Imagine a hypothetical situation. An intruder comes into your home with the intention of harming you. The intruder is able overpower you and restrain your struggle. The neighbor who heard the noises of the struggle called 911 and brought the police to the door.
Unfortunately, you will find that the police operate under rules which are apparently supported by the Los Angeles Times. After tying you up and hiding you, the intruder answers the door, telling the police that there’s no problem inside. The police ask to check in, but the intruder refuses, pulling out his phone and threatening to upload videos of the abusive officers to the Internet. In order to avoid any negative publicity, the police leave and leave you at the mercy of the intruder.
Does it seem far-fetched? Los Angeles Times article says that some would like the police to act in this manner. On October 22, L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputies were summoned to an apartment located in South San Gabriel. This suburb is about nine miles from downtown Los Angeles. The Sheriff’s Department reported that they had received a report of someone being screamed at and hit in the apartment. The deputies knocked on the door but it was ajar when they arrived. They entered the apartment after not receiving a response.
The girl was upset by the presence of the deputies and called her mom, who was able to watch the incident through a camera in the apartment. The girl was so adamant in her refusal to allow the deputies to look for any signs of trouble that she was handcuffed, and was detained. Her 19-year old brother, who arrived soon after, was also detained and was similarly obstreperous. Their stepfather, who was also rushing to the scene and running a red light, refused to cooperate with deputies.
She did not post the video. It may be argued that it portrays the deputies more favorably than her husband.
No one will be surprised to learn that the family has decided to sue the Sheriff’s Department. They have also set up a GoFundMe account to help cover the cost of moving. According to the GoFundMe site, the family is “afraid” of being in the Temple City Sheriffs’ jurisdiction and fears that they will be “harassed”, “targeted”, and “targeted by the deputies.
The family has hired attorney Narine Mkrtchyan. Her website promises to “vindicate your rights in court [sic] and also recover substantial damages for you, your family, as well.”
Ms. Mkrtchyan knows that there won’t be “sizable damage” in this case. The settlement will likely be for a few thousands dollars, or what’s called “going-away money” in the industry.
It is well established that police can enter a house without a warrant in “exigent circumstances,” as when they believe, for example, “that an occupant of the home is seriously injured, or is imminently at risk of such injury.”
Ms. Mkrtchyan and her family make a big deal about what they call the deputies “lie”, that the apartment was unlocked but not merely ajar. However, it does not matter when evaluating their conduct. Even if the apartment door was locked, it would not have made a difference in evaluating the conduct of the deputies if they kicked the door open to investigate the reported crisis.
As discussed in this article, the district attorney George Gascon would prefer to bring charges against the deputies involved and would do so if it was in his best interest.
Los Angeles Times story is just the latest example in a long line of agenda-driven, anti-police journalism. This story does not quote any of the paper’s purported law enforcement expert whose opinions are usually used to support allegations of police misconduct. It could be that no experts were contacted or they were, but their opinions did not support the paper’s preferred narrative. It’s exactly the kind of journalism that we’ve come expect from the L.A. Times.