I used to believe that no matter what criminals said or did, our country and the state of California would always side with law and order. I used to believe people were smart enough to distinguish right from wrong and would not be manipulated by rhetoric, especially by criminals or those associated with criminals. I used to believe that only a small number of people, like the ACLU, supported criminals and that the vast majority of people supported the police and wanted a society where they can live and work free from fear. I was wrong. Times have changed.
In the words of sports broadcaster Warner Wolf, “Let’s go to videotape.” Over the years, I have seen countless reports of abuse by police. In these reports, the media often failed to check their facts, opting for sensationalized reporting to achieve high ratings instead of focusing on “factual” news reporting. Take, for example, the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The news reported Brown was shot for no reason and had his hands raised above his head when he was shot. That turned out not to be true, yet it led to rioting in the streets and even protests here in Los Angeles. It was a false narrative driven by lies. The media portrays cops as brutal, racist killers who shoot unarmed black men at an alarming rate. However, what they don’t tell you in their reports is that the officers involved in these incidents are often minorities themselves and that the suspects always failed to comply with police orders or ran from the police. I have yet to see a news story about a suspect who was shot for complying with the police. I’m not saying we minimize the tragedy of an unarmed person being shot by police. That should concern everyone. But, the insinuation that the police want to kill unarmed black men is outrageous. In fact, I would say most officers would be quite distressed after killing an unarmed suspect, even if justified and reasonable based on the circumstances.
Speaking of reasonable, Assembly Member Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) held a press conference announcing her legislation to change decades-long court criteria related to police shootings and use of force from the current legal standing of “reasonable” to a new standard of “necessary.” In other words, she wants cops prosecuted for shooting unarmed suspects regardless of the circumstances. Just a few years ago, a law like this would have never been created, let alone supported by other legislators. Not so today. Everyone wants to jump on the ACLU/Black Lives Matter bandwagon. Nobody, not the media nor the legislators, want to talk about the number of confrontations faced by police every day and the percentage of misconduct that occurs per contact. It’s far lower than misconduct by doctors, lawyers, teachers and preachers.
Just two years ago, Assembly Member Weber was able to pass a law allowing convicted felons to vote while incarcerated, overturning the old law that allowed them to vote after being released from custody. She claimed this would help felons perform their civic duty and help them acclimate back into society. Really? What she really meant was that it would help get votes for liberal legislators and help pass laws supporting criminals.
How’s that working out? I’m glad you asked! In 2011, Governor Brown dumped thousands of convicted felons into local jails to reduce the prison population. This forced local jails to release thousands of misdemeanants to make room for felons who should be in state prison. In 2014, California passed Proposition 47, and despite being called The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, it was merely a catchy name used to fool voters. This law did nothing to improve public safety in neighborhoods or schools. Instead, it reduced many felonies to misdemeanors, such as narcotics and theft. A person can walk into a store, steal up to $950 worth of product every day and never go to jail. Is this really happening? The LASD reported that they have one person who has been arrested 89 times since this law took effect, and yet he cannot be incarcerated under this new law. He is not alone. The word is out, and the criminals are capitalizing on the weakened laws. In November 2016, Governor Brown and other anti-public safety coalitions placed an initiative on the ballot, Proposition 57. This proposition allowed for the release of tens of thousands of convicted felons and somehow earned the title of The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act. This new law released so-called non-violent felons out into society. Interestingly, rape of an unconscious person is considered non-violent and so is the trafficking of a child. How could something like this pass, you may ask? The support of the governor, a weak title and summary, which is determined by the Attorney General, who works for the governor, and a 15-to-1 ratio in fundraising advantage thanks to the ACLU and others.
The ACLU, to its credit, is an organization to be reckoned with. They are organized and well-funded. Black Lives Matter is supported by criminals and their families and has gotten traction due to sensationalized reporting and a liberal media. Politicians are now capitalizing on this movement in support of criminals because they want to kowtow to those who can get them elected. A politician’s constituency used to be composed of mainstream, everyday citizens who wanted to live free and safe. Not today. The electoral base is now criminals and anti-police activists. Sadly, many well-intentioned folks are falling prey to what they see on TV and the anti-police rhetoric.
The criminals are running the state, and they aren’t done coming after law enforcement. There are efforts afoot to increase civilian oversight, erode police rights and protections, and push for more prosecutions of officers. The new racial profiling law, AB 953, (also by Assembly Member Weber) is being marketed as a tool to collect police stop data to identify if officers are racially profiling. It will not work, and the data will not provide any useful information. Why? Because it doesn’t include the conduct of the person being contacted (e.g., criminal activity, traffic violations and warrants) and it doesn’t account for the racial makeup of the area where the contact occurs. I have reviewed studies on racial profiling across the country from over 10 years ago, and the methodology of this new law has significant flaws. But, was it created to address racial profiling? I am not convinced. This law will result in officers making fewer stops in order to avoid the risk of being called a “racist cop.” Fewer stops equals fewer arrests, and fewer arrests means fewer criminals in jail. That is the real goal of these criminal groups and their supporters!
So, to answer my question in the title of my article, the bad guys — the criminals — are running this state. Sure, there are many good people in the Legislature, and there is still a strong show of support for law enforcement from the general public, but there have been significant inroads by the criminal element to influence and control this state. If this continues, crime will spiral out of control, and it will be near impossible to recruit for the job of police officer. It will take a revolt by the good citizens to pull the pendulum back to the middle and restore law and order to California. I am not sure if we are there yet, but we will find out later this year at the polls when we see who gets elected and what initiatives pass. Hold onto your hats!