by George Hofstetter
One has to wonder whether the adults in charge of the L.A. Times Editorial Board were part of the recent mass exodus from the Times. The question is raised because of a most recent rambling editorial concerning the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, demonstrating yet again the Times antipathy towards law enforcement.
In an editorial ostensibly concerning a delay in the Board of Supervisor’s implementation of a “Civilian Oversight Commission,” the Times took a bizarre turn and pontificated about several recent shootings involving Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies. The Times questioned the “training” and “fitness” of the deputies involved, wondered aloud whether they were “trigger-happy deputies” whose “tactical training” may have been lacking, and for good measure threw in a random sentence asking if the Sheriff’s Department disproportionately targets African Americans.
That the Times editorial writer didn’t know the complete facts of the three shootings it questioned was no hindrance to making accusations against the hard working deputies involved and the Sheriff’s Department as a whole.
Of course, the Times is hardly a supporter of law enforcement, and it clearly pains them to say anything positive about law enforcement officers. Witness, for example, the July editorials following the assassinations of five police officers in Dallas and three officers in Baton Rouge.
Following the Dallas cold blooded murders that shook the nation, the Times wrote a nine-paragraph, 836-word editorial. Exactly one paragraph and 81 perfunctory words were devoted to officers brutally murdered before the Times segued into what it would rather discuss: “police brutality”, “police shootings” and “racial disparities” in the criminal justice system.
The reporting of the ambush murder of three law officers and wounding of three others in Baton Rouge illustrated how difficult it continues to be for the Times Editorial Board to express concern over the killing of law enforcement officers. This time, the Times could only muster up a scant four paragraphs concerning the killing, with a mere three sentences devoted to the death of the officers before the Times editorial once again turned to what it would rather discuss, devoting the majority of the editorial to pontificate on “accountability” for law enforcement and the “friction” between police and the community they serve.
The Times view as summed up by the repulsive headline “Cops killing civilians, civilians killing cops. How do we fix this”—suggesting some moral equivalence between police shootings and the cold-blooded and calculated murders of multiple law enforcement officers!
Finally, as to the Editorial Board’s belief that accountability will only come from “Oversight Commissions” filled with political appointees, it conveniently ignores the fundamental way citizens of this great country determine the direction of their public agencies, including the Office of the Sheriff. It is called elections. Every four years, elected Sheriffs must justify their performance and that of the department they lead, with anybody who has a different view with law enforcement experience free to run against the incumbent Sheriff in support of a different vision. That is real accountability!
George Hofstetter is President of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs. ALADS is the collective bargaining agent and represents more than 8,200 deputy sheriffs and district attorney investigators working in Los Angeles County. George can be contacted at email@example.com.