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).
This story has been updated.
The shit is really hitting the fan now.
Tuesday’s officer-involved-shooting in Venice that left 29-year-old Brendon Glenn dead is going to be a test of sorts for Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck.
Yesterday at a department press conference Chief Beck put on full display for anyone watching and listening some of that convenient integrity I spoke of before.
Beck said that after seeing video footage of the incident that he was “very concerned” about the shooting, adding that it generally takes “extraordinary circumstances” for police to shoot an unarmed person, and that he was unclear if those circumstances existed in Tuesday night’s shooting.
Just to recap, the last time Chief Beck was “very concerned” after watching a video involving his officers it was the brutal beating of Clinton Alford in South Los Angeles by Newton Division officers.
In that case, according to Beck, his “concern” caused him to personally call Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to ask her office to investigate and press criminal charges.
“I contacted personally the district attorney and expressed my desire for her folks to not only look at this case but to file criminal charges,” Beck told the media. “We have to keep in mind that the ultimate goal is justice here. And we want the justice system to be able to address this use of force, which I believe is a criminal act.”
Prior to that statement, Chief Beck told us that after watching the video of Walter Scott being shot and killed in South Carolina that it was a “criminal act,” and said he also would have arrested the officer.
He then went on to say that “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.”
So let me break this down for you Jasmyne style.
There was no way for Chief Beck to know all of the facts regarding the Scott case. He’s the chief of police here in Los Angeles—not Charleston. Like everyone else, he just saw the video and joined in on the Monday morning quarterbacking—that convenient integrity.
However, Tuesday’s shooting in Venice is a different case.
In this case, Chief Beck has all of the facts. He pretty much told us as much and then some at his news conference. So here’s Beck’s chance to prove his claim that he actually would have done the same thing as the chief in Charleston. Brandon Glen was unarmed and at least according to Chief Beck, there was nothing to warrant his killing on Tuesday.
So then why hasn’t Beck called DA Lacey—or has he?
The plot thickens.
Since becoming chief, Beck has always adhered to the unwritten policy of standing by his men and women. In other words, he protected his officers—even in the face of some of the harshest criticism and some of the most obvious proof of wrongdoing. Let us not forget Shaun Hillmann.
But when police brutality and the killing of unarmed Black people moved from local news to becoming national news, Beck’s ability to withstand the growing chorus of criticism was fading fast and so he got on the bandwagon and started feeding us his brand of convenient integrity. It started with the Walter Scott comments, was followed by calling the DA on Officer Richard Garcia and most recently his comments about the shooting that left Brandon Glenn dead.
So right about now Chief Beck is between a rock and a hard place.
If this is the new and improved Chief Beck, he’s going to have to keep the act up. That means real action and right now, not just a few sound bites to reporters and the interested public.
Beck, by way of his own comments on both the Clinton Alford beating and the Brandon Glen shooting have proven that he does not have to wait until an investigation is over before speaking on a situation.
Basically, he’s set a new precedent and so going forward, he won’t be able to fall back on his usually go to comment about waiting until the conclusion of all investigations before rendering a judgment.
On the other hand, Beck is about to further alienate himself from the department’s rank-and-file if he keeps calling the district attorney (personally) to urge her to investigate and criminally prosecute officers.
I’ll tell you this much.
If you’re one of the two police officers involved in this incident you should definitely have bail money and an attorney on standby. Your chief has already proven once before that to save his ass he’ll sacrifice you in a heartbeat—whether you are in the wrong or right and no matter if the investigation is completed or not.
Someone I admire always says that they are one radio call away each and everyday from being in an officer-involved-shooting. I mean after all—this is Los Angeles.
It’s a fear that I suspect most officers in Los Angeles deal with on a daily basis. And while it used to be that you could at least depend on your chief to save face and stand by you publicly (while he fucks you behind closed doors during the investigation), it appears those days may be long gone.
As for the rest of us—we’re about to find out really quick whether or not Beck was blowing smoke up our asses about how he’d handle certain situations.
The heat is on–tell me can you feel it?
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
It hasn’t even been a week and it looks like Chief Beck and District Attorney Lacey have in fact been talking about the Venice shooting. And I quote from the L.A. Times:
“He said he had also been in contact with Lacey regarding the shooting.”
Now so that we are crystal clear here. Chief Beck did not attend last week’s Pacific Area community town hall meeting on the Brendon Glenn shooting. Instead, the woman who I believe will be the next chief of police, Deputy Chief Bea Girmala, was left to represent the department.
When questioned about why he wasn’t there Beck said:
“If you want to criticize the chief for selecting not to go to this meeting and putting it in the hands of a very capable (deputy) chief who has complete domain over the vast majority of the incidents or the criticisms that were brought to her, then you can criticize me.”
But it gets worse for Beck. The chief also staunchly defended Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for not attending.
“Typically the mayor does not go to these meetings. The prior mayor did not go to these meetings and I recommended to the mayor that he not go to this one, so if there’s criticism then it should be on me. The mayor has been very straightforward about these issues. He has put a great amount of political capital into dealing with homelessness which is at the root of all these things that we’ve been dealing with this.”
Yes, you read right. And yes, you are right to conclude that while the chief of police didn’t defend his own officers but rather threw them under the bus, he had no problem defending the mayor.
But to be fair, Beck does serve at the pleasure of the mayor while officers serve at the pleasure of Beck.
Now for all of the details on the Brendon Glenn shooting, click here.