[Marxism] Watching the Detectives

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Dec 8 03:59:13 MST 2013

Nice girls, not one with a defect
Cellophane shrink-wrapped, so correct
Red dogs under illegal legs
She looks so good that he gets down and begs

She is watching the detectives
Ooh, he’s so cute, she is watching the detectives
When they shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot
They beat him up until the teardrops start
But he can’t be wounded ’cause he’s got no heart

–Elvis Costello,  Watching The Detectives


If Bill Bratton’s record in Los Angeles is any guide, New York will see 
little dramatic reduction in the police tactic of stop-and-frisk but 
improved targeting and community relations will soothe resentment.

New York’s newly named police commissioner presided over a surge of 
stop-and-frisk while running the LA police department but softened the 
political impact by reaching out to black and Latino community leaders.

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who was elected on a promise of curbing the 
controversial tactic, appears to be calculating his appointee will 
finesse but not end it. Critics say the policy in its current form 
unfairly targets young minority men, an accusation which dogged the 
outgoing mayor, Michael Bloomberg.

Bratton, 66, who served as New York’s police commissioner from 1994 to 
1996 before moving to LA, repeated his support for stop-and-frisk in a 
briefing to reporters on Thursday, saying it should be used in correct 
doses, like chemotherapy.

The Guardian, December 7, 2013


The Daily News of Los Angeles
April 30, 2008 Wednesday


By Rachel Uranga Staff Writer

Facing a civilian oversight commission skeptical about LAPD’s 
investigation of racial profiling complaints, Chief William Bratton said 
Tuesday he will launch a wide-ranging review of police practices.

Members of the Los Angeles Police Commission said during their meeting 
Tuesday that they were baffled by internal LAPD findings that no 
officers engaged in racial profiling, despite hundreds of complaints in 

Commissioner John Mack, a longtime civil-rights activist and former head 
of the Urban League, ticked off the complaints, scoffing at 
investigators who cleared hundreds of officers of wrongdoing.

“Racial profiling, 322 allegations and a big fat zero (sustained). 
Discrimination, one sustained. Ethnic remarks, 150 and nine (sustained). 
Gender bias, 18 to 0,” he said.

“This is a great police department, great leadership, but in my opinion 
there is no perfect institution, and I just find it baffling that we 
have zeroes in these categories.”

In response, Bratton said he will conduct a national survey of the 
practices and outcomes of other big-city departments. He also will ask 
federal monitors who oversee the LAPD’s consent decree — which came 
about because of the Rampart corruption scandal — and other inspector 
generals for protocols on how to handle allegations of racial profiling.

“I am not seeing anything here that is much different than I see in the 
rest of American policing,” he told the commission.

“This is not a racist department, not a homophobic department, not a 
brutal department, it’s not a corrupt department,” he said after the 
meeting. “Does it have some officers that may be some of those things? 
Possibly. Quite likely, though we work very hard to find them if we can. 
However, their numbers are very small, if they do exist.”

Bratton also defended the department’s findings, saying his study will 
show the results are accurate.

“It is a state-of-mind issue,” he said. “It is something that is being 
taken seriously by (the commission) and the department, but there may 
not be any common ground on this issue.”

The remarks come as the department’s own complaint system is under heavy 
scrutiny by civil- and immigrant-rights groups who say it needs to come 
under civilian oversight.

In February, the Inspector General’s Office found that in half of the 60 
cases it examined, the LAPD failed to properly investigate complaints of 
serious police misconduct. In some cases, investigators ignored key 
witnesses and inaccurately reported statements.

“For key complaints — discrimination and racial profiling, excessive 
force — the number of sustained complaints remain implausibly low for a 
department of this size,” Peter Bibring, an attorney for the American 
Civil Liberties Union, told the commission. “The picture painted is of a 
broken complaint system that the public cannot be asked to place trust in.”

The department has not in recent memory confirmed an allegation of 
racial profiling against an officer. A confirmation can lead to anything 
from an admonition to termination, said Cmdr. Rick Webb, head of 
Internal Affairs.

Under the consent decree imposed more than seven years ago, the LAPD had 
been forced to monitor traffic stops. Though 2006 findings found more 
Latino and African-Americans were searched or asked to get out of their 
cars, the results were inconclusive.

Last September, the department revamped how it determines if an officer 
targeted someone because of their race or ethnicity. Investigators must 
now ask officers if they knew the race of the person before the stop, 
what the basis of the stop was and other factors, including lighting 
that helps determine the context of the encounter and an officer’s state 
of mind.

“We take it very seriously,” Webb said. “We investigate these seriously.”

This year, the Police Commission approved in-car video cameras to 
monitor officers in South Bureau, and the department expects to expand 
the program.

On Monday, eight civil- and immigrant-rights groups called on the 
department to turn over complaint investigations to civilians.

In a letter to the commission, the group, including the ACLU, the 
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and the Korean 
Resource Center, argued that a civilian process would ensure complaints 
are fully investigated.

“People only trust their police department if they believe the police 
department takes problem conduct seriously,” the group wrote in the 
letter. “This does not appear to be happening.”

Tim Sands, head of the Los Angeles Police Department’s union 
representing more than 9,000 officers, sharply disagreed and blasted 
Mack and Commissioner Robert Saltzman, who also expressed skepticism of 
the LAPD’s complaint process.

“It’s a circular type of logic that two commissioners believe that just 
because a complaint is made against an officer, that an officer has to 
be convicted of doing it,” he said. “They are taking the attitude that 
they are guilty before proven innocent. I am disappointed.”

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