That giant exhale you heard late Friday was not me thanking the sweet Lord that a horrific work week was over – no, that collective breath of hot air was courtesy Chief Bratton and the LAPD who are no longer the overburdened subjects of a federal consent decree. Eight years ago, hot off various instances couched as “scandals” that turned out to be “standard operating practice and procedure” (think Rodney King and Rampart), the federal government demanded reform and appointed itself referee. Under its gavel, it has witnessed the LAPD’s renaissance from an undisciplined fleet of ragtag racist officers to orderly, gentile frenemies, or so we are led to believe. On Friday, the federal court determined that considerable progress had been made (i.e., the LAPD has proven that it does not target minorities (as much as it did 8 years ago)), accepted the joint recommendation of the LAPD and Department of Justice’s attorneys to terminate the decree, and ended federal oversight of the department. Interestingly, under the transition agreement in place, the federal court reserved jurisdiction to oversee the LAPD’s antigang unit, the sore source of so many controversies, from Rampart to Alex Sanchez.
While I don’t doubt the LAPD’s progress, I also don’t doubt that there’s still much work to be done. Whether this work may be done – or may be done more effectively – without judicial eye is another question. Indeed, the ACLU is not terribly happy about the judge’s order; neither is Senator Tom Hayden. But, Eric Garcetti? As you can see from his tweet, he’s pretty darn excited. Who wants to garner a guess as to what Walter Moore tweeted from his French lodgings when he heard the news? Hint: It’s not nearly as exciting as you would hope.