Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Harvard Westlake: Notice LAPD approach to threats

Reader tip: There is an Archive for the HW articles.

The Caplins had a problem convincing people to respond to threats against their son, a former student at Harvard Westlake.

The latest LAPD reaction should remind us: Sometimes civil lawsuits do not change government conduct.

LAPD Chief William Bratton dismissed alleged threats against LA residents and is reported to have implied, "didn't see the tape as significant" and "just rhetoric."

It is curious, when the Caplins raised similar concerns about students posting death threats on their Son's website promoting his acting career, nobody took it seriously.

The Caplins filed suit.

Let's hope LAPD doesn't ignore something that Australia takes seriously:
Prime Minister John Howard said: "It could also be the case that the person who has made these comments in the past has now - how shall I put it - demonstrated the capacity to deliver on those statements.
The LAPD has an entrenched management practice of ignoring statements by those asserting they plan to inflict acts of violence on a civilian population.

This is more evidence of a pervasive pattern. It is inappropriate that duly sworn officers, elected officials and public servants refuse to take action.

It is inappropriate public servants have a cavalier attitude toward such statements. It is absurd to believe that the public is "best served" when these types of statements are ignored.

It is outrageous that, in the wake of the Caplins lawsuit and the subsequent internal LAPD investigation and review by DOJ OPR, that LAPD is once again asserting the same. Clearly, the actual lawsuit and actual investigation has proven ineffectual.

It is this "response" to which the civilian population is not simply asked, but commanded to assent and "put up with" as if there were no other choice.

This is more than absurd. It is indicative of the arrogant attitude government officials show toward the statutes, the citizens they are supposed to serve.

The double standards are noteworthy. There would be alarm if anyone were to make a statement which, by name, identified a public official. Indeed, if the citizenry dares approach a public place in these "new era-excuses of 9-11," the cameras roll, the tapes records, and the JTTF troopers itch for an excuse to arrest, detain, and interrogate the innocent.

This conduct merely serves as another rubber stamp for those who wish to point to another example of the arrogant American approach to reality: One standard for government, another standard for the civilian population, and no reasonable expectation by the citizens that the law or government officials can be relied upon either prospectively as a counter party, or retrospectively through either caselaw or statute.

. . .

This disregard of evidence tends to tip the balance in favor of the Caplins. Why are either the LAPD or the Board of Supervisors seriously discussing "the big date" when they no longer have to worry about DOJ oversight?

The civilian population has a reasonable basis to expect LAPD to rebuff similar complaints about threats of violence. Court supervision and orders appear to be appropriate.

The continued LAPD cavalier approach to these statements shows the Caplins' lawsuit has been ineffectual in changing conduct.

It remains to be seen whether the LAPD requires the catalyst of a Katrina-like disaster to impose mandatory oversight above and beyond what DOJ is already required to impose.

Katrina shows us, despite many committee meetings, oversight, and statutes that the American government system at all levels remains impervious to change, feedback, and concerns from those they are supposed to serve.

It would be appropriate for there to be substantive discussions above and beyond the current institutions which have currently weighed in:

  • What is it going to take?

  • Why is the Caplin's lawsuit and public complaint ineffectual?

  • Why the continuing arrogant attitude toward those raising concerns about alleged threats of violence?

  • Is there some double standard that makes sense warranting a hair trigger response to vague notions of "threats" against public officials, but a glacial almost comatose-like response when the alleged threats are toward the general civilian population?

  • Does the LA District Attorney have thoughts on how the LAPD appears to consistently have a "hear no evil, see no evil, hear no evil" approach to these types of statements?

  • What type of disaster is required for the LAPD to get off their ass and actually pay attention to a specific articulated threat of violence?

  • How does the LAPD response to [a] the words by the students at Harvard Westlake, and the current threats by an alleged AlQueda operative contrast with [b] the LAPD approach to demonstrators who dare to exercise their lawful rights to free speech during Presidential campaigns?