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).
We have an update in the case of former Los Angeles Police Sergeant Jim Parker.
Today the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission held a hearing regarding Sgt. Parker’s releasing of that audio tape of his run-in with actress Daniele Watts and her man.
You remember the story.
In September of 2014 a radio call was generated for lewd conduct in Studio City. The lewd conduct was said to be that of a man and a woman behaving indecently inside of a silver Mercedes with the door open. It turned out to be “Django Unchained” actress Daniele Watts and her man.
Watts ended up acting like a complete fool after being caught and cried racism and racial profiling.
The story took off nationwide. Once again a white police officer targeted and mistreated an African-American. Except that it wasn’t.
At the time, the Department seemingly said and did nothing to contradict Watts’ claims and so understandably there was outrage from Blacks targeted towards the LAPD for another case of racial profiling.
According the Department’s own records, they had a copy of the 24-minute recording of the interaction between Watts and Parker. Instead of trying to set the record straight in the media like they usually do, they choose to sit on that audio recording.
Parker, could see where all of this was headed with the story having become national and international news. A Black actress crying that she was racially profiled and discriminated against by a white LAPD officer. Since the Department said and did nothing, he released the audio to TMZ. It became crystal clear from the audio that the story wasn’t as black and white as Watts and her man made it out to be.
Sorry, not sorry.
Eventually Watts and her man would be charged for misdemeanor lewd conduct to which they would both enter not guilty pleas. In the end, they would be allowed to plead no contest to disturbing the peace and ordered to write an apology letter to Parker. An apology letter that I’m told Parker never did receive.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
Chief Charlie Beck and cohorts really got their panties in a bunch when the veteran police officer decided to retire in lieu of termination after the Department initiated an investigation against him and two other officers. Never one to be out done, it appears that someone in the Department got with someone over at the Ethics Commission to have Parker charged via that body. Basically, we’ll get you one way or another.
Parker has always maintained from day one that he was not paid for the audio and that he did it to stop a riot and to protect the Department and himself from the allegations of racism that were being hurled. On that point, he’s never wavered.
But that didn’t stop the Ethics Commission from accusing Parker of misusing or attempting to misuse his position or authority as a LAPD sergeant to create or attempt to create a private advantage or disadvantage. He’s also being accused of misusing or disclosing confidential information acquired as a result of his position as a LAPD sergeant. If found guilty Parker is facing a penalty of $5,000 for each violation for a total of $10,000. Parker appears to be the first rank-and-file police officer that the Ethics Commission has ever pursued over these allegations.
Well today lawyers for the Ethics Commission requested an admission of guilt from Parker for releasing the audio tape in addition to a $2,500. I’m told that he told he told them to go pound sand or something along those terms—as he should. Again, sorry, not sorry.
In addition, Parker let the lawyers for the Ethics Commission know that he was filing a lawsuit against the Commission, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and the City of Los Angeles for various violations of the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights, mainly involving due process, selective prosecution and retaliation.
Interestingly enough though, I’m told that Parker and his lawyers questioned the lawyers for the Ethics Commission on why they didn’t go after Beck regarding My Little Ponygate and they were told that the Commission gets to pick and choose their cases.
I’m Black and I thought Parker did the right thing back in 2014 and I still think that the did the right thing today.
Parker did what most people would expect a good cop to do, tell the truth. That’s all he did and in the process he helped stave off some of the bad mojo constantly being sent towards the LAPD. For his troubles, you could say that he lost his job. I doubt Parker would have retired had he not been facing unwarranted discipline.
The whole Parker mess sent a myriad of mixed messages but none more louder and clear than if you’re an LAPD officer and someone accuses you of racism and discrimination in the media, even if you have a video or audio that proves otherwise, the LAPD will not defend you. Should you choose to defend your Department and yourself, your Department will come after you and make an example of you.
For those interested in contacting the Ethics Commission on behalf of Sgt. Parker or to question the Commission on ignoring Chief Beck’s role in My Little Ponygate–here’s the shot caller big baller.
Director of Enforcement
Los Angeles Ethics Commission