Patterico's Pontifications

4/17/2010

L.A. Times Editors Spit on Gates’s Memory and Botch the Facts in the Process

Filed under: Crime,Dog Trainer,Race — Patterico @ 3:03 pm



Several of you have written asking for comment on the death of Daryl Gates, and the L.A. Times‘s ridiculous editorial which blames Gates for the 1992 riots and a lot of other things.

I asked Jack Dunphy for comment, and he has prepared a piece for Pajamas Media which he will link and excerpt here when it appears. I have seen a draft and it does a far better job than I could of dismantling the editorial, so I will wait for that. For now, I will make two observations of my own.

First, the editorial is misleading when it says this:

The most fateful day of his life arrived less than a year later, on April 29, 1992. A Ventura County jury devoid of African Americans acquitted the four officers involved in the King beating on charges of assault and excessive force.

Not true. One of the officers was not acquitted of all assault charges. The jury did acquit three of the officers entirely, and acquitted the fourth, Officer Laurence Powell, on several counts — but it also hung (8-4 in favor of acquittal) on the charge of assault under color of authority against Powell.

Second, a personal story about Daryl Gates, which I may or may not have told before.

I could have forced him on to one of my juries once.

It was 1998 or 1999, and I was doing misdemeanors in Alhambra. Gates was among the people in the audience for a DUI and resisting arrest trial. The defense exercised all 10 of its peremptories and I had three left. There were three people in the audience.

If I had exercised my remaining three peremptories, I could have forced him onto the jury.

I didn’t, because while I knew he would be a good juror, I thought of him as a polarizing figure — someone that some of the other jurors might react to negatively. Prosecutors have to get 12 people to agree. I was afraid that would be troublesome with Gates on the jury.

As it happens, the case hung anyway. I now think to myself: you should have gotten him on. Maybe he could have explained to the jurors how the defendant’s actions would be considered resisting arrest.

Also, it would have been fun.

Anyway, Daryl Gates didn’t cause the riots. I’d say the editors of the Los Angeles Times were probably more responsible for the riots, because they (like all news media) failed to adequately report how weak the prosecution case was, and how strong the defense arguments were. The first few seconds of that videotape, which were hardly ever shown on TV, showed an aggressive Rodney King rushing officers, oblivious to Tasering and commands to stop. L.A. Times editors failed to explain the significance of this to the public — leading to shock at verdicts that should not have been a surprise at all, had the paper done its job properly.

Plus, over the years, the editors have incited racial tension in this city on countless occasions by hyping flawed studies claiming to find racial injustice in the system, without reporting those studies’ lack of adequate controls. Regular readers know I have discussed this, time and time again.

So, when assessing fault for the riots, the editors, instead of spitting on Gates’s memory with him freshly dead, should take a look in the mirror.

They might also blame, you know, the rioters themselves. I always had this crazy idea that they were primarily responsible.

But that’s me: a prosecutor, always wanting to blame the perpetrators for their own crimes. If only I were a newspaper editor, I would realize that crimes aren’t the fault of the perpetrators. They are the fault of society, and the police, and everybody but the person who actually commits them.

I guess I have a lot to learn. Won’t you please teach me, Times editors??

We’ll link Dunphy’s piece when it comes online.

34 Responses to “L.A. Times Editors Spit on Gates’s Memory and Botch the Facts in the Process”

  1. Don’t forget the words and vitriol of Mark Ridley Thomas (among others), leading up to the jury verdict.
    Some in the community got exactly what they had wished for.

    AD - RtR/OS! (df7269)

  2. 1992 Riot? You should know that it has since become known as “The L.A. Uprising of 1992″. Free televisions, video cameras, stereos, appliances, liquor for the great, unwashed underclass. So what if 30-plus people were murdered… ya gotta break a few eggs to make a tasty omelette. It’s the new romanticism.

    GeneralMalaise (24d3e0)

  3. It’s gotten to the point where there doesn’t appear to be any counter-balance to the rote leftwing viewpoint espoused on the LAT editorial page. Seems that a few years ago there was a token moderate or two on the board who would try to pull the rest of the group back from the far left ledge. Now, it’s just a churlish bunch of liberals who would denigrate a man’s memory before his body has even cooled. I look forward to the day when this editorial board is back to working as copyeditors for some ad firm instead of foisting their nonsense on the paper’s ever-shrinking readership.

    JVW (08e86a)

  4. Is this the entire video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROn_9302UHg

    Are you sure you want to debate this?

    dude (1cfa7d)

  5. What is it exactly you think is being “debated” here about that video, dude?

    JVW (08e86a)

  6. Is this the entire video:

    No.

    Patterico (0b1d43)

  7. Dude has been fooled by a deceptively edited video that omits the most important footage used by the defense.

    And he doesn’t even know it.

    Patterico (0b1d43)

  8. i just want to say “thank you to the LAT and its editors…..

    and also a special, from the deepest darkest, coldest part of my little black heart, an especially hearty “thank you” to “dude” AKA “ball-less”….

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  9. Yes, I remember seeing the entire video, where one can see Rodney King in all his what looked like PCP-influenced glory. I saw that footage aired maybe two or three times, while the footage that starts with the police pummeling King was shown… oh, I don’t know… maybe two million times.

    The usual suspects and race-baiters got what they wanted when the city was in flames and blood ran in the streets.

    GeneralMalaise (24d3e0)

  10. Dude basically proved the precise point I made in the post.

    As if on cue.

    Patterico (0b1d43)

  11. I agree, Patterico.

    I have also seen the earlier tape. It was a disgrace it was edited out. That removed any claim the press could have that the riots were not do to them. They shouted “fire” and pointed to the police as the arsonists, knowing they were distorting the truth.

    If one of the officers had responded to King’s early attacks with deadly force, what would have been the likely consequences?

    Machinist (9780ec)

  12. Some of the rioters were so upset Rodney got pummeled by the cops they went to the jewelry district downtown and consoled themselves with all the gold, silver, and gemstones they could pry out of the vaults.

    Many small businessmen never recovered from the loss.

    ropelight (6777f5)

  13. if the whole incident was racial based, why is it the other passengers in the car, also black, who cooperated with police were not struck at all?

    what the incident really proved is that not allowing the choke hold as a non-lethal restraint option is stupid.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  14. Good point, ropelight. I suppose the LAT editorial board prefers Los Angeles riots like this past June when the Lakers won the NBA Title and the downtown hooligans tore up the area while the police did little more than manage the situation rather than trying to prevent it. Apparently, that is just how the LAT editorial board would have it. Next time this happens, it would be nice of the LAPD funneled the crowd up to a certain building on Spring Street and let them cut loose there instead of messing up the livelihood of small business owners who were dumb enough to locate themselves downtown.

    JVW (08e86a)

  15. [Sorry if this is a duplicate. The transmission appeared to die right as I tried to comment.]

    Good point, ropelight. I suppose the LAT editorial board prefers Los Angeles riots like this past June when the Lakers won the NBA Title and the downtown hooligans tore up the area while the police did little more than manage the situation rather than trying to prevent it. Apparently, that is just how the LAT editorial board would have it. Next time this happens, it would be nice of the LAPD funneled the crowd up to a certain building on Spring Street and let them cut loose there instead of messing up the livelihood of small business owners who were dumb enough to locate themselves downtown.

    JVW (08e86a)

  16. Aside from the rioters themselves (who along with those who cheered them on will forever have bloodstained hands), I blame Governor Wilson for not having the National Guard out in force in preparation for trouble regardless of what the verdict had been, and–while anyone who accuses Gates of causing the riots is a fool with an agenda–Gates should have been better prepared for the riots when they came: it wasn’t as if riots over racial issues in LA were an unprecedented happening. Sadly, it was left mostly to ordinary people either doing their jobs or simply choosing to put their lives on the line to save their fellow human beings to provide what heroism was to be seen during those horrifying days.

    That being said, Daryl Gates was a dedicated public servant who deserves better than to be remembered for the dark hours of the Rodney King riots (and an unfortunate tendency towards malaprops near microphones). Hopefully, history will be kinder to him than the dead-enders at the LA Times and their fellow travelers have been.

    M. Scott Eiland (c552ec)

  17. please give me link?

    dude (1cfa7d)

  18. I blame Governor Wilson for not having the National Guard out in force in preparation for trouble regardless of what the verdict had been. . .

    And subject himself to accusations that a white governor had not trusted a black mayor to keep the peace? No way any governor in his right mind would have done that, either in this day and age or even back in 1991.

    JVW (08e86a)

  19. It’s similar to those who say that President Bush should have immediately had the Feds take over the evacuation of New Orleans prior to Katrina. Yeah, in the end it probably would have saved lives, but Bush wouldn’t be getting any credit for it. Instead, the popular version of events would be “the white male Republican President refused to trust a black male Democrat mayor or a white female governor to handle the situation. What a racist!”

    JVW (08e86a)

  20. #17… do your homework, squirrel.

    GeneralMalaise (24d3e0)

  21. Lol, Patterico you’re an ass. Is that any reason to wail on a guy as long as they did? I do remember the whole video now. The edited part was just the first couple of seconds. They continued to beat the shit out of the guy long after he could ever charge or threaten anybody. Disgusting.

    dude (1cfa7d)

  22. I don’t blame Gates for the riots. I do blame him for his fanaticism on the War on Some Unpopular Drugs and his popularization of SWAT teams, leading to their overuse and misuse.

    Technomad (e2c0f2)

  23. Gates was at Mission Hospital several times in recent months as he suffered from prostate cancer. Cindy said he was one of the nicest men she ever met even as he was in pain.

    Stacey Koon saved Rodeny King’s life as he and the other LAPD officers arrived just as Melanie Singer was ready to shoot him for wiggling his ass at her as he resisted arrest.

    She rewarded Koon by testifying against him at trial and then retiring on a stress disability pension. She had her husband were the CHP officers who first stopped KIng.

    I sent money to Koon’s family while he was in jail.

    One of the things that most angered me about the whole case, and especially the civil award, the fact that I was involved in another case when I was a resident that was a bad shooting that ruined a man’s life and he got nothing.

    He was a 35 year old black guy who had never been arrested and was raising his 10 year old son. He went to a party where he met a woman and offered to drive her home. I don’t know if he planned more than that. He had the incredible bad luck to pick up this women who had been staked out by LAPD because she had a boyfriend they were looking for on several felony warrants.

    When they walked out to his car, the LAPD officers stopped them and ordered him to put his hands on top of his car, which he did. At that moment, the woman said (All parties agreed), “Look out. He’s got a gun !” Johnny did not have a gun. She may have pointed. Maybe the boyfriend was there nearby. Johnny turned to look, too.

    At that point, he was shot by one of the officers.

    I operated on him and he was left with partial paralysis. He could never work again although his boss held his job for him for a year. After I moved to Orange County, I continued to take care of him and got some other docs to do so as a favor. I would give him gas money to make it down to Mission Viejo. He used one crutch and had to carry a bottle in a brown paper bag for his urine. He didn’t have control.

    A few years later, his case came to trial. He was not offered a settlement by LAPD. The facts were not in dispute. The officers were exonerated. No damages. I haven’t seen Johnny in Years. I suppose he is dead. Rodney King, that creep, got millions. He just came along at the right time, which was not 1975.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  24. I’m with Technomad in #21. Gates almost single-handedly turned American police into the paramilitary, us-vs-them, everyone-a-suspect forces they are today. SWAT teams are almost standard for serving warrants in some towns.

    I’ve never had much trust of police in the first place, and Gates did nothing but reinforce that instinct.

    the friendly grizzly (660a3a)

  25. A lot of our police methods seem to develop in LA. Not James Elroy’s fantasies, or Dragnet even, but there is more than a little truth that the country does in police work what LA has tested first.

    In any case, I thought it was George H. W. Bush who was responsible for the 1992 riots? That’s what the media told us and why we should vote for Clinton.

    nk (db4a41)

  26. “please give me link?”

    Busy. Do your own work or give me an incentive to do your work for you.

    You want to place a large monetary bet on whether your tape is missing the first few seconds, I’m in. Name your price and your security. I love sure things.

    Patterico (ef09e0)

  27. Consider the possibility that what Gates did in LA was right for LA, but not right for everywhere else. It is NOT Gates’ fault that other cities adopted methods that weren’t appropriate for their situation. What works for LA does not necessarily work for Fairbanks.

    Kevin Murphy (5ae73e)

  28. Many people are unaware that there 2 other men in the car with Rodney King. They complied with the officers instructions & no one laid a glove on them. As far as blame for the riots, blame the rioters of course as well as the LAPD watch commander who ordered units to retreat from Florence and Normandy which allowed the situation to grow & escalate out of control..

    As one who arrived for duty about 2 hours after the riots started I’ll just say it was one of the more interesting 20 hour shifts that I ever worked.

    As far as the LA Times doing a hatchet job on Gates, did anyone expect the Times to treat him any other way? Thats the Times M.O.

    As far as Sgt. Koon & Officer Powell later being convicted of federal civil rights charges & being sent to prison, in my view they were political prisoners. One of the findings of the jury was that all the force used against King was justified except the last 12 second. For that they went to jail for 2 years. Total BS.

    Stan Switek (da562a)

  29. Let’s not forget all of the rhetoric from Mark Ridley Thomas and other “community leaders” talking down the LAPD to not “inflame” the situation.
    That poor watch-commander knew that the powers-that-be at City Hall would crucify him if he sent the troops in prematurely.
    Constant criticism of police proceedures made him flinch, and people died because of it, which is always the way.

    AD - RtR/OS! (df7269)

  30. What do you say, dude?

    $1000?

    $10,000?

    $100,000?

    Put up your collateral and let’s settle this.

    Patterico (a7b8f8)

  31. do you take food stamps?

    dude (fb8750)

  32. I think you guys are being a little too harsh on dude. He is actually trying to find the whole tape.

    The whole tape is not easy to find online. It’s because the guy who took it from his balcony has asserted rights about it or something. The most common tape is the 86-87 second tape that doesn’t have the beginning.

    You’ll know if you’re looking at the full tape if you can see Rodney King charge the police officers, if you can see the flash of the taser, and if you can see Rodney King trying to stand up at least three different times when he is clearly being shouted at to stay down.

    luagha (63060c)

  33. Mike K

    Would blame that man’s son if he had a blind hatred for the Police and the Criminal Justice system?

    HeavenSent (a9126d)

  34. Amazing that people are willing to riot over Rodney King or Mohammed, but not over Pedro Navarro-Oregon or Timothy Cole.

    Aside from the rioters themselves (who along with those who cheered them on will forever have bloodstained hands), I blame Governor Wilson for not having the National Guard out in force in preparation for trouble regardless of what the verdict had been, and–while anyone who accuses Gates of causing the riots is a fool with an agenda–Gates should have been better prepared for the riots when they came: it wasn’t as if riots over racial issues in LA were an unprecedented happening. Sadly, it was left mostly to ordinary people either doing their jobs or simply choosing to put their lives on the line to save their fellow human beings to provide what heroism was to be seen during those horrifying days.

    How long would it have taken for an A-10 to fly from Edwards Air Force Base to south-central Los Angeles once the riots started? The whole thing could have been over by midnight.

    Consider the possibility that what Gates did in LA was right for LA, but not right for everywhere else. It is NOT Gates’ fault that other cities adopted methods that weren’t appropriate for their situation. What works for LA does not necessarily work for Fairbanks.

    there are only a handful of situations that I can think of where the sledgehammer of a SWAT team is a good idea.

    Even David Koresh could have been apprehended during one of his many trips to downtown Waco. (He was a known regular visitor.)

    Michael Ejercito (6a1582)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.3699 secs.