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Reformed or Not Reformed….That is the Question.

Created: 17 September, 2010
Updated: 26 July, 2022
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6 min read

How the LAPD killing of a knife-wielding man once again proves unity between the department and the community will never exist

Perspective
By William Gallegos

    Just the other night, I was changing the channel around when I saw an episode of the Spanish show “Alarma TV.” For those unfamiliar with this show, it is a half hour show hosted by a guy and girl and features all types of videos taken by amateurs.

    The videos can be anything from dead bodies at a crime scene to animals falling victim to abuse to hot-looking women posing in lingerie. Anyway, in this one episode I was watching, there was footage of a man wielding a knife to a group of roughly three to four police officers. Looking at the neighborhood, those at the scene, and the uniforms the officers were wearing (which included baseball caps), it was likely this was filmed somewhere in a Latin American country.

    Within seconds of watching the man wielding his knife, the officers pepper-sprayed him before whacking him on the arm with their billy clubs. The man was quickly apprehended without any injuries to anyone and most important, without any deaths.

    Now of course, something like this reminds all of us living in Los Angeles of a recent incident that took place in our very own backyards. Like the video, this incident included a man who was also wielding a knife, this time at LAPD officers.

    This result was deadly, and to me, both avoidable and unsurprising. Rather than using pepper spray or billy clubs, like the officers in the amateur video did, these LAPD officers chose to put not one, but two bullets into this man’s head, killing him instantly. Sure, someone (perhaps even me) will ask “What was he doing with a knife in the first place” or “Was this man not asking for trouble” but is it not the LAPD’s job to see that an incident like this ends on a positive note?

    Were these officers out of pepper spray? Were their billy clubs not on hand? Was shooting the individual in the legs or arms not a possible alternative? I suppose someone out there is going to tell me that unlike the officers in the video, the three officers involved in this killing were in fear of their lives and therefore shooting the individual in the head was necessary.

    Since this killing, we have seen protests, fires, vandalized police cars, and of course, silly press conferences where the public is suckered into believing that the LAPD, its Chief, the Mayor, and other political leaders really care and that a thorough investigation is promised to all.

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    Within 24 hours of this press conference, a town hall meeting took place where Police Chief Charlie Beck was already defending the actions of the officers involved in the shooting but was still promising a thorough investigation (SOUNDS LIKE HE ALREADY KNOWS THE RESULTS). The Chief would immediately be hit with boos and jeers, which likely went through one ear and out the other.

    As for the always-cowardly Mayor…..not in attendance (must have been attending some expensive event that night for free). Now as for the main officer involved in the shooting, Frank Hernandez, this has already been the third shooting he has been involved in. It also turns out that this officer is currently being sued by an individual by the name of Joseph Wolf who was unlawfully shot by Officer Hernandez in 2008.

   According to Mr Wolf’s story, he was awakened by the sound of a helicopter flying over his neighborhood  one night and when going outside to check on the situation, was shot by Officer Hernandez, who claimed Mr Wolf was armed (this lie was nothing more than a excuse to justify Officer Hernandez’ actions). As for this killing, both Officer Hernandez and two other officers involved have since been put on paid administrative leave. What the public sees as paid leave, these officers likely see as “vacation time”…….. ”WOO-HOO!!!!! VEGAS, HERE WE COME”!!!!!

   This latest LAPD killing is nothing shocking to the people of Los Angeles. And the results of its investigation will be no different as well. Remember the recent abuses to those at the MacArthur park melee, which we all saw on video? All were told a thorough investigation would take place.

   The result…… all officers got to keep their jobs. What about the little girl held hostage by her father who would instead end up being killed by an LAPD cop? The result…..the officer got to keep his job. What about the killing of young Devin Brown, shot while on a joyride? The result……the officer got to keep his job. What about the killing of a mentally-ill black lady who wielded a screwdriver at officers? The result…. The officers got to keep their jobs. And what about way back when a black tow truck driver was killed by an LAPD motorcycle officer? The result…… The officer got to keep his job.

   In case all are not aware, the Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, has not only already guaranteed that all officers involved in this killing will be cleared of any wrongdoing, but he has hailed them as “heroes” (a comment he still stands by when recently asked by KCAL 9 reporter Dave Lopez). The Mayor would then refuse to respond when asked by Mr. Lopez if he would appear at another town hall meeting. Following his brief moment with the reporter, the Mayor was seen walking as fast as possible from hecklers and protestors who were angered by his words of stupidity. So why even waste tax dollars on this investigation when the Mayor already knows the results? You might as well throw these officers back on the streets. Oh wait…..let them at least enjoy their vacations.

   Unfortunately, this latest LAPD killing is nothing more than a day in the life of a tarnished police department, a phony group of city leaders, and the Angelenos who once again must wonder who are the ones they fear most in their neighborhoods…..the thugs and gangbangers or the LAPD.

   Be afraid……..be very afraid.

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This is an edited verstion first published in LatinoLA: September 13, 2010. You can find the full story online at www.latinola.com/story.php?story=8911

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