Murder in Los Angeles

By Larry Elder

Los Angeles, with a body count of 612 as of Nov. 25, 2002, now owns the dubious distinction of murder capital of America.

As always with crime, reasons remain complex. But let us salute the victicrat leadership of Los Angeles for its part. During the 1992 Los Angeles riots, for example, Congresswoman Maxine Waters provided aid and comfort to the rioters by bellowing, “No justice, no peace.”

Recently, a white police officer in the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood slammed a black teen-ager against a squad car, and later punched the youth. The cop claimed that the young man grabbed his genitals, and that the teen-ager earlier resisted arrest. Before any investigation and without one minute of testimony, Congresswoman Waters stirred the pot and declared the incident racially motivated.

A recent LAPD police corruption-abuse scandal resulted in the indictment of nine officers. Of the nine charged, one is awaiting trial, one was found not guilty, and seven were convicted. In response to civilian complaints about the police, then-LAPD Chief Bernard Parks reformed the complaint procedure, encouraging the department to investigate every allegation of abuse, no matter how trivial or suspect. As a result, officers became less proactive, more passive. Arrests declined. Morale crashed. And, predictably, crime went up. Attacks on police officers, according to Time magazine, increased 35.5 percent; witness intimidation up 50 percent; and felony assault by gangsters up 9.7 percent.

The result? Time magazine reports that the bad guys know the Los Angeles cops no longer police “proactively”: “A black-and-white [police car] comes into view, doing a slow lap around four or five blocks, up Pico [a gang-infested area], across Mariposa, down and back around. Then it leaves. The Playboys [a gang, one of whose members sits atop a roof on a building with a rifle] laugh at the departing cops. Two years ago, CRASH (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) teams were all over them, jumping out of their patrol cars to search them for weapons and drugs, getting them to pull up their shirts to show their tattoos, pumping them for information about shootings. These days the cops barely engage.”

About the uptick in crime, black “leaders” send morally mixed, politically correct messages. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times, for example, interviewed black Reverend M. Andrew Robinson-Gaither of Faith United Methodist Church, “When I come home late at night, I don’t get out of my car until there are no vehicles moving on the street.” Yet Robinson-Gaither prospectively criticized the cops’ crackdown on gang members, “I’m projecting you will see massive violations of civil rights, which will alienate people.” On “The O’Reilly Factor,” defense attorney Johnnie Cochran denounced “over policing.” (Yet, when representing Reginald Denny, the white trucker beaten during the L.A. riots, Cochran sued the police for failing to increase its presence.)

The morally conflicted “leaders” suggest the following formula – either high crime, but with police respect of civilians, or low crime and police brutality. Either-or. But this is no longer your father’s police department. In L.A., for example, two of the last three police chiefs were black. Women and minorities comprise 50 percent of the street cops.

Perhaps the reverend might benefit from a chat with Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose, introduced to the nation during the D.C. sniper shootings. In a recent television profile, Chief Moose said he wanted to become a defense attorney, and thought by joining the police department he could gain inside information on police misconduct. “Because, as an African-American male in America in 1975,” said Moose, “I really didn’t like the police. I was pretty sure the police made up the things that they did so that they could be mean and – to African-Americans in particular.” But once inside, Moose discovered that most cops performed professionally and found allegations of racism overblown. He stayed in law enforcement.

Columnist Heather MacDonald conducted cross-country interviews with black police officers, “The sum total of these pressures is a police force fighting with one hand tied behind its back, according to many black police officers, contrary to black activists who incessantly portray police forces as out of control. Black cops, no less than white cops, support assertive policing. ‘If they let cops be aggressive, (said a black police officer) and do the job, we’d get a handle on it.'”

Having helped defang the police, Congresswoman Waters offers this “solution.” “I really want young people to stay off the streets right now,” says Waters. “I want them to stay home. I want them not to hang out in numbers. We’ve got to cool out and we’ve got to slow down the confrontation and retaliations that are going on, so we need a time out.”

Oh, “cool out” during a “time out.” That’s leadership?