Cop privilege is a thing. I can already hear the Blue Lives Matter crowd collectively rolling their eyes into the back of their heads at this statement, but let me explain.
First of all, no one ever needs to wonder if an investigation into the shooting of a police officer is being taken seriously. We know that crimes committed against police tend to come with larger penalties than those against civilians, and we know that law enforcement will always fiercely go to bat for their own. No one has to demand justice because justice is already being sought out—there’s almost never a reason to question that. Secondly, police accounts of any given altercation are typically taken at face value. Media outlets treat police reports like they’re a source for fact-checking and the courts treat them as gospel. There’s one major problem with that: Cops stay lying.
By now, many of you have heard that two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were shot Saturday in Compton, Calif. in what the sheriff’s office described as an “ambush.” The officers survived the attack—which was captured on surveillance video—and are recovering from their injuries. The shooter has yet to be caught.
For those who missed it, here’s what happened as reported by the Los Angeles Times:
Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were out of surgery and recovering after being shot Saturday evening in Compton in what authorities described as an “ambush” that was captured on surveillance video.
The video, released by the department, shows a man walking up to the deputies’ parked patrol car, pulling out a gun and firing several times into the front seat area from the passenger side. The assailant is then seen running from the scene. On Sunday, officials asked for the public’s help to locate the person who opened fire.
The Sheriff’s Department reported that the shooting occurred about 7 p.m. near the Blue Line station at 275 Willowbrook Ave.
“One male deputy and one female deputy were ambushed as they sat in their patrol vehicle. Both sustained multiple gunshot wounds and are in critical condition.
The deputies were listed in critical condition but were expected to survive.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva on Sunday called the condition of the deputies a “double miracle.”
Law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times that at least one of the deputies was shot in the face and the other in the head.
On Sunday, L.A. County sheriff’s deputies arrested public-radio reporter Josie Huang—of LAist affiliate KPCC—who was covering a small protest that had erupted outside a hospital where the officers were being treated. Huang’s account of what happened is drastically different from what the police said happened, but Huang has video receipts.
From the Times:
The Sheriff’s Department said on Twitter that some of the protesters blocked entrances and exits of the hospital Saturday, but that could not be independently verified.
Video from the scene shows a small group of people approaching a driveway leading to the hospital before security officers block them from entering the campus. The security officers are then replaced by sheriff’s deputies, at least one of whom points a weapon at the group while some of those gathered shout obscenities and call the deputies names. Huang can also be seen approaching the group and asking for an interview.
The situation becomes more tense as sheriff’s deputies order people to back up and then begin shoving them. One deputy appears to strike a man with a baton.
Deputies were trying to arrest a protester who refused to comply with an order to disperse, the department tweeted, when Huang “ran towards the deputies, ignored repeated commands to stay back as they struggled with the male and interfered with the arrest.”
The department said that Huang did not identify herself as a member of the media and lacked “proper” press credentials.
A series of videos that Huang posted to Twitter shows a noticeable difference between what the involved officers say happened and...well...reality.
First of all, Huang’s videos show us that what police described as a protest large enough to have people blocking entrances and exits to the hospital, was really just a few Black people on the sidewalk talking shit to armed deputies.
The cops claimed that Huang was obstructing the arrest they were trying to make. Spoiler alert: She wasn’t.
“I was filming an arrest when suddenly deputies shout ‘back up,’ Huang wrote. “Within seconds, I was getting shoved around. There was nowhere to back up.”
The sheriff’s department claimed Huang never identified herself as a reporter. According to the video, she did...repeatedly. She can also be seen wearing what looks like a press badge around her neck.
Huang tweeted that she was “put in the back of a patrol car—the start of some 5 hours in LASD custody that began with the deputy refusing to uncuff me so I could put my face covering back on, telling me I just had a “scrape” when I was bleeding from my foot and not giving me back a shoe.”
L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas tweeted Sunday that “We must continue [to] pray for the two ambushed sheriff deputies and their families. We must also require that the Inspector General launch an immediate investigation into the arrest of @josie_huang. The Citizens Oversight Commission must convene a special meeting on this matter.”
On Tuesday, L.A. County police Captain Kerry Carter tweeted that the investigation into Huang’s arrest is “underway.”