Political Science 162 Final Project- Ryan Long


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History of the LAPD

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Political Science 162 Final Project- Ryan Long

  1. 1. A History: 1850-Present By Ryan Long
  2. 2.   The history of the LAPD is one of both success and scandal. It is a story that is as turbulent as the city of Los Angeles itself. Let‟s start from the very beginning and work our way through the history of the department. As we proceed, I will argue that the major purpose of the LAPD throughout history, was, and in many cases, still is, to assist in insulating the middle and upper class from the “undesirable” population (poor, minorities, homeless). The LAPD do not necessarily want to eliminate the “undesirables” (because as we will see, they do serve a positive function) but to isolate and control them (violently if necessary). Introduction
  3. 3.  Los Angeles, 1850
  4. 4.   In the early 1850s, Los Angeles and the surrounding area was a dangerous region known for its gambling, vice, bandits, and numerous incidents of violent crime.  “Hundreds of families of law-abiding farmers, ranchers, and storekeepers settled here, but so did gamblers, disillusioned miners from the Sierra foothills, saloonkeepers, horse thieves, and renegades. The Wild West indeed was never wilder” (History of the LAPD). The Wild West
  5. 5.   As described by Harvey Molotch, in his study comparing the cities of Ventura and Santa Barbara, the future of a city is greatly dictated by the types of industry that exist early on.  In this case of Los Angeles, there was a very diverse range of early industries (although saloons were extremely popular). Going back to Peterson, diversity of industry is a good indicator of economic stability and success. City Development
  6. 6.   The first attempt to establish law enforcement personnel in Los Angeles came with the formation of the Los Angeles Rangers in 1853. The Rangers were a volunteer force that proved to be largely ineffective.  The Los Angeles Rangers later became the first uniformed Police force known as the “Los Angeles City Guard.” Their efforts of upholding order were also largely unsuccessful. A sporadic vigilante law enforcement system prevailed during this period. Early Efforts
  7. 7.  Allegorical Representation of Early Los Angeles *Mouse over and click play
  8. 8.   The fictional city of Mos Eisley in Star Wars compares to early Los Angeles in a number of ways:  1. The lack of an effective police force: The storm troopers  2. Racism: The droids are not allowed into the Cantina  3. Culture of Violence: A man is killed and nobody thinks anything of it.  4. Vigilante Justice: Obi-Wan takes the law into his own hands when he murders the criminal.  5. Attracts criminals and con-men: The creepy guy in the cantina is wanted and “has the death sentence in 12 different systems” Allegorical Representation Explained
  9. 9.   The first paid police force in Los Angeles (consisting of 6 officers) along with a police headquarters was established in 1869. The force was led by City Marshal, William C. Warren. In 1875, the first mounted patrol was created.  “Between 1876 and 1889, 15 Chiefs came and went, unable or unwilling to cope with the growing pains of a rowdy community” (History of the LAPD) The First Force
  10. 10.   By 1900, the population of Los Angeles had skyrocketed to over 100,000, an increase of 95,000 in just 30 years.  “Heavy-handed machine politics had entered the picture and would remain for years to come. The Mayor‟s office assumed increasing control of the Department and its policies. This accounts, at least in part, for the appointment of 16 Chiefs between 1900 and 1923” (History of the LAPD) Industrialization and Corruption (1900-1940)
  11. 11.   “Now, fear, violence and the state are integral to the formation and transformation of America‟s dark ghetto. Fear of contamination and degradation via association with inferior beings – African slaves – is at the root of the pervasive prejudice and institutionalization of the rigid caste division which, combined with urbanization, gave birth to the ghetto at the turn of the century” (Wacqaunt, 112).  Segregation of housing in American cities began soon after the first wave of African Americans migrated North in the early 1900s. These people who were considered “undesirable” by the police and local government were isolated from the rest of the population in areas that soon became ghettos. The Rise of the Ghetto
  12. 12.   “Starting in 1920 and for the better part of the next 20 years, varying levels of corruption tainted local government and the Department. This was the era of prohibition and the Depression. Known as a wide-open town, Los Angeles attracted the worst elements produced by the times. Crooked politicians, racketeers, bootleggers, and judges enjoyed immunity to arrest. The City was all but totally in the hands of bosses who controlled elected officials, dictating police appointments and promotions while garnering huge sums from booze, gambling, and vice” (History of the LAPD). Industrialization and Corruption (1900-1940) (Cont.)
  13. 13.  Mayor Frank L. Shaw  Mayor Frank L. Shaw was largely responsible for the massive amount of corruption in the 1930s in conjunction with Police Chief James E. Davis.
  14. 14.   “City contracts were awarded without competitive bidding, people in city government were paid to use designated contractors, large industries were solicited for $5,000 down payments and $500-a-month bribes to keep their enterprises open. And the Police Department was reorganized to suit Shaw with the return of his ally, former Police Chief James E. Davis” (Rasmussen).  “Meanwhile, Shaw's brother and aide, Joe, was selling LAPD jobs, the answer keys to the department's promotional exams and hard-to-get Depression-era promotions, right out of his City Hall office. At the same time, the Central Vice Squad roamed the city, serving as the ultimate enforcer and collector for organized vice operations and their politician patrons” (Rasmussen). Shaw and Corruption (cont.)
  15. 15.   “James E. Davis returned as Chief in 1933 and “deployed a „Red Squad‟ to „investigate and control radical activities, strikes, and riots.‟Its members had the blessing of government officials and the business community. In referring to individuals deemed subversive, one Police Commissioner voiced his views by declaring: „The more the police beat them up and wreck their headquarters, the better. Communists have no Constitutional rights and I won't listen to anyone who defends them‟” (History of the LAPD).  In the 1930s it was common to see striking laborers victimized and beaten by the LAPD. This group (which often consisted of poor workers) was another category of the “undesirable” class who the police attempted to contain to the satisfaction of the wealthier business owners and government employees. Industrialization and Corruption (1900-1940) (Cont.)
  16. 16.  Chief Parker  William H. Parker became Chief of Police in 1950 and served for 16 years.  He is credited with cleaning up the corruption that long- existed within the department.
  17. 17.   Parker was highly influential in changing the police force from “a walking peace-force to a more militarized mobile response force.” He did this by emphasizing use of the police car rather than foot patrol units.  Despite his many successes, Parker‟s Department was also known for racial insensitivity towards African Americans and Hispanics as well as increased incidents of police brutality. This is evident in the following video: Chief Parker (Cont.)
  18. 18.  Chief Parker
  19. 19.   During Chief Parker‟s time as Chief of Police the African American population in Los Angeles expanded tremendously from there only being 75,000 Blacks in 1940 to 650,000 in 1965.  It is possible that the LAPD‟s shift from walking beats to using patrol cars was a response to the African American migration as an attempt to protect themselves from the “undesirable invaders.”  Evidence shows, however, that use of patrol cars is more successful at lowering crime rates than walking beats (Wilson and Kelling, 1).  Minorities eventually became fed-up with mistreatment by the police and the Watts riots erupted. African American Migration
  20. 20.  Watts Riots (1965) *Mouse over and click play
  21. 21.  Chief Davis  Edward M. Davis became Chief of Police in 1969. He served until 1978.  Davis worked to foster a sense of community between city residents and police officers through “community policing” policies such as neighborhood watch.
  22. 22.   He also introduced a tactic known as the “Basic Car Plan” “under which uniformed officers were assigned to specific territories on a semi-permanent basis. Each officer had precise instruction to regard any criminal activity as a personal affront and to defend a "piece of turf" as though it was his own” (History of the LAPD). Chief Davis (Cont.)
  23. 23.   Under Prop 13, the LAPD budget was sharply reduced.  “By 1985, authorized sworn personnel had been reduced to 6,900. During the same time period, New York had 28,700 officers and Chicago had 12,399. Doing more with less became mandatory at a time when the City‟s population surpassed Chicago‟s to become the nation‟s second largest, and when Hispanics and Asians by the hundreds of thousands were relocating to Los Angeles” (History of the LAPD). Proposition 13 (1978)
  24. 24.   “The dedifferentiation of the social structure is directly tied to the decline of the formal economy and the collapse of the job market in the ghetto. In the post-war decades, the segregated neighborhoods of the big cities served as a convenient pool of cheap manual labor for a booming industrial economy. The restructuring of American capitalism during the period from 1965 to 1982 put an end to this role of reservoir of workforce, bringing about a rapid withering away of the productive fabric” (Wacquant103).  “To this collapse of the official economy corresponds the vertiginous growth of the informal economy, and especially the drug trade. The commerce in narcotics is, in many sectors of the ghetto, the only expanding economic sector and the main employer of jobless youths – nay, the only type of business that the latter know firsthand and for which they can begin working as early as age six or eight” (Wacquant, 103).  Out of options and unemployed, many poor minority communities turned to narcotics trafficking. This was influential in the development of gang culture ushering in a new era of violence. Chief Daryl Gates enacted “Operation Hammer” in an attempt to control gang violence and protect the more affluent members of Los Angeles. The Development of Drug and Gang Culture
  25. 25.  Chief Gates  Daryl F. Gates became Chief of Police in 1978 and served until 1992.  He is known for his tough stance against narcotics trafficking and gang violence.
  26. 26.   Chief Gates implemented “Operation Hammer” in 1987 to combat drug and gang violence.  The operation resulted in an enormous number of unwarranted arrests of African American and Hispanic Youths in South and East Los Angeles.  Officers implemented massive gang and narcotics sweeps and raids in areas deemed “gang ridden.”  In the period of 1984-1989 complaints of police brutality by the LAPD increased by 33%. War on Drugs and Gang Violence
  27. 27.  News Report: Rodney King Incident *Mouse over and click play
  28. 28.   The reflex of resorting to law enforcement agencies quickly fades when, on the one hand, one is equally afraid of police violence, itself endemic (as was recently revealed during the trial following the brutal beating of black motorist Rodney King by the Los Angeles police, caught on videotape by an amateur cameraman), but also and above all when state services, overextended and direly short of means, are unable to respond to demand and incapable of guaranteeing the victims minimal protection against possible reprisals by the criminals” (Wacquant, 100). Growing Distrust of Los Angeles Law Enforcement
  29. 29.  LA Riots (1992)
  30. 30.   The most recent events of police misconduct and corruption occurred in what is known as the “Rampart Scandal.”The Scandal focused on the Rampart Division of the Anti-gang unit, C.R.A.S.H. (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums).  Rampart Officer Rafael Perez was first arrested in 1998 for stealing six pounds of confiscated cocaine and selling it on the street. After sentencing he engaged in a plea-deal in which he revealed numerous other incidents of police corruption in the Rampart Division.  Some of these incidents included officers affiliated with gangs, bad shootings, officers drinking on the job, and much more. Rampart Scandal (1998)
  31. 31.  Chief Bratton  William J. Bratton was appointed Police Chief in 2002 and served until 2009.  He is credited with reducing the rate of serious crime in Los Angeles and creating a counter-terrorism bureau in the LAPD.
  32. 32.  Today Chief Charlie Beck inspecting the 2013 LAPD recruits
  33. 33.   The LAPD continues to work to assist in the isolation of the “undesirable” class. One can argue that this is done for the economic benefit of the city of Los Angeles. According to Peterson, the success of a city stems from its ability to generate capital (Peterson, 17). Cities strive to create an environment where the flow capital encouraged; for example, a place where corporations want to invest, and where highly educated people wish to live and work. The LAPD assists in creating in creating this ideal environment by enforcing policies that remove the poor from certain parts of the city thereby limiting them to others. An example of this can be seen on the next slide. The Unwanted Poor in Los Angeles
  34. 34.   “Los Angeles, as a matter of fact, has fewer available public lavatories than any major North American city. On the advice of the LAPD (who actually sit on the design board of at least one major Downtown redevelopment project), the community redevelopment agency bulldozed the remaining public toilet in skid row” (Davis, Chapter 4).  This is an example of a tactic to get the homeless population to leave a certain part of town. If they do not leave, the LAPD can arrest them for public urination instead. The Unwanted Poor in Los Angeles (Cont).
  35. 35.   If poor are disabled or just experiencing bad luck, it gives the rest of the population emotional satisfaction in various ways (Ganz, 280).  “The poor can be identified and punished as alleged or real deviants in order to uphold the legitimacy of dominant norms. The defenders of the desirability of hard work, thrift, honesty, and monogamy need people who can be accused of being lazy, spendthrift, dishonest, and promiscuous to justify these norms” (Ganz, 280).  “Agencies like the Bureau of Prisons and County Jail, together with innumerable private security companies have become major community employers in the wake of plant closures and deindustrialization in East Los Angeles during the 1970s and early 1980s” (Davis, Chapter 4).  One cannot help but wonder (from the evidence above) if our current political system system subconsciously promotes the prolonged existence of an “undesirable class.” “Positive” Functions of the Undesirables
  36. 36.  In conclusion, it was the migration of African Americans from the south in the 1940s – 1960s that changed the objectives and the purpose of the LAPD. The initial objective of the department was to punish poor laborers fighting against big business. After the migration of African Americans, the LAPD set their sights on neutralizing a new threat: minority communities. The Los Angeles Police Department continues to fight the growing gang and drug violence stemming from what Wacquant believes is a lack of employment opportunities and the withdrawal of the state. Conclusion
  37. 37.  "April 29, 1992: Los Angeles Riots | Video - ABC News." ABCNews.com - Breaking News, Latest News & Top Video News - ABC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Aug. 2013. <http://abcnews.go.com/Archives/video/april-29-1992-la-riots-16211608>.  BuyoutFootage. “HD Stock Footage Watts Riots Los Angeles 1965.” Online Video Clip. Youtube. Youtube, 9 Feb, 2013. Web. 1 Aug, 2013.  Daniel M. Kobayashi. “Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) - Obi Wan - Mos Eisley - These are not the droids.” Online Video Clip. Youtube. Youtube, 2 Sept, 2011. Web. 30 Jul, 2013.  Davis, Mike. City of quartz: excavating the future in Los Angeles. London: Verso, 1990.  Gans, Herbert J.. "The Positive Functions Of Poverty." American Journal of Sociology 78.2 (1972): 275. Print.  "History of the LAPD.” official website of THE LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 July 2013. <http://www.lapdonline.org/history_of_the_lapd>.  Jasmyne Cannick. “Is This Really Who the LAPD Wants to Name Its New Building After?” Online Video Clip. Youtube. Youtube, 12 Apr, 2009. Web. 1 Aug, 2013.  Johnny Faragher. “Rodney King Tape on National News.” Online Video Clip. Youtube. Youtube, 15 Nov, 2010. Web. 30 Jul, 2013. Bibliography
  38. 38.  Kelling, George, and James Wilson. "Broken Windows." The Atlantic 1 Mar. 1982: n. pag. The Atlantic. Web. 23 July 2013.  Molotch, Harvey. "History Repeats Itself, But How? Character, Urban Tradition, and the Accomplishment of Place ." American Sociological Review 65 (2000): 791-823. Print.  Peterson, Paul. "The Interests of the Limited City." American Urban Politics in a Global Age. New York: Longman, 2006. 9-18. Print.  Rasmussen, Cecilia. "Police Scandal is Worst Since 1930s." Los Angeles Times 17 Sept, 1999: n. pag. Los Angeles Times. Web. 31 July 2013.  "The Scandal - Rampart Scandal Timeline | PBS - L.a.p.d. Blues | FRONTLINE | PBS." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Aug. 2013. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/lapd/scandal/cron.html>.  Wacquant, Loïc, “Decivilizing and Demonizing: The Remaking of the Black American Ghetto” in Steven Loyal and Stephen Quilley (eds.), The Sociology of Norbert Elias. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.  "William H. Parker (1905 - 1966) - Find A Grave Memorial." Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Aug. 2013. <http://www.findagrave.com/cgi- bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5285>.  Wirth, Louis. "Urbanism As A Way Of Life." American Journal of Sociology 44.1 (1938): 1. Print.  Zirin, Dave. "Want to Understand the 1992 LA Riots? Start with the 1984 LA Olympics | The Nation." The Nation. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Aug. 2013. <http://www.thenation.com/blog/167630/want-understand-1992-la-riots-start-1984-la- olympics#axzz2am7EykT6>. Bibliography (Cont.)