Police Chief Charlie Beck & LAPD Transparency

Transparency is one of those words that police and politicians love to throw around these days. A lot. It seems obvious what it means, but it's not always. For example, a community activists definition of transparency might be for the police, such as the LAPD and Chief Charlie Beck, to release to the media and the public the security camera video they confiscated from the Venice restaurant after last weeks police shooting and killing of a reportedly aggressive drunk and agitated homeless man named Brandon Glenn.

To Chief Beck, who I spoke with today, transparency would be sharing that video after the ''process'' has played out, whether in a court of criminal law, or a civil lawsuit. To release it now, would be violating the sanctity of an investigation, and possibly taint witnesses.... '' We don't want that out there before witnesses have been interviewed'' he told me, this after he himself held a widely publicized news conference essentially saying his officer may be guilty of an out of policy shooting, if not a crime.

Similar argument with situation to the shooting on skid row March 1st of '' Charlie Africa.'', where LAPD body camera video may exonerate the officer. Makes sense on one hand, but if you're in a crisis of confidence in the community, not just here but in many other cities, then releasing everything and letting the chips fall where they may ,so to speak, is certainly one strategy worth considering, but not here. As one long time community activist who spoke at todays Police Commission meeting told me afterwards, transparency is a '' one way street.. .they'd like to be transparent when it's advantageous for them. '' Law enforcement typically doesn't see it that way, but that's why not everyone is real happy these days with police-community interaction.

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