The day after video surfaced of an L.A. County Sheriff punching a woman in the face while his partner restrained her on a Metro Bus, the story had been told around the world. Strong arm of the law: Video shows shocking moment cop punches woman, screamed the headline of the Daily Mail in England. LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Elbows Woman in the Face [SHOCKING VIDEO] exclaimes the headline at the International Business Journal’s Website.
Closer to home, the Los Angeles Times managed a full seven paragraphs on the attack in its print edition, five of which were excuse making from the Sheriff’s Department (LASD), despite the story being featured on every local English and Spanish language news show in Los Angeles. Even though the assault occured on a Metro Bus, The Souce hasn’t seen fit to even mention the incident.
To its credit, the paper of record has been following the story in its blog section LA_Now. Despite it’s rather lame headlines, these four stories give enough background to get a clear picture of the story.
On Wednesday morning, the story broke that an L.A. County Sheriff has punched a woman in the face on a bus. Included with the story was a video shot clearly showing the woman was partially restrained and offering minimal resistance when struck. Apparently, the police recognized the woman as they knew that she had a record of assaulting LASD deputies. LASD has not released her criminal record.
Making the matter worse, the deputies then allegedly tried to intimidate the citizen journalist, Iraq war veteran Jermaine Green, into giving up his phone. The attempt clearly failed. Despite their actions, both sheriffs remain on active duty.
Later that day, after enduring a barrage of terrible local, national and international press, LASD released the 911 call that prompted the deputies to board the bus and confront and later attack the woman. The 911 caller called from a bus stop complaining that a special needs passenger was threatening other passengers…that she was literally “trying to pick a fight with everyone.” The videographer of the confrontation claims the woman was acting pleastently towards other passengers on the bus itself until the Sheriffs boarded.
The second article also revealed that Sheriff Lee Baca stated that the attacking officer would be held accountable, but stopped short of saying he would be disciplined. Because apparently there are other ways of holding people accountable besides disciplining them.
Yesterday morning, the Times printed its seven paragraph story that was more excuses and explanations than a description of what happened.
The Times updates the story online covering the events of the day before, and including this gem from Baca.
“If the individual deputy who swung an elbow at the lady is looking at that as a sensible solution, we need to retrain that individual,” he told KNX-AM (1070).
Later, KNBC tracks down the victim to get her side of the story. The woman claims she never assaulted an officer, but doesn’t deny spending time in jail for something. She also claims she was being harassed at the bus stop and that her verbal threats to another passenger were really self-defense.
So here’s where we are. A woman was acting strange or aggressive enough at a bus stop for someone to call 911. After the woman boards the bus and it goes a stop, the Sheriffs board. The woman, who was behaving normally on the bus itself, curses the Sheriffs. While the confrontation is going on, a man is filming the entire issue. Knowing he was being filmed, a male officer strikes the woman while his partner partially restrains her. He then tries to get the man to turn over his phone through verbal imtimidation.
That LASD Sheriff Baca believes this to be a training issue is alarming. Rather than come down on an officer whose out-of-control behavior shocked viewers around the world, the LASD is engaging in spin control. Meanwhile Metro, the agency who pays for the Sheriffs to police its buses and trains is deafening everyone with their silence.