Saturday, May 05, 2007

They Just Can't.... themselves. The LAPD, I mean.

It's been a few days since riot cops pushed through MacArthur Park on May Day and shot rubber bullets and foam projectiles at all manner of folks, including the media. Thousands of words in print and minutes on the tube have been thus far expended on the fallout so I won't rant too much about it here.

I am usually quick to jump to the defense of the folks in Blue on this blog....scroll down...but this one seems fairly indefensible.

It is astounding that in 2007, your average LAPD officer is stupid enough to use any type of force on a member of the accredited media. Everything else aside, in a vacuum let's say, this alone is about the worst single thing a uniformed officer could do--almost worse than hitting or shooting an unarmed woman or child. Not only because it's a spectacularly bad decision, but because the self-righteousness of the Fourth Estate alone is enough to make such an event the crime of the century.

Listening to Fox 11 "journalist" Christina Gonzalez scream on camera at you in her finely-tuned and supremely annoying high-pitched whine that "you CAN'T do that" should be enough to make any police officer question whether he or she wants to push a reporter or camera operator. If that's not enough, then you'll be fucked six ways sideways as soon as that videotape starts airing.

In the past, there's been the predictable outrage when the LAPD has threatened and used force on so-called "citizen journalists." These are nothing more than annoying gadflies and run-of-the-mill assholes with digital camcorders whose existence at various events is solely to bait the cops into hitting, shooting or arresting them. But trampling local media is truly beyond the pale, even for your average IQ patrolman or slightly higher IQ (and more muscular) Metro officer.

These reporters are people who cover the Department--and the crimes they are investigating--day in and day out. While laughing at Gonzalez (which she alleges is what the cops did as they pushed her around) is probably the norm behind the yellow police tape at crime scenes and behind closed doors at Parker Center after press conferences, doing so on camera while shoving her camera operator into the dirt is lunacy. And while the average cop probably has wet dreams about pushing the media around, like most fantasies, it's one that is much better left unfulfilled as the reality is a lot harsher than simply washing a set of sheets.

These coppers just don't learn and that's what's really amazing about the LAPD. Institutional memory is at once long and terribly short.

The scene at MacArthur Park (where it seems that officers faced a threat that equaled the average Palestinian rock-throwing teenager) was reminiscent of footage out of the Middle East or South Korea when those riot cops decide to quell protests. Heads will rightly roll on this one.

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