Dunphy is the pseudonym of an LAPD cop who writes columns about life in the department, with a dose of conservative political viewpoint thrown in, for National Review Online. In today's Times, Tim Rutten — who had lunch with Dunphy, promising to protect his anonymity — praises his June 25 initial reaction to the Stanley Miller-flashlight incident and reveals that Chief William Bratton is a fan. "I wish he'd come forward and identify himself, so I could throw him into my press office," Bratton says. "My sense is that Dunphy reflects in a more articulate and thoughtful way the sentiments of the average L.A. cop." An excerpt from the Rutten column:
For the past four years, some of the most interesting and artful writing about the LAPD and American policing in general has been done by an LAPD officer who employs the pseudonym "Jack Dunphy" in a regular column for the online edition of the National Review, the country's oldest and most influential journal of conservative opinion.
Within a day of last week's police beating of suspected car thief Stanley Miller by an LAPD officer, for example, Dunphy was online with a column that included this: "In viewing the tape of the arrest, shot from a helicopter hovering several hundred feet over the scene, I don't see any justification for the pummeling the officer with the flashlight appears to dish out. Having said that, let's acknowledge that the officer in question had a better view of things than does someone watching a video replay on television."
He then went on to pinpoint with precision exactly what would transpire in the week ahead and to accurately name the players, right down to activist Najee Ali. Along the way, he took a swipe at the Los Angeles Times, whose website paired video footage of last week's incident with a clip of the Rodney King beating, and the New York Times for referring to Miller and King as merely "motorists."
For another insider view, I began linking last week to the blog written by Renee, the wife of a 15-year veteran of the force. LAPDWife has been watching the videotape of the Miller arrest over and over, like many others, and thinking about it. Her latest entry:
When I wrote my first post on this, I had seen the Compton chase video maybe 2 or 3 times on the news that day. Now, one week later, after watching it countless times, I cringe every time it comes up. From what can be seen on the video, I, my husband and many of his colleagues are in agreement with the rest of the public that the flashlight-wielding officer was way out of line.
But I do stand behind my plea to not judge the whole by the one. Yes, there are hothead officers out there who act rashly and should be made to account for their actions. But donít make the others suffer for these idiots that take the department back two steps for every one the LAPD makes in progress.
Maybe this is oversimplifying things, but this should be handled like I handle my kids when they do something wrong. First, own up to your actions and admit that they are wrong. Second, apologize. Third, that apology only works if you sincerely mean it, strive to learn from your misdeed and not do it again.
The Times' Steve Lopez also has a column today on the Miller arrest and reaction — he calls Mayor Hahn a nitwit — and in the news, Bratton calls for a review of the department's policy over using flashlights as weapons.