It took 25 years and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars — from the PDID police spying scandal to the Rodney King beating to the Rampart scandal to a federal takeover –to reform the Los Angeles Police Department and restore public pride and confidence in the thin blue line.
And now as quick as you can say Charlie Beck we are seeing the LAPD badge tarnished again purely for political purposes.
The Chief knows the difference between right and wrong as he showed last week when he played the lead in a carefully orchestrated campaign to revive efforts to allow illegal immigrants to obtain California licenses by passing the same DMV tests and meeting the same DMV requirements as everyone else. That was the right way to go.
But his bosses were in a hurry so Beck took the law into his hands and pushed forward with a policy that effectively keeps cars in the hands of unlicensed drivers instead of having them impounded for 30 days when they are caught violating traffic laws.
Despite warnings from the state Legislative Counsel, the police union and District Attorney Steve Cooley that Beck’s new “Special Order”is illegal, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich and his staff gave the green light, arguing with unfounded arrogance they know better. (Legislative Counsel Opinion – Unlicensed Drivers)(PPL Response-Impound)(Cooley-LAPD impound policy)(Steve Cooley on KFI talking about the impound issue)
Despite widespread warnings that “Beck’s Law” threatens the public’s safety and makes the city liable when an unlicensed driver kills somebody with a vehicle that should have been in the impound lot, the Police Commission approved the policy on Tuesday on a 4-1 vote.
Chief apologist for this action was Commission President Richard Drooyan, a man who even more than Beck knows better.
Drooyan served as a top deputy in the U.S. Attorney’s office in LA prosecuting public corruption cases so he knows all about how politicians like our mayor, reduced to using his race to resurrect his career, and overlords like union boss Maria Elena Durazo wield power amorally to get whatever serves their interests.
And he knows just how much it took to reform the LAPD since he was chief counsel to the Christopher Commission that investigated how the department, the City Attorney’s office and the DA’s office covered up police brutality mainly against minorities for decades.
Now a highly-paid lawyer with the giant firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson, Drooyan insisted the new policy was a humanitarian, compassionate and fair way to deal with the problems of illegal immigrants who can’t get driver licenses.
He accepted without question that an officer at a traffic stop will be able to determine that whatever identification he is shown other than a license is “valid” despite knowing full well that such documents are often fake.
He accepted without question that the officer will be able to determine that whatever proof of insurance the officer is shown is “valid” despite knowing full well that dozens of phony companies provide the cards for a fee without providing actual insurance.
What Drooyan couldn’t ignore was the proposal by Beck and his deputy Michel Moore that the state impound law won’t apply if the driver has no prior “misdemeanor” conviction for driving without a license.
Commissioner Alan Skobin, a lawyer and reserve sheriff’s deputy, cast the lone “no” vote, objecting to the policy in total while pinpointing the misdemeanor conviction standard as the biggest lie of all since the courts in their anxiety to quickly dispose of cases almost always reduce driving without a license to an infraction instead of a crime.
Skobin won his point and the special order was amended as he sought but what he exposed was the real intent of what they were doing — giving a “free pass” to illegal immigrants driving without a license.
Right and wrong no longer have any meaning to Charlie Beck and his bosses. They have made a conscious and deliberate decision to put concerns for the hardships suffered by illegal immigrants because of our state and nation’s failure to deal with the issue ahead of the basic obligation of government at all levels to provide for the public safety.
They call it a humanitarian act but it’s really just about serving themselves: A failed mayor with ambitions for higher office, a street cop who became Chief of Police and attained wealth beyond his wildest dreams, a City Hall that is so corrupt it tramples on all opposition in its feeding frenzy.
When the people in power have no respect for the law why would anyone think that a non-person under the law like an illegal immigrant would be law-abiding?
Why would anyone think that the poor cop on the street would put his career in jeopardy by questioning the validity of phony documents he’s shown at a traffic stop and order the care impounded for 30 days?
Don’t kid yourself about what is really happening: When the big people on top lie and cheat and steal, the little people on the bottom feel they got a license to do the same, which is why we are seeing one scandal after another involving bribery and theft at City Hall.