As I mentioned in my introductory posting, police and community relations are and will always remain a hot topic. Just as it is important for law enforcement to be transparent, a key and repetitive phrase used by many officials today, it is also important for both law enforcement and the community to be equally accountable for their actions.
Prejudice against police that is promulgated by politicians and so called civil rights leaders with the intention of keeping alive racial prejudice, while using such incidents to promote their self- interests to get elected or re-elected, should be recognized and addressed accordingly. Just as acts of abuse and excessive force used by some police officers must be severely dealt with, so should those who maliciously rush to judgment. Those who publicly discuss these incidents in the media, without knowing the facts, often incite people to commit crimes and engage in violent acts against others.
The rush to judgment has occurred more frequently recently, but what is more surprising is the outcome has increasingly resulted in an apology by the accuser. Many times these results are due to the incidents being recorded by audio and or video recordings. For example, in September of 2014, a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant was involved in a controversial detention of an actress while investigating a call of possible prostitution. Her claims of racial profiling were disputed when a video clearly revealed that she initiated the “race card” into the incident and failed to cooperate and identify herself.
More recently, in March of 2015, another actress alleged a Glendale police officer had racially profiled her young adult son during a traffic stop and illegally searched his vehicle. Video obtained revealed the officer was very professional and his investigation legally conducted.
How citizens step up and hold themselves accountable and responsible for their own actions, is just as important as how law enforcement responds to its own misdeeds. A further analysis, regarding the aggressiveness and failure to comply by many during encounters with law enforcement, will be discussed in my next posting.
As a retired Lieutenant and 32-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Bill Weiss worked various patrol, custody, administrative, and special assignments. He has been an Incident Commander for several major tactical incidents. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California, with a Master’s degree in Public Administration.