Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Dumb Blue Line

A little more about the May Day rally at MacArthur Park near downtown Los Angeles. Now that Chief Bratton has had a chance to put his foot in his mouth a number of times and events have begun to sort themselves out, we learn that things are even worse than we thought.

LAPD has a fifty-year (and more) reputation for wearing out nightsticks 'pon citizens' heads. Back in the early 1970's, I knew a CHP officer who transferred from LA to San Diego, because he didn't like having to work with LAPD. This all goes back a long time so, you'll pardon me if yet another pledge to put officers through further training leaves me unimpressed.

According to a story in today's LA Times, the police made just about every mistake in the MacArthur Park incident, that could be made.

  • Instead of isolating the agitators and dealing with them away from the demonstrators, LAPD pushed them into the larger crowd, thus bringing innocents into the fray.
  • LAPD failed to set up an area in which the media could operate. Instead, they herded the reporters and cameramen along with the protesters, injuring a few.
  • There was an LAPD speaker truck nearby. It wasn't used. Instead, the orders to disburse were given from helicopters. The bad news: the helicopters were too far away and too high in elevation. Few people heard them.
  • Metro Division reinforcements were untrained in crowd control.
  • Commands to the public were given only in English, despite the predominately Hispanic crowd.
  • Supervisors were too far away from the skirmish line, leaving untrained officers on their own.
Every time one of these things happen, the current Chief vows to set up a new training program or a touchy-feely campaign of some sort--and it works until some cop beats the crap out of a drunk or a car thief (who probably deserves it) with his two-foot-long cast-iron flashlight.

To truly solve this we, as individuals or voluntarily-formed neighborhood groups should hire our own patrol organizations, and be given relief from local taxes to pay for these patrols. Thus, entities can choose patrol organizations from among those available on the free market. The city should do away from all impediments to individuals right to self defense.

Meanwhile, it'd help if police can be weaned from their us-versus-them attitude and return to a form of community patrolling in which police actually know the neighborhoods they patrol and some of the people who live in them. It'd help (and it's the law) if police observed due process and the US Bill of Rights to the letter. It'd help if municipalities would ban lying and secret-keeping by their elected officials and civil servants on pain of firing-in-disgrace and complete loss of pay and benefits.

Turning the police into paramilitary organizations is not helpful.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California


Andrew said...

It's disturbing isn't it. It makes you feel as if you live in some Soviet era police state.

Col. Hogan said...

I fear it'll get gradually worse unless Americans manage to convince the nation's police that they're simply ordinary Americans themselves, and need to learn to relate to others as fellow Americans.

Police have no special rights and no special priviledges. They're just people whose job it is to protect the rights of others. Nothing more.