L.A. Police Chief Attempts to Bully Inspector General Over Investigation

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).

Alrighty folks, gather around for the latest installment (and twist) in the Los Angeles Police Department’s version of the Game of Thrones.

When last we spoke of LAPD Commander Patrick Smith we detailed a particularly nasty story about how Chief Charlie Beck and cronies (mistakenly) decided among themselves that Smith was one of my trusty sources.

Because of this assumption, Smith’s office was unlawfully searched including his desk, which was rummaged through and had items taken from. We also strongly believe based on our sources in the Department that Smith was followed.

All of this resulted in a lawsuit against Chief Beck and the Department. Smith’s lawsuit was the first of numerous lawsuits yet to be filed by innocent folks being accused of being my source.

Well folks, the drama doesn’t stop there.

Apparently the Inspector General Alex Bustamante woke up and decided his office needed to investigate. Well hello there! After all, it is the job of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to investigate all—not some—but ALL complaints against the Chief of Police.

So the OIG requested all documents pertaining to the Department’s investigation of the Smith situation.

I’m told they received nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

It seems that the 10th floor went into action quick fast and in a hurry to try and persuade Los Angeles Police Commission President Matt Johnson and Police Commission Executive Director Richard Tefank that in this one instance, the rules should be changed and instead of the Inspector General doing the investigation the Department’s own Internal Affairs–headed up by none other than Deputy Chief Debbie McCarthy—should conduct the investigation.

Basically, Bonnie investigating Clyde.

What a bunch of criminal acting haters.

Well if what my sources tell me is true—and I have no reason to believe that it’s not—I’m actually impressed with Mr. Bustamante who I am told basically said “oh hell no” and kept fighting to keep the investigation in his office—where it belongs.

I’m told a third-party was brought in to rule on it because this had never happened before—a third-party with a clear conflict of interest that doesn’t always make the best decisions on behalf of the City of Los Angeles. Sigh.

My sources tell me that this third-party was actually persuaded by Beck and LAPD’s Director of Constitutional Policing and Policy Arif Alikhan to take the investigation of what happened to Commander Smith from the OIG and allow the Department to essentially investigate itself with the OIG being allowed to simply “observe.”

The voters of Los Angeles did not create the Office of the Inspector General simply so that person could “observe” the shenanigans of current Chief of Police.

Now why is any of this important to the average Angeleno? I’ll tell you why.

I recently published a draft of an article written for Chief Beck to be published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police under Beck’s name.

And I quote:

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) believes that the next step forward in policing practices is relationship-based policing. Relationship-based policing intends to build upon the positive step forward of community-based policing in three specific areas: (1) building relationships rather than mere partnerships, (2) working in collaboration with the community, and (3) creating an atmosphere of trust between the police and the diverse communities they serve.

Beck can’t even demonstrate the capacity to do any of this within the Department so how is he going to apply it to the community?

Beck knows the name of the game. He knows that the OIG is responsible for investigating all complaints against the Chief of Police. Period. There are no exceptions. There’s no let’s change the rules this one time. That’s the OIG’s job.

Organizational Chart

The fact that Beck felt so confident that he could persuade both Johnson and Tefank and an unnamed (for now) third-party otherwise is scary.

It shows once again that Beck believes he’s above the law and above the rules and that when backed into a corner—he’ll say and do whatever he can to get his way and to get out of it. That is not transparency and that is not how you build trust with the community you serve.

Chief Beck doesn’t want the OIG to investigate what happened to Commander Smith because Beck knows that it’s all true. That he and his cohorts suspected Smith of being my source and committed several criminal acts in the process of trying to prove their little theory. Beck is also probably trying to cover up the surveillance of the OIG’s own investigators who I am told he had followed to try and track down THEIR sources within the Department.  That’s a no no. Beck’s witch hunt knows no boundaries and Angelenos are going to foot the bill via legal fees, settlements and verdicts in civil suits.

I told Beck last week that his obsession with finding out who is talking is unhealthy and quite possibly criminal. Seems I wasn’t wrong about that either.

As it stands now it looks like the third-party has come to their senses and is not going to let Bonnie investigate Clyde and that the OIG will be handling this investigation independently. We’re still waiting on actual confirmation of this.

This is just another example, in a long list of examples of how Beck says that he’s for transparency when it comes to his Department but does everything he can behind the scenes to fight being transparent. And to be honest—it’s not a good look on the rank-and-file who have to deal with a public who can’t understand the difference between the shenanigans of command staff and those who patrol their streets.

Thankfully there are more leaks in PAB than on my brand spankin’ new colander so we’re kept fully—and I mean fully—informed of the going ons and shenanigans of Chief Charlie Beck and Co.

Meanwhile across the way…

From MyNewsLA.com:

(Mayor) Garcetti has held fast to his support for Beck, saying on the “McIntyre in the Morning” program on KABC-AM radio today that “I believe in Charlie Beck’s leadership.”

“I think it was something reflected when the White House called a few police chiefs from around the country,” he said. “He (Beck) was one of the ones they reached out to. … He’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. The city’s not perfect. But he’s somebody I strongly support as someone who has continued to push forward with constitutional policing as a foundation for how we win trust.”

Yeah ok what’s next? Wonder Twin powers activate!

Until next time folks…

 

The Court of Public Opinion

  • Julia S. Russell

    Fascinating reading, Jasmyne! Thank you! Sad, though that it has to be about the abuse of power by those with power. Such an old story, but always an outrage. I admire your level-headedness in the face of it and thank you for your informative reporting as well as your heroic leadership.