Hostility toward police easy to grasp

First Posted: 8/28/2014

One could make a career out of writing a column about the unbelievable actions of police officers and prosecutors in our burgeoning police state.

I have no desire to engage in such an activity because on some level I respect the kind of person it takes to do that job correctly.

Sometimes, though, the depravity is too large to ignore.

Take the case involving Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Wood and former Napster Chief Operating Officer Milton Olin Jr.

The 65-year-old Olin, a married father of two and a prominent entertainment attorney, was riding his bicycle in a bike lane Dec. 8 when, shortly after 1 p.m. Wood’s patrol car slammed into him killing him. Wood did not brake or swerve before hitting Olin.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles County prosecutors declined to charge Wood and he is back on the streets putting more lives in danger. It is clear the only reason Wood was not charged was because he has a badge.

Lest you think I am being unfair, consider the facts of the case.

The accident occurred at 1:05 p.m.

Wood was back on patrol after responding to a fire call. But saying he was on patrol is sort of specious. Wood was too busy engaged in other things.

Between 12:51 p.m. and 1:01 p.m., Wood sent or received nine text messages to and from and his wife’s cellphone. He left the scene of the fire at 1:03 p.m. after reporting to his dispatcher that he was “Code 4,” meaning he was back in service. The last text message sent from Wood’s phone was at 1:04 p.m., a minute before the deputy killed Olin.

Then, about 30 seconds before the collision, a fellow deputy sent him a message on his mobile digital computer, essentially a laptop, that said, “U C4 Bro.”

Wood began typing a response and had typed, “YES I” but never finished the message.

It was while in the middle of answering that message that Wood veered off the road into the bike lane and smashed into Olin, killing him almost instantly. A witness reported the cruiser brake lights did not activate until after the collision. Indeed, GPS data show that in the seconds before the accident while Wood was messaging his co-worker, his speed increased from 40 mph to 48 mph in a 45 mph speed zone.

Wood then proceeded to lie about the accident, claiming Olin swerved into his lane of travel. He later changed his story.

It is a certainty that if a civilian were answering an email on a laptop while speeding at nearly 50 mph and then tried to cover it up with lies, that driver would be charged with a crime.

Yet, Los Angeles prosecutors, in a slap in the face to all thinking human beings who respect the rule of law, decided not to prosecute Wood.

“Since Wood was acting within the course and scope of his duties when he began to type his response, under [California law] he acted lawfully,” the “prosecuting” attorney wrote.

In other words, because the deputy’s distracted driving was work-related, he is free to kill pedestrians with impunity.

Now, to you or I, we see that as faulty reasoning. However, in the police state, the government must protect its agents, even if it means putting forth illogical arguments and pretending they make sense. Or, I suppose, they simply count on the fact Americans are largely apathetic and will nary bat an eye.

The whole idea of a free society is that all people are treated equally under the law. Incident after incident, though, proves the opposite as some police officers continue to engage in illegal or otherwise questionable behavior and are never prosecuted nor disciplined and, in many cases, promoted. Meanwhile, the vast majority of good cops keep their mouths shut or defend the bad cop under some misguided understanding of loyalty.

I recently came across an online forum for police officers and the posters were whining and wondering why Americans were increasingly hostile to police officers. One need look no further than incidents such as this for an explanation.

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