Controversial Dallas PD Suspect Beating Heats Up

This has not gone over well with some, including longtime LAPD critic Joe Domanick. Writing in the Los Angeles Times on Sept. 24, Domanick addressed Beck’s surprise at the local reaction to the Sept. 5 shooting. He writes:

A big piece of community policing is informational give-and-take between cops and the neighborhood people they police. Beck has admitted that the LAPD was surprised by the anger in [the neighborhood where the shooting occurred], caused in part by aggressive ticketing of unlicensed street vendors, many of whom received $250 tickets while subsisting on $10 a day from their street sales. Beck needs to examine why the department seemed so clueless, especially about the mood of the people in an area of the city that has given us both the 1999 Rampart scandal and the May Day 2007 police attack on peaceful demonstrators and the media in MacArthur Park.

Thus does Domanick appear to advocate that police not enforce laws against street vending when the practice is engaged in by immigrants, this despite the fact that most of the complaints regarding this activity come from local merchants who are themselves immigrants, albeit legal ones. They find their legitimate business being undercut by illegal immigrants plying their wares from pushcarts while unburdened by such annoyances as taxes, health inspections, and business permits.

And later in the piece Domanick writes, “But the LAPD has work to do. It must concentrate on keeping its ear closer to the ground to avoid the next potential crisis in a troubled community. The chief, not to mention the mayor, has to be more careful about his message and the words he chooses before going public.”

Telling Charlie Beck and Antonio Villaraigosa to be attentive to public opinion is like telling a pair of fish to swim. But the police chief and the mayor have responsibilities to people beyond the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who live just west of downtown Los Angeles. They owe it to the rest of the city, despite the woeful neglect of federal immigration authorities, to ensure that the area where the shooting occurred retain at least some measure of its tenuous grasp on American culture, beginning with a respect for the rule of law.

And, as the most visible members of municipal government, the police chief and the mayor have a duty to the city’s police officers, three of whom risked their lives when they confronted a drunk with a knife on Sept. 5. As has been vividly demonstrated here in Los Angeles, when cops detect a lack of spine in their leadership, they are less inclined to take the kinds of risks required to deter crime and bring order to troubled neighborhoods.

You may not have heard of a recent police shooting in Los Angeles as the racial calculus of the incident failed to tickle the national media’s antennae, but on Sept. 28, about a mile from the site of the Sept. 5 shooting, three LAPD officers attempted to stop a stolen car when the driver emerged with a rifle in hand and a pistol in his pocket, apparently intent on resisting their efforts to return him to the prison from which he had recently been paroled. The officers shot and killed the man before he had a chance to do them or anyone else any harm, but had those officers’ minds been clouded by thoughts of political repercussions, had they hesitated only slightly in making the decision to fire, the outcome might have been far different.

Back in Dallas, this is a lesson they are about to learn the hard way.