DOJ tells America’s second largest city to get lost

DOJ tells America's second largest city to get lost

by digby

Yesterday I noted that the radical Republicans rolled back the deductions for natural disasters that only happen out west and particularly in Blue States --- wildfires and earthquakes. Ok. maybe that's just being paranoid. But this really seems to indicate that the Trump administration is intent upon punishing California for failing to bow down to his greatness:

In 2015, a community policing initiative — one credited with helping curb violence in some of L.A.’s toughest housing projects — scored the Los Angeles Police Department high-level praise.

A captain and a sergeant who led the program were invited to Washington, D.C., earning coveted seats near the first lady during President Obama’s State of the Union address.

This year, L.A. officials applied for more than $3 million in federal funding to help bring the same program to Harvard Park, a South L.A. neighborhood scarred by violence.

The request was denied.

The U.S. Department of Justice hasn’t offered the LAPD an explanation of why the department didn’t receive any of the $98 million in grants recently awarded to scores of law enforcement agencies across the nation. A spokesman for the federal agency declined to comment when asked by The Times last week.

But after the Trump administration’s repeated threats to withhold federal money from cities that don’t cooperate with its immigration crackdown, some LAPD officials said they believe the move was retaliatory — and a troubling sign of what could come.

If this is the tip of the iceberg, we’re going to set back law enforcement and policing and public safety by decades.
— L.A. Police Commission President Steve Soboroff
Steve Soboroff, president of the civilian Police Commission that oversees the LAPD, said that he believes the Justice Department denied the funding request because of the LAPD’s well-publicized, hands-off approach to immigration enforcement. Soboroff said he worries future funding may also be at risk.

“Community policing is what policing’s all about. Militaristic policing, immigrant harassment is not,” he said. “By ignoring that, or prioritizing it beneath their issue of sanctuary cities and cooperation with ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] — the priorities are wrong.”

“If this is the tip of the iceberg, we’re going to set back law enforcement and policing and public safety by decades,” he added.

The LAPD had planned to use the money to hire 25 officers for the community policing program in Harvard Park, one of the city’s deadliest neighborhoods. The roughly half-mile area saw eight homicides in 2016, nearly triple the number from the year before. So far this year, six people have been killed.

Officers assigned to the LAPD’s Community Safety Partnership program focus on getting to know residents instead of making arrests. They coach sports teams and lead mentoring programs. The goal is to foster a real relationship between the police and the community — one in which officers and residents know each other by name and work together to make the neighborhood safer.

The strategy, police say, has paid off. Violent crime dropped by more than 50% and arrests were cut in half during the program’s first three years in three Watts housing developments, officials have said. Police also credit the program for a three-year stretch without a homicide in Jordan Downs, one of the developments.

Commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill said she was “curious — to say the least — about what program could have been more deserving.”

Why did they do this? Well, they didn't exactly try to hide their reasons:

In announcing the grant awards last month, the Justice Department noted that 80% of the agencies that received funds earned extra points “based on their certifications of willingness to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.”

L.A. did not sign that certification, LAPD officials said.

The decision to tie federal funding to immigration enforcement has already prompted a flurry of coast-to-coast legal challenges, including those filed by L.A.’s city attorney and California’s attorney general.

The lawsuits have largely focused on two grants awarded by the Justice Department: one administered through Community Oriented Policing Services office, which the LAPD was just denied; and a second, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, which has brought L.A. more than $1 million during each of the last few fiscal years.

Opponents allege the executive branch is overstepping its constitutional authority by attaching new rules to the grants without congressional approval. They also contend that cities are safer when immigrants are willing to talk to local police without fear of deportation.

City Atty. Mike Feuer, who filed a lawsuit this fall, said putting civil immigration enforcement requirements on grants designed to improve community policing was “ironic — and at worst, very dangerous.”

​​​“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure our city is as safe as possible and not let this undermine public safety,” he said.

LA is one of the most diverse cities in the world. And it is obviously full of Mexican immigrants, legal and undocumented. The millions of people who live here are not have a hissy fit over it. Indeed, our diversity is celebrated and encouraged and the economy is flourishing.

I'm sorry there are places in America that are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of foreigners who don't look exactly like them coming into their communities. But that's no reason to take it out on us.

But that isn't the only reason they are doing this. Trump and Sessions don't believe in community policing, they believe in police taking the gloves off and dominating the community with sheer force and firepower. So anything that doesn't fit their desire for total dominance is considered a waste.

California still has 14 asshole House Republicans who are enabling this president and his administration's despicable treatment of Californians. It's time to get rid of every last one of them.