This story was published on April 27, 2015 and was corrected on September 20, 2015 as follows: Based on statements by multiple sources, this page had identified the Marshal who attacked Beatriz Paez as Steven Kays. Kays, this page was told, had previously served as a “gang expert” with the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department.. The Aging Rebel now doubts the veracity of those sources and cannot, at this point, further substantiate or correct the identity of the Marshal. Consequently Kays name has been removed from the story. The Aging Rebel regrets the error.
The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, which made headlines earlier this month for criticizing a story Rolling Stone ran last December, ought to take another minute to look at how the national and Los Angeles press has handled the Beatriz Paez story.
Paez is the school teacher who was attacked last week by a United States Deputy for video recording a punitive raid on a Mongols Motorcycle Club fundraiser. The Mongols weren’t doing anything criminal. The club and friends of the club had gathered to solicit funds for a legal appeal. Club members think one of their brothers was treated unfairly by the courts. To prove that they need to hire a lawyer. No lawyer, no justice. Before they can hire a lawyer they must raise a significant amount of money because dollars are the better part of justice in the new and improved America. The police were literally there to short circuit the legal process and prevent a possible injustice from being corrected. There was no hostage situation. There was no disturbance of the peace. Police were not looking for fugitives. The cops were there to prevent a group of motorcycle enthusiasts from getting fair trials: Because cops have higher conviction rates when they can prevent their suspects from getting fair trials: Because cops have more successful careers when they are allowed to cheat. That’s what justice now means. Columbia Jay School should start there.
The government of the United States is at war with the Mongols – because the Mongols are easier to find in Los Angeles than the Taliban and Los Angeles has nicer beaches than Jalalabad. It is a secret war so Paez was explicitly ordered by police to go stand where she couldn’t see anything – because, you know that’s what “secret” means. When she refused, the Marshal ran her down, grabbed her, wrestled her phone out of her hands, dramatically destroyed it and then gloated about it like a kid who had never been in the end zone before.
The legal definition of “gang” is fuzzy. The standard definition of a “gang” is a “group of criminals.” Multiple federal judges have ruled that the Mongols is not a “group of criminals.”
Nevertheless, the Department of Justice and the federal judiciary have spent something much more than $200 million over the last fifteen years trying to prove the Mongols is a “gang.” It is an astounding sum that has been distributed over the budgets of numerous federal, state and local agencies and departments in order to conceal its enormity. During that time the club has grown from about 30 members to something approaching a thousand. And, the hundreds of millions have provided very nice careers for countless government agents, psychopathic provocateurs, electronics technicians, Swat goons, Marshalls, bailiffs, prison guards, judges and reality television producers. Americans may have to import everything they own but they can brag that we’re number one at domestic surveillance and repression. We put more people in prison before 9 a.m. than most countries do all day.
Paez stumbled into this vital segment of the new American economy and was summarily punished for annoying a cop – which is not yet technically a crime in California. The New York State Senate did pass a law two years ago that proposed to make it a felony to “annoy a police officer,” punishable by four years in prison, but as of today in California going to prison for annoying a cop yet remains just another of those beautiful dreams some police have like droit du seigneur or summary execution for jaywalking or the right to steal your barbecue and beer.
A neighbor caught this cop annoyance incident on her smart phone, uploaded it to YouTube and Beatriz Paez entered the moist, black yaw of the news cycle. Because there is now a whole news genre – like sports and movie reviews – devoted to police brutality cell phone videos, Paez was famous within a day. The video clearly showed the Marshal committing multiple crimes including strong arm robbery and assault. NBC in Los Angeles ran the neighbor’s video with the “news” that the network’s “investigative division” had learned exclusively that the incident was “under investigation.”
NBC, which is now most famous for the many, amusing tall tales of Brian Williams, talked Paez into lending them her cell phone card and ran that exclusive video the next day. NBC couldn’t be bothered to be outraged because that would have been unprofessional – unlike when former news model Williams misremembered inventing the aeroplane. Instead the network of peacocks urged viewers to “judge” for themselves if Paez had the right to record cops gone wild. The network then blurred the face of one police thug because “we’re unsure if he was undercover.”
Vote For Me
A local Congresswoman named Janice Hahn jumped on the bandwagon. She was “alarmed and upset by the actions of the law enforcement officer captured on the video,” which is about as close as Congresspersons, or Congresspeople, or Congresscreatures, or whatever you are supposed to call them, come to taking a stand these days. “I condemn the actions of the U.S. Marshal who violently and improperly responded by destroying Ms. Paez’ property, terrifying her and denying her rights,” somebody who works for Hahn wrote. “We must hold all who are sworn to protect and serve accountable and send a clear message that they are not beyond the law.”
Various news outlets jumped on the story and doubted every part of it. Reporters doubted that the Marshal was a Marshal – presumably because nobody sent them a photo copy of teh Marshal’s official U.S. Marshal’ ID. A recurring theme was that Paez must have done something to deserve being mugged. One Fox News commentator accused the victim of “taunting” her mugger.
That was a week ago, which is like another century in news time unless the story is about Bruce Jenner’s sex change. People will never get tired of hearing about Bruce Jenner’s sex change. That is an actual news fact.
Don’t Quote Me
In a phone call this morning, a staffer in Hahn’s San Pedro office “didn’t know” if the Marshal was still a County Sheriff, or a Tactical Field Officer assigned to the Marshal’s or an actual Marshal. “We don’t actually have any authority over local police,” she confessed. “We’ve had thousands of calls about this.”
First thing, a spokesman for the Marshal’s Service wanted to make sure that anything he said wasn’t attributed to him by name. “Just call me a spokesman. There are four or five of us who do this.” He confirmed that the Marshal is a Marshal but he couldn’t confirm his identity. Then the spokesman was kind enough to supply a prepared statement that read:
“The U.S. Marshals Service takes incidents involving our employees and members of the general public very seriously, and we are concerned with the initial April 19 video footage involving a deputy U.S. marshal. The USMS Office of Professional Responsibility is investigating the actions of the deputy, who has been reassigned to office duties while that review is in progress. Last week, the USMS reminded all employees about our core values, including the need to respect the communities in which we work on the public’s behalf. We strive to operate with the highest level of integrity and professionalism, and we will hold ourselves accountable for our actions.”
The Marshal’s spokesman also wanted to make sure that the mugging of Beatriz Paez was described as an “alleged incident.”
You can look at the video of the “alleged incident” below.