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I blame the unions. The teachers’ union and the police union and all the other unions that place job security over job performance. Bad apples are left to rot on the vine. Then, when bad things happen—students don’t get educated and people are shot dead without just cause—nothing happens. To wit, this from “Between March 2006 and November 2010, Officer Daniel Alvarado of San Antonio’s Northside Independent School District Police was suspended four times. Four times he was informed by supervisors that he faced “immediate termination.” For some reason, when it came time to fire Alvarado, his superiors just couldn’t bring themselves to pull the trigger. Alvarado displayed no similar scruples on November 12, 2010, when he murdered 14-year-old Derek Lopez, who had just taken part in a brief scuffle with another student . . .”

Lopez vaulted a nearby fence and hid in a backyard shed containing Christmas decorations. The homeowner saw the intrusion, and a neighbor flagged down Alvarado’s patrol car. The officer drew his gun “when he came up the driveway,” recalled the homeowner. Within a minute or so, a single gunshot resonated through the neighborhood. When asked by the horrified homeowner what had happened, Alvarado — who reportedly looked “dazed or distant” — replied that Lopez “came at me.”

“The suspect bull rushed his way out of the shed and lunged right at me,” the timorous creature later claimed in an official report. “The suspect was literally inches away from me, and I feared for my own safety.”(Emphasis added.)

Alvarado was lying, of course. An autopsy revealed “no evidence of close range firing [on] the wound,” and no gunpowder stains were found on the victim’s bloody t-shirt.

I’m not a big fan of trial-by-media. As regular readers will attest, I resist the urge to leap to conclusions in police shootings. Keep in mind that both of the boys involved in this incident were attending a school for “troubled” teens. Most of us never chase a perp through city or suburban streets. And we live in a country where a man is innocent until proven guilty. But one thing is for sure:

Although he’s been removed from patrol duty, Alvarado remains on the force, albeit in a tax-subsidized sinecure. Although he had repeatedly been threatened with termination for sloppiness or defiance in carrying out administrative duties, Alvarado faces neither criminal prosecution nor professional censure for murdering a 14-year-old boy.

Police, police thyself. Well, someone then. And when you look at incidents like this or the Jose Guerena SWAT team fiasco, remember that there’s almost always some kind of systemic failure in play, not just a failure of character (although God knows there’s that, too). A systemic failure that’s often caused by the unions and, often, protected by them.

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  1. You’d think a TX police department would take a stronger line against incompetence. This sounds more like NY state.

    That said, cops REALLY need a semi-professional union model with standards (outside of today’s degenerate civil service unions). Airline pilots have an effective, anonymous error reporting system designed for effective discipline and gradual process improvement. That could be the starting point of something similar for cops.

    Of course, a primary reason many cop unions are willing to go to the mattresses over all chronic crap employees and even the most minor incident: Political pressure from police “management” to take the word of the average felon over that of a good cops.

  2. Bull&^^^&$. All contracts take two sides the union and the city, county and state that sit down and make the CONTRACT. To say that it is all union fault is to ignore the DA , states judges and politics that blindly take the word of the cop BECAUSE he is a cop. In this case, if the home owner had shot the kid, there would have been a full scale investigation and if the DA smells blood, the home owner would have been in jail by the end of the week.

    While I love this site, it is this attitude, that all the problems are caused by the unions is just plain wrong. Here in California, we have the Republicans, doing what they have done for the last decade and hold the budget hostage. The Governor wants to let the voters vote on the means the really balance the state budget and not use accounting tricks, which they have for most of this time, to make a “balanced” budget. What is their response? Cuts, cuts and more cuts, cut to police forces so they can then complain about rise in crime, cut teachers, because we know they are all fat overpaid loafers milking the taxpayers, cut school funding so that only the supper rich or the kids of drug dealers can afford to go to college and on and on. At the same time they tell us the we need to give companies, both large and small, tax breaks and others benefits (roads, stop lights, cheap water) so that they will “make jobs” for us.

    Getting back to the San Antonio school cop, where are the DA, the judges and the public outcry? I know you will say that the union “hid the problem” and “covered up”. But the fact remain, the autopsy shows that the cop IS not telling the truth, yet the DA will take the cops word and you are blaming the union for this?

    I a relate note, I was going to send you an e-mail about the Jose Guerena SWAT Team shooting and ask for you to post something on it. But I just click on your post for this and all you did is link the video, no words from you about the stone walling from the police or DA the selective leaking of details and you say nothing over fact that the SWAT team basically killed this father and husband, on what I can tell you sounds like bad or false information, a war vet who in Arizona, OMG had a gun and body armor.

    Just to preclude some replies, I am a republican, Air Force Vet, gun owner and a true believer in what this nation was founded for.

  3. Todd, we have a lot in common. I can’t put the blame for this bad officer on the union. That would be like blaming defense lawyers for crime. The unions, like defense lawyers, are only doing the job that they’re sworn to do. Now, if everybody else in The System was also doing their jobs, including the LEOs and their supervisors, the courts, politicians and judges, we wouldn’t have to suffer with so many bad cops doing so many bad things.

  4. If I ever come across this guy, I’ll be sure to report that he “came at me” after I call local LEOs to collect his 15-bullet-strewn corpse

  5. Unions are great for protecting 14 year old kids that work in coal mines at the beginning of the last century. In a modern America with so many employee protection laws they are just redundant at best and a finical draw on any employee that “has to” join a union.

    unions did a great job at overpricing American goods and forcing companies to move overseas. “Union Made”= Organized legal crime. rant over…

    “Quick shoot’em, he’s coming right for us”

    • Mark, the employee protection laws are only as good has the DA and state agency that enforce them. I work for a major company in California and to this day we have people that complain because the employees “have” to be given breaks and allowed time for lunch. These laws came about during the progressive movement of the last late 1800’s and early 1900th centuries. Because of the abuses of MANAGEMENT, at that time employee’s had NO rights, you had to do what they told you. If they injured you they could blame you for it, fire you and you had no recourse.

      To put this in modern context, the current Governor of Maine think the state depart of labor is to “labor” friendly and does not support the needs of business enough. Governor Walker wants to blame the unions for the budget problem, right after he gave 95% if the business in the state a tax cut, thereby creating the budget problem.

      I have never been in a union, but I grow up in the south and I can tell you that there are managers that will do anything try to prevent unions and it is these same type of managers(think WAL-MART and the like), not unions that moved jobs overseas. In the drive to lower cost and increase shareholder value they are the ones that pressed for the passage of NAFTA and other trade pacts that allowed the MANAGERS to move jobs overseas. And to add insult they got us, the tax payer, to pay for it though tax write downs and the like.

      While I do not know your back story I do know that while unions are their own worst enemies at times, you like must modern non-union workers, assume that unions are the source of the problems and that owners and managers are saints that have nothing to do with it.

      Thinks this does not matter, look at S&W, Ruger and other gun manufacturers, all mostly American made because of the 1934 guns laws are controlling imports. This prevents the company from shipping the jobs overseas, because I can tell you someone will always make a lower bid somewhere. Rant over, for now. :>)

  6. Robert, I think you’re absolutely right about sharing the blame on this one. I wouldn’t stop with the unions, however.

    That’s not to say we can’t also blame the trigger-happy cop. He’s gotta go.

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