LAPD Chief Hits Back at City Councilman Blaming Increase in Violent Crime on Cops

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AP featured image
Police guard outside the LAPD headquarters during a protest of the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis, in downtown Los Angeles, Wednesday, May 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

 

Since the Black Lives Matter “protests” started back in May, there’s been a major increase in violent crime in Los Angeles, and South Los Angeles, in particular, has seen a spike in murders and assaults. Over a four-day period between September 28 and October 1, there were 11 shootings and two homicides in the area – and one of those killed was a 10-year old child.

While acknowledging that “the pace of shooting and violence” that began to climb in June and July “has continued to accelerate,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore partially blamed the spike on coronavirus shutdowns. A City Councilmember representing part of the affected area went a step further and cited “over-aggressive police behavior” and the “inability of law enforcement to effectively provide public safety” as “leading to a nearly 200 percent increase in homicides.

LAPD Chief Hits Back at City Councilman Blaming Increase in Violent Crime on Cops

Screenshot, LA City Councilmember Harris-Dawson Facebook page, Courtesy “Defend the LAPD” Facebook

Marqueece Harris-Dawson represents the 8th District, which includes part of South Los Angeles. In the now-deleted post on his official Facebook page, he wrote (emphasis added):

We have witnessed a disturbing increase in the number of homicides and other violent crime in Council District 8 and across South LA.

Currently, our communities are experiencing the worst of both worlds: over-aggressive police behavior in frequent encounters with residents, coupled with the inability of law enforcement to effectively provide public safety, leading to a nearly 200 percent increase in homicides.

Harris-Dawson then shared information for an October 13 Public Safety Committee hearing and asked residents to listen in and make a public comment.

Understandably, LAPD officers and their supporters were furious at both of Harris-Dawson’s allegations – that their behavior is over-aggressive, and that they’re unable to effectively provide public safety. Regarding that second allegation, many officers would argue that they’re able to effectively provide public safety when politicians like Harris-Dawson and Mayor Eric Garcetti stay out of their way and let them do their jobs.

For years the progressive members of the LA City Council (which is the overwhelming majority of the 15-member council) have refused to stand up for police officers, and their rhetoric has only ramped up this year, creating an environment of extremely low morale among sworn officers amid an increase in attacks on officers, including the attempted murder of an officer at the Harbor Division less than a month ago.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore has taken a lot of justified heat this year because hasn’t vocally defended his officers, even suggesting that they take a knee during BLM protests in May and June (and he, himself, took a knee). Fortunately, Moore finally stood up for his officers and confronted Harris-Dawson about his inflammatory and untrue post, as reflected in an email sent to officers and provaided to RedState by the Defend the LAPD Facebook group.

LAPD Chief Hits Back at City Councilman Blaming Increase in Violent Crime on Cops

Screenshot, Email from LAPD Chief Michel Moore regarding Councilmember Harris-Dawson, courtesy “Defend the LAPD” Facebook

LAPD Chief Hits Back at City Councilman Blaming Increase in Violent Crime on Cops

Screenshot, Email from LAPD Chief Michel Moore regarding Councilmember Harris-Dawson, courtesy “Defend the LAPD” Facebook

Moore wrote:

Good morning

I learned this morning of an disturbing Tweet on the CM’s [councilmember’s] social media account which apparently was posted yesterday. I immediately called the CM and told him I was personally insulted by the content of the message and asked if he had authored it or was aware of it. He advised he was not aware of the post. A few minutes later he called me back and “deeply” apologized, attributing the post to an intern in his office. He stated the content of the post was not reflective of his beliefs, had already pulled it down, and stated his office would be replacing the post with a positive and supportive message.

I understand the message has already moved around the Department as one would expect given its inflammatory and insulting content. There is no excuse for it and I’m not making one on behalf of the CM.

I’ve personally discussed this with the CM and expect better. Our people are not to blame for the increase in violence and deserve his and others’ collective support and encouragement for the work being done each day for the safety of Los Angeles.

There will be mistakes and missteps by others. I’m committed to holding them as accountable as we are held while also taking the “high road” of allowing them to show in their actions and deeds just exactly how they join us in this endeavor of public safety. Lives are at stake and there is no space for rhetoric and political posturing.

Grateful for your work and dedication.

Chief Michel R. Moore

An intern made the posting? C’mon, Councilmember, that’s as tired and untrue of an excuse as saying someone hacked into the account. Besides, this wasn’t the first time Harris-Dawson has used that terminology.

LAPD Chief Hits Back at City Councilman Blaming Increase in Violent Crime on Cops

Screenshot, LA City Councilmember Harris-Dawson Facebook page, Courtesy “Defend the LAPD” Facebook

In a post from September 24, nearly the exact same wording was used (differences are in bold/italic):

Many residents in #CD8 suffer from the worst of both worlds: over-aggressive police behavior in frequent encounters with residents, coupled with the inability of law enforcement to effectively provide public safety.”

Either the same intern made both posts and Harris-Dawson didn’t receive any blowback from the first post so he didn’t acknowledge it, or that’s what Harris-Dawson really thinks.

Harris-Dawson’s replacement post didn’t contain any acknowledgment of his prior post, much less an apology.

LAPD Chief Hits Back at City Councilman Blaming Increase in Violent Crime on Cops

Screenshot, LA City Councilmember Harris-Dawson Facebook page

He wrote:

In the current spree of gun violence in our neighborhoods we’ve appreciated LAPD officers, community leaders, businesses & residents urgently working together to keep everyone safe. Safety in our community is our joint responsibility and something we can only achieve together.

No mention of the Public Safety Committee meeting in this post.

The Councilmember attended a press conference with fellow Councilmember Joe Buscaino, Chief Moore, members of the Community Safety Partnership (CSP), and the Watts Gang Task Force to bring attention to the spike in violence just a week before his Facebook post. At that press conference he seemed to have a different position, saying:

“I’m joined by my colleague to the south, Councilmember Joe Buscaino. We stand together in supporting extended deployments of LAPD officers…

“We’ve had an unconscionable number of young people struck by gunfire in the last several weeks. We’ve lost far too many lives. In our community we do not take these types of events sitting down. We get together. We take action. We confront it. We throw everything we can at the problem, becuase nothing is more important than the preservation of human life.”

At the same presser, community leaders praised LAPD’s efforts through CSP’s and the Gang Task Force and encouraged the community at large to work with both law enforcement and community leaders to end the violence. Perhaps Harris-Dawson can be influenced by those members of his community instead of by Black Lives Matter. Time will tell. In the meantime, LAPD supporters hope that Moore’s defense of his department isn’t an isolated incident.

(Note: If you’re in the Los Angeles area and would like to show your support for LAPD officers, please attend the “Defend the LAPD” rally sponsored by the Defend the LAPD Facebook group on October 17. More information can be found here.)

Jennifer Van Laar



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