On May 15, 2005, we talked about the incident where a baker's dozen L.A. Sheriff's Deputies engaged in a "Blue-On-Blue" * firefight with the results of turning a SUV into a cheese grater, and an innocent man into a marginal statistic.
- Initially, one thoroughly wasted SUV
- Four D-zone hits
- One potential lawsuit (watch this space)
- One Deputy hit by 'friendly fire' .. hardcover hit, he was vested
- The Wrong Guy arrested (the SUV driver was apparently NOT a participant in the 'drive-by' shooting)
- 13 L.A. Sheriff's Deputies disciplined
- 2 deputy suspended for 15 days
- Other deputies off duty for lesser periods
- some deputies receive written reprimands
The sheriff also praised the deputies, saying they "are dedicated and have great passion and concern for the people of Compton."
The announcement drew a mixed reaction.
Activist Morris Griffin hugged Baca after the news conference. "We never expected the police to police themselves," Griffin said.
Swell. The Sheriff praises the deputies for their 'dedication', 'activists' hug the Sheriff, and NOBODY talks about the Tactical Officer.
It's not all negative:
(L.A. County Sheriff) Baca on Thursday announced changes in the department's shooting policy. The changes toughen language designed to restrict deputies from shooting at moving vehicles except under "extraordinary" circumstances, Baca said.
The old policy warned deputies to get out of the path of a moving vehicle and allowed them to fire at it if they believed the driver could kill or seriously injure someone.
The new language instructs deputies to take cover from a safe distance, train a weapon on the suspect and give specific commands to surrender before considering shooting.
Deputies can still fire when they feel the vehicle is an immediate threat of death or serious injury to deputies or bystanders.
However, each deputy must now use his or her own "independent reasoning for using deadly force," according to the policy.
That was an effort to prevent "contagious fire," in which deputies shoot because other deputies are doing so.
"We want and will have increased public confidence," Baca said. "The Sheriff's Department can do better and it will do better."
"Contagious Fire" seems to be, well, "contagious" in Los Angeles County. Probably no different in most other counties in America. The thing is, I experiences two "Blue-on-Blue" situations in Vietnam, and while I was getting the platoon to shut it DOWN, I saw that only a few excitable individuals were emotionally overwhelmed to the point where they were shooting regardless of the fact that they didn't have a clearly enemy target.
My personal opinion is that the involved deputies were under-trained, and over-reacted to the real situation.
As I stated in my original May 15 article:
Their deputies should be flagellated by their tactical officers because nobody can accept that this is the way they have been trained; their tactical officers should be flagellated by the Sheriff because nobody can accept that these tactics have been trained 'out of them'; and the Sheriff should be flagellated by the people who elected him, because he obviously hasn't insisted on proper training for his deputies.Sheriff Baca skated out of harm's way on this one. If he is re-elected based on his performance, I will not only be surprised, but disappointed. This is one incident which deserves NOT to be swept under the carpet.
Any leader who survives such a miserable boondoggle as this ... represents the "electors get the politician they deserve" judgement.
I'm glad that I don't live in L.A. County. But if I did, I would do everything within my power to see that he never held public office again ... especially one which involved the supervision of Law Enforcement Officers.
"Friendly forces" are typically designated on color-coded military maps as "Blue Forces". (Enemy forces are designated as "Red Forces", which perhaps explains why Republicans objects to political maps depicting "predominantly Republican" states in the color Red.)
When, usually due to the 'fog of war', American troops begin shooting at another unit which turns out to be 'friendly forces', the situation is subsequently referred to as a "Blue-On-Blue" firefight.