On Fri. Dec. 2, attorney’s for renowned Black journalist and LAPD critic Jasmyne Cannick filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck for false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and violations of her First Amendment rights.
The lawsuit alleges that on the evening of Nov. 19, 2014, Cannick was detained, handcuffed and arrested while covering a protest march against police brutality in downtown Los Angeles. This after the LAPD blocked a group of over 100 people she was following. While other reporters were allowed to leave after identifying themselves as journalists, the LAPD did not allow Cannick to leave subsequently arresting her.
At the time of Cannick’s arrest Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck was in the immediate area. Cannick, who in recent years had become more and more critical of Beck’s leadership of the LAPD, believes that he purposely allowed her to be unlawfully arrested and detained due to his displeasure about her articles criticizing his leadership.
Through her blog and media appearances Jasmyne is known for being highly critical of the LAPD and its Chief.
Jasmyne broke news that famed LAPD Detective Frank Lyga had been recorded telling a class of fellow law- enforcement officers that when he looked back at his 1997 shooting of black cop Kevin Gaines, “I could have killed a whole truckload of them … and would have been happily doing it.” Lyga was working undercover that fateful day nearly 20 years ago, and Gaines was off-duty, when the two men became entangled in a deadly road-rage incident in North Hollywood. Lyga’s fatal shooting of Gaines was determined by LAPD to have been justified. But it pulled at an ugly thread that led to the department’s darkest hour, the Rampart scandal. Lyga subsequently left the LAPD in disgrace.
Later Jasmyne broke the story of how a former “shot caller” for the Mexican Mafia was the featured speaker at a book signing event in downtown Los Angeles that was arranged by the LAPD with taxpayer dollars for a private group of prominent business leaders and local law enforcement officials.
She has cultivated both a following and bevy of sources within the LAPD that has allowed her to break numerous stories of rampant corruption within the LAPD. Currently several officers and a commander are suing the City of Los Angeles after being accused by the department’s administration of being her source.
While Jasmyne is critical of Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and his leadership team, she is less critical of the rank-and-file whom she says are often only following the bad orders of their command staff. She is known for starting all of her blog posts regarding the LAPD with:
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).
The L.A. Weekly named her the LAPD’s Critic-in-Chief.
The lawsuit says that following her release from jail, criminal charges were filed against Cannick based on a fabricated police report that claimed she was at the front of the protest group leading protesters to cross a skirmish line of LAPD officers.
Almost a year later and after numerous court appearances where the LAPD and City Attorney’s office could not furnish any proof to substantiate their claims, the case was suddenly dropped on the day her trial was expected to start.
Well known civil rights attorney Nana Gyamfi said, “Chief Beck, and the LAPD command staff present with him when the LAPD arrested Cannick, knew that she was a journalist, and they intentionally arrested her to teach the lessons that corruption and malfeasance in Charlie Beck’s LAPD are not to be exposed, and that journalists who routinely expose them are subject to false arrest and imprisonment.”
Retired Los Angeles deputy city attorney, now private attorney Robert Brown added, “ Cannick’s false arrest, imprisonment, and prosecution should send a chill down the spine of every person who believes in a free press that can challenge the truthfulness and honor of law enforcement, especially when considering an agency like the LAPD which makes loud and boastful claims of transparency and integrity.”
Cannick has won numerous awards for her body of work and is a frequent guest on “CNN” and “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin. Her articles, op-eds and commentary have been featured in African-American newspapers from coast-to-coast including the award-winning Los Angeles Sentinel, L.A. Watts Times and Ebony Magazine. She’s also written for the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Daily News among others.