Police’s actions at rally justified; Bratton’s aren’t

first_imgLos Angeles Police Chief William Bratton should definitely be replaced — but only because L.A. needs a top cop who won’t wimp out when it comes to defending the officers who justifiably cleared the illegal protesters out of MacArthur Park on May 1. Although protesters were permitted to stay at the park until 9 p.m. that evening, they forfeited that right by throwing rocks and plastic bottles at police officers. The LAPD then issued a legal dispersal order, which the protesters ignored, some violently. When protesters are assembled illegally, when they threaten public order, assault the police and refuse repeated requests to cease and desist, they leave law enforcement no choice but to forcibly remove them. That is what the Los Angles Police Department did on May 1, and with commendable restraint. As far as the minimal roughing-up received by some participants and journalists, that was strictly the result of their personal choice to repeatedly defy the law. Having a camera or a microphone is no license to refuse to cooperate when law enforcement is trying to restore law and order. To label as “brutality” such a minimal, restrained, and justified police action is ludicrous. So why, then, did Chief Bratton apologize for the action? What happened to the tough New York transplant whom most law-abiding Angelenos were counting on to bring back law and order when he was hired five years ago? He wasn’t here last week. Maybe it’s because Bratton is up for reappointment, and he doesn’t want to risk offending anybody — even if that means not speaking the truth or sticking up for the men and women under his command. So Bratton produced the obligatory, humiliating apology. He expressed “grave concern” over his officers’ conduct, calling it “inappropriate.” And he criticized the cops’ use of foam bullets to quell the crowd, saying, “Two hundred and forty rounds with no arrests is of grave concern to me.” All this for what, by all appearances, was an entirely justified and needed police action. Bratton has played his last card, and he needs to be replaced, all right. Because he obviously wants the chief’s job too badly to stand up and speak honestly about why Los Angeles can’t get a handle on its primary law enforcement problems. This is a problem that started well before May 1. Bratton has, for years, refused to speak out against a city government that condones the illegal immigration that’s destroying L.A.’s future. He has, for years, refused to speak out against a City Council that first directs him to beautify the Skid Row area, and then refuses to support his attempts to remove the unrepentant, hard-core addicts and criminals who don’t want to be rehabilitated, and who populate the area. He has, for years, refused to denounce the inept leadership of the Los Angeles Unified School District, which is unable to control its 700,000 students, and then blames a lack of law enforcement for the violent and lawless meltdowns occurring on most campuses. Worst of all, Bratton has refused to speak out against Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s dangerous inability to develop an effective gang-prevention plan. Los Angeles’ worst nightmare is fighting to unleash itself on the city. The apocalypse-waiting-to-happen is L.A.’s toxic mixture of 150,000 gang members, tens of thousands of returning prison parolees, streets flowing with weapons and drugs, a limitless influx of illegal-immigrant young males, a high-school dropout rate of 50 percent, and worldwide terrorist operations flush with cash and anti-American sentiment. The Thin Blue Line is all that stands between us and this nightmare, and that line is being steadily erased by an unopposed handful of dissidents. If L.A. is to have a future, it must start with fair, but very tough law enforcement. That requires a chief who’s willing to demand support from the mayor and the City Council. Chief Bratton could have been L.A.’s Braveheart — the strong, inspiring, stand-up law enforcement leader we sorely need. But he gave up on that effort to try and get job longevity. Ironically, he’ll probably end up with neither one.— Paul D. White is the co-founder of West Valley Leadership Academy in Canoga Park and the author of “White’s Rules: Saving Our Youth One Kid at a Time.” Write to him by e-mail at [email protected]last_img

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