An am­bush and its af­ter­math

The shoot­ing of two deputies was ab­hor­rent. And so were the words re­port­edly said by demon­stra­tors.

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS -

The am­bush-style shoot­ing Satur­day evening of two Los An­ge­les County sher­iff ’s deputies as they sat in their pa­trol car at the L.A. Metro sta­tion in Comp­ton was cruel and dis­gust­ing, as were the words that some demon­stra­tors re­port­edly shouted out­side St. Fran­cis Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Lyn­wood, where the two deputies were be­ing treated.

Wit­nesses said some in the crowd out­side the hos­pi­tal shouted, “Death to po­lice” and “Kill the po­lice.” The Sher­iff’s Depart­ment tweeted that some shouted, “We hope they die,” and blocked the hos­pi­tal’s emer­gency en­trances.

At this time, there is no ev­i­dence con­nect­ing the at­tack to killings of Black peo­ple around the coun­try by po­lice of­fi­cers. But ten­sions over those killings, and the protests that have fol­lowed, make the men­tal jux­ta­po­si­tion of the events un­avoid­able.

Ear­lier in the day, hun­dreds of pro­test­ers de­manded jus­tice for Di­jon Kizzee, a Black man who was rid­ing a bicycle when sher­iff ’s deputies at­tempted to stop him for a ve­hi­cle code vi­o­la­tion. They shot him dead, and the sup­posed vi­o­la­tion still has not been ex­plained.

The shoot­ing of the deputies and the cruel chants at the hos­pi­tal, it should go with­out say­ing, do noth­ing to fur­ther the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Kizzee’s killing. Or to ex­plain the fa­tal shoot­ing of An­dres Guardado by deputies in June. Or to al­ter the law en­force­ment prac­tices that led to the deaths.

They add noth­ing of value to the ar­gu­ment over the proper role of armed law en­force­ment agents in pa­trolling Metro or other tran­sit sys­tems.

Nor do they jus­tify the deputies’ ar­rest of KPCC re­porter Josie Huang, who was cov­er­ing the scene at the hos­pi­tal. Huang ap­pears to have been sim­ply do­ing her job.

Nor was any­thing use­ful added by Pres­i­dent Trump, who ghoul­ishly tweeted: “If they die, fast trial death penalty for the killer.” Thank­fully, the deputies have not died. The na­tion, in des­per­ate need of cooler heads and an end to a sea­son of death, must for the present make its way with nei­ther. We have in our hands the power to de­stroy our­selves and one an­other, and we seem bent on ex­er­cis­ing it.

In the mean­time, though, the quest for jus­tice must con­tinue, how­ever plod­ding it may be, how­ever dull it may seem when com­pared with protests, killings and pres­i­den­tial tweets. The hunt for the deputies’ shooter must con­tinue. If a sus­pect is caught and tried, the pro­ceed­ings should be con­ducted with truth and fair­ness. Law en­force­ment prac­tices must be scru­ti­nized and, where needed, cor­rected. Racism must be ac­knowl­edged and com­bated. Our com­mu­ni­ties, our peo­ple, must get a chance to breathe.

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