Friday, November 18, 2005


Dunphy uncovers the mysteries of James Ellroy

The one and only Jack Dunphy decided to sit down with James Ellroy, the writer of LA Confidential, to talk law, order, and politics in policing. Even I have to admit that some parts made me do a double-take.

Dunphy: Do you think the same contract between cops and criminals is still observed?

Ellroy: No. Since Rodney King, which was an event blown grossly out of proportion by a biased media, police are afraid to conduct business as usual in Los Angeles for fear of censure within the LAPD, censure in the media, and fear of a lawsuit. If you look at the entire Rodney King incident in context and in real time, you see that Rodney King had two companions in the car, both of them black. They submitted willingly and were led out of the frame. Rodney King charged several times and was thrown down and got up again and again, took a Taser from Sergeant Stacy Koon, kept on coming and finally took the 56 blows from batons that, absent context and in slow motion, look terrible. In full-blown context it looks like nothing but a justified response to a suspect who would not submit. I think most people not schooled in the street and the realities of police work think the cops are supposed to engage dangerous suspects in something like one-on-one fights like you might see on television, and of course it doesn't work that way.

It's hard to believe that someone who is pro-cop is working in Hollywood. What's even more surprising is that he hasn't been blacklisted. Ellroy has a film adaptation of his book The Black Dahlia coming out in 2006, so make sure to stay tuned. I'm a huge fan, and I've been mighty pleased with his work, so naturally I'm eagerly anticipating it.

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