LA cop commission protects bad cops

Apparently, despite oversight commissions, the public still gets little information about the way police officers use and abuse the enormous powers at their ready.

From today’s LA Times:

The Los Angeles Police Commission has failed to publicly disclose its findings on at least 240 police shootings and other violent encounters with suspects, despite a promise four years ago to be more transparent and post its decisions on the Internet, a Times review has found.

Included in those cases are more than 20 incidents in which a person died while in police custody and at least 46 others in which police shot someone, according to the review. Among the unreported decisions are at least a dozen cases in which the commission ruled that the officer had improperly used deadly force and should be disciplined.

“Frankly, we fell asleep at the switch on this one,” said John Mack, president of the five-member civilian panel. “We know it’s something that we cannot continue to neglect.”

There’s such little transparency with police agencies. Officers have life-and-death power and they sometimes abuse that power. Current law enforcement policies encourage police militarization — so even when police are following proper procedure, they often abuse liberties and mistreat the public. Yet California’s Legislature continues to err on the side of secrecy by, say, refusing to overturn the Copley decision. The public is endangered because the public can’t find out about misbehaving police or those with a tendency to abuse their power.

Yet we learn every day about bad police behavior — at least the public finds out when a dirty cop is arrested for some obvious crime. Here is a story about the Rocklin officer arrested on drug and weapons charges, per the News 10 Web article:

[Ruben] Salgado, 37, was booked into the Placer County Jail Tuesday on six felony counts, including driving under the influence of alcohol and controlled substances, drug possession, possession of drugs while armed, and transport of contraband.

Actually, I’m shocked he was arrested rather than given a courtesy ride home. So there is some good news.

The LA Times reported today on a tragic death caused by a police cruiser that was speeding along without its sirens.

There have been many law enforcement wrongdoing stories to make the newspapers lately. Yet the law enforcement unions want us to believe that all their members are “heroes” and should be afforded every benefit of the doubt. Since 9/11, Americans have become much more slavish in their obedience to authority and less willing to echo the views of our nation’s founders who understood that free citizens should be most afraid of their own government.

As Thomas Jefferson said, “When the people fear their government there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

It’s pretty clear how things are in America these days.

–Steven Greenhut

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  1. Admin
    Admin Author 14 May, 2010, 15:57

    We’re just peons clubbed into submission.

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  2. Cop Block
    Cop Block 16 May, 2010, 13:49

    Great write up, I couldn’t agree more. Which is why after Motorhome Diaries (by the way this is Adam, we met once in Fullerton), I started CopBlock.org. Which is where I’ll repost your article, it’s great. Keep up the good work.

    Adam

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