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rampart scandal
'bad cops'
race & policing
discussion: What are your reactions to this story of rogue cops in the L.A.P.D?" vspace=8>


I found it disturbing that this episode began with the question "What went wrong with the once great LAPD?" and answered it with minorities. The old image of the LAPD was represented by white characters from Dragnet and Adam 12 as if these shows were accurate portrayals of how things worked "before Affirmative Action." There was no real examination of the history of the LAPD.

I am not trying to excuse the actions of the corrupt police officers in your program, but this report seemed very biased against Blacks and Hispanics. For example: Perez probably is not a reliable source, but the amount of sympathy lavished on Liddy in the program painted him as a victim whose credibility was unquestionable.

Y Helbig


...this was just outright racist and ahistorical.

By watching this, the LAPD became corrupt after the Rodney King beating was videotaped. This paramilitary force has always been corrupt. And no it did't start with Gangsta Rap. The LAPD has brutalized, framed-up, and murdered poor working class people of color since its early formations in the 1910's.

I wish Peter J. Boyer had at least interviewed people other that one's with a vested interest in slanting the story. Civil rights attorneys, community activists, victims of police abuse, none of these were shown. Cops, Judges, DA's and the Feds are all complicit with decades of corruption.

Your story did an immense disservice to history, the residents of LA, and the country. I can't express my outrage enough with this trash journalism. I entered the show with the expectation that new information would be given. For anybody that modestly paid attention to this 'scandal' as it's broke would find no new information in this show. You gave nothing new. Oh some taped interviews with 'perez', ooooohhh. that's not news.

This show has successfully made the lapd's problems ones of black and brown officers that were really gangsters. No mention of the police gangs in Huntington Park or the Newton Division. CRASH wasn't a gang? Corruption starts at the top not the bottom.

a great example of the impression you left is this guy Greg Lang from Minneapolis Minnesota. a guy who had no clue about Los Angeles' issues and now has even less clue or worse, a dangerous shema about the situation.

No Thanks Frontline.

alex smith
los angeles, california


I was born in Burbank, Ca in 1951. I went to school, and lived in the Los Angeles area, mainly white, San Fernando Valley for my entire life. My personal experience with the Los Angeles Police Department is that they are completely a fascist organization. I say this, and I am an upper middle class educated white woman.

Anyone, white, black, brown or otherwise knows that the LAPD is a frightening, and omnipodent organization, and personnally, I'm glad they are getting the bad press that they deserve.

I hope they can be forced to change...but right now, they see everyone as the 'enemy'. god help you if you are stopped for any reason by LAPD, and if they can, they'll find a reason.
The northridge quake, rodney king riots drove me out of my home town. It's a great city! But tell the whole story, LAPD is closed to outsiders...too much to hide.

Kathleen Muschio
latrobe, california


Evil is at its greatest when it is a parody of good. Obviously, these 'rogue' cops were an example of what happens when people abuse the power that our society has entrusted them with to enforce the laws of our land. However, this does not surprise me given the political and socioeconomic divide in the City of Angels.

The American epicenter for the drug trade, Los Angeles has its fair share of corrupt cops, lawyers, bankers and every other profession that is imaginable, including rappers. However, all rappers are not criminals or tied to criminal organizations.

In my opinion, Death Row Records was a target for many people due to its success as a black company in a city divided by race and class. I'm sure if you investigated some of the Hollywood studios that you would uncover corruption and criminal activity on an equal or greater scale.

J. Choon


I am an avid viewer of your show, and it never fails to impress/inform/terrify me. It is easily the best news program in the United States...

The LAPD story is controversial because of the race issues involved, the police corruption anlge and the sensationalistic nature of gangsta rap, but I feel that you handled it as evenly as possible.

How can you interview Perez and get his side of the story when his lack of integrity IS the story? In a scenario where one witness is as suspect as the next, how can you know who to turn to for an unbiased opinion. The one figure in all of this Liddy who seemed innocent was sacrificed like a lamb, and will never recover his reputation. The fact that a thug like Perez is allowed access to all the arrest records so he can commit multiple perjuries is ridiculous, and the D.A. ended up looking like the most corrupt figure of all.

I noticed that some of the other letters here are so biased due the background of the authors as to be humorous. I found your take on the story to be as fair as possible when faced with a morass of corruption and disinformation.

Los Angeles has never had much appeal to me, and after your last episode I am sure that I will never even visit the city. The stories of gun battles on the city streets filled me with terror, and would have fit right in with a news report from Afghanistan or Kosovo. When I think of L.A. now, I imagine a fetid, blacked-out wasteland with bullets flying around to the beat of a Death Row single.

Thanks for scaring the crap out of me.

Tyler Massey
Huntington, WV


Los Angeles has come a long way from the sparkling glitter of yesteryear. The Rodney King beating, the bungled O.J. case, and now the Rampart scandal... All of these black marks on the face of the LAPD are just a manifestation of the City of Los Angeles' decline in quality of life and rise in violent crime over the past 30 years.

When I turn on the world news, I see police forces in the middle east shooting bullets at people throwing rocks and molitov cocktails. This does not shock me because that society has declined to that level, and it is accepted.

Is it a wonder that the police have stooped to the level of mayhem and brutality that the citizens of Los Angeles display on the news every night?

Matt Cabot
Denver, Co


I work on the mindset that PBS has a "liberal bias" but I was extremely impressed with the Frontline show. Looks, like "the meat" of Ramparts wer four rogue cops out of a force of 7,000 who were "living large" with illicit money from Death Row Record". What seems the real story here is how the advocates and much of the media "wanted to believe" Perez.

Anyway, excellent Frontline show! I've been halfway following the Rampart's scandal but this made sense of it.

Greg Lang
Minneapolis, Minnesota


This show, typical of Frontline's high standards, was
nonetheless marred by two serious defects:

1 The re-enactment segments, while well done, add
nothing but emotion to a situation that should be
looked at objectively. The portrayals sometimes
seemed mocking. Perhaps 25 years from now, a drama-
tized treatment might be appropriate. But this soon
after the actual events, nothing but objective,
balanced reportage should be offered.

2 You failed to put the depicted events in the
proper historical context--that is, the racist
culture of the LAPD that has existed for years.

Rolland Everitt
Newport, RI


The fact that Gaines, Mack, Perez and their ilk are on the force in the first place is no doubt the result of an affirmative-action hiring binge by the LAPD to satisfy a bunch of scatter-brained liberals at the LA Times and City Hall.

One might recall that New Orleans and Miami did the same thing a few years ago with similar results. But I believe those cities at least had sense enough to not vilify the their presumably honest cops based on the word of the criminal scum they'd just uncovered. LA probably decided that to appear fair and unbiased it wouldn't do to have racial minorities "overrepresented" as criminals in this case, and had to drag a number of white cops down to the level of those lowlifes for "balance."

I honestly learned something about the LAPD/Ramparts investigation tonight, and it had little resemblance to the tripe I've been reading in the newspapers. Thank you, Frontline, for your superb reporting.

Wayne Aldridge
Columbia City, Oregon


Once again you and the media pass and presenthave given the impression that gangs and rap have caused some type of corruption .

Although the officers you talked about were a part of some serious crimes , they are not the reason why the L.A.P.D. is so corrupt.It just seems that gangs and rap make a better story.

I left L.A. in 1987 after high school because of harrassment by the police . You should have talked to the innocent people that were constantly humiliated in there on community by L.A.'s finest.

There is corruption ,racism , drugs , guns , and murders that go much deeper than the officers on your show.

jay monroe
stockton, ca


It seems that the rich gangstas at Death Row records and their cocaine-dealing support staff, both in the streets and
on the police payroll are the real winners in this scandal, or maybe they're just the most visible ones
to take the fall for a city that loves it drugs,
especially over in largely caucasian Hollywood.
The recent take of a fishing boat full of coke
smuggled by Russians, shows that hispanics and
blacks are no the only races involved in the drug trade.

The LAPD probably has been stinking with racists,
whose worst views of blacks and hispanics
have been confirmed by being witness to the human
wreckage that an unjust economic system, a central urban ghetto surrounded by affluent suburbs, has produced in LA.

No money equals lousy schools
and no jobs, and many whites treat downtown LA
as a zoo that needs to be put down. Its a cycle
of violence and corruption that is so ingrained
that it will only be remedied as more minorities
enter the real economy, and most likely by the legalization of drugs that will stop the illegal
flow of cash and the inevitable corruption it brings.

Only when the cash incentive is removed will youth leave behind this macho gang nonsense that leads
to a short 'high' life followed by a bullet sandwich
or a view of a prison yard. The fact of the matter is
that there are more legitimate people behind this
drug trade, like congressmen, and agencies like the
CIA, as evidenced by the war being conducted against
it in South America.

Mars Huklis


while this piece may be "true," as a native angeleno who was raised in the hood, i can tell you, unequivocally, that the *entire* story of the lapd was done a gross mis-service.

black and brown people in LA have been catching hell from WHITE cops for forever. HELLLLLO...

to racialize "the lapd scandal" as being limited to perez a black latino - a double whammy! i would imagine carries a ton of emotional weight in the corn and bible belts, but to anyone who came up in east la or south central, we know what time it is.

infamous la sherrif sherman block was reputed to have recruited from the south. the lapd was, and IS, largely a white man's club that has been wielded with impunity for decades. THAT is the true lapd "scandal"...

phil johnson
la, ca


As a police officer, It pains me to see corruption in law enforcement. 99.9% of all officers that take the oath of being a peace officer,live up to it, both on and off duty. We in the law enforcment profession have learned from the LAPD problems and strive to do do our jobs better.

For those of you watched the FRONTLINE episode and have judged all police officers as "jack booted thugs" should not be so quick to do so. Until you have "walked a mile", or better, worked a shift on "dog watch" as a police officer, don't be so quick to judge. I ask those of you that do not know a police officer or know what police work is all about, please contact your local department or station and ask a lot of questions, We will answer.

Jason Reed


Great program as usual. Hope you will do a follow up as the truth finally all comes out. It is definitely time to bring in the feds. Maybe a countywide merger under the Sheriff's department like the Metro-Dade County Police/Sheriff in Miami, Florida would be a powerful solution. Law enforcement in L.A is too divided up. For maximum efficiency and oversight get rid of the patchwork quilt.



It's hard to believe that just a few years ago everyone critized the jury in the O.J. Simpson murder trial over this same issue of having trust in our law enforcement. Hard to imagine that a cop would manipulate the law to frame someone or that a "Black" jury would be gulible to believe it.

Perhaps there are small towns where the people feel safe enough to trust their police, but until you lived with the feeling that its safer to live with the crime than depend on police it's difficult to understand this. Sadly, one bad apple ruins the bunch.

Agustin Ortega
Inglewood, California

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