Things That Make You Go Hmm: Ted Rall vs. LAPD Sgt. Jim Parker

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).

 

Last week the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission made official the news I broke nearly a week earlier regarding Los Angeles Police Sergeant Jim Parker.

With little fanfare, last Friday a press release was added to the Commission’s website confirming that the Ethics Commission Executive Director had found probable cause to believe that Parker violated the City’s governmental ethics laws by misusing his position in the Department and improperly disclosing confidential information.

All of this centers on Parker releasing the audio of his September 11, 2014 encounter with actress Daniele Watts after the police had been called to investigate when witnesses complained that Watts and her man were getting it on in a car in plain view of others. After the encounter with the LAPD, Watts, a Black woman, seemingly went on a media tour scream racism.

At the time the Department did nothing to counteract Watts claims of racism and racial profiling even though they had the audio that proved otherwise.

Now let me draw your attention to the case of Ted Rall. Rall was a freelance editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times that is until he wrote about a 2001 encounter he had with the LAPD in which he described what he believed to be excessive force used on him for jaywalking. He wrote that the officer “threw me up against the wall, slapped on the cuffs, roughed me up and wrote me a ticket.”

Well that didn’t sit too well with someone over at the LAPD. And even though this Department is notorious for not being able find evidence to hand over in discovery to opposing counsel and “losing” all kinds of evidence and paperwork—believe it or not they actually managed to find a 14-year-old audio recording of the same incident Rall described. That’s nothing short of remarkable if you ask me.

In the end, the Times dropped Rall claiming that he had lied about his 2001 encounter. Rall stood by his version of the incident and even offered a cleaned version of the audio, which Rall posted online after having it restored by sound engineers that seemed to support his version of events with sounds of bystanders talking, with one person possibly objecting to him being handcuffed.

Now, just so that you understand, Sergeant Parker had audio of his encounter with Watts that he dutifully turned into the Department following the incident and this is according to the Department’s own records. When Watts went on her media tour and clearly misrepresented that encounter, the Department said and did nothing to clear its reputation or the reputation of the officers involved. However, when a freelance cartoonist and commentator described his 14-year-old encounter with the LAPD in the Los Angeles Times, all hell breaks loose and the keys to the vault are produced and low and behold the Department offers what it says is the audio from that incident in an effort to clear its name and save the Department’s reputation.

Yes, that part.

So let me get this right, Rall’s editorial cartoon in the Los Angeles Times verses Watts’ publicity tour on every entertainment and news show she could do be it radio or television coupled with hundreds if not thousands of online stories about Black woman and racist white LAPD officer. You tell me which was more damaging to the Department’s reputation.  And why release one audio and not the other?

Parker’s case now goes before all of the members of the Ethics Commission so that they can decide how they are going to hear the matter. He faces a penalty of $5,000 per violation.

Meanwhile, I’m hearing that George the Horse is doing quite well and receiving exceptional care.

And finally…hmm.

The Court of Public Opinion