Oped: The LAPD and Lying

By John Brock

Los Angeles Police Department Officer Shaun Hillmann was found to have lied to investigators investigating his conduct in an incident involving his making a racist remark and inappropriately pulling a gun while off duty.  Chief Charlie Beck overruled a panel that recommended firing Hillmann.  Hillmann has a father and an uncle who are retired LAPD.  The question presented is what does this say about the Chief’s and the department’s attitude about lying.

It is an important  question, because they are asking us to believe them as they tell some pretty fishy stories.  For example, the Chief had his spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Smith state that they failed to tell the Police commission that the seller in the horse episode was the Chief’s daughter because it was not part of the standard procedure to do so.  This doesn’t really seem like a standard transaction.  The identity of the seller is really the only important fact in this deal.  Smith also told us how Beck “deliberately stayed out of the decision of whether (the horse) should be bought.“  But, whoops, in fact the Chief signed off on the documents submitted to the commission.

On August 3rd the Los Angeles Times reported that Cmdr. Smith declined to comment on the Sergeant George Hoopes’ case, citing personnel confidentiality.  I suspect the better reason is that Smith now looks like either a fool or a liar for his other statements so they need to turn to someone else.

Now we are asked to believe that they made a deal on the Hoopes’ demotion because of problems with witnesses.

Should we believe that?  First lets look at the source of this claim.  The source is anonymous.  Why anonymous?  The source….requested anonymity because police personnel matters are confidential…“ according to the Times.  This is LAPD at its best.  The information the source provided is the stuff that is supposed to be confidential.  So he/she wants confidentiality because he/she is doing something improper.  Where does that put this person’s credibility?

The Times reported in that same article that Hoopes admitted a consensual relationship with Beck’s daughter and said it was not inappropriate and “admitted to making a mistake by entering into a personal relationship with a second female officer” which sort of sounds like that relationship may not have been appropriate.

The question is should we believe them about problems with witnesses?  It seems that Hoopes has admitted the offense, so how necessary are these witnesses?  It really looks like the department caved in because they felt the hearing would be embarrassing, or worse, for the daughter and the Chief.  And since we have some earlier evidence about their attitude about lying and some earlier examples of fishy justifications, should we believe their current claim of witness problems or go with what our common sense tells us is true, they caved in to avoid embarrassment.

If the latter is true, and it certainly seems it is, then we have an organization subject to what seems a form of blackmail in its disciplinary processes. And if that is the situation it is because the Chief doesn’t do the right thing when it needs to be done.

In the situation with Mr. Hoopes, the right thing would have been to proceed with the hearing.  If your daughter has put herself in an embarrassing position she will be embarrassed.  And, if this embarrasses the Chief, maybe it will teach the next Chief a basic rule; when you run a public organization and your kids work for that organization, you make it clear to them that you will hold them to a higher standard than other employees because they are your kids.  And then you apply that rule.

Not following the department rules for personal reasons is a form of corruption and that is how Beck has made his department appear.

One last issue to address.  Maybe no one will be able to prove Beck ordered his personnel people to make a deal with Hoopes to avoid embarrassment.  I doubt that he would give such an order in writing and none of the people he trusts enough to carry this out are going to rat him out.  And even if he wasn’t involved, isn’t it clear that it was done to protect him and his daughter?  And that embarrassing situation is his fault and no one else’s.  He should have prevented his daughter from selling her horse to the department and he should have insisted that that Hoopes hearing proceed so that the message is clear: the department will do the right thing and the chips will fall where they fall.

John Brock is an attorney-at-law in Los Angeles.

The Court of Public Opinion

  • LaRenard

    Kudos!! Keep their feet to the fire Jasmyne!!!!

  • Keepitreal

    Hmmmm,,,,this is a whole lotta digestion to take in such a short amount of time.

  • youdontknowme

    The standard is preponderance of evidence. If 51% of the evidence indicates guilt, then you are guilty. By this standard, Chief Beck is guilty of false and misleading statements. It is the only acceptable conclusion and the only standard by which the rest of the Department is judged. When the Department stops taking such a hard line position with the rank and file, they may find the “misunderstandings” engaged in by Command Staff will be judged less harshly.

  • wimpdick

    In the Hoopes trial board, it was stated by an LAPD spokesperson that the trial board ended because witnesses changed their story or refused to testify. Police Officers refusing to testify in a trial board is certainly news to me. Officers are usually given a direct order by supervision to testify in trial boards and when ordered to testify, they must do so and do so truthfully. This stuff about the witnesses changing their stories or refusing to testify is a bunch of bull. Police officers have no choice but to testify.

  • Sergeant Cathy Marx

    Refusing to testify huh? Like we have an option…that was one lame excuse spokesperson…we all know better than that…try to be more creative for the next time would you?
    Guess I will be going to the Police Commission again…to ask them about rehiring all the officers who were fired by Beck for making false and misleading statements …because they were not given the opportunity to be mistaken…I mean really, guys have been fired for forgetting they were wearing raid jackets and that was turned into a firing offense…How ludicrous is that? Whoever it was must have pissed off the wrong person in charge.

  • Dirty Chief

    What about Rubi Mallachi? She “worked” for Chief Beck at southeast when she was an officer. She “worked” in his office when she was a Sergeant. She “works” there now as a Lieutenant. She’s currently on the Captain’s list (not in published list). I wonder if he’s going to make her a captain. Guaranteed. Puta big time

  • CityEye

    You forgot Capt Gina Saunders who has no experience but was liked by Beck and promoted up. You Capt. Lily Caranza at 77th again no experience and moved up. Speaking of Southeast you have favoritism at its worse. Capt. Tingrides working with his wife Sgt. Emada Tingrides who oversees the CSP Officers and Capt. Tingrides is in charge of in the same area which is against dept. policy. All the sworn husbands and wives who had to transfer out should go back and sue

  • Joe

    Hillman should have been fired………. As a retired detective from LAPD I am apauld at the levels of favortisim and cooruption starting with Chief…. I guess it’s true… who you know on LAPD. So many officers fired for less…. Hillman has no creditbility, there are “Brady” issues……. where are the defense attorney’s… they should be calling for a review of all or any arrest related to Hillman.

  • Sergeant Cathy Marx

    And gee, I wonder if they all met on duty? and if Capt T and his subordinate (now wife) reported their relationship to their supervisors? I know the answer to those questions because I did the investigation…guess that will come out as soon as I retire.

  • Pingback: One of the Los Angeles Police Officers Who Murdered Ezell Ford Has a History of Terrorizing Communities | United States Hypocrisy()

  • Pingback: Evidence DA, Grand Jury Adviser obstructed investigation into criminal acts in San Bernardino County’s Children and Family Services | pop~agenda~culture()