Cross-posted at RonKayeLA.

Chief Beck says it’s the only fair and humane thing to do.

The mayor
says it’s "justice"

But what
does the City Council or Police Commission say about the LAPD’s new policy, its
protocol, for allowing unlicensed drivers to walk away from the scene of their

Not just
walk away, actually, but ride away in the company of a licensed driver, not
even the car’s owner as required by law, when they’re stopped by police instead
of having the car impounded.

It’s like
putting a gun back in the hands of a violent suspect after he’s been subdued
and writing him a citation for an infraction.

No valid
identification. No proof of insurance. Maybe an unregistered vehicle or maybe
it’s registered in someone else’s name and the unlicensed driver is just using it
all the time to go to work and move about like everyone else.

It is an
injustice to tow away the unlicensed driver’s car and impound it for 30 days at
the cost of a thousand dollars he probably doesn’t have.

It is an
injustice to refuse to allow that immigrant who entered the country illegally to
take a test, get a driver’s license. buy insurance, register his car and drive

But even worse
is the injustice to society itself of allow a million people on California
roads without licenses – a class of people who whether they are ineligible for
licenses or had them revoked or suspended are responsible for a grossly
disproportionate percentage of fatal and injury accidents as well as

This isn’t
just about that unlicensed driver who walks away scot free and goes around the
corner and gets back behind the wheel and runs down a family in a crosswalk and
flees the scene never to be found again – something for which the city is

It’s about
the corruption of the fundamental duty of every police officer to enforce the
law and protect the public safety even if it means putting their own lives at

If you
aren’t a cop or a fireman or a soldier you don’t know how sacred that duty is.
You can’t imagine what it means when your bosses tell you to look the other way
and put the lives of innocent people at risk.

The mayor
has appointed a police chief who is doing his bidding, a chief who has
surrounded himself with other ambitious men and woman willing to look the other
way and make sure the command staff below them keeps its silence.

The cops on
the streets know better. They know they are being ordered to violate the very
thing that made them want to be cops in the first place, the commitment to
protect and to serve the community.

Yes, it’s
inhumane to leave vast numbers of people out in the cold, to leave them
vulnerable and identity-less, non-persons without rights or sense of
responsibility. Outlaws.

But it is
an injustice to all to allow them to drive cars that all too often kill and
injure the innocent.

They are all
too often uninsured and untraceable – a fact that is proven beyond a reasonable
doubt by the hundreds of thousands of warrants issued for traffic violations to
people do not pay their fines or come to, people who cannot be find and for all
intents and purposes, don’t exist because there are no records of them.

They are los desaparecidos, the disappeared, of Los Angeles.

has been through too much for too long.

decades, the problem was one of excesses: Excessive use of force, mainly
against minorities and spying on the prominent. It took years and hundreds of
millions of dollars to fix that.

The danger
now is the opposite of excessive enforcement but of under enforcement. It is
not just traffic laws but drug laws and gang activity that LA has gotten soft

This is a
mayor who has abused his power over the heads of the city’s department heads
and forced them, under threat of dismissal, to go along with policies that harm
the city.

We should not let this happen to the LAPD.  Towing the cars of unlicensed drivers isn’t
the problem. Requiring cops to put the safety of the public at risk is.

It tears at
the fabric of the thin blue line, sending cops the wrong message and putting
them in an ambiguous and difficult position where they can be disciplined for
trying to protect the public safety.