October 7, 2003
RE: The amendment of Special Order 40.
REF: Letter of September 28, 2003, Zine to Netkin
Dennis P. Zine
Los Angeles Councilman, Third District
Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring Street, Rm 450
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dear Mr. Zine:
Thank you for your letter of September 28, 2003, but I am disappointed in that you did not address mine and the communities concerns, but instead repeated old information.
I am well aware of the text of Special Order 40, as I would not undertake to lobby for its amendment without thoroughly studying its language and intent. So let's look at the facts:
Special Order 40 is not a city law -- it is a police mandate. Special Order 40 can be created, modified, or repealed ONLY by the Chief of Police (William Bratton). Chief Bratton told me personally at a town hall meeting on December 16, 2002 at the Encino Community Center, that Special Order 40 was a city policy and he "could" work with it in place. Let's be clear about this. Chief Bratton is working with Special Order 40 in place because he says it's a city policy. City policy is determined by the city council. And since you are part of the city council, it is for you as an ex-cop to recommend amendments to Special Order 40 if it would significantly reduce gang crime in Los Angeles.
You quote from Special Order 40, the excerpt,"Undocumented alien status in itself is not a matter for police action..." But since the language of Special Order 40 is decided upon by the Chief of Police, it is within yours and the council's power to lobby Chief Bratton to amend the language.
Quoting another excerpt, "Officers shall not initiate police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person and shall not arrest or book persons for violation of Title 8, Section 1325 of the US Immigration code (Illegal entry)..." This is exactly what needs to be amended!
The intention of Special Order 40 as stated many times by the LAPD and L.A. City Council, is so that innocent undocumented immigrant witnesses and/or victims will not fear deportation if they report crime.
Let me be clear on the following two points so that I won't have to continually repeat myself:
1. Illegal alien gang member are NOT innocent immigrant witnesses and/or victims. You and the council can request that Chief Bratton amend Special Order 40 so that it does not apply to known gang members.
2. innocent undocumented immigrant witnesses and/or victims do not fear the LAPD or ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- formerly the INS).They do not report crime out of fear of retaliation by gang members.
Another excerpt from Special Order 40 states: "When an undocumented alien is booked for multiple misdemeanor offenses, a high grade misdemeanor or a felony, or has been previously arrested for a similar offense, ... [only] then [will the LAPD] make notification to the INS." This statement can be compared to buying insurance after the accident.
One area we do agree upon is that gang members are predisposed to crime. If this were not so, there would be no need for the city attorney to place injunctions upon them in the first place when they have not been charged with a crime. Some other California cities have barred gang members from whistling, making gang hand signals or carrying bottles, baseball bats or flashlights in certain areas.
It is against federal law for an illegal alien gang member to reside in Los Angeles, and just as the LAPD has the RIGHT to place injunctions on gang members who have not been charged with a crime, they have the right to arrest gang members and turn them over to ICE solely on the basis of illegally being in the U.S. This is no different than turning a criminal who is suspected of a federal crime over to the FBI.
In the 1930's, the infamous gangster, Al Capone, could never be convicted of murder because intimidated witnesses fearing for their lives, would not come forward. Capone once killed a man by beating him to death with a baseball bat while 20 witnesses looked on. After finding they could not pin anything on Capone, Chicago Police working with the FBI, finally put him in jail on the unlikely charge of income tax evasion -- not the worst thing to be convicted of, but better than nothing. For similar reasons, if Special Order 40 were amended, the LAPD in conjunction with ICE would have a powerful tool to legitimately arrest and deport illegal alien criminal gang members.
I find the statement in your letter that you hoped I will focus my efforts in future on the federal officials who permit this uninvited flood to continue, rather than on the local authorities who are "keeping up their end of the bargain," to be the mother of all ironies. At the same time that you have been passing the buck to the feds, you made it clear that you want to undermine their efforts to do their job by making a special trip on behalf of the L.A. City Council to lobby congress NOT to pass HR2671, the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal Act.
If you were sincere in your belief that it is up the ICE to prevent illegal alien gang members to flood our society, you would have gone to Washington to lobby FOR HR2671, not against it.
Moreover, not only do you undermine ICE's efforts to rid L.A. of illegal alien gang members and terrorists, but your support for the sham Matricula ID and your failure to speak out against Chief Bratton's support for valid California driver's licenses for illegal aliens (including illegal alien gang members) is a virtual invitation to foreign gang members to come to L.A., and shows clearly that your political ambitions far outweigh your concern for the safety of your constituents.
Let me make clear that what I advocate is not a witch hunt of undocumented immigrants (I married one). But I do advocate the immediate expulsion of illegal alien gang members to their native country.
Unless you can address with reason, why the LAPD should not determine the immigration status of all gang members even when not charged with any crime, and promptly turn them over to ICE if found to be illegally in the U.S., I will continue to expose to your constituents, your belief that the rights of criminal gang members trump the rights of your constituents.
Van Nuys, CA 91407
CC: All L.A. Council Members, Daily News, Mr. KABC, other unnamed recipients