[Posted by Jack Dunphy.]
Rank-and-file officers on the LAPD certainly have their reasons for being disappointed with Chief William Bratton. I have expressed some of those reasons in my columns on National Review Online, most recently here. But disappointed as we might be with Bratton, you’d have a hard time finding anyone on the department lamenting the fact that L.A. city councilman Bernard Parks was ousted from the job.
So it’s laughable to see Parks insinuating, as he did at a recent city council meeting, that the LAPD would be in better shape today if he had been retained as chief. During a discussion of the LAPD’s handling of the May Day protest at MacArthur Park, Parks played a video supplied by “community members” that portrayed the May Day melee as merely the latest in a series of abuses committed by LAPD officers during Bratton’s tenure. Among these were the videotaped arrests of Stanley Miller, who was struck with a flashlight after fleeing from a stolen car, and William Cardenas, who was punched in the face by officers attempting to arrest him for a felony warrant. For Parks to suggest that these incidents would not have occurred had he been in command of the LAPD is beyond absurd.
But, on second thought, maybe not so absurd after all, but not for the reasons Parks would wish. Under Parks’s autocratic stewardship, morale in the LAPD was abysmal. Officers were leaving the department in droves, far outpacing recruiting efforts. So perhaps it’s true that those controversial arrests would not have occurred, but only because there wouldn’t have been any cops left to make them.
William Bratton could do better, but even on his worst day he’s a better chief than Parks was on his best.