Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Black Police Officer Who Killed Unarmed Latino Girl a Wake-up Call For Woke

'It’s just incomprehensible to me that we have a system that is so biased, so random, so unbelievably racially biased... '

The radical social justice movement to transform police officers into compassionate caregivers, and police departments into social service agencies, appears to have suffered a setback in what was already a tragic story.

William Dorsey Jones Jr., a black police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, on the day before Christmas Eve shot and killed an unarmed, 14-year-old Latino girl, Valentina Orellana Peralta.

Jones was one of several officers who responded to a 911 call from a retail store in North Hollywood, where a man was reportedly attacking customers with a heavy bike lock, according to the Associated Press. When police arrived on scene, one officer holding a rifle pushed to the front of the pack, while “other officers repeatedly said “slow down” and “slow it down.”

“Hold up! Hold up!” another officer screamed just before three shots rang out, reported the AP. The officer holding the rifle fired, police said, leaving the attacker and 14-year-old Orellana Peralta dead. Jones was the officer who fired the rifle, with a stray bullet from the hail of gunfire striking the girl, who was hiding with her mother in a store dressing room.

It’s a storyline that has played out in a disturbingly familiar pattern, when in the heat of a tense criminal encounter, police are required to make life-or-death decisions in the blink of an eye. Far too often, the officer involved, especially if it was a white male, has been viscously maligned for shooting the law breaker, especially if it was a black male.

No matter how well-intentioned or legal an officer’s actions were, social justice warriors have taken to the streets in protest and riot, activist politicians, pundits and leftist media have bellowed for change, for reform and for police accountability.

Which is where the case of LAPD officer Jones takes an unexpected twist. That’s because Jones was a self-proclaimed Black Lives Matter adherent and social advocate for change, according to the Daily Beast, who “was determined to position himself as a bridge between police and communities of color.”

“I’m a black man, I’m the father of a black son, I’ve been the vict[im] of racism,” Jones wrote in one now-removed tweet. “I’m the LAPD. I have the power & determination to affect CHANGE in the community. Im a proud member of the #thinblueline & #blacklivesmatter.”

The tweet has been scrubbed, along with a Twitter page showing Jones promoting a nonprofit, Officers for Change, and related charitable activities, reported the Daily Beast, while another now-inaccessible account indicates he coached a local high-school football team.

Like a majority of law enforcement officers, Jones seems by most reports to be earnest about his job, sincere in his goal to fight crime and make his community’s streets safe. But in the backlash of activist movements to defund the police and handcuff their ability to carry out critical decisions in a chaotic moment, that job is becoming increasingly perilous and subject to public persecution.

That holds especially true in California, where extreme leftist Gov. Gavin Newsom approved one of the nation’s toughest standards for the use of deadly force by police officers, requiring that officers use it only “when necessary in defense of human life.”

“It’s just incomprehensible to me that we have a system that is so biased, so random, so unbelievably racially biased,” the governor, a Democrat, told The Marshall Project before signing the legislation.

California double-downed this year, when it approved a raft of police reform measures that included eliminating legal immunities that shield law enforcement from civil rights lawsuits, and implemented a review process that includes officers possibly losing their badges for serious misconduct incidents such as racial bias or excessive force.

“Too many lives have been lost due to racial profiling and excessive use of force,” Newsom proclaimed in a press statement. “We cannot change what is past, but we can build accountability, root out racial injustice and fight systemic racism.”

How that standard will apply in the Jones case is yet to be seen. But if immediate reactions are prescient of future conduct, the social justice and woke police reform cloak that Jones wrapped himself in is likely to prove a benefit.

A case to that point was already made by the New York Times, with a headline that declared “Officer Whose Bullet Killed a 14-Year-Old Girl Wanted to ‘Change’ the Police.” The subtle yet decidedly subjective shift from a black officer who killed to “officer whose bullet killed” is telling.

If the police change that Jones wanted and reportedly worked for comes to pass, it might prove a rude awakening for the woke.

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