[Posted by Jack Dunphy.]
On the first Saturday of every June, LAPD officers gather at Dockweiler Beach for the annual Police Memorial Run, held to honor officers who have given up their lives in the line of duty. At last year’s event, Officer Kristina Ripatti participated in the relay race and joined her coworkers for a barbecue before heading off to work at Southwest Division. That night, she and her partner Joe Meyer went in foot pursuit of a man who, unknown to them, had just robbed a gas station across the street from the police station. The man pulled a gun and shot Ripatti, paralyzing her from the chest down. Meyer shot and killed the suspect on the spot.
At this year’s event, Ripatti covered most of the running course in her wheelchair, but then, in one of the most remarkable displays of strength and determination I’ve ever witnessed, used a walker to cross the last fifty feet to the finish line.
At a time when the local media remain focused to the point of obsession on the MacArthur Park melee, it’s important to remember the risks cops willingly face every day they put on the uniform. One hears a lot of talk about the “LAPD culture” and its supposed role in what happened at MacArthur Park, but the department’s true culture was on display Saturday morning at Dockweiler Beach, most notably in the person of Kristina Ripatti. There just weren’t any reporters there to tell you about it.
— Jack Dunphy
Jan Crawford Greenburg looks at the White House’s picks for a possible Supreme Court vacancy. Dream on, Bush. I predict nobody is retiring.
It’s a bloodbath at the L.A. Times.
Yesterday was departure day for “57 reporters, editors, columnists and photographers” in one day. A partial list of casualties is here.
Regular readers know that while I despise this paper, I take no joy in watching people leave their jobs — and in this case, the paper is losing some of its best people (as well as some others whom I have harshly criticized in the past).
Topping the category of folks I’ll personally miss is Bob Sipchen, who edited my Outside the Tent op-ed pieces for The Times and is a man of great integrity and intelligence. I interviewed Bob in this post. I wish him the best of luck at his new position at Sierra Magazine.
I’ll also miss Roy Rivenburg, long a token sensible voice at the paper.
Also leaving the paper is Sacramento reporter Robert Salladay, who has an excellent reputation within the news media for his reporting.
Also taking the buyout is Rone Tempest, with whom I had a conflict over a misleading story he did on the cost of the death penalty. I was disappointed with his defensive response. Solomon Moore is also leaving. He wrote the story about the airstrike in Ramadi that turned out to be miles away in open fields. He later backed away from aspects of his original claim (such as the claim of 15 “pulverized” houses), after I noted that these claims were inconsistent with other reports.
This paper is slowly dying in front of our eyes. This is just the latest wound.