Dissecting the LAPD’s Transparency and Accountability on the Clinton Alford Case

We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).

 

After receiving several pictures of a scantily clad member of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Command Staff in compromising sexual positions, I thought it best to further clarify what it is I mean when I say that I am looking for transparency and accountability from the Los Angeles Police Department. So let’s have us a little post game analysis on the Clinton Alford case to date.

To begin with, there is nothing Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck can tell me about transparency and accountability that I would believe.

Wait—I take that back.

The only thing Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck can tell me about transparency and accountability is that he is neither transparent nor held accountable. Other than that, I’m not trying to hear it.

Five members of the LAPD were involved in the Oct. 16 beating of 22-year-old Clinton Alford on 55th Street near Avalon Blvd. They were involved as actual participants in the ass whooping or witnesses to said ass whopping.

When word started to leak outside of the department about the incident, and it did, somebody on the 10th floor came up with the great idea to issue a press release that was so vague they might as well have said nothing.

In the release Chief Beck said that he was “extremely concerned about this particular use of force.”

See now this is why it’s hard for me to take Chief Beck seriously.

Because memories are short, let me remind you that it was nine days after the incident before the department issued its cryptic press release.

Concern causes you to act immediately, not over a week later and not because you know the info has been leaked to the media.

This is where I get to go back to that part about Beck saying what he would have done in the South Carolina Walter Scott shooting and say no…you wouldn’t.

And I quote: “Based on what I have seen, based on the video … it is a criminal act. It is well beyond any policies of the Los Angeles Police Department, and I would have done exactly what the chief in Charleston did. I would have arrested the officer,” Beck said.

It took nine days for the department to issue a statement on an incident they had on video less than 24 hours after it happened.

It took North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers four days to fire the police officer that killed Walter Scott. Four days! And I’ll add only three days for that same officer to be charged with murder.

Now granted the rules are bit different in South Carolina as to the firing of cops verses here in sunny California but you get my point—there was video, Chief Beck had it and took no action whatsoever until he absolutely had to.

“Let me be very clear. Any officer that is found to abuse the public is not welcome in this department, and we will apply whatever legal or administrative means necessary to insure the community’s trust without exception,” Beck was quoted saying after news of the Alford beating broke.

That beating, as heinous and unwarranted as it was, was caught on video.

That video was seized by the LAPD on Oct. 17 from a private business owner in the area.

And low and behold, miraculously the criminal charges of possession of rock cocaine for sale, battery on an officer, and obstruction of justice against Mr. Alford just up and disappeared.

Did you ever wonder why that happened? My guess is to avoid having that video that was commandeered by the LAPD of the Alford beating entered into evidence. But that’s just my guess.

So now charges have been brought against one of the officers involved, assault under color of authority and dagnabit, it looks like Chief Beck’s quote writer has managed to regurgitate his Walter Scott quote and make it newsworthy again.

Beck said today he believes the officer charged with using excessive force during the Alford arrest committed a “criminal act,” and he personally urged the district attorney to file charges.

The chief said he “contacted personally the district attorney and expressed my desire for her folks to not only look at this case but to file criminal charges.”

That I find hard to believe—that part about personally urging District Attorney Jackie Lacey to file charges.

As it stands now both the City of Los Angeles via the District Attorney’s office and the LAPD are working in cahoots to keep the raw footage on video confidential and under a protective order. They don’t want you to see it.

The question you need to be asking is why? At this point, those who have seen the video have already graphically detailed what happens to Alford. These accounts have been published and republished in The Los Angeles Times. And while the Alford beating is a personnel issue for the City and department, if they wanted release the video, believe me they could.

This is exactly why there is mistrust and a deep-seated resentment of the police in Los Angeles.

The Alford case is a perfect example of the lack of transparency, candor and accountability that continues to permeate in the upper echelons of the Los Angeles Police Department and must be called out.

So the next time Chief Beck says anything to you about being more transparent and accountable—blah blah blah—you ask him exactly what it is he means. He could be referring to something completely different than what’s in the dictionary under those two words.

Because as of now, Chief Beck says one thing and does another. That’s how it’s been and that’s how it’s going to be as long as he is the chief of police.  He does it with the public and he does it with the rank-and-file of the police department.

I suspect that video is going to be released, but chances are it won’t be because Beck decided to do the right thing.  In the meantime–this is Hollywood, can I get someone to make a reenactment?  I’m just saying.

The Court of Public Opinion

  • cutty sark

    The chief said he “contacted personally the district attorney[the office of the L.A. District Attorney] and expressed my desire for her folks[D.A. Law Enforcement Liason Bob Baker/Ron Ingels] to not only look at this case but to file criminal charges.”

  • guest

    also, what happened with the officers that fired over 100 times at two old ladies delivering papers? Seems like what they did just went away.

  • Fenster

    I’m a white Orthodox Jew in Massachusetts – about as far removed as you can be from your neighborhood. But I have to say this is very good work you’re doing! Keep pushing them. I’m glad I ran across your website. I’m going to keep reading.

    As for North Charleston (or any government) firing someone in four days, I think that’s actually a miracle of government speed and efficiency. They fired someone in four days! Usually it takes months, sometimes years. They must have worked fast, hard and non-stop to get it done in four days, running roughshod over any regulation, union agreement or other hurdle that got in the way. They must have had a whole team working on it. They must have been very, very scared.