Jill Stewart at the LA Weekly asks the right question about disclosure that the LAUSD cop faked the shooting that closed down El Camino Real High and much of Woodland Hills last week as 350 LAPD officers searched for a phantom suspect:
“When is an outside investigation going to do a full and long overdue
look at the nasty stuff unfolding inside this non-transparent police
department overseen by the Los Angeles Unified School Board — which
can’t oversee third-grade recess with consistent success?”
Disclosure that Officer Jeff Stenross actually shot himself comes as another LAUSD police incident has prompted a protest at noon today at District Attorney Steve Cooley’s office.
The case involves Verdugo Hills High student Jeremy Marks, an 18-year-old African-American who was arrested last May and jailed for eight months on felony “lynching” charges on high bail involving what at worst seems a minor incident involving LAUSD Officer Erin Robles.
Cooley’s office led raids Wednesday by up to 30 LAPD cops on Marks’ Lakeview Terrace home and on the home of a student who recorded the skirmish last May and posted it on YouTube — a video that seems to show Robles was at fault, and Marks was innocent.
With the possibility of Marks being exonerated and LAUSD and Cooley facing huge legal liability, the raids in which computers, cell phones, cameras and papers were seized and the homes left in upheaval clearly was a desperate attempt to try to find anything that will bolster the case against Marks.
The case has inflamed racial tensions that have been exacerbated by the heavy-handed raids in which officers closed off neighborhoods and refused to show search warrants for up to 45 minutes.
Organizers of the protest today at 210 West Temple St. are accusing the DA of “Gestapo tactics” and demanding a full, independent investigation.
“These raids bring to mind what it must be like to live in a police state,” said Celes King, director of the Congress on Racial Equality, said in a statement announcing the protest. “DA Cooley is on a fishing expedition. Nine months after the incident, it is hard to understand why he would need to order a vicious raid on an African-American family’s home to gather evidence that has been available since May.”
In a personal letter Thursday to Cooley, King appealed to the DA to take charge of the situation before it leads to demands for a federal civil rights investigation that would go far beyond the Marks’ case.
“The reality is your office has created a fiasco out of a case that should have been summarily dismissed through a series of inept actions designed to umbrella a fishing expedition to justify unwarranted actions at a tremendous cost to the taxpayers of this county. It is time to stop this charade of justice that has in fact violated several areas of constitutional protections.”
Whatever happened to the rule of law?
We are living in extraordinary time of a long-term economic crisis with enduring high unemployment yet crime by ordinary citizens is at a generational low point and abuses of the law by officials is at an all-time high.
A cop who fakes a shooting, police and prosecutor abuses of basic civil rights, a mayor who goes unpunished for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts, a Councilman indicted for voter fraud, a Community Redevelopment Agency that scoffs at the law, defies the governor and gives away the city’s wealth to the rich — the list goes on and on.
It’s all pretty bizarre when the besieged public is law-abiding and the privileged government is making a mockery of the laws they write and enforce.