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).
They say when you see something, say something.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck wants you to believe that after viewing the video he doesn’t want you to see of his officers beating, punching, and stomping 22-year-old Clinton Alford in South Los Angeles, that he was deeply concerned. In fact, he was so concerned that nine days after the incident happened and after the LAPD had time to swoop in and seize the raw footage of the beating, that he personally called Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to express his desire for her office to investigate the incident and to file criminal charges.
This is what I like to call convenient integrity.
In order to deflect criticism of the department, but really his leadership, Chief Beck is now attempting to align himself, using the media, with an America that’s outraged and disgusted with all of the numerous cases of police brutality happening from coast to coast.
It wasn’t that long ago that Chief Beck had the audacity to speak on the South Carolina police officer who fatally shot and killed Walter Scott and the video footage that captured the awful incident.
Beck said the video footage showed 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.”
But remember. This is the same police chief that can’t ever open his mouth in a timely manner to speak intelligently on the numerous officer-involved-shootings and blatant cases of police brutality that take place on his watch and in his own backyard. But when it’s convenient, as in, this incident happened in another police department in another state, he decided to slither on into the news cycle with his two cents. Some of us saw it for exactly what it was.
Anybody with a pulse and who pays any attention at all to the shenanigans of those on the 10th floor of LAPDHQs knows that come rain or come shine, Chief Beck’s standard and consistent statements about anything controversial involving any of his officers has always been something to the tune of not being able to comment on it until the investigation is concluded. Always!
When a camera inside of a LAPD patrol vehicle showed 19-year department veteran Southeast Division Officer Mary O’Callaghan kicking 35-year-old Alesia Thomas in the stomach and groin before she eventually died, Chief Beck wanted us to wait to until the conclusion of the investigation before rushing to judgment.
When two LAPD officers from the Foothill Division were caught on tape slamming a handcuffed 34-year-old Michelle Jordan down to the ground not once but twice, Chief Charlie Beck was concerned but wanted to fully investigate the situation.
When 25-year-old Ezell Ford was shot and killed by Newton Division officers, while begging for witnesses to come forward, Chief Beck repeatedly cautioned angry and fed up Angelenos to wait until the conclusion of the investigation.
But apparently, if I am to believe Beck’s most recent comments (which I don’t), it’s a new day up on the 10th floor and depending on your position that can be a good thing or a bad thing.
If you’re one of the rank-and-file men and women who serve in the LAPD, you might want to have a conversation with your League representatives sooner than later. Because it’s clear to me anyway, that in order to save his own ass and whether you’re innocent or guilty, Beck will throw you under the bus in his attempt to jump on the bandwagon with other police chiefs who have actually taken swift action in the face of something so undeniably egregious. Investigation concluded or not.
It looks and sounds a lot like this: “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. 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.”
If you’re a civilian under the watchful eye of the LAPD you need to be concerned about Beck’s about-face because if he was sincere, it wouldn’t only be a concern to him when the video is public or about to be public but when he first sees the video. Remember, this man waited nine days to come clean about the Alford beating and he only did so once it was clear the news had been leaked outside of the department. He had that video in his possession according to court documents on Oct. 17. The beating was Oct. 16. The “concern” was announced on Oct. 24.
I feel the same way good cops do about bad cops. Good cops know that bad cops make all of them look bad. They want to see them gone just as much as the folks protesting them do. But I despise even more anybody who would use the tragic deaths of people at the hands of the police to pass themselves off to the public as being concerned in an attempt to ward off attention and criticism of their own failed leadership. That’s what I call pathetic and being opportunistic and makes Chief Beck no better than the ambulance chasing attorneys and news van chasing activists he himself seems to despise so much.