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).
Today (Monday), Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck will take the stand and testify in the whistleblower trial of Commanding Officer Captain Peter Whittingham. Whittingham, a 28-year veteran of the Department is currently assigned to Criminal Gang Homicide in South Bureau in Criminal Gang Homicide. Through the years he’s worked Southwest, Foothill, Internal Affairs, Pacific, Northeast, North Hollywood, LAX, Hollywood and is considered to be an expert on criminal gangs intervention and prevention and community based policing.
Captain Whittingham famously penned an eyebrow raising tell-all letter to the police commission in July of 2014 regarding the then reappointment of Chief Charlie Beck to second term. In the letter, he detailed cases of serious misconduct and what he alluded to as Chief Beck’s unwillingness to discipline certain department favorites. Now where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, right here.
Before Whittingham’s letter became public, he had already filed a lawsuit against the Department in April alleging retaliation and discrimination for being a whistleblower on Beck’s shenanigans. It is doubtful the Department was aware of the lawsuit at the time, because in June of 2014, Whittingham was promoted to Captain II.
But back to the lawsuit and Beck’s taking the stand.
At the center of the lawsuit is a meeting with officers that held the rank of captain or above where Chief Beck was present. A deputy chief, speaking on behalf Beck told all of the command staff that when the Chief sends an officer to a Board of Rights disciplinary hearing that he expects that officer to be terminated and that the commanding officers sitting on BOR do not have the authority to do anything different.
That sounds about right. As you should remember, Chief Beck basically slipped and said that very same thing before trying to clean his statement up when he appeared on KJLH-FM’s Front Page show a couple of years ago to discuss the Frank Lyga controversy.
Whittingham alleges that during a BOR in August 2012 that he sat on as a decision maker, evidence on behalf of an accused officer was brought to the attention of the BOR that was exculpatory—could exonerate the officer of guilt. Whittingham agreed and wanted to dismiss the case based on the Los Angeles City Attorney’s opinion. However, as you can guess, Beck felt differently and ordered the BOR to proceed. At the conclusion of hearing Whittingham voted to suspend the officer instead of termination and in typical Department fashion, shortly thereafter, Beck’s Chief of Staff Stephen Jacobs had a “conversation” with Whittingham about his career advancement and cautioned him that one of the things that Beck looks at when decided to upgrade captains is their finding during a BOR.
It is at this point, I’d like to remind you of a certain BOR hearing held for Beck’s daughter Brandi Scimone’s then man Sergeant George Hoopes. As Whittingham noted in his open letter to the police commission:
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.
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.
Legend has it that once the chief became aware of the situation, his daughter’s involvement with Hoopes and her false and misleading statement made 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.
I’m just saying. Strange behavior.
But back to Whittingham’s lawsuit.
In another instance, Whittingham testified favorably for an officer during an administrative hearing. The officer at the center of the hearing believed that then Captain III Beatrice Girmala made decision against him based on his being Black. Whittingham alleges that when Girmala heard that he was going to testify for the defense that she called him on the phone and said angrily: “You are nothing but a fucking traitor! You trying to fuck me? You trying to fuck me?”
Well Whittingham’s testimony became the ire of Chief Beck and his Assistant Chief. The suit alleges that Girmala had direct influence on staff and chief officers and was furious that Whittingham broke the “code of silence” by testifying against a fellow commanding officer in favor of an African-American officer who was being treated disparately.
The lawsuit makes mention of a 2005 edition of the Black police officer’s magazine the Oscar Joel Bryant Magazine where Commander Kevin McCarthy’s photo was placed on the front page and he was accused of racial discrimination. Kevin McCarthy is the husband of Deputy Chief Debbie McCarthy and it’s no secret both are very close friends of Chief Beck’s.
In a 2007 edition of the magazine, Commander Rick Webb was featured as an individual who had admitted to using the N-word at least 120 times and abut 10 times while on the job. Back then OJB, which Whittingham was a Director-At-Large for, sent a letter to then Chief William Bratton requesting that Webb not be promoted to the rank of commander. Webb spoke to Whittingham and was none to happy concerning the article and has since not spoken to him. Webb is also a close friend of the McCarthy’s and Beck.
For these reasons and many more, Whittingham believes he’s been denied the opportunity to advance in his career and promote.
Well today, Beck will be cross-examined by Whittingham’s attorney Greg Smith. The City Attorney’s office has pulled out all of the stops for this one assigning three attorneys to this case including Deputy City Attorneys Jenna Galas and Doug Lyons as well as Unit Supervisor Wayne Song.
It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out as it is generally believed that whenever Beck is in the hot seat, those around him take the fall—similar to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department scandal with former sheriff Lee Baca and undersheriff Paul Tanaka.
But we’ll see what a jury thinks.
If you’re interested in watching all of this go down, it’s taking place in Department 32 on the fourth floor of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse at 111 North Hill Street at 10 a.m. I mean it’s not everyday the Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department is forced to take the stand in a court of law and testify.
We’ll keep you posted but in the meantime you can read the lawsuit here.
Chief Beck continues his testimony after the lunch break but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to tell you that I’m told he was less than knowledgeable about his own Department’s Core Values–Core Values that are usually a part of every paygrade advancement for all officers. Meaning, throughout one’s career they would be asked to repeat the core values when testing for paygrade advancement in the Department. He managed to rattle off integrity and ethics but appeared to not have the others memorized and seemed to believe that he couldn’t be expected to know them by heart. I wonder what the jury thought about that.
For the record and Chief Beck’s memory:
▪ Service to Our Communities
▪ Reverence for the Law
▪ Commitment to Leadership
▪ Integrity in All We Say and Do
▪ Respect for People
▪ Quality Through Continuous Improvement
Monday, April 25, 2016
So last week we had a who’s who of folks come by and testify in the trial of LAPD Captain Peter Whittingham. Besides Chief Charlie Beck’s appearance in the hot seat there was:
- Commander Justin Eisenberg
- Assistant Chief Jorge Villegas
- Retired Deputy Chief Stephen Jacobs
- Retired Deputy Chief Mark Perez
- Soon to be retired Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger
- Deputy Chief Bill Scott
- Retired Assistant Chief Sandy Jo MacArthur
- Captain Steven Ruiz
- Captain Lillian Carranza
You may recall that Captain Ruiz sued the LAPD and the city alleging that he was demoted in retaliation for his refusal to fire a fellow officer while he sat on the department’s Board of Rights. He alleged that while he was demoted for alleged drunk driving, another supervisor got off scot-free after he was stopped for a DUI investigation in Riverside–and we know all about that Riverside incident.
Captain Carranza received an ominous email from Paysinger inviting her to a “meeting” when she failed to support the termination of an officer. After reporting the email and the “meeting” invite to her direct supervisor, apparently that meeting was abruptly canceled.
Captain Whittingham returns to the stand this week to finish out his testimony and cross-examination. Also expected to make an appearance in the parade of the bizarre on behalf of the city are Assistant Chief Michel Moore and Commander Mike Williams.