L.A. Police Abuse Tape

A videotape released a few days ago shows a white Inglewood, Calif. cop arresting a black teenager, then throwing him up on the hood of his car and punching him in the face.

This is a bad deal. The cop has been suspended, the kid is suing and the attorney general of the United States has issued a statement. He's even sent the civil rights division to Los Angeles to figure out what's going on.

But let's keep our feet on the ground for just a moment...

Is this Rodney King 2, or "deux" as the French say? No. This was one cop ticked off at one kid, who then whacked the kid around. That one cop was restrained by his colleagues. He is not a police sergeant commanding his subordinates to beat and taser and forcibly subdue someone who is already on the ground and quite evidently subdued, as was the case with King.

Now... to repeat myself... was it bad? Yes. Should the cop be disciplined and maybe even fired? Probably. Does it look like the cop might have anger issues? Yes.

I have now watched this tape about 1,000 times on two other networks which are evidently trying to hype a race riot in L.A. — a repeat of the '92 riots.

Believe it or not, this would be a good thing for these two networks. They both desperately need a big event to bring a few people around to watch.

We in the TV business all grind our various axes, and I will admit mine is Iraq and Saudi Arabia. I think Saddam Hussein and the Saudis are doing things designed to kill or impoverish or otherwise ruin thousands of Americans. I consider it my daily duty to try to expose those facts, and work the public up to a state of dudgeon, more or less, on a par with my own.

But trying to incite up another riot in L.A., 10 years after the last one, by showing the tape over and over and screeching, "Where's the outrage!" is another thing.

That's what my colleagues are up to right now. No person — black or white or brown — should be subject to police abuse by either black or white or brown officers.

I hope the judicial system works in this case to everyone's satisfaction, but trying to whip up a race riot among Americans... that is lower than low.

That's My Word.

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