Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies are in the spotlight this week after killing another person on August 31st, and after new details have emerged of a literal police gang inside the Sherriffs department — known as the Executioners — in which cops are initiated by violence and rewarded for brutalizing and killing community members.
The victim of Monday’s shooting, who has not yet been identified, was shot by Deputies pursuing him for riding his bicycle in violation of vehicle codes.
Yes, you heard that right.
This took place just as news broke about the case of Andres Guardado, who was gunned down by sheriffs earlier this year. In that case, it is documented that the police destroyed video cameras to hide the crime and now a whistleblower has stated that the officer who killed Guardado was a prospective member of the “Executioners” gang.
These gangs have a long history in the LA Sheriff's department and have been subject to investigations, court cases, and media exposure for decades. And yet, these gangs are still around.
The situation of the LA Sherriffs should really be known by the whole country, because it speaks directly to how deep the problem of police abuse goes, and what it will take to be uprooted.
Since the killing of George Floyd, we have heard over and over that to deal with this problem we have to make a change at the top, vote out Trump! That for instance, has been the takeaway after NBA players made their powerful statements against racism — a chorus of new appeals to take to the ballot box.
But let’s look at the state of California, which has a Democratic super-majority and a Democratic governor — all of whom say they are for “police reform”. But what has this amounted to? In the most recent California Assembly session which closed this week, lawmakers failed to pass any of the high-profile police reform bills that had been introduced.
Most notable is SB 731, designed to make a police officer more liable for their own misconduct. Right now, in California, police officers who plant or fabricate evidence, for instance, are immune from liability under current California law. Jail guards who maliciously beat and injure people are also not personally liable.
SB 731 would change this, as well as create a system to decertify police officers. So that if they are fired or resign because of misconduct they will not be able to be police officers anywhere else in California.
This, YOU’D THINK, would be unobjectionable. But for California Democrats, the thought of just minimal accountability for cops was so objectionable that THEY DIDN’T EVEN BRING IT TO A VOTE.
California legislators failed to pass a bill limiting the use of rubber bullets, so that’s 0 for 2.
They failed to pass a bill that would have required officers to intervene when another is using “excessive force.” That’s 0 for 3.
Another bill would have required the release of officers' prior history of police brutality and where they had lied in investigations. That measure passed both houses, but they just let time run out, so it didn’t go to the governor to become law. 0 for 4.
So there you have it. California, Democratic super-majority, Democratic governor, and the cops are still killing people with impunity, running literal gangs inside the sheriffs department, and the politicians aren’t doing anything about it.
It’s safe to say that for the tens of millions who poured into the streets this year in mass protests, regardless of how they vote, there will be no deliverance of justice on Election Day. And that is why so many of those millions are now talking about deep change, structural change, revolutionary change — not just an electoral change.