In this post, I noted an error in an L.A. Times article about Special Order 40:
The L.A. Times reports:
The Los Angeles Police Department’s landmark Special Order 40, which prohibits officers from inquiring about the immigration status of suspects, has come under an aggressive assault by anti-illegal immigrant activists who argue that it ties the hands of police.
Unfortunately, this is misinformation, as Special Order 40 actually does no such thing. You can read Special Order 40 here. Contrary to today’s Times article, Special Order 40 does not prohibit officers from inquiring about the immigration status of suspects.
Today the paper publishes this non-correction correction:
Police and immigrants: An article in the April 11 California section about a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department stated that the department’s landmark Special Order 40 “prohibits officers from inquiring about the immigration status of suspects.” The 1979 order states that “officers shall not initiate police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person.” Although officers have long interpreted the order as a prohibition, LAPD officials said they don’t consider Special Order 40 a blanket ban on inquiring about immigration status.
That’s weaselly. The paper made a claim about what Special Order 40 actually says. That claim was wrong. Period. The paper should have the guts to admit it. Words mean things, and Special Order 40 simply doesn’t say what the paper claimed it did.
I recently suggested how the correction should have been worded:
An April 11 article stated that the Los Angeles Police Department’s landmark Special Order 40 prohibits officers from inquiring about the immigration status of suspects. It does not.
That’s the clear admission of error that the paper should have made — but did not.
And, looking at the bigger picture, there is an interesting story lurking under the surface, which I mentioned to the Readers’ Representative: why do officers interpret Special Order 40 as a prohibition against asking suspects about their immigration status, when the order itself actually contains no such prohibition?
Sadly, the paper shows no sign of interest in this critical issue — which, as I have explained, could be an important factor in helping Los Angeles deport illegal alien criminals. There are about 34,000 alien criminals a year that we should be deporting, but aren’t. Does the L.A. Times not consider this a big enough story to cover?