There is a disparity in perception in this city about the role of law enforcement. On the one hand, there’s lots of middle class people, Westsiders, and newbies that tend to see the police as a dependable backup when something is going wrong, a phone call to safety, someone that can deal with that other element. They’re also usually the ones to laud them for when they do something right, piling on the praise whenever they can. Mostly since all their experiences with the LAPD tends to be helpful and positive.
On the other hand, there’s the people that have lived with the police as a constant source of intimidation. Those that expect almost every interaction with them to be accusatory, that they will be the ones singled out for extra inspection, be asked to step outside of the car, be patted down and have the car searched. Your info will get radioed in, your name will get run through some database to see if they can arrest you for something. This is how I grew up with the police, as a force of harassment, as a sanctioned gang that is allowed to mess with you. Maybe this way of seeing the cops is only part of the picture, but I’m not inclined to learn of the new friendly police everyone else seems to know.
The photo above is just a random capture, over on Melrose by the old Anti-Club. But this is still a regular sight as I make my way around Lincoln Heights, some vato being subjected to that extra attention. It wouldn’t be so significant if this attention was distributed evenly across the city, but I rarely see this scene in certain so-called nicer parts of LA.
I know some will think I’m making nothing of this pic, counter with a “these guys might have done something”, but until you’ve been one of those singled out for the Special, I’m not too interested in those objections.