COPS GONE UNCHANGED
By Mya C. Taylor, Editor-In-Chief
Both Ivan Goldman and Mike Rothmiller, co-authors of the New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestselling book “L.A. Secret Police,” spoke to the Los Angeles Free Press about their concerns on recent police misconduct.
Goldman believes the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has had a long history of being racist, militaristic, and serving as an occupying force in minority areas but, as society socially advances, he argues that the LAPD was worse 30 years ago than it is now.
Although Goldman believes that close attention should be paid to police departments, he urges the public to increase their vigilance to include Sheriff's departments too.
“The county commissioners have very little oversight over the sheriff and this guy [Alex] Villanueva, he’s a dangerous guy,” Goldman said.
Goldman acknowledged that though Sheriff Villanueva was voted in by “well meaning liberals,” the power Villanueva has over the police unions may lead to protections against brutality.
“Police unions are not like other unions,” he said. “They want good pay and benefits for their members, but sometimes they want their members to get away with murder or assault.”
Rothermiller, a former LAPD officer and current author, agrees that close attention should be given to federal agencies to prevent abuse of authority. In particular, Rothmiller expressed concern over spying tactics utilized by the LAPD and the FBI. He argues both agencies have a history of spying on politicians (frequently), then coming up with excuses if misconduct is unveiled.
He believes that investigating a politician can be justified and even sometimes necessary, but notes oftentimes law officials play “a very cautious word game to keep an investigation going,” even after discovering exonerating evidence.
Both Rothmiller and Goldman’s concerns are not groundless. Earlier last month, criminal charges were filed against three LAPD officers who were accused of falsifying records. The officers, Braxton Shaw, Michael Coblentz, and Nicolas Martinez, allegedly tampered with field interview cards which falsely portrayed people as gang members. According to The LA Times, the District Attorney's office confirmed the misconduct has affected over 750 defendants.
“We always hear about good cops and bad cops. The problem is, that when you have a bad cop do something awful and you have three or four good cops who witness it, the odds are pretty good that those good cops will lie on behalf of the bad cop. So my question is, how good are those good cops?” says Ivan Goldman.