|Carolyn Cole Los Angeles Times|
As I followed the manhunt and eventual killing of Richard Matt and capture of David Sweat in upstate New York this weekend, I marveled at the job police officers do in this country every day.
We welcome their intervention when bullets fly and innocent people are in danger, but we rail against them when they beat a Kelly Thomas to death or shoot down an Ezell Ford in cold blood. But there are many sides to every story.
Some nights, I listen to LAPD scanner traffic over a website listed below, and I am always shocked about how many calls involving guns and gunshots come out over the airwaves. I know the officers must go into these areas not knowing who the bad guys are, who is armed, and who is ready to kill them. Adrenaline flows, and people get hurt. It is easy to point fingers after the fact, but in that split second, the brain does not compute as fast as a speeding bullet hits its mark. And that is the reality in an America where everyone is armed.
I wish we could banish guns from our streets so that officers would not have to bring in military grade hardware to combat street crime, but until we pass more stringent gun laws in this country, or negate the Second Amendment altogether, we will always be haunted by the bloody trajectory of that speeding bullet.
There is no incident in recent memory that demonstrates the danger police officers face every day and the murderous consequences of gun violence than the North Hollywood Bank of America robbery and shootout of 1997. I’ve attached below the full police scanner traffic of that day which included the takedown of two very dangerous and deadly felons as well as charges that when it was all over, officers let one of the suspects bleed to death on the pavement. Some would argue he deserved it, that it was street justice. Whatever it was, the terror is evident in the police officers facing these heavily armed men and the dispatchers who tried to get them help. It was a bloody day in Los Angeles history, and one worth remembering when we consider the job of policing the streets of America.