Innocent people arrested, jailed and even extradited. Rapists and other criminals walking the streets free to carry on their mayhem. Officials breast-beating and butt-covering with calls for public hearings and private investigations.
Only in L.A.
This is a town where public officials line up like lemmings to sign off on a federal court consent decree that handcuffs the entire Police Department and costs the public hundreds of millions dollars because of the misdeeds of a couple of bad cops but can’t find a few million bucks for a modern, efficient crime lab.
Don’t they watch all those CSI shows on television and know how science solves crimes?
It’s going to take more than the ineffectual Councilman Jack Weiss posturing for the cameras to help his candidacy for City Attorney — heaven help us — or the LAPD’s Inspector General who’s ignored the problem for years to get to the bottom of this problem.
Innocent people who were jailed because of this bungling had their civil rights violated and that’s a crime that ought to justify the California or U.S. Attorney General stepping in with an independent prosecutor to find out the truth about whether this is misfeasance or malfeasance — incompetence or criminality.
The latest evidence of wrongdoing comes out today with City Controller Laura Chick’s audit of why the LAPD has thousands of rape kits containing DNA evidence that are untested despite years of controversy and demands for the funds needed to upgrade the crime lab.
To make her point, Chick is releasing the audit on the steps of City Hall with Sarah Tofte, a researcher at Human Rights Watch and Kathy Spillar, Executive Vice President of the Feminist Majority Foundation at her side.
Weiss, as head of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, has been the point man for getting funds for the crime lab but he has as little respect from his colleagues as his constituents so he gets ignored and the LAPD’s DNA testing staff is as grossly inadequate as ever.
The same is true about the fingerprinting section as the Times reported last week.
“The Los Angeles Police Department has acknowledged in a confidential
report that people have been falsely implicated in crimes because the
department’s fingerprint experts wrongly identified them as suspects.
“The 10-page internal report, obtained by The Times, highlighted two
cases in which criminal defendants had charges against them dropped
after problems with the fingerprint analysis were exposed. LAPD
officials do not know how many other people might have been wrongly
accused over the years as a result of poor fingerprint analysis and do
not have the funds to pay for a comprehensive audit to find out,
according to police records and interviews.”
These problems have been around a long time and the howls from the
Police Commission for an Inspector General’s investigation and from
Weiss for the chance to hold public hearings are nothing but efforts to
deflect responsibility from themselves.
good does it do to hire a few more cops if we don’t give them the tools
they need? What good does it do to boast about the drop in violent
crime if we know violent criminals are getting away with rape and
murder because we’ve given away the city treasury in sweetheart
contracts and subsidies to billionaires?
This is no way to run a
city. It is the ultimate broken window, the kind of breakdown that
demoralizes the whole community. We need to have confidence that there
will be a thorough and complete investigation and the facts made public
so those who have failed us can be held accountable.