To Spread and Infect
In the time of COVID-19, the LAPD continues to engage in two of its favorite pastimes: Meaningless gestures and putting the public at risk
Around the country, people have taken to shouting and banging on pots and pans at sundown to help “celebrate” the nurses and doctors on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.
The LAPD, not to be outdone by the public, has taken to throwing “Thank You Parades” for hospital staff. These consist of cops (and sometimes firefighters) showing up to a hospital and blaring their sirens in support of the work being done by medical professionals.
But while hospital staff across the city fight for better working conditions and equipment that would keep them safe, the LAPD just had their budget increased by Mayor Garcetti (including substantial raises for employees).
Doctors and nurses have to stand there with a fake smile, as the police blare their sirens and believe in earnest that they are doing something meaningful.
Before you accuse me of not having a heart because I don’t see the value of performative thanks, let me remind you that sirens are a source of trauma for many people.
Sirens remind people of those they have lost. Sirens remind many people in working class neighborhoods of the gangs of cops that terrorize their streets on a daily basis.
Many folks in affluent parts of town look to police to protect their big homes and keep “undesirables” off of their streets, but the rest of us try not to interact with them at all. Police know this, of course, but they don’t care.
As if LAPD’s cringeworthy way of showing thanks during a pandemic wasn’t bad enough, Angelenos have also taken notice of a frightening new trend: cops not wearing masks.
Since the pandemic hit, wearing a mask to prevent the spread of the virus has become accepted practice. Essential businesses, which are the only ones open right now, will not let you in unless you’re wearing one. So why do we keep seeing cops without them?
Whether it’s outside of the mayor’s house during a protest or in a courthouse, cops have refused to wear masks like the rest of us. Cops are in constant contact with the public. And by not wearing masks, they’re endangering the people they claim to “protect and serve.”
Right now, researchers generally agree that a portion of people who have the virus are asymptomatic. They can spread it without even having so much as a cough. When a police officer pulls someone over, they are, by definition, in that person’s personal space for a while. When they arrest someone, they may spend hours around that person.
So, police officers come into contact with a large number of people over the course of a day, for long periods of time, across many different neighborhoods, and most will not wear masks.
To put it bluntly, the LAPD is full of super spreaders.
I find it mind-boggling that this is happening all around the city and not one mainstream news outlet has reported on it. The LAPD owes it to the public to wear masks and help prevent the spread of this deadly virus. Some folks have even taken to recording themselves scolding cops for not wearing masks, and it is still not enough for them to care.
We live in a city that is home to the most murderous police force in the country, and their refusal to follow even the easiest safety procedures is a damning look into the psyche of the department.
I have seen LAPD officers laugh when confronted about not wearing masks, as if they know better. In the before time, LAPD’s hypocrisy would be business as usual. Now, it is doubly cruel and dangerous. While they noisily celebrate the efforts of medical professionals, they willfully spread disease around Los Angeles.
Police believe they are the only essential workers in the city. They have no respect for medical professionals or for grocery store workers who endanger themselves by going into work five days a week. Cops are not brave, they are not holding back the criminal hordes (as they often like to think they are). In fact, crime is down 23% across the city following the Safer at Home order.
The LAPD are petulant children who will push boundaries and see how much they can get away with. This needs to stop now, or the LAPD will find itself on the wrong side of a class action lawsuit and we will find ourselves on the wrong side of the pandemic.
As for Garcetti, he won’t even come down on them for not following the rules. He’ll only give them more money.