Patterico's Pontifications


Detective Susan Clemmer, R.I.P.

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 11:19 pm

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

I’ve yet to come across a news report on the suicide of Detective Susan Clemmer that failed to mention her role as a defense witness in the trials of the four LAPD officers accused of beating Rodney King. And I’ve also yet to come across a news report that accurately described her experiences during that time, to wit, the disgraceful manner in which she was treated by LAPD internal affairs investigators and FBI agents.

Clemmer was still a probationary, i.e. a rookie, police officer in March 1991when King was subdued at the end of high-speed pursuit. She did not participate in the arrest itself but rode in an ambulance with King as he was taken to a hospital. She later testified that King appeared to be under the influence of drugs, possibly PCP, and that her fellow officers were genuinely frightened of King during their encounter with him. She testified to these facts despite repeated threats of dire consequences if she refused to provide incriminating testimony against the defendant officers. LAPD investigators and FBI agents took advantage of her youth and inexperience, violating her rights by interviewing her without a lawyer or employee representative, and threatening her with being fired at least and imprisoned at worst if she did not change her story.

She did not change her story. She conducted herself honorably and testified truthfully, but those who knew her at the time saw how the ordeal changed her. She began to experience a series of health problems that continued to trouble her until the very day she took her own life.

Susan Clemmer was a good and honest cop, but more than that she was a dear, sweet soul. She deserved so much more in this life than came her way. May she find it in the next. Rest in peace.

–Jack Dunphy

Update: The comments to this post appear to have gone off the rails, at times to a distasteful degree. The petty, back-and-forth bickering is best left to other topics. The comments are now closed.

–Jack Dunphy

48 Responses to “Detective Susan Clemmer, R.I.P.”

  1. Thanks for that, Jack. It’s a perspective you apparently won’t see anywhere else.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  2. The media only described her as a witness in the case. This sheds a great deal of light on her role.

    Thomas Jackson (8ffd46)

  3. Rest in peace, Detective…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  4. She made it to detective. That’s not a small thing. It means she was good and, going by Chicago, her superiors liked her. (Is it the same thing in LA?)

    nk (57f631)

  5. It sounds like she got in the way of the narrative that was desired. I contributed money to Koon’s family fund while he was in prison.

    The thing that struck me was the change in attitude about these things over a period of 20 years. In 1973, I testified in a lawsuit for the plaintiff who was shot in a case of mistaken identity. He was left partially paralyzed and his life ruined even though he had no criminal history. He had simply met a woman at a party and didn’t know she was staked out by officers looking for a boyfriend.

    I testified at the trial and the jury awarded him zero. Twenty years later, Rodney KIng, who had no serious injury, got millions and two officers went to jail.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  6. What a terrible and sad end to a life that deserved so much better. I continue to be amazed that so many among the populace still believe it was nothing but some jack – booted thugs out to beat up a black guy. Shades of Katrina.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  7. I remember the cops being afraid to arrest King in Orange, CA, when he ran into the light standards in the Denny’s parking lot while drunk. This is the legacy of Liberal Democrats injecting race prejudice, political correctness, and Liberal Bravo Sierra into the courtroom.

    PCD (02f8c1)

  8. Good point, PCD. I like your formula. 1. Note something in which you find displeasure 2. Blame it on the liberal democrats 3. Rinse and repeat.

    Requires very little thought or intelligence, which is good for you. Keep fighting the good fight, buddy! Go GOP!

    Jeffrey Diamond (fccb0b)

  9. What sock puppet is calling itself Jeffrey Diamond? I seem to recall the same moniker in the past. Did someone open an old box in the attic or something ?

    Mike K (2cf494)

  10. Mike K – It comes by, makes all sorts of ridiculous racist and homophobic statements, and then claims to be a Republican, one of us. It is a dishonest Moby.

    JD (63f92d)

  11. Back to work, JD!

    Isn’t a moby somebody who pretends to be a Republican but is reallly a dirty liberal? That definitely isn’t me. I thought GWB was the greatest president of all time, except for maybe Reagan. I mean, after all, Reagan single handedly defeated the Russians.

    Jeffrey Diamond (fccb0b)

  12. Notice how liberals now use that term for themselves, instead of hiding behind the “Progressive” label like they did before Obama opened the closet door?

    Ropelight (bb3af5)

  13. I am on vacation, douchebag. And you have proven yourself to be a disgusting liar every time you have come by here. This is a wash-rinse-repeat cycle with you. There is no reason to believe this time will be any different.

    JD’s First Rule of Trolls …

    JD (f8fe2e)

  14. Thanks for that, Jack Dunphy.

    Alas, liberal hate mongers like Jeffery Diamond are everywhere, it seems.

    tyree (707587)

  15. I am a conservative, tyree. The only thing I hate are facts and the truth.

    Jeffrey Diamond (fccb0b)

  16. 2. Blame it on the liberal democrats

    Speaking of which, and based on US Census data, there still are quite a few of those you describe who also are Caucasian (and I’d add probably truly non-bigoted), who nonetheless continue to avoid having their real estate agent search for a potential residence in a predominantly black part of town. And it’s not just because far too many of such communities tend to be low-income and unappealing to any discerning, successful person, regardless of his or her race/ethnicity.

    In Los Angeles, there is an area called Baldwin Hills that originally was geared for upper-income people who happened to be mostly white. Then in the 1960s it became briefly integrated with both white and black residents. But towards the end of that decade, it became mostly black (95-plus percent). In all the 40-or-so years since then it has remained predominantly (95-plus percent) black. BTW, it’s still an environment that most people would consider generally nicer and upper-income. Better yet, it’s also quite centrally (and therefore ideally) located in the LA area.

    I’ve long wondered why the white liberals throughout Los Angeles — particulary in the bastions of the city’s westside, where liberal Democrats are predominant, have never been interested in moving to and re-integrating the Baldwin Hills part of the city.

    The very essence of limousine liberalism.

    Mark (411533)

  17. Good point, Mark. What you are saying is that everybody is racist, it is just that conservatives don’t pretend not to be. It is one thing we are not, and that is a bunch of liars (well, sometimes).

    Jeffrey Diamond (fccb0b)

  18. “We”?

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  19. To often the hate filled liberals show up and we allow them to become the center of attention they don’t deserve.

    Lets all take a lesson from Detective Susan Clemmer’s tragic death and do something concrete today to support our law enforcement personnel. They have an extraordinarily difficult calling in life that is unappreciated by far too many.

    tyree (707587)

  20. What you are saying is that everybody is racist

    More tellingly and revealing, is the liberalism that makes people like you tend to believe your “shit don’t stink” when it comes to civil rights and racism (or “racism”) merely phony, hollow, superficial?

    George Will, March 2008:

    Sixteen months ago, Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism.” The surprise is that liberals are markedly less charitable than conservatives.

    If many conservatives are liberals who have been mugged by reality, Brooks, a registered independent, is, as a reviewer of his book said, a social scientist who has been mugged by data. They include these findings:

    •Although liberal families’ incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

    •Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.

    •Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George W. Bush.

    •Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.

    •In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.

    •People who reject the idea that “government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality” give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.

    Mark (411533)

  21. Patterico – Surely you remember this liar’s M.O.

    JD (7642d2)

  22. I’d appreciate if everyone who wants to argue about politics might do it somewhere else than under this story. Take it upon yourself to pull your head out of your collective asses for a change.

    Susan was my cousin, and I don’t appreciate you people using her death as a jumping board to whatever political agenda you happen to have.

    MC (745c00)

  23. Great post. This blog has really had some uniqueness and depth recently.

    A shame a troll decided to come in and call people racist. It would have been a lot more interesting if Diamond would just sincerely give his point of view instead of pretending to be something he wants to lampoon.

    Oh well. This blog’s still been awesome lately.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  24. MC, it was politics that the LAPD higher ups genuflect to that caused the “Crap” to roll down hill to bury your cousin because she didn’t mouth the PC lies about King and what happened.

    NO EVER CHECKED KING FOR ILLEGAL DRUGS! If those drugs had been found in his bloodstream. The PC Bootlickers would have had to return under their rocks and good cops, like your cousin, could go about their jobs UNPERSECUTED.

    PCD (02f8c1)

  25. That ‘no politics as usual’ request of MC’s includes you, PCD. Knock it off. Seriously.

    Jeffrey Diamond (fccb0b)

  26. Amazingly lame troll. Jeffrey comes in here to call people racist… to call entire political movements racist… and then tells a much more polite poster to ‘knock it off’.

    MC, this is a political issue. This detective, whether you are related to her or not, defended core principles that should be universally accepted and apolitical, but perhaps are not.

    Avoiding discussing the implications of her life is not a very good way of honoring her. This is different from insulting the dead. This is orwellian. We should be able to wrestle with what the democrat race hustlers did with this case. The effects seem to have been very hard for Susan, but they were also hard for the LAPD in general.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  27. Rest In Peace, Detective Clemmer. The thin blue line just got a little thinner. Your courage and honesty will long outlive the shameful behavior of those pervert justice and the truth for self-serving ends. The current budget crisis is it’s own pergatory for those who forgot their oath.

    Ultimately, justice will be served by a higher authority. The OJ trial did it for me and my family. We left Compton shortly thereafter having been raised in SoCal since 1950. The Gold came off the Golden State long ago.

    vet66 (9d1bb3)

  28. I know several officers that were killed in the line of duty. I know far more officers that have taken their own lives. Far more….

    I did not know Susan but I remember seeing her testify on TV. Knowing the inner workings of law enforcement, I suspected that LAPD management would do everything possible to make things difficult for her due to her testimony in defense of Officers Powell, Bersinio, Wind and Sgt. Koon.

    For reasons unknown to me, this lady was obviously very troubled by something in her life. I always wonder if these tragic deaths could be prevented if only we saw the warning signs sooner in order to help the victims.

    Having been through many ups and downs in my 30 year career, I wish I could have been in a position to talk to Susan and help her. Sadly, I’ve had this feeling many times before for fellow officers who chose to take their own lives.

    Stan Switek (b2907a)

  29. Isn’t a moby somebody who pretends to be a Republican but is reallly a dirty liberal?

    No, a Moby is just an angry and frustrated effeminate Geek – Boy who’s never actually kissed a girl. You appear to have spent quite a lot of time on the WOW game. How’s that opposing thumb of yours doing these days? Is it in a splint now?

    That definitely isn’t me.

    Of course not, sweetheart. You’re always full of love and kisses towards your intellectual betters.

    I thought GWB was the greatest president of all time, except for maybe Reagan.

    Give it about 20 years, and then we’ll make the appropriate comparisons. If the ME becomes solidly democratic, then GWB will go down as one of the greatest in history.

    I mean, after all, Reagan single handedly defeated the Russians

    He did, actually – I saw him personally take down an entire brigade of forward troops on the border of the USSR, then he later pole vaulted over the Berlin Wall to help some East Germans trying to escape.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  30. If Diamond had an ounce of humor or even of satire, it has yet to show itself here.

    I keep hoping because anyone with the name Jeffery has got to have something at least a tiny amount of gray matter between his ears, but all it seems to be is a lizard brain. Oh, did I just call Diamond a reptillian a$$hole?

    Why yes, I did!

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  31. Jeffrey really did a good job screwing up this memorial for a person who dedicated their life to fighting crime.

    Stan’s comment makes a lot of sense. It’s a real shame when soldiers and cops (who in LA are kinda like soldiers given the gangs) either don’t know anyone who can see they need help, or the people in their lives just don’t stand up and get them help for things they are aware of. Susan’s loss should motivate anyone who knows a soldier, cop, or anyone else with serious depression to get them some help.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  32. Jeffrey, go spend a month in Arpaio’s tent city jail.

    PCD (02f8c1)

  33. Like MC said, please ignore the little piece of dog-dirt and celebrate this lady’s life.

    nk (57f631)

  34. She is an example of courage. That’s for sure. I looked at Huffpo, and the comment and story there link her later problems to this event, but it’s not clear why they do.

    People have problems. Cops have so many good reasons to lose their head. This woman was amazingly courageous once. Suicide is always called cowardly, but I think it’s just a dysfunction.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  35. Shut up, Juan. She made detective. It’s not a small thing. We had an entire election, in my village, around the issue if we needed one more detective.

    nk (57f631)

  36. nk, you’re being oversensitive. Random strangers telling me to shut up, when I’m being polite, aren’t worth much attention.

    She made detective and, as I said, was not cowardly. She had a serious problem of some kind, and that’s a shame that I am going to talk about.

    Sorry, but glossing over suicide is just plain stupid.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  37. Juan

    Shut the HELL up!

    And take a break for awhile you are losing your center

    EricPWJohnson (a7d970)

  38. I think that Huffington Post thread says a lot more about the left than we could ever get them to admit by asking them about their political views. It is truly amazing. What a nasty bunch !

    Mike K (2cf494)

  39. How many blog posts has Andrew Sullivan done on Palin? I’ve lost count, but it is very funny how deranged the clown is.

    Sullivan has a serious case of penis envy — envy of owning Todd Palin’s penis like Sarah does. Sullivan envies being Todd Palin’s husband and being the mother of their family of fishermen. Andrew Sullivan is a zero and his infatuation of wholesome people indicates his own selfish stupid pathetic life.

    Wesson (03286d)

  40. Eric,

    If you think there is something wrong with something I said, you’re going to have to articulate why, instead of screaming ‘shut up’. I don’t know if you’re carrying this from a disagreement with me in a different thread, or if you’re just angry and want to disrupt this thread for some other reason.

    Regardless, it’s clear that both you and nk have decided to interpret MC’s polite request as a reason to start fights and start shouting.

    And I’m not going to shut up.

    Reflecting on the life of a courageous cop who fell victim to a problem that is not uncommon enough is something I want to talk about, and you and nk simply don’t have what it takes to stop me.

    If you think post 35 was sarcastic, it wasn’t. That’s the only reasonable explanation for your behavior.

    Mike, huffpo was great on Iran, but then, so was Andrew Sullivan. I wish those people could put some of the liberal mantras to work that they probably think they are defenders of. Rodney King was innocent until proven guilty… but these cops, including even Susan, are not given such grace.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  41. Basically, Juan, you just talk too much.

    nk (57f631)

  42. Juan.

    No I’m refering to you

    Plase hush now…

    EricPWJohnson (a7d970)

  43. While I don’t agree with the objections to Juan’s points here, he does tend to monopolize almost every thread here. The verbosity is truly enormous at times.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  44. That’s legit, dmac. I have periods where I just type a lot, and even in work people tell me I’m way too verbose. But I’m not off topic, and I’m not unthoughtful. I’m actually trying to be polite be relating to what the people I’m responding to have said, point by point, instead of ignoring some points. I’m not monopolizing the thread, however… I’m usually (90% of the time) responding to someone who addressed me.

    nk, Eric, the level of viciousness and anger you’re showing me simply isn’t justified. Screaming SHUT UP repeatedly is trashy in any environment, but in this thread, and from people pretending to be policing discourse, it’s disgusting and completely unreasonable. Please show some respect. Look at how I am responding to your extremely rude comments for an example of how to conduct yourself.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  45. Please consider what you might want to be saying on a memorial post about a very competent, talented and courageous (your word) civil servant.

    nk (57f631)

  46. 44


    EricPWJohnson (a7d970)

  47. […] Sure, there are plenty of stories that end up with a happy ending, but far too many end up like Susan Clemmer.  Clemmer was still a probationary, i.e. a rookie, police officer in March 1991when King was […]

    Honest Person Dies « Something should go here, maybe later. (2b5a04)

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