[Marxism] British government turns to "progressive" American cop

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Aug 13 07:06:29 MDT 2011


The New York Times August 12, 2011
Britain Turns to Former New York and Los Angeles Police Official for Help

By AL BAKER

William J. Bratton, who was heralded as a crime-fighter after taming New 
York City’s rampant violence in the mid-1990s, has now been summoned to 
London to help salvage a British police force that has been bruised and 
maligned following days of rioting, deaths and arson fires.

In an interview on Friday, Mr. Bratton said Prime Minister David Cameron 
called him hours earlier to discuss working as a consultant on a 
policing strategy to respond to the violence that convulsed London and 
several other cities and that the police there had struggled to contain.

While the details of Mr. Bratton’s role, including what kind of 
authority he would have, are just beginning to be negotiated, Mr. 
Bratton offered an overview of the kind of tactics that might be 
employed to quell any further unrest and to rebuild the police force’s 
reputation, which has been badly damaged in the wake of the newspaper 
scandal over the hacking of cellphone messages.

A focus of Mr. Cameron’s interest in him, Mr. Bratton said, is 
addressing how to take aim at the street gangs that law enforcement 
officials and others believe are playing a critical role in fomenting or 
engaging in the violence that began in north London a week ago and has 
led to hundreds of arrests and several deaths.

“What they are looking for, from me, is the idea of, what has been the 
American experience in dealing with the gang problem and, what has 
worked for us and not worked for us and how that can be applied,” Mr. 
Bratton said.

Mr. Bratton, a leading figure in urban crime-fighting tactics, is an 
advocate of so-called community policing, an approach grounded in the 
idea of flooding streets with officers who are immersed in people’s 
daily lives rather than using them simply to react or respond to 
specific events.

“You can’t just arrest your way out of the problem,” he said. “It’s 
going to require a lot of intervention and prevention strategies and 
techniques.”

---

New York Times August 12, 2011
In Los Angeles, a Police Force Transformed
By ADAM NAGOURNEY

LOS ANGELES — It had all the makings of another turbulent moment for the 
Los Angeles Police Department, an agency once notorious for an “L.A. 
Confidential” style of heavy-handed policing, hostile relations with 
minorities and corruption. Two months after triumphantly announcing the 
arrest of a suspect in a brutal beating at Dodger Stadium, the police 
admitted that they had arrested the wrong man, and charged two other 
people with the crime.

But unlike other potentially explosive episodes that have rocked this 
department over the decades, there were no indignant denials or attacks 
on critics. Instead, the police chief, Charlie Beck, wrote an op-ed 
article in The Los Angeles Times explaining what had gone wrong and 
expressing regret at some of his own public comments. “We can do much 
better,” Chief Beck wrote.

The moment reflected what has been a revolution for the police 
department that was once the model for Sgt. Joe Friday and “Dragnet.” 
Twenty years after the police beating of Rodney King was caught on 
videotape, and 10 years after the Justice Department imposed a consent 
decree to battle pervasive corruption in the Rampart Division, this has 
become a department transformed, offering itself up — in a way that not 
so many years ago would have been unthinkable — as a model police agency 
for the United States.

“It’s been an amazing transformation,” said John W. Mack, a former head 
of the Urban League who is the president of the Police Commission, the 
civilian board that oversees the force. “The L.A.P.D. of today is very, 
very different than 10, 12 years ago, when I was one of the people who 
was constantly battling them.”

---

http://www2.pslweb.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle

Community outrage grows with latest LAPD murder
Thursday, September 1, 2005
By: Carlos Alvarez

A 19-month-old victim
Lorena López, mother of Suzie Marie Peña

On July 10, 19-month-old Suzie Marie Peña was shot in the head after a 
nearly three-hour standoff between her father, José Raul Peña, and the 
notorious Los Angeles Police Department. The incident was caught by nine 
cameras recording a total of 27 hours of footage. Supposedly, none of 
this footage documented the murders of the little girl or her father.

Jose Peña had picked up his daughter from her mother’s home that morning 
to take her to his car dealership, in what Lorena López, Suzie’s mother, 
called “a daily routine.” A few minutes later, Lorena heard gunshots and 
ran to the car lot. She cried out to the cops on the scene, “Don’t 
shoot, my baby’s there, my baby, my baby, my baby.”

Her cries, echoed countless times in other Los Angeles oppressed 
communities, were ignored.

Peña held his daughter in one hand and exchanged fire with the cops with 
the other. The LAPD called the incident a “hostage situation,” but no 
negotiator was called. Instead, five officers stormed the office where 
José and Suzie were located. Eleven officers opened fire, leaving one 
police officer injured and both the father and his daughter dead.

Immediately, cops and the media tried to portray the police as victims 
and to vilify the father. Renowned racist Police Chief William Bratton 
referred to José as “a cold-blooded killer,” despite autopsy results 
proving that the bullet that went through Suzie’s head was shot from a 
cop’s gun. Bratton described the actions of the cops as “their lawful duty.”

Newly elected Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, touted by some as a 
progressive, also attempted to validate the actions of the police. “Not 
a one of them went into that situation with the intent to hurt anyone,” 
he said.

Lorena Peña, Suzie’s mother, responded after the shooting by saying, “I 
don’t want an apology. I want justice.”

Smoke-screen investigations into the killing are on their way. But these 
investigations, like the many others over the years that have either 
exonerated the murderous cops completely or covered them up as “isolated 
incidents,” cover up the evident roles of the police in maintaining the 
exploitative conditions that exist in oppressed minority communities 
nationwide. Police brutality is an aspect of the daily struggle for 
Black, Latino and other oppressed nationalities across the country.
Bill Hackwell

Suzie Peña is a new name in a never-ending list of individuals killed or 
abused by the Los Angeles-area police. The list over the past few years 
is staggering. Margaret Mitchell, a 105-pound, 54-year-old African 
American homeless woman, was shot by a cop in 1999 after she allegedly 
waved a screwdriver at him. Months earlier, in December 1998, four 
Riverside, Calif. cops unloaded 23 bullets into 19-year-old Tyisha 
Miller, hitting her 12 times and killing her.

More recently, in June 2004, Stanley Miller, an unarmed 36-year-old 
Black man, was kicked while on the floor and hit repeatedly in the head 
with a metal flashlight. In February 2005, an LAPD officer shot 10 
bullets into the back of 13-year-old Devin Brown in South Los Angeles, 
killing him instantly. Just three months later, sheriff’s deputies 
unleashed more than 120 bullets in a Compton neighborhood as they 
pursued Winston Hayes, an innocent Black man they claimed was involved 
in a crime. Hayes was hit with four bullets.

Killing sparks protests

Despite the propaganda campaign against José Peña, the South Central Los 
Angeles community mobilized in outrage. Two days after Suzie’s murder, 
protestors started to gather at the car dealership where they were both 
killed.

In the days that followed, the number of demonstrators increased. 
Hundreds were soon on the historic streets of Watts, militantly showing 
their readiness to confront the cops. Face to face with their 
oppressors, they vented their frustrations at the cops.

The LAPD was fearful that the protests would spark a mass rebellion like 
the one following the acquittal of cops who beat Black motorist Rodney 
King in 1992. At every night’s protest, hundreds of cops surrounded the 
demonstrators in a synchronized show of force. African American and 
Latino youth made up a vast majority of the protestors, a show of unity 
that discredited attempts at dividing the communities with overblown 
stories of racial tensions.

Demonstrators were quick to draw parallels between the racist cop 
killings and the war in Iraq. “The government says that it’s sending 
U.S. soldiers to fight terrorists over there, but we are facing police 
terrorism right here,” was a typical comment made by speakers at the 
demonstration.

The LAPD is conducting an inquiry into Suzie’s killing. But given the 
LAPD’s history of exonerating every murder and beating by the police, 
many community members fear that the inquiry will be another whitewash 
designed to justify the continued reign of violence.

Suzie Marie Peña and her father are two more victims in the list of 
thousands who have been killed by racist police violence. But the 
individual acts of violence by the cops and the state they serve become 
added fuel for future rebellions against racist oppression.

The Harlem rebellion in 1964, the Watts uprising in 1965, the Los 
Angeles uprising in 1992 and many others were sparked by individual acts 
of violence that exploded in mass rebellion against the hundreds of 
indignities and violence that is part of daily life in the oppressed 
communities across the United States.




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