,’ the neighbors of Abel Turner don’t have any children, but in reality, Henry even aimed some of his harassment at the Hamiltons’ children as he allegedly passed racial insults, profanities, and taunts at them in front of their children. As reported by Pasadena Weekly, Henry made some obscene and inappropriate gestures, such as sticking his tongue out and licking his lips, at the couple’s 11-year-old daughter and accused their 13-year-old son of stealing from his son.

The feud between Henry and John got so heated that they installed video surveillance equipment to capture the other vandalizing or causing property damage on camera. When the attacks and counterattacks still did not stop, they obtained restraining orders against one another but to no avail because it was still not enough to keep the peace between them. Both parties called the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department regularly to file all kinds of complaints against each other. During their back-and-forth, Henry had even hired workers to paint “P.C. 602” and “P.C. 594” on the fence that faced Hamilton’s property, for which he was later questioned.

Eventually, after a lengthy hearing, Henry was found guilty of four counts, which included harassing and disturbing the peace of the Hamilton family, engaging “in behavior that brought discredit to the Department,” accessing the Department computer system for non-duty related activities, and stating misleading statements to the officers during an ongoing investigation. In light of all these counts, Irsie Henry was removed from the Los Angeles police department in November 2006.

Irsie Henry is Leading a Life Away From the Limelight

A few months after his termination, in January 2007, Irsie Henry filed a petition against the board and an amended petition in March 2007, compelling them to give him back his position in the Los Angeles police department. However, after a year or so, in October 2008, the court denied his petition and entered judgment against the former LAPD officer in the following month.

Since then, the former seems to be leading a life away from the public eye, likely keeping his personal affairs and professional endeavors brushed under the carpet. However, looking at the public records, it can be surmised that Irsie Henry has left his life in Altadena, California behind and has moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, with the intention of pursuing a new one without the shadow of his past.

Read More: Lakeview Terrace: The True Story Behind the Movie, Explained