The Video, the LAPD Blog, and how the two will relate

(Sorry to make yet another post on this topic but I’ve been thinking about it a lot and had some more thought on the subject – original post here, follow up here)

lapdblog.gifLike others I’ve been watching the LAPD Blog pretty much nonstop since this video surfaced if only to see how they would respond to it. Of course this is a situation where having a blog can be a major asset to the department as it will allow them to respond very quickly to just about anything being reported or asked, the question of course is if they will. Earlier this year the blog launched Chief Bratton made a post called “We’ve Changed” where he talked about the departments commitment to the blog and what that means. He wrote:

“The department continually reinforces its commitment to transparency of operations by maintaining an ongoing dialogue with community…”

It was exactly that “commitment to transparency” and “ongoing dialogue” I was hoping for when I initially called for them to start blogging however just saying you are committed to these things does not mean you are. People questioned this right away and in an article about the launch on ABC 7 this exact question was brought up.

“Visitors to LAPD’s blog say candor from a historically tightlipped department will determine the site’s success.

“To say ‘blogging’ implies having a conversation with the public,” said media critic Jeff Jarvis. “It will be very hard for them to do. What’s going to happen when there’s another controversy in L.A.? Are they going to get into deep conversation about Rodney King? I’d be surprised.” “

Well, with news of this video spreading rapidly and investigations started by the FBI this might be just that controversy. So how they will handle it, and if they will use their blog as the fantastic tool that it could be remains to be seen. As I noted last night when the official response was posted it’s pretty sterile and doesn’t give much more info than what was reported earlier in the day by outside news organizations, in fact the exact same quotes from Chief Bratton were used. On LA Voice Mack Reed went as far as to call it a “Non-Explanation of Punching Arrest.”

A comment I received on a previous post by Aaron B. Hockley makes another point worth considering. He says:

“When you get one version of the story from the LAPD, and another version from Copwatch, odds are the truth lies somewhere in the middle since both of those sources have predisposed biases…”

This is of course a reference to the original story on CopWatchLA which said the suspect had no prior gang history and the LAPDs follow up claiming that he was not only a known gang member but one of the cities most wanted. Right now we’re in he said she said – If he is in fact a known gang member there should be some records indicating this and those should be brought to the public. If he has no prior gang connection the LAPD has the duty to correct these reports. If, like Aaron suggests the truth lies somewhere in the middle, that is something that should also be considered.

At this point most of us will just have to sit back and see what happens next. The LAPD has a chance to take some pretty important steps with their blog in relation to this. I think we’re all hoping the department allows those steps to be taken.

More Metroblogging Posts About This Video
* A New LAPD Beating Video? – posted 11:11 AM on Nov. 08
* Update: FBI looks into the LAPD video – posted at 6:40 PM on Nov. 09
* The Video, the LAPD Blog, and how the two will relate – posted at 7:40 AM on Nov. 10
* Police Report and New LAPD Video Don’t Match Up – posted at 10:07 AM on Nov. 11