Two Los Angeles Police Department officers, Ismael Gonzalez and Alex Nava, have reportedly been running a rogue boot camp out of a Hollywood school since February. They've recreated the the LAPD's official “Juvenile Impact Program” by slightly changing its name to “Juvenile Intervention Program”– yet doubling the cost to $200.
And there's video.
L.A. Daily News reporter Dakota Smith spoke with Jorja Leap, an adjunct associate professor of social welfare for UCLA, who calls the officers' “scared straight” tactics “borderline psychological abuse.”
Officers Gonzalez and Nava (and their team of police bullies from the General Services Department, which recently merged forces with the LAPD) can be seen screaming in the faces of kids who appear as young as five years old, making them cry and threatening to take them from their families if they can't hold pushup position.
The videos were posted by Latino host/personality Serralde; try to look past his obnoxious intro and strange man-boob dance to the police conduct at hand.
Bruce Borihahn in the LAPD's media-relations office says that “we don't know about this program; it's not a department program.”
Internal Affairs is currently looking into the officers' outside business venture. But Borihahn notes that as a cop, “you can open your own business, whether it be an intervention program or a fitness boot camp. But because [this incident] is on YouTube and kids are getting yelled at, it's gotten more attention than it probably deserves.”
In fact, the UCLA professor tells the Daily News that she's likewise concerned about the LAPD's own official program. (As does this heartbroken mother.)
Not to worry — there's video of that fresh hell as well.
Curiously, Officer Nava, one of the cops running the rogue boot camp in Hollywood, is also listed as the point person for the LAPD version. According to its website, the Juvenile Impact Program is “designed to instill self-discipline and self-esteem in a positive, but strict, environment.”
But how can top brass to make sure all that positivity is carrying over into Nava's offshoot program, when they don't even know it exists?
Really the most disturbing thing here, in our opinion, is that the city's logo is all over the scary experience (by way of both the schoolyard venue and the screaming cops). In this way, what's supposed to be an extracurricular ass-whooping almost comes off as police brutality in a place of learning. Now there's a way to turn a kid against The Man at an early age.