We’re not against the police. We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).
This story has been updated, please scroll to the bottom for additional information.
When it rains it pours, and right now Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is in the middle of a storm.
Between the 9,900 rank-and-file officers involved in a contract dispute with the City for better working conditions and the never ending flow of officers of all ranks stepping across the thin blue line to expose Chief Beck’s unfair disciplinary process, the blows just keep coming for a man who is working hard at getting a second term as the head of a department, that doesn’t seem to want him.
Earlier this week we heard from LAPD Commanding Officer Captain Peter Whittingham of the Criminal Gang-Homicide Division who penned an eyebrow raising tell-all letter to the police commission detailing cases of serious misconduct and what he alluded to as Chief Beck’s unwillingness to discipline certain department favorites.
And as in typical fashion, once the cat was let out of the bag, it was only a matter of hours before I started receiving calls, texts, and emails from other cops not only corroborating Whittingham’s testimony but expanding on it.
For the record, cops don’t usually help air the department’s dirty laundry. They do just the opposite, they wash it, fold it, and hang it up in the back of the closet. However, it’s apparent that while the public may have little to say about Chief Beck’s reappointment, his department feels very differently.
In a letter dated July 20, 2014, Captain Whittingham, who refused to identify specific people by name, identified an unnamed Sergeant who had his Board of Rights hearing for inappropriate sexual conduct abruptly terminated by Chief Beck.
As the story goes, when the charges of inappropriate sexual relations/unbecoming conduct were being read in the Board of Rights, the sergeant challenged the charges by saying something similar to the following: “Well, if you are going to charge me for those three (or four), you might as well charge me for the other one.”
When all the dust was settled and the Board Chair inquired what he meant by those statements, the sergeant implicated another female officer (said to be a female officer known to the Chief) and threatened to notify the press.
The Chief was notified, the Board of Rights proceedings were aborted, and the matter was eventually settled with the sergeant being restored to his original rank of Sergeant II.
I have it on good authority from many different sources in the department that the reason why this happened is because the other implicated officer was the chief’s own daughter Brandi Scimone, who many in the department knew had engaged in a sexual tryst with Sergeant George Hoopes.
According to LAPD insiders, Beck’s daughter provided false and misleading statements during the investigation into Sergeant Hoopes’ inappropriate sexual relationships with female officers under his supervision by stating that she had never had a sexual relationship with him. She lied.
Once the chief became aware of the situation, his daughter’s involvement with Hoopes, and her lying during the investigation, Beck hurried up and cancelled Hoopes’ hearing and restored his ranking in an effort to make sure that the information never saw the light of day. However, the sun just came up and it’s shining brightly.
This is the kind of favoritism, cronyism, and nepotism that keeps morale low in the department. Some get punished while others go free depending on who—and seemingly more important—what they know.
All of this is eerily similar to our favorite Detective Frank Lyga who admitted to pulling a similar stunt on then Chief Bernard Parks regarding the killing of police officer Kevin Gaines. In Lyga’s case, he said he threatened to go to the press and squeal that Gaines’ killing was a sanctioned LAPD hit if Parks transferred him. Lyga was not transferred.
Under normal circumstances, misconduct like this is cause for termination in the LAPD. If I recall correctly, wasn’t Christopher Dorner fired for allegedly filing a false complaint against a training officer?
More to come…
Updated 11:32 p.m.
The “dirt” that Sergeant Hoopes threatened Chief Beck with was naked photos of his daughter Brandi Scimone he had taken during the time they were dating.
The story goes, Beck’s daughter became infuriated when she found out about Hoopes’ sexual liaisons with other female officers so she told on him to her father who had him investigated and sent to the Board of Rights. Beck just didn’t know about the naked photos of his daughter or the fact that Hoopes was willing to leverage them to keep his job.
Hoopes ended up sending the photos to Newton division’s Lieutenant Andrew Barboza. Internal Affairs was sent to Barboza’s home to retrieve the photos from Barboza’s cell phone but according to his colleagues he got a heads up and erased them completely by having the “phone washed.”
In response to this, Beck demoted Barboza’s boss Captain Rodriguez for allowing Barboza to destroy the evidence before Internal Affairs could get to it.
In the meantime Beck’s daughter got married and moved at an unprecedented pace through the ranks (we’ll get to that in a different post) and Sergeant Hoopes still has the photos (which is basically his job security) and is a quite content in the department’s Real-Time Analysis and Critical Response Division or what is commonly referred to as RACR division.
Updated Saturday, August 2 at 11:14 a.m.
Deputy Chief Jacobs is in damage control mode and has instructed Metro division to steer all media calls to our friend Commander Andy Smith. Chief Beck’s daughter is off today for media following this story and I’ve got addresses and cellphone numbers if you need them.
Update 7:40 p.m.
Below is an excerpt of the letter that then Newton Division Captain Jorge Rodriguez wrote after being demoted by Chief Beck for allowing Lt. Andrew Barboza to delete the naked pictures of Beck’s daughter sent to him by Hoopes.
First and foremost, let me take this opportunity to apologize to each and every single one of you for my sudden departure without providing you clarification, and placing every one of you in another period of uncertainty. I know that you all experienced it when I arrived and must endure another period of unknowns just one and one half years later. I understand change is very difficult, however, I experienced your resiliency and I am confident that you all will continue strong and not forget your mission “make the community safe.”
I also want to thank all of you who reached out via phone calls, text or emails, providing words of encouragement and your appreciation for the leadership that I provided. They were very uplifting and really helpful in this most challenging episode and personal failure. I know how rumors circulate and felt compelled in addressing you sooner, but I needed time to reflect on this period of my life and regroup.
So, with all of that out of the way, I want to clear the air and denounce the many rumors that I have heard. That way YOU can have the facts and clear up any misconceptions that anyone may have. I am NOT going to Baltimore PD, I have NOT retired, nor will I, and I have NOT been assigned home pending a Board of Rights. I have been downgraded to a Capt 1 and will receive a five day suspension for what the COP felt was wrong doing n my part. As far as my transgression, the only true rumor that you have heard, is that it involves the recovery of a cellular phone and decisions that I made. I did NOT have an affair with a secretary nor with a community member. So I don’t know where those came from but they are NOT TRUE. I accept the COP’s decision and will move forward with my life and career, still supportive of the system, which applies to all of us equally.
Moving forward, I will soon find out the new command that I will be assigned to as a Patrol Captain, which I will embrace and fully support, much like I did when I landed in Newton. Our Organization is a great one and it has been defined by not only the adversity that it has encountered and its ability to bounce back, but by its member’s spirit, toughness and their willingness to serve our communities. I am that Organization and look forward to my next challenge.
Jorge R. Rodriguez
Update Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 9:03 p.m.
The department didn’t want the information about the naked photos of the Chief’s daughter who worked in gangs in Newton Division at the time to get out so they had an anonymous complaint filed against Lieutenant Andrew Barboza for harassing text messages. This complaint allowed them confiscate his phone.
Captain Jorge Rodriguez was given orders from Internal Affairs to get the phone around 2 p.m. in the afternoon which meant traveling from South Los Angeles to the Inland Empire during rush hour. As a Captain III, Rodriguez assigned two Lieutenants to go and retrieve the phone because why would a Captain III spend hours driving to get a phone for an anonymous complaint. He sent two lieutenants instead of one to handle that because they could utilize the carpool lane and shorten their commute.
Lt. Barboza, who was already assigned to home over all of this, was told to make sure that he was home because two lieutenants were on their way over. He was only told to make sure that he was home and nothing about a phone or a complaint, but it’s believed that Barboza knew all about the complaint.
LAPD insiders say that Captain Rodriguez was called by IA and asked if he got the phone. He said that the phone was in his possession.
After IA didn’t find anything on the phone, the department said that Rodriguez lied and provided false and misleading information. The false and misleading information was his initial answer of yes when asked if he “got” the phone. Rodriguez was unaware that IA expected him to physically get into his car and drive to Barboza’s house and get the phone himself.
Rodriguez’s punishment was “freeway therapy” and being demoted from a Captain III at Newton Division to a Captain I at Foothill Division. And while he’s regained his Captain III status, he’s still undergoing “freeway therapy” with a daily commute from the San Gabriel Valley to Topanga Station.
And about that “washed” cellphone that Barboza gave IA, I’m told that Barboza’s response was basically something to tune of ‘oh I just wanted to make sure you guys got a clear phone before you issued it to somebody else.’