In a Police Chase, the Lights Can Be a Tip-Off
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go ahead and investigate, but I saw what I saw.
Yet another genius led police on a chase Wednesday morning, this time in a stolen Toyota Camry, with TV news helicopters on the scene like flies on cow chips.
Here’s a tip to thieves:
If you’re running from police at night and notice that a brilliantly intense spotlight is traveling with you, chances are you’re on television. TV news being what it is, they will follow you for days if they have to. So unless you’re cruising with David Copperfield and he can make you disappear, give it up already.
The man in question, 36-year-old Stanley Miller, ditched the Camry in Compton and began hoofing it. Within seconds, it was clear why he will not be participating in the Summer Olympics.
Several Los Angeles Police Department officers gave chase and quickly subdued Miller, who appeared too exhausted to do anything but cooperate. And then along came a gangly officer who ran as if he were riding a wild donkey. He got to the party a few seconds late, but didn’t let that get in the way of a good time.
This officer, identified as John Hatfield, apparently mistook the suspect for a McCoy. His first move was a kick in the direction of Miller’s head, and then he started wailing with what looked like a flashlight.
Here’s a tip to cops:
It’s always best to conduct beatings indoors, particularly if you hear a helicopter, notice a bright light, and see a shadow of yourself poised to strike again. Sure, that’s your own team up there in a police chopper. But it’s likely there are TV news crews nearby.
Hatfield hauled off once.
And kept going.
Altogether it was 11 blows, aimed at a black man who was already restrained. After finishing third in the foot chase, Hatfield looked worn out. By the end of his impromptu batting practice, Hatfield’s swings reminded me of slumping Dodger Shawn Green. That might explain why the LAPD slugger didn’t appear to cause serious injury.
My advice to cops is that if you’re going to risk your whole career on an over-the-hill car thief, don’t rubber-arm it. Swing for the fences, and if you end up on trial, just say the guy was reaching for your jewels. It worked in Inglewood, right?
The Wednesday morning beating looked bad, said LAPD Chief William Bratton, who was back East at the time.
It looked bad that Bratton was in Connecticut.
Broadway Bill, as you might have noticed, likes to talk, and he’ll go anywhere in search of an audience. If six housewives asked him to be keynote speaker at a Tupperware party in Kansas, he’d be on the next plane.
In 456 days between Jan. 1 of 2003 and April 1 of this year, he was out of town part or all of 111 days on personal or “police” business. Kind of hard to keep your players in line when you’re on the road more than “Les Miserables.”
Although this thing looked bad, Bratton said from 3,000 miles away, “There should be no rush to judgment before the investigations are completed.”
Guess what, Chief. My investigation is complete.
Any cop who’d whack a captured suspect 11 times, on live TV no less, is too dumb to keep past lunch.