THE COST OF PROTECTING AND SERVING-Dear LAPD Chief Michel Moore: I commend you for having the courage to hear the outcries of We the People, to not be afraid to “Take a Knee,”
to publicly say and do things differently that would help to initiate and establish a new “common ground” so the citizens of Los Angeles can begin to heal from the generations of trauma caused by law enforcement agencies (even those other than LAPD).
That said, it is quite shocking to hear the complaints from the rank and file of the Department regarding your efforts to “lead by example.” Instead of following your lead which makes the most sense, the misguided rhetoric coming from the rank and file, along with their unions, makes them sound like selfish, greedy, prima donna spoiled brats.
Mayor Garcetti approved LAPD’s ask (demand) for an annual budget of over $3 billion dollars. This single act automatically put the rest of the City of Los Angeles in a bad place financially in which other City employees are being furloughed and others, along with many City departments, are forced to take pay cuts. Let me remind the Department that these amazing employees of the City of LA (the same as LAPD) also are trying to “provide for their families,” a popular slogan often used by LAPD rank and file.
To put one’s self before others in need qualifies as both selfish and greedy. For the Department to, once again, leave the rest of the City of LA on life-support makes it much more difficult for Angelenos to support the Department’s unrealistic “Us versus Them” mentality as if American citizens are your enemies.
In 1965, the Watts Rebellion was caused by unnecessarily aggressive law enforcement personnel who created an unhealthy climate through intimidation and fear tactics. In 1992, the Rodney King Uprising was caused by the excessive beating of a Black man by LAPD officers which was caught on tape. Also in the 1990s was the Rampart scandal and the May Day melee in MacArthur Park, instances in which LAPD broke laws, unjustly physically-injured countless people along with members of the media, and most importantly, violated the public’s trust. Bullies being bullies. For no other reason than “because they can.”
In 2020, with all the aforementioned trauma existing over generations still unresolved, along with numerous Officer-Involved-Shootings leading to death, tears, traumatized families and communities, We the People stood up again. We’d had enough. So when George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota when an officer put his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8:46 minutes and the video was shown worldwide, yet again, We the People took to the streets by the millions around the world with a collective mindset of enough is enough.
To no one’s surprise, while the cameras were focused on Minnesota, the rest of the world was watching Los Angeles. Because when it comes to Rebellions, Uprisings and Revolts, historically, LA leads all other cities in “significant responses” to the build-up of trauma caused by law enforcement. As I predicted, “The lava has been bubbling for quite some time here and now it’s about to explode!”
At no time has LAPD attempted to publicly apologize for its role in the aforementioned widespread untreated trauma, nor has LAPD done anything that satisfied the broken families and communities it claims “to protect and to serve.”
And so, understanding the vastness of the entire situation, Chief Moore “Took a Knee” with We the People but instead of being applauded by his rank and file, he was ridiculed for being “weak and cowardly. Why? Because he acted like a human being with true heart, feeling and emotions? Because he dropped the “Us versus Them” draconian mindset for a moment to show the world that officers are people with normal feelings, too? Because rank and file want to be led by someone who is always the Incredible Hulk but never the regular guy he actually is when he’s not angry?
“Gotta be a tough guy at all times.” What is that? Cop 101 logic from the 1950s?
I have spoken with many others who agree with me that during a time when the intensity in the streets showed his out-of-shape rank and file unable to keep up with the relentless passion of countless demonstrators spread across the city -- who outnumbered the LAPD to where the National Guard had to be called in so the Department could catch it’s collective breath -- Chief Moore was there displaying leadership at its best. His actions helped to lower the tension in the air while taking the pressure off of law enforcement officers here in LA. Moore’s actions helped community activists like me to be able to urge the countless Millennials and first-time demonstrators with all their fresh energy: “Don’t be mad at LAPD, they didn’t kill George Floyd. . .We’re marching in solidarity with Minnesota.”
If there was a medal, we could give LAPD Chief Moore for his courageous efforts, I would personally present it to him with pride.
But it’s absolutely stunning to see the selfishness and greed of the rank and file of the LAPD reveal itself and force the Chief to cower in order to “satisfy the troops” and “save his job.”
This has become a public spectacle and every man and woman within the rank and file of the LAPD should be embarrassed for their insubordination. Clearly, the only thing they’re loyal to is money!
The collective thirst to exude power over the Chief is a perfect example of the widespread undiagnosed mental illness that has poisoned the minds of a once highly respected Police Department. This display of utter confusion and misguided unity leaves me to question if 10,000 undisciplined, self-serving, disloyal rogues carrying guns and an assortment of other weapons are truly fit to patrol our streets.
First Above-the-Law, and now Above-the-Chief? Yikes!
Is there any wonder why We the People want to #DefundThePolice and instead invest in other pertinent needs to heal our traumatized families and build healthy and vibrant communities?
This is a perfect example of LAPD’s rank and file exposing itself. People, you’ve been warned: They’re out-of-control.
(General Jeff -- Jeff Page -- is a homelessness activist and leader in Downtown Los Angeles. Jeff’s views are his own.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.