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Letters to the Editor: Erase the LAPD’s tough-guy culture. Do that by defunding, not ‘reforming’

Two police officers walk outside LAPD headquarters
Police officers walk outside the LAPD’s headquarters in downtown Los Angeles on July 1.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I agree with columnist Steve Lopez that the Los Angeles Police Department needs a do-over. It always has. But, how can the LAPD be reformed?

The tough-guy attitude displayed by the Metro Division and by Neanderthals like Jamie McBride, a police union board member, can’t be reformed as long as those cops still work in the department. Even if you separate them and put each one somewhere different, they carry that swagger with them.

To change the culture you have to start over. As the LAPD exists now, every cop has to cover for the worst cop or fear retaliation. One of those cops who stood over George Floyd while he was killed in Minneapolis was a Black man. He was doing what he thought he had to do to remain a cop. That’s the culture.

As I watched on TV while cops beat peaceful protesters with their sticks, I remembered that these were officers from the “reformed” LAPD and not the department under the late Chief Daryl F. Gates. The L.A. City Council never reforms anything, so you cannot rely on it to change the LAPD.

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If you don’t want to defund the LAPD and try something dramatically different, expect the police brutality to continue.

Dawn Sharp, Claremont

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To the editor: McBride is the police union’s own worse enemy. For those of us in L.A.'s Black community who grew up and lived through Gates’ reign of terror, McBride’s tribute to the former chief amounts to a slap in our collective face.

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Art Peck, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Three simple and inexpensive steps toward police reform can be easily initiated.

A severe problem is screening to eliminate officer candidates who have thuggish or bullying tendencies. The examinations that are used for this process are a joke and badly need revision.

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Further, expenditures on expensive military-style equipment are ridiculous. The purported benefit of such equipment is questionable and certainly not worth the high price.

Finally, officers should be responsible for any legal action resulting from their conduct. I can think of nothing more ludicrous than taxpayers being required to cover settlements and judgments resulting from police misconduct. Will taxpayers be asked to serve the sentences for officers convicted of crimes?

Ron Sorace, Torrance


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