Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Roman Polanski

The Arrest

The day after the rape, Polanski had big plans: he was supposed to go out with his 19-year-old girlfriend Lisa Rome, and a director, Frank Simon on the Sunset Strip.

Detective Phillip Vannatter
Detective Phillip Vannatter

But at 7 p.m., Detective Phillip Vannatter put a distinct crimp in his evening. He intercepted the director as he was leaving the lobby of the Beverly Wilshire. The officer was somewhat discreet, explaining that they should go up to Polanski's room. Upstairs, a total of nine cops were in the room with Polanski, who was treated so well that he was never put in handcuffs. They even appeared a bit star-struck; a few reportedly asked for an autograph.

But the director became increasingly more nervous: he realized that he had a Quaalude in his pocket and tried unsuccessfully to drop it discreetly to the ground. An officer saw the attempt and pocketed the pill. Police wouldn't need that pill for evidence, though; they found a vial of the drug in the hotel room. They confiscated the photos from the first photo shoot featuring Samantha topless, as well as rolls of film.

Meawhile, back at the Nicholson house, during questioning and a review of the house using a warrant, Anjelica Huston was found to be in possession of drugs — cocaine and pot — and was also arrested. She would later cut a deal with the prosecution to testify against Polanski in exchange for the dismissal of her drug-possession charges.

At 1 a.m. In the morning, Polanski was finally booked. One of the officers yelled at Polanski: "What the hell do you think you're doing, going around and raping kids?"

Polanski was released on bail. As he drove to a friend's house (foregoing the hotel which the press has already begun staking out), he listens to the radio reports. Whether or not he is cleared, he fears that he is finished in Hollywood.

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