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LAPD Tradition: Stonewalling

September 10, 2000

* In "RICO Is Worst Possible Way to Handle Rampart" (Commentary, Sept. 3), Theodore Olson argues that the LAPD should not be subjected to a lawsuit in federal court under a federal "criminal enterprise" statute. Olson's reasoning? He states that there are "traditional and entirely adequate remedies for police corruption," namely "swift and thorough removal and punishment of rotten police officers," as well as "full compensation" for those injured.

One has to stifle one's impulse to laugh at this. There is, of course, no such "tradition." The tradition when it comes to police corruption is deception, stonewalling and cover-up--a "blue wall" of silence.

RICO is not, as Olson suggests, the "worst possible response to the Rampart scandal." The worst possible response would be the true traditional response--silence. The federal court should be applauded for permitting the RICO suit to go forward. The rights of Los Angeles citizens will only be protected by such courageous and entirely appropriate external oversight.


Acting Prof., UCLA School of Law


Chief Bernard Parks' response to protester Scott Engmann (Sept. 2) reflects his attitude that his Police Department can do no wrong. "You shouldn't have been breaking the law" seems to overlook the fact that the cases were dismissed and probably done so to save him the embarrassment of more police misconduct coming to light, namely, the unlawful arrests of individuals following a police escort.

Maybe Parks should be wrongfully jailed for a while and upon release and dismissal of his case be told, well, "You shouldn't have been breaking the law."



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