Police Work Is Not Always Pretty

The Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors on the police brutality claim in Venice.

Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors:

A former Los Angeles police chief once observed, “Police work is not always pretty. But in my 36 years of law enforcement, I've learned not to make a judgment until I have all the facts.”

Chief Bratton’s comments echo our views regarding the recent highly publicized incident in Venice involving Ron Weekley, Jr. While Mr. Weekley claims excessive use of force, it is important to remember that partially recorded police action can easily misrepresent what actually occurred. That is why it is important to know all the facts in this case and not rush to judgment.

It is also important for everyone to understand that it is required by law to follow an officer’s lawful commands.

We already know that the partial videotape does not tell the whole story. If, as appears in this case, the recording begins toward the end of the incident, then crucial context which explains the necessity of the use of force is not captured.

Legal issues in the case such as the critical issues of submission to lawful authority, tactical procedures consistent with LAPD training, and the perceptions of the people involved are not answered by the small snippet of videotape.

The law recognizes that some individuals will not comply with police officers and submit to arrest unless compelled to do so by the use of force; therefore, law enforcement officers are legally authorized to use force in the performance of their duties. The legal standard used to determine the lawfulness and appropriateness of a use of force is the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and in the legal case Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386 (1989).

Graham states in part: The reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight. The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments – in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving – about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.

The U.S. Supreme Court made it clear that the test of reasonableness is not capable of precise definition or mechanical application. The force must be reasonable under the circumstances known to the officer at the time the force was used. This standard is consistent with LAPD use of force policy adopted by the Police Commission. Therefore, the LAPD examines all uses of force from an objective standard, rather than a subjective standard.

While it may be tempting for some to believe that we have “all the details” when we have “seen” the video, nothing could be further from the truth. We are confident that the LAPD’s Use of Force and Internal Affairs Divisions will do a thorough examination of the incident, as will the Office of the Inspector General, and not rush to a snap judgment on the basis of a short video recording of a portion of this encounter. We urge everyone to allow the exhaustive examination of the facts to take place before passing judgment. The officers and Mr. Weekley deserve this.

Jennifer P August 24, 2012 at 05:12 PM
This is BS... To punch someone in the face while they are already restrained and on the ground is NOT a reasonable use of force, regardless of what went on before it.
David C. Couper August 25, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Police work may not be pretty, but it can be improved. How? For insight and direction on this and other important police improvement issues, take a look at “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” (Amazon.com in US and EU). And the blog at http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com/ where other current police improvement issues are discussed. Good luck and may we all experience not just good but great policing! Great policing is accomplished by police who are well-trained and led, restrained in their use of force, honest, and courteous to every citizen.
Another WorldView August 25, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Witnesses at the scene also support Mr. Weekly's claim that he was given NO Commands - prior to being slammed to the concrete. And why was this man even being stopped for riding on a skateboard, at all? Does this have something to do with the type of "violent crime" that this special enforcement unit was ostensibly sent into the neighborhood (from outside of the area) to combat? Other witnesses tell of the same officers harrassing area youth, a block away, just minutes previous to this incident. And there are other videos beside the one that we've seen thus far. Why didn't the police use the video in their car??? Wouldn't that have established their innocence, and the propriety of their arrest?
Another WorldView August 26, 2012 at 01:45 PM
That's the kind of stuff that would give cops a good name...
catman September 06, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Oh cry me a river. Nobody twists anybody's arm to become a cop. They do it because they like the power. Show me a guy who was a bully in high school and I'll show you a future police officer.
Better Dead than Red September 27, 2012 at 12:58 PM
I guess Another World View you never heard of innocent until proven guilty, or it only applies in certain situations that suit your warped view of your world. Those cops have been tried and convicted in your kangaroo court of your opinion. If they are found guilty then they will be charged, until then I know it is hard for you to believe those cops are innocent until proven guilty.
burned@thestake September 27, 2012 at 05:44 PM
That's fairly rich... I suppose that next, you'll tell me that the LAPD will give this their full attention... like they did with the Biggie Smalls murder? (Did they ever even name Mack and Durden as suspects in the conspiracy?) How many cops got arrested - and charged with assault (with a deadly weapon) for that police riot in MacAurthur park, back on May 1st - a few years ago? Could it be Zero? And notice the differential response between the videotaped abuse of a White Woman in Pacoima, versus a youth of color in "tha 'hood". No captain re-assigned/demoted here, and the cops (as yet unidentified) are still out on the streets, free to abuse other handcuffed suspects (arrested for some petty-BS). What the young man was "arrested" for was "resisting arrest" (charged as a 'felony' in the hopes of intimidating the victim into copping a plea - which would undermine his standing in any lawsuit against the LAPD) - despite the fact that you cannot make an arrest for an infraction like skateboarding on the wrong side of the street - through a stop sign (which he isn't required to stop at, as a "pedestrian") - allegedly. Innocent until proven guilty assumes that the WILL exists to prosecute violent or crooked cops at all... something our crooked DA's office has shown very little of, historically. BDTR - are you an amateur police apologist, a member of the PPL, a member of the 'World Anti-Communist League' - or all three?
That's rich buddy October 02, 2012 at 06:43 AM
Yes, next I will tell you that was crack police work. Right out of CSI. In my book the LAPD are super heroes. And you are a super zero.
burned@thestake October 03, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Ok, so you are in favor racist-police violence - against unarmed members of the community, who are just peace-ably going about their business. Some "Law and Order"-type you are. Just another Gangster-Wannabe is more like. It's just that the gang which you affiliate with, is the LAPD. But hey, way to break through the "wall of silence" - in support of Police Dept. instigated, violent crimes. That's the type of PR image the LAPD has been desperately trying to shake - because senseless acts of violence - of exactly this sort - just seem to keep happening in their juridiction, and at their hands. It doesn't do much, to improve their image in the community, to have you endorsing this kind of racist-profiling, and unprovoked violence against community members, in support of Mark Ryavec's gentrification campaign. SO keep talking, joker. As for me being a "super zero" - I'm glad that my worth isn't defined by racist creeps like yourself.
burned@thestake October 03, 2012 at 11:51 AM
STOP KILLER COPS: Friends & Family of Police Murder Victims Speak Out! Saturday, October 6th - 3:00 PM Join our Facebook Event @ http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/416170885113568/ Southern California Library - 6120 S. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles During the past few months there have been a number of police murders of unarmed Black and Brown victims. This might seem like a recent phenomenon, but for people who live in neighborhoods terrorized by the police, this is all too common. Yet, because of the tireless work by those seeking justice, and because of the absolute tragedy of these murders, more and more of these murder victims’ stories are coming to light. Please join family and friends of police murder victims next Saturday afternoon to hear how this epidemic of police terrorism has not only destroyed lives, but turned tragedy into a fight for justice. Featured Speakers Include: *Jeralynn & Adam Blueford: Parents of Alan Blueford, murdered by Oakland PD *Damion Ramirez: Friend of Michael Nida, murdered by Downey PD *Theresa Smith: Mother of Caesar Cruz, murdered by Anaheim PD *Jack Bryson: Justice for Oscar Grant Movement, friend of Oscar Grant, murdered by BART Police *Marlena Carrillo: Kelly’s Army, Kelly Thomas murdered by Fullerton PD
John Humberfloob October 07, 2012 at 10:29 AM
burned@thestake you are a super crack pot. Get a life.
burned@thestake October 08, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Actually I'm from Venice. And I have a life. But you're from _______? You HATE Venice. And you have life, we can tell, because you spend your time trying to change a neighborhood that you HATE.


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