Patterico's Pontifications

5/11/2007

LAPD Medal of Valor Awards Ignored by the L.A. Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Jack Dunphy @ 10:31 am

[Posted by Jack Dunphy.]

The Los Angeles Police Department’s annual Medal of Valor luncheon was held Thursday in the ballroom at Hollywood’s Kodak Theater. The Medal of Valor is the department’s highest honor, recognizing bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of police service. Nineteen medals were awarded, including thirteen presented to officers for their role in rescuing more than 80 residents of a burning senior citizens’ home. Officer Kristina Ripatti, who on June 3 of last year was shot and paralyzed by a robbery suspect, was also recognized at the ceremony with a Police Star.

Given the public relations nightmare the LAPD has been living through since the May Day melee at MacArthur Park (see my NRO columns here and here), I was curious to see how the Los Angeles Times would cover the Medal of Valor ceremony. After all, the Times has devoted pages and pages of coverage to the MacArthur Park incident and its aftermath, so one might assume they might, so as to present at least the appearance of objectivity, devote some space to a story about the uncommon bravery displayed by the officers recognized on Thursday.

Wrong.

Maybe I should have smacked a reporter around at the luncheon just to make sure the event was covered, for in Friday’s paper there wasn’t a story, a picture, a blurb, or so much as a single word about the Medal of Valor awards. Now I wonder why I was surprised at this at all.

In light of the LAPD’s troubled recent history, the luncheon made for some interesting theater. Mayor Villaraigosa was in attendance, and when he made his address to the audience he was greeted by polite but markedly tepid applause. As he worked the room during the luncheon service, some of the cops he came upon regarded him as they might a caterpillar that had suddenly appeared on their salad plates.

The reaction to Chief Bratton was much the same, and deservedly so. Prior to the ceremony, cops and other attendees were mingling on the patio outside the ballroom. One of V.I.P. guests was talking with three uniformed cops when Bratton approached. The chief greeted the V.I.P. and kept right on moving as though the three cops were invisible. Sad to say, but the moment was a perfect picture of his leadership style.

15 Responses to “LAPD Medal of Valor Awards Ignored by the L.A. Times”

  1. What has happened to Bratton ? In “Prince of the City,” the best book I’ve seen about Giuliani as NYC mayor, Bratton is depicted as a master of PR and an innovator in police practices. Has he given up and is just collecting his salary ?

    Mike K (6d4fc3)

  2. I certainly hope the LAPD (and other p.d.s) realize that the shameful behavior displayed by the LATs in no way reflects public sentiment. Most citizens are and always have been extremely grateful for all police officers charged to protect and serve. That the LATs is so pathetic in their myopic ignorance gives further evidence as to why their readership continually declines. Why they don’t get a clue is beyond me.

    Dana (b4a26c)

  3. I could make that city safe for old ladies, with a battalion of marines. We would need some loose ROE…

    TCO (756e41)

  4. Several pundits (Tammy Bruce is one) have said recently that Bratton intends to run for mayor. If this is true, I guess that would explain a lot…

    Susan R (2eacd7)

  5. TCO… Would “fire at will” work? :)

    Scott Jacobs (feb2f7)

  6. Like most chiefs of police, Bratton is a political animal. For $300K/year, he keeps LAPD splatter far from Villaraigosa’s shoes. Should we really be “shocked – shocked” that LA politicians can buy morally flexible East Coast cops?

    From what I observed in the “May Day Melee” videos, Metro did not violate policies imposed by the Mayor or his leftist Police Commission. And while I’m not surprised that Bratton would sacrifice good LA cops to protect Villaraigosa, it’s remarkable that Bratton would violate his fiduciary responsiblity to taxpayers and admit that his officers were guilty ONE DAY after the event took place. Real cops collect evidence and investigate – they don’t jump to conclusions unless they fear what an impartial investigation will disclose.

    But like Rodney King, a handful of cops will be accused of doing what police commissioners order them to do, and the usual troop of lawsuit monkeys will shake down taxpayers, kicking back a cut to Villaraigosa and Rocky Delgadillo through the various trial lawyer associations. And if Bratton goes along with it, he’ll get another five years at taxpayer expense. I admit that it’s a great scam.

    Lefties have enjoyed exclusive control in management and hiring within the LAPD since 1992. So in 15 years, or what Robert Parry recently described as two generations of cops, how can it be that lefties still hire and promote so many “bad cops?”

    The answer is that as long as the LAPD is viewed as the dysfunctional organization, LA cops will be too busy defending themselves to investigate the rampant crime and corruption of LA politics.

    I don’t blame Bratton – he is what he is. But until Civil Service protections are restored to LA’s chief of police, it doesn’t matter who’s chief.

    Clark Baker (35519b)

  7. Bratton has been Villaraigosa’s flunky on this one. Villaraigosa declared the cops guilty in his “I know about due process but these guys are guilty” approach; and Bratton was a loyal B noser and followed right along behind. If his contract hadn’t been up for renewal, Bratton might have had the good grace to wait two whole days before doing the “Mini Me” approach, but since it was up for renewal, he fell in line within 24 hours.

    And Clark Baker is right; Bratton is what he is. What the City hired is what they got.

    I however thought he would have been sufficient weaselly politician enough to have at least acknowledged the 3 uniformed officers when he acknowledged the civilian VIP they were talking to.

    Mike Myers (2e43f5)

  8. I’m a SoCal native – there was a time when being a member of the LAPD was a good thing, but for some time now it seems like whoever is he chief of police is either a media whore or a lapdog for the mayor (or a combination of both). It looks like Bratton was hired to keep Mayor V’s honor “clean”, even at the expense of the department.

    It’s a shame to see this happen – there are many people that appreciate the work that those in law enforcement do for us – even at the cost of their lives. To use a military term, Bratton is a “Blue Falcon”, and will throw anyone under the bus to same his and V’s skin.

    TCO – Lock and load, rock and roll!

    fmfnavydoc (affdec)

  9. There will be another Karen Toshima incident, or even another riot.

    And the police will just drive and wave. Can’t blame them.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  10. While I am typically contrarian to the conventional wisdom, the videos of the assaults upon the media in the park betray gross violation of departmental policy. There is no getting around this.

    Bratton has been careful to say that the video he has seen, along with the eye(ear)witness evidence regarding the lack of sufficient (per LAPD policy) dispersal orders, lead him to believe LAPD screwed up.

    If and until a given officer’s due process rights are violated, I will not condemn Bratton for his common sense approach in dealing with the media subsequent to the incident.

    While I agree 100% that the good citizens of L.A. have created regs that leave our finest out on the proverbial limb every damn day, this was not one of those occasions. Uniformed officers assaulted “protected” citizens (the media) who gave no hint of physical threat.

    Ed (cadba5)

  11. Ed… LA cops’ current pickle, like Rodney King and so many others, is not new. The Rodney King defendants were acquitted in 1992 NOT because they hadn’t beaten the crap out of King, but because the Los Angeles Police Commission (Friends of the Mayor) ordered cops to use pain compliance devices (batons, kicks, etc) against anesthetized suspects (PCP, alcohol, cocaine). The use of ANY pain compliance against someone who cannot feel pain is excessive force. Those policies still exist today.

    Yes, like Rodney King, the force used at Mac Park was troubling, but it was Police Commission (Mayoral) policy. Local politicians will scurry to blame cops, lest another Dan Walker (1968)shows up to blame the mayor’s policies for brutality.

    Remember the “Boston Massacre?”

    Like Rodney King, the British troops who fired upon American colonists were acquitted NOT because the excessive force had not occurred, but because those troops had followed King George’s brutal policies. Like the FIRST Rodney King trial, jurors who heard the case were not from Boston. John Adams had feared that the defendants could not get a fair trial, and Adams’ law practice suffered a while after the unpopular acquittals.

    We do things much differently in LA today. The police commission iumposes the Mayor’s orders on cops and, when they follow those orders and embarrass the politicians, the Mayor appoints his lawyer friends (Warren Christopher, Connie Rice, academics and Times reporters) to blame cops for their own ill-conceived policies.

    Clark Baker (35519b)

  12. Clark – if you can prove that any pol ordered the beatdown of the media, I will be the first to demand criminal indictments of said pol.

    While I agree that there may be a lot of grey area regarding the totality of events around this incident, there isn’t a shred of credible evidence to date that excuses the beating administered to the camerapersons. None.

    Bratton is no fool. When he is confronted with self-evident video and audio, he knows better than to fight it.

    Ed (cadba5)

  13. I am glad to see Bratton and Villa(insert name of someone he likes here as he can make up a fantasy latino-hispanic-whatever name – just don’t think it will be ‘Levine’) are firm on principle. That principle is “We will show leadership by firing anyone responsible for this outrage – anyone immediately below our paygrade, that is.”

    Bratton, mayor? Hmmm, and my family thought Shaw was a crappy mayor!

    Californio (d1dffa)

  14. […] ignored an important police-community event (i.e., Guest blogger Jack Dunphy says that the Times did not devote a single word to the event) […]

    BizzyBlog » Couldn’t Help But Notice (051407) (34f45e)

  15. […] and service, scant few of which are deemed worthy of mention in the L.A. Times. As I reported in this post, the editors at the Times couldn’t even find room in their newspaper to cover the LAPD’s Medal […]

    Cops - Where’s your focus? « Something should go here, maybe later. (0de2f5)


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