Fear and Loathing in the LAPD


Author Joe Domanick
Author Joe Domanick

Award-winning author Joe Domanick’s critically acclaimed new book, Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing, chronicles how the reforms begun by Chief Bill Bratton, and continued by his successor Charlie Beck, have changed the behavior of rank-and-file cops—and raises the question of whether LA’s experience offers lessons for other law enforcement agencies in today’s troubled law enforcement landscape.

In a special podcast produced by The Crime Report, an online publication of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Domanick, The Crime Report’s West Coast Bureau Chief, discusses how the 1992 LA riots and pressure from the feds generated the momentum the LAPD needed to reexamine its practices, why it still remains an uphill battle to change the “paramilitary culture” of American policing, and why the skills of an effective police chief include “being a master of seduction” when dealing with the press.

Listen to the podcast here.


I stayed past the points where they almost lost me. At 2:03 he talks about LAPD Motor Cops, in the 1970’s wearing “storm trooper” boots. Does Domanak consider that those boots might have a reason (other than intimidation) for being worn? These are photos of American motorcops in the 1930’s wearing similar boots, before the term stormtrooper had been coined: http://www.crushersmcny.com/…/MotorCops_1930/index.htm Is there any chance, however slight, that those boots might be worn to protect the motorcycle rider’s pants & calves from the heat of the motor on the cycle? Another point he and the interviewer almost lost me is at 6:15, when they state that people never asked why anyone was shot. People asked all the time. I won’t pretend that there weren’t bad shootings, just like Domanak should never pretend there weren’t authors who faked their stories to get Pulitzers. Problem is that today, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, people maintain their lies…”shot while his hands were up and surrendering”, “unarmed (while he struggled over control of the officer’s gun)”, etc.

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