[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]
In Monday’s Los Angeles Times, columnist Al Martinez wrote in praise of LAPD officer Randy Simmons, who was shot and killed Feb. 7 during an attempted rescue in the San Fernando Valley. But even in praising Simmons, Martinez can’t resist reminding his readers of the low opinion he has held of police officers. He began the column as follows:
In the volatile world of the street, cops haven’t always been the good guys.
They’ve been known to apply brute force as a form of justice in the shadowy confines of downtown alleys and to quell peaceful protests with swinging truncheons.
We’ve seen them get away with videotaped crimes against civilians, and we’ve seen their militaristic units turn into undisciplined mobs.
Instances of racism and sadism once stained cops’ badges, making a mockery of a call to respect and support them when their brothers were killing black people in the South and challenging the right of peaceful assembly in the North.
Apparently, Martinez knows nothing about police officers other than what is printed in his own newspaper.
Randy Simmons was an exemplary police officer and an even more exemplary man, but he had been a cop for 27 years and a youth minister for 11, yet not a word was ever written about him in the Times until he was killed.
Every day, all over Southern California, police officers carry out acts of bravery, compassion, 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 of Valor Awards last May, even as they ran story after story about the May Day melee at MacArthur Park.
Cops don’t object when our misdeeds are covered fairly in the press, but must we wait for one of us to be killed before our accomplishments are recognized?
– Jack Dunphy