Must Reads

Sunday-Monday Must Reads


The always interesting Lt. Sunil Dutta offers his thoughts on the issue of racial profiling in Monday’s LA Times.

Here’s how it opens:

I was accused of racial profiling on the first traffic stop I made as a rookie LAPD officer in 1998. I had spotted a reckless driver speeding through the streets of Van Nuys in a large pickup truck, so I flipped on my lights and took up the chase. The driver eventually pulled over, but as I walked up to his car, he began shouting at me, accusing me of having stopped him because he was black.

I could not sleep that night. A liberal academic before becoming a police officer, I had joined the Los Angeles Police Department hoping to make a difference. Yet here I was, on my first traffic stop, being accused of racism.

I thought of that incident again last week, when the LAPD was accused yet again of not adequately guarding against racial profiling by its officers…..


My pal the wonderful LA Times book critic and author, David Ulin, will be reading from his new book The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time, on Monday night, 7 p.m., at Doheny Library on the USC Campus.

The book’s smart and very good, and David is smart and a terrific speaker. So go. I”ll be there, of course.

Wouldn’t miss it.


Yes, amazingly, the Florida recount was ten years ago. For the occasion, the NY Times has gathered a bunch of memories from people on all sides of the experience in a section called “My Florida Recount Memory.

Read it and weep. (Literally.)

Not one of Texas’ better moments, in my opinion. It isn’t that California’s doing an better.

The Austin American-Statesman has the story.


Shanice McKinley hoped to be crowned Miss America, but instead came home with a shiney new dose of pride for her home town of Compton.

The LA Times’ Abby Sewell wrote the lovely story.


The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has the story.
Here’s a clip:

….Along with huge doses of encouragement, the organization also provides free job training, employment counseling, work support strategies, coaching in financial literacy and other workforce development opportunities.

This year, the organization received $40,000 from the United Way of Greater Milwaukee toward its job training and placement program.

“Studies show that people who have received additional, job-specific training make more money per hour than their counterparts,” said Nicole Angresano, vice president of community impact with the United Way of Greater Milwaukee. “This program helps people develop the skills to gain and sustain employment and earn enough income to meet daily expenses and basic needs.”

Of the 254 people enrolled in employment counseling, at least 90% have been convicted of a felony at some point, said Vanessa M. White, the organization’s director of workforce development.

NOTE: Yes I probably will eventually stop constantly posting cute puppy photos, but I’m not there yet.


  • Dutta is saying what I said here which was called racist. Isn’t that something, a liberal LAPD Lt. and I seeing things the same way.

  • Every time I read a story, and there’s been a lot lately, where some parolee has killed some cop, raped some kid or murdered some family I become more of the mind set that parole should be abolished.

    I could care less about their families or there hard luck in life because I’ve known enough people who have over come their circumstances without resorting to crime. A felony conviction should mean you do 100% of your time and once a second felony conviction takes place good-bye forever.

    I would change some laws so a felony is actually that, I’m not heartless but I’m so tired of these guys getting out of jail and ruining the lives of others that choosing to keep them in makes abundant sense to me.

  • RE: Lt. Dutta’s op ed:

    I’ve never heard anyone, ever, refer to themselves as a “liberal academic”. What does that even mean?

    What about the LAPD was he hoping to make a difference? Here the LA times give him an op ed, it’s his time to shine. Give us some of these liberal ideas, or liberal academic, as he would refer to them. All he comes up with is videotaping officers? And even when doing that, he makes the argument as if it will go further to exonerate cops of misconduct complaints than substantiate them. If he really believes such incidents are that rare, why is he even bothering? It’s almost as if he’s daring the justice department to tape them. Kind of like when someone who’s lying says, “Go ahead, give me a lie detector test, I’ll take it right now…”, knowing no such test is likely to happen.

    The op ed to me just reeks of an LAPD spokesperson trying to spin the current charges by the justice department. Except this current installment attempts the, “hey, and I’m a liberal” angle. Give me a break.

  • What Dutta’s piece tells me is that, surprise surprise, a lot of people don’t like cops. A person who has a dislike of cops is going to question their motives and intent no matter what they do. With such people, it doesn’t matter what a cop says, it will never be taken at face value.
    Joe’s take on it seems to bear that out.

    “I had spotted a reckless driver speeding through the streets of Van Nuys”

    To me, that says it all. Had I been Dutta, I would’ve responded to the guy: “No sir, I stopped you because you were speeding and driving recklessly. Are you saying that I should ignore your breaking of the law and not pull you over because you’re black”?

    A person is either breaking the law or they’re not. For the people who love to scream “It’s “DWB” the question we must ask ourselves is very simple. Do we want our police officers to allow minorities to break the law with impunity for fear of being labeled racist?

    I don’t. The same laws that apply to me apply to them.

  • Many agencies already tape Joe, as soon as the lights go on so does the video. I believe that should be a have to. My son’s agency requires them to activate their voice recorders before every contact. You wouldn’t believe how many complaints turn out to be withdrawn when the person learns the stop was recorded.

    The reason is simple; police usually get beefed by assholes, not always but usually.

  • LOL. This is laughable. Of course, what police won’t tell us, is that even if they’re taped using misconduct, the evidence will usually just be turned over to an “internal investigation”, which means the police themselves, yes, that’s correct, the fox in front of the hen house, will review the evidence and make a ruling. Innocent citizens were shot in the backs with rubber bullets while following police orders at MacArthur Park a few years back. I don’t believe one of those cops even lost their jobs. The only difference that video or audio taping police interactions makes is that now their abuse will be on video. Doesn’t mean a thing. It still won’t bring consequences, and definitely won’t bring any long term change.

    So, when the LAPD’s own Barack Obama insists he’s a “liberal academic” who joined the department hoping to make a change, and the only solution he offers is to video tape police interactions? Please.

  • Johannes Mehserle was on video shooting a detained suspect in the back. He’s going to do about a year and some change in prison, may even work in law enforcement again. That’s about the same punishment he would have gotten if there was no camera or audio, just word of mouth testimony from witnesses.

  • Talk about laughable, another change of name another day for Rob. It’s absurd to say something like Mehserle may work in law enforcement again. That statement is just another example of cop hate that rules Rob’s life. Very sad.

  • He slapped a girl in the face in high school and called her a racial slur, and BART PD knew about it when hiring him. A lot of agencies are laxed with their hiring these days. If they feel an applicant is “on the winning team”, so to speak, with their overall demeanor and politics, they’re willing to look the other way at a lot of things. I think Mehserle will be a cop again, somewhere in the US.

  • Mr. Rios,

    Do you have anything constructive you can recommend to stop misconduct by police officers? Also, before you laugh at people and make personal attacks, it would enhance your credibility if you actually did a background check on them.

    Dutta has published against death penalty, failures of criminal justice system, against religious fundamentalism, and against revenge. So who is laughable? You are Dutta? You comments prove that you are a person with ideological blinders who refuses truth if it doesn’t fit his faith system. In short, you are a certified idiot.

  • Pat Says:
    November 25th, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    “Also, before you laugh at people and make personal attacks,”

    “you are a person with ideological blinders who refuses truth if it doesn’t fit his faith system. In short, you are a certified idiot.”


    And here I was thinking you were against personal attacks…

  • Anyhow, back to Dutta. Why didn’t he mention in this current op ed that he’d written before about being against the death penalty? It’s not my responsibility to look up every single op ed by someone to see if they are who they claim to be. It’s their responsibility to demonstrate it for me in the very op ed in which their making the claims. He said he’s a “liberal academic” (I still have no idea what that means, so if anyone could enlighten me…), yet he gives no examples other than wanting to video tape officers. As Sure Fire said, that’s already done. I was just expecting a lot more. Being an openly liberal cop would certainly be a radical thing, considering that law enforcement in America is a conservative institution, always has been. That is common knowledge. So when a cop says he’s a liberal, I want to see some examples. The whole, “Hey, I’m a liberal” line just isn’t going to cut it. Liberal in regards to what?

    Also, a lot of conservatives are against the death penalty. Being against the death penalty doesn’t necessarily make someone a conservative. Demanding video tape of all police interactions doesn’t, either. Especially in the manner in which he demanded it. He’s almost daring people to tape the department. I have a feeling if that day came, where the police were seriously just as scrutinized and transparent as any citizen is to cops, he’d be writing an op ed against that…of course…insisting he’s a liberal. But we’d have to see when that day comes.

    Also, he said he wanted to join the LAPD to “change things”. The death penalty is up to the voters and representatives. So that’s not an example of what he’d like to change about the LAPD. I still want to know what he was planning on changing about the LAPD. He seems very condescending. Frankly, I think he’s full of shit.

  • Joe the ignorant Rios just proved my point:

    He passes judgments about people without knowing an iota of facts. Like every other blowhard on talk radio, television, and, vacuous know-it-all wind bags, he will give you freely his distillation of deep ignorance. He will provide you with a psychologic profile of people after reading a small column. When his ideological shackles are exposed, he will resort to name calling, grasp at straws, and call people names.

    You have proved that YOU are full of shit. But, I guess, it doesn’t matter to you who you are because you have to live with yourself 🙂

  • I only have so many facts to judge Dutta on. Nobody put a gun to his head and made him write an op ed. This isn’t the Soviet Union. We don’t force police officers to write op eds telling them to shill for police policy while under the guise of being a liberal. Or….do we?

  • As someone who supports law enforcement, it shames me that so many blog commenters who staunchly defend all police actions with no objectivity whatsoever often accuse others of using some of the very same behavior they use. Even though we don’t know if they’re police or not, the fact that they’re speaking on their behalf makes all police look like hypocrites. So I wish you would stop.

  • If Rob had one iota of police knowledge he’d be worth debating. That’s why I’m staying silent.

    To correct one thing though I never said all departments video or audio tape all their encounters, I said “Many agencies already tape..”. This is just another example of his style that relies on the flat out lie. Again, not worth the time or effort to discuss with him.

  • LOL. Why do you keep responding to me, just to tell me I’m not worth responding to? Why don’t you just come right out and say, “Celeste, he’s being mean to me!! He won’t share his toys with me! Whaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    I’m not trying to bully you, Sure Fire. I’m merely responding to your points, with points of my own. Evidently you’re not used to being disagreed with, because the mere hint of it seems to really “fire” you up. Maybe that’s what your name means? You’re “Sure” to get “Fired” up whenever anyone questions your authoritative, omniscient knowledge of all things, even on a blog?

    Anyhow, back to topic. This isn’t about police knowledge, it’s about Dutta’s claim of being a liberal. He’s using his self proclaimed liberal status as some sort of credibility amongst LA Times Readers. As a liberal LA Times reader moi self, I just want to see some examples of his liberalism, because they’re few and far between, based on what he’s disclosed. Videotaping cops? Sure. There’s a progressive quality to that. But that’s it? I was expecting someone who came right out off the bat and called himself a “liberal academic”, who joined the LAPD to “bring change”, to give some examples as to just what change he’d like to bring. I want to know what change he wanted to bring when he joined. What were some of his ideas? I just don’t know about him. Again, I think it’s a ploy to garner some kind of credibility to a paper’s readership, so that he can spin the current LAPD scandal.

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