The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Los Angeles Police Department Goes to Hollywood

May 23, 2022

Following violent confrontations with the public, police agencies release edited and packaged videos in order to spin the cops’ viewpoint.

In one case in 2015, private cellphone footage showed the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies firing 33 rounds at Nicholas Robertson, shooting him first as he walked away from the deputies and then crawled on the ground. But after protests started because of this killing, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department produced a different video showing Robertson holding a gun when the deputies shot him. Following the release of this video, protests died down.

But, two years later, another video emerged that contradicted what the Sheriff’s Department said. It showed that Robertson did not point the gun at deputies, and the gun was unloaded when the deputies shot and killed him. The family sued the Sheriff’s Department, and the jury agreed with Robertson’s family, finding the deputies responsible for unjustifiably killing Robertson.

The cops’ faked-up version of the Robertson shooting was produced by the Sheriff’s Department’s media division, which employs 42 people.

All major police departments now have similar large, expensive media departments. For example, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Media Relations Division (MRD) employs 24 cops whose average pay is $217,766 a year. These media divisions cherry-pick events and spin out stories to justify cops’ brutal actions. Half-truths are often the biggest lies.

Police departments also pay private companies to do a lot of this work. In fact, producing slick videos to replace raw police bodycam footage of police brutality is a growing business. One company, Cole Pro Media has contracts with 100 police departments across the country, according to the Vallejo Sun. Companies like Cole Pro and universities also teach courses to police departments on how to control media coverage when controversy might arise. All of this at considerable expense, paid for by taxes from the public.

The cops shoot and kill poor and working-class people, disproportionately those who are black, for little to no reason. Police terror is one method the capitalist ruling class uses to keep the population in check, amidst rising poverty and misery. They pay these spin masters to come up with Hollywood-style fiction to whitewash their murderous acts.