Crowd Lambasts Beck to LAPD Commission
By Jacqueline García, EGP Staff Writer
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck sat motionless as speaker after speaker criticized his job as the city’s top cop during a meeting of the city’s police commission Tuesday evening in Lincoln Heights.
The civilian commission is in the process of deciding whether Beck’s contract as police chief should be extended for another five years. The meeting at the Lincoln Heights Senior Center was one of two held to get feedback from the community. The first was June 11 in Westchester.
Tuesday’s meeting drew residents from all over city, including from as far away as the San Fernando Valley and South L.A.
Only a handful of the approximately 100 people at the meeting spoke in favor of extending Beck’s contract, while dozens of speakers used their two-minutes of public speaking time to lambast Beck, telling the commission over and over again not to reappoint him to another term.
From the start of the meeting, loud booing made it clear that this was not an audience friendly to the police chief.
Commission President Steve Soboroff asked the audience to be respectful of the panel of commissioners and police officers sitting at the table on the center’s stage. “Input can’t be discussed today, we are just here to listen,” Soboroff explained.
“This is an opportunity for us to hear form you and [to know] how are we doing,” added Beck, not yet aware of the bombardment of negative comments he would soon face, but not be able to respond to.
“We give you an F,” said one speaker.
“Instead of reappointment, you should be investigated,” said several speakers.
For two hours, speaker after speaker accused Beck of allowing officers under his command to engage in racial profiling and use excessive force. They accused the police chief of failing to control and discipline problem officers under his command.
Several speakers accused Beck of invading people’s privacy and fueling hatred among the city’s diverse communities.
Highland Park resident Luis Navarro’s issues with the department go back 21 years. On Tuesday, he wanted to know who’s entitled to justice.
“Do only rich people have justice because they have money and they have power?” said Navarro who’s been waiting 21 years for the department to solve the strangling murders of his daughter and granddaughter.
He told EGP that Beck is following in the footsteps of his predecessors, noting that his daughter’s murder has been assigned two part-time officers while other cases, like the Brian Stowe beating at Dodger Stadium, had several full-time officers working that case.
“Why? Because we are poor? Because we don’t have money?” Navarro said.
Third generation, retired police officer Steve Brackett of L.A. said he is opposed to Beck’s reappointment because of his treatment of officers since taking the helm.
He accused Beck of demoting a female assistant police chief “two-ranks” because she “lacked the ‘LAPD Pedigree.’” Brackett said taxpayers have been put on the hook for millions of dollars in lawsuit settlements involving officers under Beck’s command.
“[Beck shows] favoritism to officers related to him and officers he works with,” Brackett told EGP.
Many of the people who showed up Tuesday have ties to the city’s Skid Row community. Sylvia Hernandez said she was disappointed when LAPD officers showed up 25 minutes late to a town hall meeting on Skid Row last week, then “just sat there quietly.”
“What are your plans for transparency and accountability” for policing in this community, she asked Beck as she walked back to join members of the Los Angeles Community Action Network.
Zandra Solis said she does not know what Beck or the commission plans to do to stop the violence on Skid Row, and accused LAPD officers of “killing innocent people that don’t have guns,” referring to the death of a mentally ill man.
“I don’t feel protected anymore because I don’t know if I’m going to walk outside and get killed by one of your cops.” the Skid Row resident said.
However, Xiomara Flores-Olguin, a 20-year veteran with the Department of Children and Families Services (DCFS), stood up to speak in Back’s defense. “I want you to know who Charlie Beck is,” she told the commission.
“I met him in 2003 when the department of children and families services was establishing a specialized unit called MART, the Multi-Agency Respond Team.” She explained that MART deals with problems related to the children of L.A. city and county gang members, and kids in gangs.
“I knew he was the former captain of juvenile division and he immediately committed to work with us,” Flores-Olguin said. As a result, since 2004, DCFS and LAPD have been allies.
“I know he has issues, but who doesn’t have issues, I have seen crime decreasing,” El Sereno resident Lupe Ramirez told EGP. “Their response to us when we have problems has been rapid, they are courteous, respectful, and they come back and follow up,” Ramirez said, explaining that it’s a reflection of the standard set by the chief.
The meeting was adjourned after two hours, but that did not stop the chief’s dissenters from continuing to push their position. “We hope you get fired!” “We don’t want you here!” they shouted as the chief stopped to take pictures with some of those at the meeting.
The Board of Police Commissioners are expected to vote on August 19 for Beck’s reappointment, according to their website. If you were unable to attend one of the meetings, comments regarding Beck’s reappointment can be emailed to: email@example.com.Print This Post
July 10, 2014 Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.