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Captain Smith Addresses ACLU Claims

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2007, at 12:35AM

Captain Andy Smith of LAPD's Central Division has an opinion piece in today's LA Times responding to the ACLU's claims about Safer Cities. Suffice it to say that Smith isn't happy with what local ACLU head Ramona Ripston has been saying.

I am outraged that Ripston, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, implied that our officers are violating the very Constitution they are sworn to uphold and protect. The officers in skid row, who all volunteer for the assignment, have one of the lowest rates for the use of force in the city. And I am even more appalled by her views because she walked skid row streets with our officers and rode around in a black-and-white last year and was shocked then at the horrific conditions under which our most vulnerable citizens survived. How quickly she forgot!

How quickly she forgot that convicted murderers, rapists, robbers, 3,800 parolees and 300-plus registered sex offenders called the 50 square blocks of skid row home. How quickly she forgot the dealers dangling narcotics in front of those trying to kick drugs. Many other predators were hiding among the street population, preying on the weak, addicted and mentally ill.

Captain Smith is a straight shooter, and here he lays things out pretty clearly.

Like I said back in February, I believe that a large part of the drop in Downtown's street population has been that those who would come here to buy and use drugs are no longer doing so (due to lack of supply and increased enforcement). Captain Smith echoes that point here, and provides example cases of those who have been taken off the streets of Skid Row.

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