Bakersfield Californian 2013/05/25: ROBERT PRICE: Infallibility has some real drawbacks

Discussion in 'Media Coverage & Other Related Materials' started by M, May 27, 2013.

  1. M

    M Muckraker Staff Member

    The editor of the Californian's editorial page lets Donny "Deputy Dog" Youngblood have it with both barrels ...

    Bakersfield Californian (5/25/2013): ROBERT PRICE: Infallibility has some real drawbacks

    Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood slapped down critics of his department with such confident certainty at last week's news conference addressing David Sal Silva's fatal skirmish with officers, he may not want to hear this. He so authoritatively relegated the media to the role of irresponsible alarmists he might not be inclined to pay much attention anymore.


    But he is giving no ground whatsoever. The response of those deputies was, he intimates, exemplary in every way.

    Youngblood paints the community's justifiable concern in black and white. Cops good, critics bad. The witnesses in the Silva case were just like the media: cop-haters with an agenda. How can we believe any of them? Blanket blame-placing strikes me as a problem in and of itself but, sadly, it's one that concerns Youngblood little beyond the absolution it provides him and his deputies.


    Issues like disappearing video tend to detract from that sense of trust. Remember, almost two years before a witness's cellphone video of the Silva incident mysteriously disappeared, six crucial seconds of parking lot video of a deputy fatally shooting David Lee Turner in July 2011 outside a Bakersfield convenience store was found to be somehow missing.

    Video documentation of these things will only become more common. It shouldn't be surprising that two bystanders were on hand and prepared to shoot video of the Silva incident. What's surprising is that only two bystanders pulled out their cellphones. The day is coming in this self-surveillance society when permanent digital evidence of officers' every move -- of everyone's every move -- will be catalogued somewhere.

    [If you would like to help work towards that goal, please follow this link and send some emails to the Kern County supervisors: Reduce Excessive Force Complaints by Requiring Officers to Wear Body Cameras]

    Might as well get ready for it, Sheriff. Work with us here. Let's try to identify practices that are safer for everyone, cops and suspects alike. Of course, reflection hardly seems necessary when you're infallible.​

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