It would be impulsive of the Los Angeles Police Commission to move forward with a vote on Tuesday on the reappointment of Chief Charlie Beck. At the very least the Commission should push back the vote until August 19—and they can if they want to.
Chief Beck submitted his application for a second term to the Commission on May 15. That means that technically, the last day the Commission can vote affirmatively or negatively on the application is August 19, not August 12 as they would have us believe.
What’s the big rush?
Given all that’s happened in the last week including My Little Ponygate where the Chief has since admitted signing off on the purchase of his daughter’s horse to be used in same unit she’s assigned to and the various investigations into serious allegations of misconduct, it seems odd that the agency tasked with being a civilian watch dog over the LAPD wants to look the other way and move forward with a vote.
Let me put it to you like this, when a suspect is arrested and brought to court for an arraignment the judge does not render a verdict right then and there. No, there’s a process that must be exhausted which often times includes witness testimony and evidence to consider before a verdict of guilty or innocence can be leveled.
But that’s essentially what the Police Commission is attempting to do—render a verdict without considering all of the evidence before them.
Transparency is a word that’s tossed around a lot in politics. It’s used ad nauseum by elected officials who want your vote, by our police chief who wants our trust, and as the main reason that the police commission exists.
But transparency is more than a buzzword, it is the checks and balances needed for any kind of trust.
In politics a lot of what happens is based on what it looks like verses what it really is and right now it looks like the Police Commission has already decided that come hell or high water, they’re going to reappointment Chief Beck on Tuesday.
The Police Commission’s willingness to move forward with such a serious decision seemingly without even considering the outcome of their current probes into misconduct involving Chief Beck shows all Angelenos just how political the position of chief of police has become.
Public support of the Chief is almost always accompanied by the phrases “crime is down” and “the public trust in the LAPD is up.” For the sake of disclosure I was a huge supporter of Chief Beck that is until I begrudgingly pulled back the curtain.
And even though I’ve been told to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, it is what it is and I saw what I saw.
From “cooking the books” on crime stats, to the blatant favoritism of racist police officers who are connected, the unwillingness to investigate the missing antennas ironically that are supposed to aide in the Department’s own transparency goals, to the almost deafening collective cries of the rank-and-file on matters of discipline, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that something is not right.
I am just as concerned about the misconduct that takes place out in the public as I am with the misconduct behind closed doors.
The bottom line is that the Police Commission owes Angelenos a complete and thorough investigation into any current misconduct allegations involving Chief Beck before an up or down vote is taken. And even if the Commission doesn’t agree, they can at least give off the appearance that they care about what Mr. and Ms. Civilian think by pushing back the vote. Like I said earlier, sometimes—no make that most times in politics it’s not about what it is but more so what it looks like. Right now it looks like the Commission is either in cahoots with the Chief or just doesn’t care., of which neither are a good look.