September 20, 2012

LA Watts Times Staff Report

Three recent back-to-back, use-of-force incidents involving Los Angeles police officers, have the community asking: ‘Is LAPD reverting back to the old days (when police bullying tactics led to two major riots)?’  One of the three incidents has resulted in the death of a young Black woman, and the questions persist and remain.  One pastor has asked rhetorically: “Who’s going to protect us from the protectors?”

Alesia Thomas, 35, died on July 22, after a violent confrontation with LAPD.  At least five police officers are under investigation into the circumstances of her death. It was reported that during the arrest an officer kicked her genitals, police officials said.

Ronald Weekley Jr., a student from Xavier University was arrested Saturday, August 18, on the front lawn of his Venice home. Weekley shared that he was reaching into his front gate (with his skateboard in his hand) when he heard footsteps rapidly approaching. He described, that following a loud yell, he was grabbed by his hair, shoulders and shirt and immediately thrown to the ground.

“I didn’t know what was going on at first so I was just trying to control my body.”

However, once Weekley realized that he was being arrested he was compliant.

The third incident took place in the San Fernando Valley. A security camera captured officers from LAPD’s Foothill division throwing Michelle Jordan to the ground twice, face first after she had been handcuffed. The incident appears to end with the officers exchanging a fist-bump.

Chief Charlie Beck said, “Every Los Angeles police officer, regardless of rank, will be held accountable for their actions.”

But not everyone’s convinced. City Councilman Bernard C. Parks, a former chief of police, sees the recent incidents as the product of a long slide away from solid discipline. Parks contends that officers today dress more sloppily and bend other rules: activating their car lights to run red lights, being discourteous to residents, getting into more traffic accidents. His office, he said, gets plenty of complaints.

And those minor violations encourage laxity on more serious issues. “You have to make them understand that there are consequences,” he said of police officers. “Otherwise, it’s the big wink.”

Category: Community