I sent the following email to UCLA chancellor Gene Block concerning UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill who were arrested for stealing merchandise from three high-end stores in China:
Chancellor Gene Block
I am a former California law enforcement officer and retired criminal justice professor. Please allow me to make some comments about the three student athletes that were arrested for shoplifting merchandise from three high-end stores in China.
I watched the ‘apology’ offered by LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill which they read from a script. They referred to the thefts as ‘mistakes.’
These were not mistakes. 2 plus 2 equals 5 is a mistake. Misspellings and typos are mistakes. Theft is a crime, not a mistake.
The three would have been sentenced to prison were it not for the intervention of President Trump. Wendell Brown has not been as fortunate. The former Ball State football player has been confined to a Chinese prison for more than a year for getting into a barroom brawl.
Had Ball, Riley and Hill stolen from three stores in California, they could have been charged with two counts of burglary. CA Penal Code 459 is when a person, upon entering a structure intends to commit a crime. So stealing from the first store would constitute theft, but thereafter stealing from the second and third store could have constituted the more serious crime of burglary.
I see where UCLA coach Steve Alford said “These are good young men who exercised an inexcusable lapse of judgment.” If they were not star basketball players, no one would say that. Back in the community they would be considered nothing more than common criminals.
Suspension is not enough. They committed multiple thefts while on a UCLA basketball team trip. You should expel these thieves from UCLA. Short of that, their athletic scholarships should be revoked.
Do I believe in giving someone another chance? Of course I do! But I do not believe a criminal should be rewarded for his outstanding athletic abilities. Even if Ball, Riley and Hill were to be expelled from UCLA, they would be snapped up by other colleges or universities eager to use their basketball talents. That’s not the treatment an ordinary person would receive.
Under no circumstances should they ever be reinstated to the UCLA basketball team.