University of California President Mark Yudof is catching heat for his choice of former Los Angeles Police Chief William J. Bratton to conduct the probe of the notorious pepper spray attack on UC Davis students.
And well he should, given the track record of his pick to probe Pepper Spraying Cop Lt. John Pike and his department.
The appointment is drawing fire from the Council of UC Faculty Associations, and we can understand why.
Now the chair of private security contractor Kroll, Bratton gained fame as New York City Police Commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, where he implemented a ruthless campaign to clear the homeless off city streets.
He was brought in to clean up the LAPD in the wake of the notorious Ramparts Scandal, and was Tory Prime Minister David Cameron’s choice to become Britain’s new Metropolitan Police Commissioner earlier this year, an appointment that was shot down by the Home office, which noted that the post can only be held by a British citizen familiar with the nation’s laws. Cameron brought him on board as a consultant instead.
In his new capacity as British police advisor, Bratton outlined his philosophy in August to reporters for the London Telegraph:
Speaking in New York, Mr Bratton, 63, said police forces should be more assertive in their dealings with offenders, leaving no doubt that crime would always meet a firm response.
“You want the criminal element to fear them, fear their ability to interrupt their own ability to carry out criminal behaviour, and arrest and prosecute and incarcerate them,” he said.
“In my experience, the younger criminal element don’t fear the police and have been emboldened to challenge the police and effectively take them on.”
Small wonder, then, that members of the UC faculty are raising serious questions about Yudof’s choice.
Carla Rivera of the Los Angeles Times reports two representative faculty comments:
“The office of the president should not be investigating itself in this matter, when one thing that needs to be investigated is what role the office had,” said UC Santa Cruz professor Robert Meister, president of the Council of UC Faculty Assns.
“This is being led by a former cop who is charging a lot of money we don’t have to spend and whose experience is not promoting free speech but figuring out efficient ways to deny free speech,” said UC Irvine professor Mark LeVine, who is chairman of the faculty association at his campus. “There are a huge number of eminently qualified professors and scholars in house who could suggest outside people if need be and would have the trust of the majority of the university community.”
While Bratton’s fee hasn’t been announced, UC publicist Diana Klein told Rivera the typical sum paid consultants is $300 an hour.
As for the choice of Braaton, Klein told Rivera “This is an independent, experienced consultant, and his experience speaks perfectly to these types of situations.”
So, we have an ex-cop who rose to fame on a ruthless campaign against Manhattan’s homeless and believes cops need to get tougher on young offenders.
Perhaps we’re cynical, but he seems the perfect pick to give the UCPD the most favorable possible report.