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Tennie Pierce lost in the haze

March 20, 2007 |  3:46 pm

LA Weekly sprays one last gallon of water on the dying coals of the Tennie Pierce/LAFD/dog food scandal. If you followed the original story—or even the voluminous criticisms of the Los Angeles Times' coverage of the story—there won't be much new here, but it's a pretty effective dismantling of Pierce's case and the city government's aborted $2.7 million settlement. Special mention is given to attorney Genie Harrison's OpEd for the Times. The common story that Pierce's alleged harrassers were "all white" also gets taken apart, and there's some nicely detailed play-by-play with unimpressed expert witnesses and less-than-forthcoming city council members.

But the takeaway for me was the whole irrepressible hazing culture of the Fire Department. Maybe it's just because I'm generally creeped out by people who make a big deal about rites of passage. But I have not been stinting in my praise for the LAFD in the past, and I'm open to the argument that effective public safety might require all sorts of weird group dynamics. Still, these are not young men we're talking about, and they're playing a bunch of little pansy pranks on each other. The whole thing is just really...off in a way that isn't helped by one of the many photos the anti-Piercians have dug up, showing the Big Dog and his male camaradoes on some Cabo road trip of yore, doing their best impressions of Lt. Jim Dangle:


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