Earl Ofari Hutchinson's take on the politics of the day
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Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Thursday, February 15 received from and at the request of released one of eight letters from LAPD sergeant, Wayne K. Guillary, a thirty one year LAPD veteran documenting his fight against racial double standards and retaliation within the LAPD. While Guillary noted that the department has made substantial changes in its efforts to combat wrongful actions against black officers, he still insists in his series of letters that a pattern of unfair practices toward black officers still exists.
“The letters from Sergeant Guillary, who is a long standing veteran LAPD officer and part of the command staff, paints a vivid picture of a department still wrestling with its discriminatory racial past,” says Hutchinson,” The letters name names and dates that the unfair discriminatory practices happened. They are a cogent appeal for greater change within the department.”
The additional Seven Letters Can be attained on request
Open Letter of Correspondence September 10, 2010
SUBJECT: FOR ADVERSITY IN THE CASE OF DANIEL ****
Now comes before you a peculiar case of workplace inequity. At the outset, this case should have demonstrated fairness rather than the blatant forms of retaliation, race, racism and discrimination.
Retaliation is the power that gives one the liberty to impose fear upon others. It causes significant alarm and consternation in the minds of those willing to do the right thing. And it is a well known fact that those who are willing to stand up and “do the right thing” in the LAPD will eventually experience the cruel forms of workplace inequity and retaliation. After such experiences, and with no support system, many officers will eventually seek sensible shelter from the retribution. Let’s face it; retaliation in the LAPD is nothing less than a cowardly act by powerful people in powerful positions doing what one ought not to do. Unfortunately, and with no one ever being held accountable for an act of retaliation or racism in the Department, it eventually becomes a license to do what one wants. The failure in addressing the debasing behavior becomes an act of injustice with an employee feeling resentment, experiencing embarrassment and humiliation. Conversely, the experience leaves many officers discombobulated along with conflicting emotions in maintaining loyalty with the organization while simultaneously being subjected to the unpleasant forms of workplace discrimination. Noticeably, and with no one within their sections who officers can trust or turn to in confidence, soon, while under duress, will seek out in the Department those whom we trust and know will question wrong doing in the workplace. Therefore, I cannot sit idly by and allow the yelps and cries of a single employee to wane on the edge of destructive measures and allow his/her plea to fall into the deep abyss of uncertainty and evaporate into a culture of sinister means. If I were to ignore this point of contact and allow the yelps and pleas of one person to land on deaf ears, I would have eventually found out that many others were experiencing the affects associated with racism, workplace ostracism, retaliation and discrimination.
Some may say, “It’s none of your business of what happens in the case of discipline involving someone else in the workplace!” But what if something is unfair and immorally and ethically wrong with that form of discipline? Unfortunately, and with the Department never holding anyone accountable for retaliation and discrimination based upon race, the price for monitoring retaliation is eternal vigilance. I believe it is within the nature of those who are enslaved to their own desires to rule by the creation of fear and retaliation; whereby, preventing others from engaging in legally protected activities.
Therefore, by the providence of God, it is the nature of free people to recognize that they cannot be enslaved to a system of politics and worry about promotions, friendships, envy or hatred. Accordingly, I shall extend no safe harbor to those who would foster within the LAPD system, an atmosphere of double standards, oppression, and vindictiveness. Furthermore, it has been my personal experience that despite efforts toward the elimination of retaliation in the Department, retaliation, race, racism and discrimination (even at this present moment), is an absolute in LAPD.
There’s nothing arcane about racism and discrimination in the LAPD and the retaliatory responses that follow when a Department employee (particularly one of color) questions his /her superiors about the double standards and vindictiveness that exist within the system when discipline is imposed upon persons of color. Clearly, when one looks at the unadulterated facts surrounding the case of Daniel **** and compares it to the clever and crafty means in destroying his career and life, one could argue that the disciplinary action taken against him was retaliatory, shrewd and calculating and presented to the Department through destructive and clandestine means. Thus, when we compare the case of Daniel **** against those non-African Americans that have been given preferential treatment in administrative discipline (that I have witnessed in Northeast Area & throughout the Department), one could argue that the disciplinary action taken against Daniel Odoh may be racist.
In addressing racism, Commander Kyle Jackson (retired November 2009) supports me in my claim that racism exist in the Department. Commander Jackson, black, on Sunday, July 11, 2004, was quoted in the Los Angeles Times claiming the Department is a “racist organization.” He said: “If you look at the last 30-40 years of its history, you’ll agree this is a racist department. But it's a department I love…We have not always been fair.” (LA Times, Aug. 2004). Yet still, during the 30-years he was employed with the Department he did nothing to address or substantiate his claim that racism was persistent and unrelenting in the Department. Nevertheless, I’m sure Commander Jackson having to remain silent in the organization for all those years (like so many other African Americans inside the LAPD) didn’t appreciate having to work under those dreadful conditions of racial despair.
When it comes to addressing the sensitive issue regarding race in the LAPD, African American officers have no one to turn to when racism and discrimination intrudes upon their professional lives. This is supported by the fact that Commander Jackson was cognizant of the racism within the organization but apparently (and although with some conjecture), appears to have resigned himself to the status quo of “going along to get along,” in fear of being retaliated against and alienated by his non-African American peers. Markedly, and by comparison, it has been my experience that when raising the issue about race in the organization, African American officers will always encounter indifference from his/her superiors merely because race is America’s most complex problem and difficult dilemma . Currently, there are no African American command officers in the organization that posses the moral courage toward speaking out about the abject conditions of racism and bigotry in the organization. As a result and with the lack of response in addressing the lugubrious despair, many of us are forced to endure the austere conditions of racial injustice. Inasmuch as we would wish for some form of comfort and protection from an abhorrent work environment of racial harassment, many of us are forced to fend for ourselves. Historically, black officers have never had a commanding officer of any race take interest in their plight and defend them from the unpleasant forms of racism and bigotry. As a consequence, many (if not all) of the African American command officers remain at a distance and are unwilling to risk something on behalf of another African American officer who is facing racial adversity behind the shattered badges of justice. Sadly, and like Commander Jackson, our African American command officers (who remain in survival mode) would rather look the other way than to save the career of follow African American officer who is suffering under the pernicious assault of racism in the organization. I can cite many cases; including my own, wherein African American officers experienced racism and not one African American command officer expressed their displeasure about the hostile attitude of racial animus directed toward them while serving in the capacity as active members in the LAPD.
For adversity in the case of Daniel ****, we must look unflinchingly at the significant facts of double standards and racism presented in this case. Granted, if we as a Department fail in addressing the truth that race matters, in this matter, then the relationship between many African Americans and non-African Americans officers in the LAPD will have been strained; and thereafter, we will be unable to expiate and atone for this horrific act of racial injustice. Therefore, and for these reasons, we should have the audacity to question the fractious and confrontational issues surrounding double standards of race, racism and discrimination in the LAPD. I will now address the double standards and racism in the case of Daniel ****.
DOUBLE STANDARDS AND RACISM:
Officer Daniel **** received approximately 2 personnel complaints, wherein he was the subject of misconduct. Throughout the 2 investigative periods (2006-2010) the Department (Chief of Police) twice relieved him of duty without pay; yet, Officer **** watched helplessly as his non-African American counter parts that had engaged in serious misconduct, be given preferential treatment. Due to personnel reasons I cannot name the officers, but I will delineate the sample cases. Additionally, theses officers were never relieved of duty and received full pay for the wayward transgressions. Needless to say, Officer **** was accused of acts that did not match his character or rise to the level of him being discharged from the Department. Nonetheless, here are a several cases that occurred in ********* Area:
I therefore appeal to the Board of Police Commissioners to conduct an independent investigation to determine the legitimacy in rendering such a harsh penalty of “termination” in the case of Daniel Odoh.
Let us keep hope, faith and patience alive! Together, we can bring hope to the hopeless, opportunity to the oppressed and illuminate the universe with love, justice, and compassion. After all, were all in this profession together. “We owe no one anything but to love one another.”
Should you have questions regarding this matter, you may contact me at 213-485-2563.
Wayne K. Guillary
WAYNE K. GUILLARY
Northeast Patrol Division