Crossing the Thin Blue Line

Police expert slams OC Sheriff’s Department for ‘cowboy’ attitude and ‘fatal errors’ that led to a street execution

"Pretty risky business," Watkins told a majority-female jury. "It's pretty tough in [Balicki's] world."

You'll have to excuse Watkins' laughable inference that OC is tougher than LA. Clark had visibly riled him. Cops aren't supposed to point out another cop's blunders in public. It's a code that has protected Balicki for years.

But Watkins couldn't hide his contempt for Clark. He called him a liar, incompetent, petty, unprofessional and a traitor. He loudly sighed at Clark's answers. Before Carter stopped him, Watkins even absurdly alleged that Clark is a criminal.

Joseph William Balicki. Photo by Jack Gould.
Joseph William Balicki. Photo by Jack Gould.

Apparently an easygoing fellow, Clark—who has trained rookie officers in the use of force—withstood the grilling calmly. Balicki looked on, rolling his eyes and snorting. Clark wouldn't budge on his central point: The Peralez stop hadn't required the use of lethal force.

"I'm just at a loss why this [incident] was done this way," he stated.

Watkins opened his mouth, threw his hands in the air and shook his head. He tossed his pen on the podium. He looked at the jury, then back at Clark on the witness stand and angrily accused the retired cop of having a "grudge against police."

Testimony is scheduled to resume this week.

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