Monday, September 29, 2008

Perez v. City of Los Angeles (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 29, 2008)

This is not your usual police misconduct case.

My reaction to most of the opinions I read in which a police officer has been terminated (and then appeals his or her termination) involve negative reactions towards the officer and a feeling that the termination was more than justified. Abuse of power, corruption, etc. Nothing I'd like to see in an officer.

This one's different. First, for whatever it's worth, it initially struck me that we're talking about a female officer here, and I don't recall seeing many termination proceedings against similarly-situated individuals. Second, I have a keen sense here that what Officer Perez did was well-intended -- or at least partially well-intended -- and was designed to protect others rather than harm them. That's, again, different than your usual case.

Nonetheless, lots of what Justice Yegan says (in affirming the trial court's decision) rings true to me. You don't point a loaded weapon in someone else's face. Ever. Unless you intend to kill (or potentially kill) them, which was not the case here.

And definitely don't do it twice. Even if the second time you are just showing someone what you did.

Tough call as to the right result. But interesting facts. See what you think.

P.S. - Don't punch your partner or try to dissuade her, however gently, from ratting you out as well. But those are subsidiary points, and not really at issue in the appeal.