LAPD Cop Says His Colleagues Do Treat African-Americans with Hostility, Bias & Unfairness

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).

 

A former LAPD officer who says that Black officers were punished more severely than their white and Latino counterparts is suing Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and the City of Los Angeles. Venson Drake also says that he was forced into early retirement to avoid possible firing over an anonymous complaint.

Drake says that during his time with the LAPD, he was a witness to racially motivated behavior by other officers, including members of command staff.

“Plaintiff saw an unwritten rule that there is a difference in the way the department treats black officers as opposed to white and Hispanic officers,” the suit alleges.

Drake alleges he also saw LAPD officers and as well as high-ranking personnel “treat African American citizens in a disparate manner, acting with hostility, bias and unfairness to those in the community it policed who were Black,” and objected to his non-black colleagues making racially offensive remarks.

He goes on to allege that the LAPD also regularly passed over qualified Blacks for promotions in favor of less qualified whites and Latinos.

This is a complaint that I have heard many times before.

The LAPD’s Internal Affairs division received an anonymous complaint in June 2012 that Drake “was violating a department policy,” the suit states.

There were two other officers named in the complaint, one white and one Latino, according to the suit, which does not state the nature of the complaint.

In June 2013, Beck rejected a Police Commission recommendation that Drake be suspended for five days and referred him to a Board of Rights hearing for possible termination, the suit states.

Possible? Chief Beck made it perfectly clear that when he sends officers to a board he expects them to be terminated.

“Chief Beck’s decision not to follow the recommendations of the Police Commission was highly unusual,” according to the lawsuit, which alleges the chief’s actions were based “on account of plaintiff’s race.”

Drake says he was presented with a “Hobson’s choice.”

“Plaintiff was told he could either take retirement in lieu of possible termination or exercise his right to a Board of Rights hearing,” his suit
states.

Although Drake chose to have a hearing, he says delays in having the procedure move forward forced him to “either take early retirement or put the economic survival of his family in jeopardy.”

“Having no real choice, and being denied a timely hearing, (Drake) took retirement in lieu of possible termination,” and he left the LAPD in September 2013, the suit states.

Well, Drake isn’t the first and won’t be the last Black officer who sues alleging the same department shenanigans. That you can be assured of.

I think what makes it so bad, is that there are Black people in certain high-ranking positions that walk around and act like none of this is going on. Let’s see, there’s a Black Assistant Chief, a Black police officer’s group and now a Black on the board of the police union and still nothing.

Drake, call me. I would like to know exactly who the high-ranking members of the department are who mistreated Blacks in the community and what exactly they did.

 

The Court of Public Opinion

  • robert peel

    not all white supervisors were like that i certainly wasnt .when i was a training officer nearly all my black trainees went on to higher rank ,some very high.as a sergeant i also treated black officers very well and doing my best to help them promote.it would be nice to hear some black officers talk and say something nice about decent white officers now and then.

  • SurfPuppy619

    “Chief Beck’s decision not to follow the recommendations of the Police Commission was highly unusual,” according to the lawsuit, which alleges the chief’s actions were based “on account of plaintiff’s race.”
    ==
    Considering Papa Beck ignored the Police Commission’s finding on Shaun Hillman, who absolutely should have been terminated, I would give credibility to the above statement.

  • Reno911

    Drake experienced Beck’s version of discipline just like scores of other officers, regardless of race. At least he has that card to play to get a civil attorney to take his case.

    His affidavit is vague because it is the first shot fired in the civil litigation that will follow, and like a grand jury, he gets to present his side without any challenge. What policy did he violate? I don’t know him, but I’ll go ahead and pre-judge and guess it has to do with off-duty work.

    In my 20+ years, I have never heard of the Police Commission recommending a penalty in the discipline process. Usually, a captain recommends the penalty, and Bureau agrees or disagrees. Can anyone tell me why the deviation in his case? Or is this allegation factually incorrect? if I’m wrong in my belief the PC has nothing to do with discipline, forgive me and educate me.

    His allegation that the department routinely passes up more qualified blacks for less qualified whites and Latinos is laughable. Everyone knows the opposite is true. Check out the last few detective and sergeant lists and you’ll see more than a few female blacks with less than six years banding quite high. If there’s a p3 spot open and a black female applies, chances are she’ll get it. Look at motors, especially West and South Traffic. I could throw a few names and/or positions out there that would demonstrate a black male who was adjudicated to have committed misconduct but now occupy positions with bars. Or taking a diamond or three stripes with a checkered past (and present in one case). Meanwhile his white counterpart will languish in band 15 due to a minor hit several years back.

    The reality is Beck takes care of his own, just like everyone else. Captains will take care of their own as well, to the degree they can until something escapes divisional level. There’s at last one black captain who swept everything having to do with black employees under the proverbial rug as much as he could. When Parks was chief, he “took care” of many black officers, and arguably allowed the Rampart/Death Row scandal to blossom.

    In fact, recently a jury heard evidence and agreed with two Hispanic officers that they would have been treated differently (better) had they been black. Blacks routinely make it to some of the department’s most elite units, often times “ahead of schedule”. Most the time, it’s because they deserve it. Some of the time, well…..

    Drake diminished his credibility by, like so many others, waiting until he got
    stung before he suddenly remembers all the examples of racial bias he allegedly witnessed.

    You claim to not be against police, but like someone else commented on another thread, you seem to ignore the central shooting and Pacific shooting because there are black officers involved. You even ignore it after the recent report the one officer had admitted to intentionally leaving witness statements out to bolster an arrest he made. If he were white would you ignore it? “You know what I’m talking about”.

    You now have a thread about an officer’s dislike of the President and say how inappropriate it is to display that in a south central community. Are you aware of the black pastor (an LAPD sergeant) who delivered a sermon at a funeral for an LAPD officer where he called homosexuality an abomination amongst other biblical opinion that gays are wrong? He’s a lieutenant now, probably sitting on promotional boards, where hard working ,qualified gay officers will NEVER get his vote because of his personal belief? Does that bother you? It should, since you also claim to be an LGBT advocate.

    Maybe the reason the black Assistant Chief, commanders, captains and lieutenants allow this climate to continue is because there isn’t a climate you and Drake think there is.

    You have exposed how unfair the disciplinary process is to all officers, and that’s a good thing but it’ll never change.

    It’s your blog, you can be as hypocritical and convenient as Beck. Perhaps you despise him so much because you are actually quite similar? Or just be honest and say that you’ll only call the department out on issues when blacks aren’t involved. Or say you’ll only support the black police. Just be honest. That’s all us gentle readers ask.

  • How am I ignoring the Pacific shooting?

  • robert peel

    there are top civil rights attorneys including black ones who have represent white officers ,if you feel you have been discriminated against file a lawsuit instead of just mouthing off.im white and my black attorney won my case ,i know of dozens of white officers who have won cases for retaliation or discrimination cases..

  • cutty sark

    Who is to say that Drake and Chief Beck are not the best of friends to this very day?

    Who is to say that Chief Beck has not gone to great lengths to spare Drake from any meaningful penalties? Who is to say that Beck did not personally conceive of and recommend this lawsuit to Drake as part of a strategy to maximize his LAPD post-retirement income?

    You guessed that the complaint against Drake for violating dept. policy is in regards to off-duty work.

    Allow me to speculate on an alternative scenario:
    This was not an anonymous complaint. The complainant remains unnamed due to confidentiality requirements. The alleged violations involve employment harassment in the form of statements/actions constituting unwanted sexual advances made by Drake towards a female LAPD employee.

    The two other officers subject to this complaint were either witnesses to the harassment who failed to make the required reports of what they saw or they were supervising officers of the complainant who failed to carry out dept policy in handling of the original complaint against Drake.

    The Dept. came up with a 5 day suspension for Drake’s improper behavior, but the female complainant expressed her opinion this was wholly insufficient punishment for Drake’s improprieties. She would settle for nothing less than Drake being relieved of duty or she would go public with details, for which she had solid, credible evidence that would embarrass the Dept. and embarrass Drake within his family.

    Beck sends Drake’s case for a Board of Rights, but then uses administrative technicalities to postpone the hearing.

    During the delay, Beck’s department tries persuading the complainant to soften her stance on the severity of punishment for Drake.

    The extended delay also allows Drake to collect his paychecks, accrue points toward his pension benefits and strategize the timing of his voluntary retirement in order to maximize collecting on his accrued vacation and sick time.

    Once Drake’s voluntary retirement was effective, he followed Beck’s advice to consult the attorney who would provide him with this b.s. lawsuit that features a bait and switch for the reason Drake resigned from the Dept.

    Chief Beck is more than happy to be named as a defendant in Drake’s lawsuit, because it doesn’t cost Beck a single dime from his own purse.
    Instead, it puts Chief Beck in position as key facilitator to assist Drake in accessing the bottomless trough of Los Angeles taxpayer reserves.

    In closed-door discussion with the Police Commission and City Attorney about this lawsuit, Chief Beck will advocate for the prudence of negotiating a quick pre-discovery settlement which includes non-disclosure agreements.

    At the least, Drake will get credit for the points he needs to reach full pension benefits.
    In effect, Drake will have suffered zero punishment for his misdeeds and the details will remain unknown to all except the parties directly involved.

    details of the entire affair will remain

  • Reno911

    So race isn’t a factor at all then. Point proven.

  • Reno911

    Who was your attorney?

  • robert peel

    he doesn’t take cases anymore but he was very high profile

    In a message dated 5/25/2015 1:55:11 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, notifications@disqus.net writes:

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  • Reno911

    What was his name ? There are legitimate cases of retaliation and discrimination. my “mouthing off” is merely questioning the validity of this lawsuit and the claim that there is a widespread discrimination against black officers? Was my post disrespectful or snarky?

  • robert peel

    im not giving his name but he won my case i like my privacy.what you have to remember these lawyers are in it for the money even thou as officers we want justice.that puts them off as they stay purely focused on the facts .

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    “What was his name ? There are legitimate cases of retaliation and discrimination. my “mouthing off” is merely questioning the validity of this lawsuit and the claim that there is a widespread discrimination against black officers? Was my post disrespectful or snarky? ” (https://disqus.com/home/?utm_medium=email&utm_content=logo)
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  • robert peel

    and yes i do think others getting higher on a promotional is minor compared to what many off us have gone through

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    “What was his name ? There are legitimate cases of retaliation and discrimination. my “mouthing off” is merely questioning the validity of this lawsuit and the claim that there is a widespread discrimination against black officers? Was my post disrespectful or snarky? ” (https://disqus.com/home/?utm_medium=email&utm_content=logo)
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  • SurfPuppy619

    I am calling John Burris …good lawyer…if it is John speak up

  • cutty sark

    Does it take “a top-notch attorney” to succesfully represent a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit against the LAPD for employment discrimination?
    the definition of “top-notch attorney” meaning an attorney who has successfully represented plaintiffs suffering employment discrimination in complex cases against a variety of different employers both public agency and private entity.
    Or does the plaintiff simply need to retain an attorney with a good track record against LAPD and a knack for convincing a jury of the importance of ambiguous evidence, rather than helping the jury to understand complex evidence?
    Is there any room left for the L.A. City Attorney to do a worse job of defending taxpayer funds from employment discrimination lawsuits against LAPD than their record over the past 10 years?
    If Officers Diego and Corralles can win $2 million for being kept on desk duty too long after shooting Steve Washington – does that mean they had a top-notch attorney or does it mean the L.A. City Attorney’s employment discrimination defense team is a de facto adjunct of the LAPPL. The Police Commission ruled the Washington shooting out-of-policy, while Chief Beck found the shooting justified he determined everything that Corralles and Diego did before pulling the trigger was out of policy. At least one or both of the officers should have been fired, but they would have won $2 million in that lawsuit. If Chief Beck puts them back on the street and they shoot down another Steve Washington, then the City loses $10 million in damages to the family of the deceased unarmed citizen. Winning civil damages against LAPD for excessive use of force by its officers, or for employment discrimination against its officers, is akin to shooting fish in a barrel.

  • robert peel

    so i take it that you think all law suits by lapd officers are frivolous?

    In a message dated 5/27/2015 6:16:25 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, notifications@disqus.net writes:

    “Does it take “a top-notch attorney” to succesfully represent a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit against the LAPD for employment discrimination? the definition of “top-notch attorney” meaning an attorney who has successfully represented plaintiffs suffering employment discrimination in complex cases against a variety of different employers both public agency and private entity. Or does the plaintiff simply need to retain an attorney with a good track record against LAPD and a knack for convincing a jury of the importance of ambiguous evidence, rather than helping the jury to understand complex evidence? Is there any room left for the L.A. City Attorney to do a worse job of defending taxpayer funds from employment discrimination lawsuits against LAPD than their record over the past 10 years? If Officers Diego and Corralles can win $2 million for being kept on desk duty too long after shooting Steve Washington – does that mean they had a top-notch attorney or does it mean the L.A. City Attorney’s employment discrimination defense team is a de facto adjunct of the LAPPL. The Police Commission ruled the Washington shooting out-of-policy, while Chief Beck found the shooting justified he determined everything that Corralles and Diego did before pulling the trigger was out of policy. At least one or both of the officers should have been fired, but they would have won $2 million in that lawsuit. If Chief Beck puts them back on the street and they shoot down another Steve Washington, then the City loses $10 million in damages to the family of the deceased unarmed citizen. Winning civil damages against LAPD for excessive use of force by its officers, or for employment discrimination against its officers, is akin to shooting fish in a barrel.” (https://disqus.com/home/?utm_medium=email&utm_content=logo)
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  • cutty sark

    No, I don’t believe that all lawsuits against LAPD for employment discrimination are frivolous. And I don’t necessarily blame anyone for seeking a payout through the courts if they feel like they have been logjammed in their career. But it seems that perspective on these type of cases has really come off-balance.
    What other job comes with the type of entitlements which are claimed for LAPD officers filing suit claiming unfair employment retaliation.
    First off, LAPD officers are entitled to a highly desirable shift schedule which results in fewer commutes and longer weekends than every other govt. job. They are entitled to an allocation of off-duty assignments to supplement their annual full time salary. They are entitled to on-duty overtime assignments. They are entitled to an assignment which helps reduce commute time from their home. They are entitled not to be reassigned when it significantly increases their commute time. They are entitled to remain on prestigious assignments and not be transferred to less prestigious assignments(how that is determined i don’t know) They are entitled to stay put when it suits them, They are entitled to reassignments which provide exposure to varying work experiences when it suits them. They are entitled to extra time off when requested and deserve extra overtime assignments when requested. Anything else constitutes retaliation.
    Officers Diego and Corralles are entitled to $2 million because other officers involved in shootings didn’t remain on desk assignment afterwards as long as they did following the shooting of Steve Washington and were brought back to field patrol more quickly. Except other officers involved in shootings were not all determined to have acted completely out-of-policy by the Police Commission and almost completely out of policy by the Chief. Officers involved in other shootings haven’t provided a narrative of events which cannot be squared with the physical evidence or with the statements of their partner.
    If it is so apparent who deserves a promotion, a choice reassignment, more overtime or more vacation time – then we shouldn’t need any human managers to make those decisions which then become influenced by favoritism or retaliation. We can allow a computer program to make those decisions. Those decisions will be free of prejudice, discrimination or nepotism and they will be perfect every time.
    Is the computer ready for the job?
    Don’t allow Officers Diego and Corralles returning to patrol any sooner because they are Hispanic. Don’t hold them back from returning to patrol any longer because they are Hispanic. Don’t keep them on the desk any longer than needed to determine they are mentally fit to get back into the mix on the streets. Most importantly, don’t rush them back into the field before you are sure they won’t give us another Steve Washington shooting.
    I have no idea how the computer is able to make the correct decision. I have no idea how the Chief is able to make the right call on Diego and Corrales and if their ethnicity has clouded the fairness of his decision-making.
    The only advice I can offer the Chief is this: in light of the $2 million verdict for racial discrimination the LAPD must pay for not allowing them back to the assignment which they most enjoy and which they had determined they were fit to handle, let’s make sure not to let this happen again.
    The next time the LAPD has a Steve Washington type shooting, use the out-of-policy ruling to declare the officers involved as damaged goods and terminate their employment. The taxpayer can’t afford the cost of compassion any longer.

  • reno911

    Robert Peel your posts are confusing. I’m not sure what you mean by “getting higher on a promotional is minor compared to what many off us have gone through”. If you’re talking about affirmative action as a remedy for past disenfranchise, you said you previously wrote you were white. So who is “us”? Or officers who are victims of retaliation should get higher on a promotional?

    Cutty sark hit the nail on the head. The LAPD has an age old tactic called “hitting them first”. When officers think they’re in hot water for some reason, they’ll make allegations against whoever they can before theirs become official. If they throw the first punch, anything alleged against them after can be used by a civil attorney to show retaliation. If one claims to be, or is, a member of a protected class, you can bet that will figure in to the lawsuit.

    Just because one wins a settlement, or even a jury trial against the city does not necessarily mean a case has merit. The CA’s office is notoriously inept, not to mention they have to deal with the Southern California jury pool full of social do-gooders, bearded poets and closet race-baiters. In fact, if you got a settlement from the city as opposed to a jury verdict, all that says is your attorney saw faults in your case and didn’t want to risk the much larger amount at a jury trial.

    Cutty Sark: how did the Department come up with an initial 5 day penalty against Drake? Do you mean captain recommended a five day hit and then it was military endorsed? All the more reason the racial aspect of this case is probably just to bolster a lawsuit.

  • Reno911

    What I mean Jas, is you have spent large amounts of bandwidth dissecting the Abrego, Ford and Alford cases, and have gone so far to post the officers names, albeit incorrectly in one case, on your blog. The first two cases involve men who were killed in close proximity to the officers: Abrego after a foot chase and struggle, and Ford after allegedly turning and grappling with the officers who attempted to stop him. The Alford case, by all accounts, sounds pretty bad…and it’s being handled correctly (as far as administrative and criminal proceedings).

    But the Pacific shooting: you take umbrage with the fact Beck tried to appease the masses by describing the officer, but then post his name in an FID report. You haven’t typed it out yet, as you did in all the other cases. You have not even touched on the fact that the officer was close to being charged for perjury.

    I don’t know what happened in Venice. We have some statements that were inflammatory from the chief, and apparently some video evidence. I don’t know what happened in the Ford shooting: we have an autopsy report that supports the officers’ statements, and “witnesses” who would not give their statements to the most professional entity within the LAPD, FID. i suspect these witnesses who are being shielded by the attorney are similar to the Michael Brown witnesses who recanted when faced with forensic evidence that betrayed their statements. Smart for the attorney not to take their statements until AFTER the autopsy.

    Despite the fact the DA didn’t file on him, the pacific officer apparently admitted to withholding evidence to bolster an arrest he made, which is really no different than what you’ve alleged against some Newton officers. You haven’t delved into that, but think it’s hilarious that Garcia had “shooting fucking newton” on his instagram, which is immature and ridiculous but not as serious as withholding evidence. Why don’t you have the same zeal to look into the Pacific officer’s background?

    The Pacific shooting is the most suspicious of them all: Glenn was standing and not in close proximity to the shooter. Maybe he said something like “i’m going to kill you” and reached for his pocket. Maybe not. We don’t know. But on it’s surface it’s a lot more questionable than a man resisting at the end of foot chase, or shots fired at very close range (which support the statements there was a struggle of some sort) into an alleged gang member who was detained by gang officers. Unless you believe the officers just tackled Ford and executed him, as I’m sure many of your readers believe.

    Now you are focusing on dropped badges that clearly don’t belong to the detective who is probably investigating Alford for other misdeeds (and if so, you can bet everything that detective said was recorded). We don’t know why he, and the officer who dropped the badge, visited Alford but you present his attorney’s version as if it’s fact. And if those detectives were smart and recorded any contact they had with that family and there are no racial slurs, is there a defamation lawsuit against the attorney? Would you support that if she lied?

  • Stop Haring

    If you are so concerned about police brutality against the black community, why don’t you report (I know you’re a blogger, not a reporter…and even further from being a journalist) on the black LAWA “police” officer that just got fired for choking out a black female? Too close to home because you work for the airport’s “police” union? Readers of this blog need to understand why she is always targeting LAPD and none of the other agencies in the local area. She’s just as corrupt (and stupid) as the LAPD command staff she exposes.

  • That’s not a secret, lol. It’s on my LinkedIn profile. I work for a lot of people you probably hate:) You’re not busting me out and I was writing about the LAPD long before I started working for the airport police union.

  • cutty sark

    You said “… I don’t know what happened in the Ford shooting: we have an autopsy report that supports the officers’ statements…”
    Although it seems as if every analyst quoted about the Ezell Ford autopsy has reached the same conclusion as you state in your comment, I beg to differ.
    The Ezell Ford autopsy remains inconclusive in supporting the LAPD version of events until there is further clarification on key details:
    1. the LAPD version of events has one officer using his back-up gun to fire the shot which penetrated Ford’s back and the partner officer using his service revolver to fire the shot which entered Ford’s side abdominal and the shot into Ford’s arm at the elbow.
    Yet, the autopsy measurement for the entry wound on Ford’s back is larger in diameter than the entry wound to the side abdomen.
    2. the LAPD version of events says an officer reached around Ford and pressed his back-up gun onto Ford’s back in firing the single gunshot.
    Media reports on the autopsy refer to evidence of stipling around this entry wound, which is considered evidence of the muzzle being very close to or touching the skin when the shot was fired.
    A closer reading of the autopsy reveals that further clarification is needed before we can have any confidence in concluding the existence of a muzzle print.
    The autopsy report does not state any opinion from the primary medical examiner about a muzzle print on Ford’s back. The autopsy only refers to the opinions of 2 associate medical examiners who observed a muzzle print. The autopsy report offers no detail on what type of observations and tests were done by the associate medical examiners in determining evidence of a muzzle print.
    3. the existence and whereabouts of the bullet fired into Ford’s backside are unknown to the public at this time.
    Analysis of this bullet is critical to any effort at verifying or disproving the official LAPD version of events. Neither the bullet nor any fragment of the bullet was identified, located or recovered during the autopsy. There is no report of the bullet being recovered from the shooting site nor from the operating room at California Medical Center; therefore, until further notice, this most critical piece of evidence is gone.