Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Secret Life of the LAPD

Big article in the LAT today about the LAPD officer who shot and killed 13-year-old Devin Brown two years ago.

Devin Brown and a 14-year-old buddy were cruising in a stolen car down in South LA and fled when the cops tried to pull them over. After a short pursuit, the driver wrecked the car on a side street. The passenger jumped out and ran. The driver, ignoring officers' commands, began backing up towards the black and white. The coppers opened fire and killed Devin Brown.

Predictable outrage followed. The civilian police commission, comprised of at least one gigantic LAPD hater in John Mack, predictably ruled the officers' actions "out of policy."

Also predictably, the LAPD disciplinary board comprised of two cops and a civvy declined to punish the cop who shot young Brown. Besides the new, and frankly, troubling, cloak of secrecy under which the LAPD is now allowed to conduct personnel reviews, I'm happy with that outcome. The cops themselves didn't crack down on officer Steven Garcia. Why?

Because if you're going to steal a car; force the cops to chase you around in the predawn darkness; crash into a car; then back up into a police car, chances are very, very good, that you're going to get shot. And killed.

Why should a cop have to duck behind his car or jump out of the way and put him or herself at a tactical disadvantage by trying to get into a position to disable the car, or you, using nonlethal means when the chances are very, very high that you will either use the car, or a gun, to try to kill him as soon as the opportunity presents itself (i.e. as you try to make your escape or avoid getting arrested)?

No one knows the driver is some 13 year old kid joyriding, and a cop shouldn't have to care when he's trying to do his job. Let there be community outrage. Let there be a politically motivated/biased opinion from the civilian police commission. And then let Officer Steven Garcia go back on patrol.

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