'Major Hasan Syndrome' at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department?
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people (and, lest we forget, an unborn child) and wounding 29 others at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009, had raised a number of red flags suggesting a disposition for committing, or at the very least having sympathy for, acts of Islamic terror prior to his massacre. The signs were ignored due to political correctness.
There is a price to be paid for the “inclusiveness” and “diversity” we’re all supposed to be so proud of. We can be thankful the price is seldom as dreadful as it was at Fort Hood, but sometimes the cost is a level of criminality less horrific but disturbing all the same.
Witness the case of Bernice Abram, a captain with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The Los Angeles Times has reported that since April of last year, Capt. Abram has been on paid administrative leave after being caught in a sting that revealed her relationship with Dion Grim, a suspected drug dealer.
According to the Times, a Sheriff’s Department detective was listening to wiretapped phone calls Grim had made when he recognized Capt. Abram’s voice on the line. In the ensuing sting, Capt. Abram was advised of a purported drug investigation being conducted near Grim’s home. Minutes later, as investigators listened in, Abram phoned Grim and warned him about the operation. She was immediately placed on paid leave, as was her niece, a civilian jail employee, who is accused of illegally accessing law enforcement databases on behalf of Grim.
Together, Abram and her niece have collected about $300,000 in salary since being put on leave, says the Times.
The Times took care to note that Abram was a “respected captain with more than 150 deputies under her command.” To that characterization a question must be raised: respected by whom? Concerns about Abram’s relationship with Grim had arisen long before she was ensnared in the sting. Indeed, she had made no secret of her willingness to help Grim get through previous brushes with the law, going so far as to order him released from custody after he was arrested on a drug charge, and securing the release of his car from the impound lot without his having to pay the customary fees. Abram even picked Grim up from jail herself. She also used her position to fix traffic tickets issued to Grim and his sister.
It is inconceivable that Abram’s conduct wasn’t widely known among the rank and file deputies, both at her own station and at the one near where Grim lived. It is also inconceivable that word of her questionable ties to Grim did not reach people above her in the chain of command, people who in theory should have been able to correct her behavior.
So why did it take such a flagrant act of subverting her own department’s objectives before action was taken against her? Everyone knows the answer to that: Abram was given a pass because she is a black female working in an organization that values “diversity” more than competence, and even, to at least some extent, more than adherence to the law.
Just as Major Hasan’s superiors in the Army turned a blind eye to his descent into jihadism lest they be branded as intolerant, Capt. Abram’s superiors in the Sheriff’s Department were content to ignore her relationship with a criminal for fear of stirring the wrath of this or that group of racial grievance-mongers. That she so boldly interfered with the prosecution of criminal cases against her friend the drug dealer, even to the point of asking others in the Sheriff’s Department to act on her behalf, is an indication of the freedom she felt in flouting the law and the Sheriff’s Department’s regulations. She knew no one would dare touch her.
Lest my friends in the Sheriff’s Department accuse me of picking on them, my own Los Angeles Police Department is not immune to Major Hasan Syndrome.
Back in 2002, the Los Angeles Times reported that Maurice Moore, a black LAPD deputy chief, was for at least seven years laundering money for his drug trafficker son, who orchestrated the scheme from inside federal prison. Just as disturbing, the FBI informed then-LAPD Chief Bernard Parks about their suspicions as to Moore’s involvement in the criminal enterprise. Parks, who is also black, declined to take any action against his subordinate. Moore was allowed to retire without facing any departmental charges, and the statute of limitations precluded prosecution on most of the allegations against him.
Mr. Parks was denied a second term as police chief in 2002. But today, he serves on the L.A. city council.
“I don't understand why this [investigation] was managed the way it was,” wrote Thomas Lorenzen, at the time an LAPD commander who wrote the department’s report on the Moore case. “If it would have been your average police officer, it would have been utterly different.”
Indeed it would have, as can be said of any number of incidents involving high-ranking officers whose ability to check this or that box on the diversity paperwork has saved them from demotion, termination, or prosecution.
Sometimes Major Hasan Syndrome serves to obscure not criminality, but the much, much more commonly observed incompetence. Off the top of my head, I can think of four LAPD captains, all of whom owe their current positions to belonging to one or more “under-represented classes,” and all of whom have performed poorly in every position and at every rank since the day they were hired. Nonetheless, they have continued to earn promotions even after demonstrating monumental malfeasance.
One was the key figure in a lawsuit in which officers were awarded millions of dollars in damages, mostly owing to her mismanagement of the division she commanded. She’s been promoted twice since then. Another, the subject of laudatory news stories chronicling her rise in the LAPD, has so poorly run her current command that crime in that part of town is up almost 20 percent from last year’s levels, by far the largest increase in the city. We can expect her to be promoted to commander any time now.
So we await to hear what will become of Capt. Bernice Abram. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has declined to prosecute her on the grounds that there is insufficient proof that she knew Dion Grim was involved in any crime when she tipped him off to the investigation in his neighborhood. And maybe there isn’t, but the L.A. Times reports that the FBI continues to investigate her, even as she continues to draw her captain’s salary for doing nothing.
Perhaps, like former LAPD Deputy Chief Maurice Moore, she’ll be able to ride out the investigation until the statute of limitations expires, and then quietly retire.
But that’s just a small price to pay for “diversity,” right? And it pales in comparison with the price the Army paid for ignoring Major Hasan’s murderous predilections. But note well the rubbish that came spilling out of the mouths of people we had hoped knew better after the Fort Hood massacre. “Workplace violence,” it was called, as insulting a use of Orwellian language as has ever been seen. But perhaps the most galling was General George Casey, the Army’s top commander, who uttered this timeless gem of politically correct hokum:
Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.
At least Capt. Abram and her accused drug-dealing friend haven’t killed anyone, at least not that we know of. But even if they had, would some hack politician or careerist cop out there say it was merely the price of “diversity” in the Sheriff’s Department? Someone would. You just know someone would.