LOS ANGELES—Despite occupying opposing roles in a good-cop/bad-cop dyad, LAPD officers Frank K. McGrew, 51, and Bob West, 36, have one thing in common: They're both extremely racist, 77th precinct sources reported Monday.
"Officer McGrew is the tough, no-nonsense veteran of the force who pushes you around, threatens you with 15 years behind bars, and calls you a nigger," said LeShawn Gordon, a 19-year-old recently charged with grand theft auto. "Officer Bob is the one who picks you up, gives you a cigarette, and tells you he's there to help you before calling you a nigger."
West and McGrew have been partners on the station's investigative unit since August 2001, but both have been racists for much longer. The team, assigned to a particularly crime-ridden two-mile section of South Central, uses a law-enforcement technique common among police partners. "Bad cop" McGrew attempts to draw information or a confession out of perpetrators by frightening them, while "good cop" West does so by gaining their trust. But detainees who've been interrogated by the pair say the two share a hatred for non-whites that transcends their contrasting styles.
Jaime Hernandez, 24, was interrogated by McGrew and West after he was arrested on Feb. 18 for trafficking in narcotics.
"McGrew cuffed me to a desk, clubbed me in the face with a broom handle, and screamed that my 'spic' buddies on the street couldn't help me now," Hernandez said. "He let me sit there for an hour. Then West came in and removed the handcuffs. He got me a Pepsi and some Twinkies, and while I ate them, he explained, in a caring and sensitive way, why I really ought to cooperate. He said he'd do everything he could do to help me, but that I had to face the fact that I was a no-good taco bender from the barrio with five chicken-babies, two priors, and only one real option: to talk."
Their mutual disdain for minorities aside, the two racist partners couldn't be more different, fellow officers report.
"McGrew is a barrel-chested bruiser with the same close-cropped crewcut he's had since his cadet days. He's twice-divorced, spends his nights at a local tavern, and is rumored to have an unending series of problematic short-term relationships with white women half his age," LAPD officer Terry Steig said. "West, however, is a smiling, kind-eyed listener who enjoys spending weekends in the park and is fiercely devoted to his white wife and their white infant child."
Many officers say bigotry and hatred are the ties that bind the two.
"When the chief first put those two together, the sparks really flew," fellow LAPD officer Duane Garner said. "It was your classic mismatched-partners situation. McGrew was a grizzled veteran who'd developed a cynical attitude toward minorities after years of witnessing ugly street crime firsthand. West, on the other hand, was an idealistic young golden boy from the academy who took the horror stories his teachers told about the scum of the earth to heart. They were like oil and water, but they learned to respect each other's approaches to shaking confessions out of slants, cholos, and homeboys."
Leaning against the sink in the station's cramped and dirty kitchenette, the two men expressed admiration for each other.
"Sometimes Frank goes too far, but I know his heart is in the right place," West said. "He just wants to make a difference by protecting and serving good, hard-working white people."
"Sometimes West can be a mollycoddling nanny, but he's still a good cop," McGrew said in response. "In his own way, he's doing what he thinks he has to do to control these stinking, subhuman mud-people."
Added McGrew: "Sure, sometimes he drives me crazy. I can be one good crack away from getting some beaner to confess, and he'll break in with his namby-pamby wah-wah, saying he can promise a better life for the 10 dirty little kids the guy must have running around at home. But in the end, we always get the job done. It just goes to show that no matter how different we are, we're both doing what we need to do to get these animals behind bars, where they belong."