Police Corruption As Norm In The LAPD Rampart Scandal?

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In her article entitled, “Assault under Color of Authority: Police Corruption as Norm in the LAPD Rampart Scandal and in Popular Film,” Judith Grant confronts the issue of police corruption while expressing various controversial beliefs on both its nature and causes. While Grant makes a few different claims in her article, she has two central arguments which serve as its overall framework; first, that corruption in the police force is not simply a few isolated incidences, but instead a norm which is standard in the institution and second, that the portrayals of scandal, brutality, and corruption in film reinforce the reproduction of this problem. She draws most of her support for the first claim from analysis of historic police scandals, particularly…show more content…
For example, when considering the Rampart Scandal, Grant notes that “Rafael Perez, the main snitch in the Rampart scandal… admitted to hundreds of incidences of perjury in order to attain false convictions, false arrest and fabrications of evidence” (4). Along with confessions of personal involvement in illegal actions such as stealing and reselling a large amount of cocaine from the Rampart Division of the Los Angeles Police Department’s evidence room and the shooting of an unarmed man, Perez exposes some horrifying details which point to the institutionalization of police corruption. One of these accounts elaborated on “a secret fraternity within the LAPD consisting of more than 30 anti-gang officers (the CRASH unit) wherein supervisors awarded plaques to officers for wounding or killing people” (14) and “corruption was so common…that they had standard procedures to cover-up if something went awry” (8). This record certainly represents an institution which is not as virtuous as it is often made out to be, suffused with undisclosed misconduct, some of which we may never discover. In turn, the information Perez provides forces even skeptical readers to view police forces in a new light, shifting their opinions…show more content…
One of these films is Cop Land, a “classic Hollywood scenario in which a few bad cops are balanced with a good one who upholds the “true” meaning of being a law enforcement officer” (15). Grant criticizes the fact that the film focuses on the noble, heroic police officer and downplays the components of corruption. Another film reviewed is the Negotiator, in which the main characters, “officer Danny Roman and Special Agent Chris Sabian represent the ideal of the good cop. They may break laws in order to gather evidence and get bad guys, as they do in cracking this case, but they are all about justice” (15). This example upholds Grant’s claim that films tend to reinforce the pattern of discounting unlawful police activity, as through its plot it suggests that breaking rules can be acceptable, and even advisable, in some circumstances. Through the analysis of popular Hollywood films, Grant is able to provide convincing evidence for her claim about the role of film in the reproduction of police

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