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).
There’s been an update to this story. All updates appear at the bottom.
New year and it looks like we’re in store for some of the same when it comes to the Los Angeles Police Department.
On Monday, the Department published its list of the top 25 candidates eligible for the rank of Police Commander—the list that Police Chief Charlie Beck will select from to promote. There are currently two openings for Commander in the LAPD. Add to that the planned departures of Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger (6/29), Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese (5/31), Commander Michael Williams (7/11) and the highly anticipated retirement of Deputy Chief Mike Downing (5/1/17), that number is projected to grow as folks sail off into the sunset otherwise referred to as retirement or take the DROP.
Here’s a look at the current DROP list for current commanders and above. For some of y’all I know parties are being planned now and I don’t mean the retirement kind. Do not forget to invite me because there are a few on this list whose departure I too will be celebrating.
- Perez 5-31-16
- Albanese 5-31-16
- Paysinger 6-29-16
- Williams 7-11-16
- Downing 5-1-17
- Maiislin 10-1-17
- R. Lopez 5-1-18
- Sherman 8-1-18
- Murphy 9-1-18
Before you ask, no, I don’t have a date for Chief Beck’s retirement.
For those who don’t know, “DROP” stands for Deferred Retirement Option Plan. LAPD and L.A. Fire Department personnel who’ve worked for at least 25 years and are at least 50 years old can “retire,” then go back to work immediately. When they return to work, pension payments are held while they continue collecting a salary, and after five years, they can leave and collect that money in a lump-sum payment.
But let’s get back to the list which was addressed to “All Concerned Personnel” but should have been addressed to all concerned Angelenos because the issue of who gets promoted in the LAPD to positions of leadership is something that we all should be concerned about and here’s why.
If the public and the new President of the Los Angeles Police Commission Matt Johnson really want to see a change for the better when it comes to the LAPD, body cameras, use of force and officer-involved-shootings are not the only areas they need to focus on.
Everyone knows, or should know, that the name of the game in most government jobs is promotion and the LAPD is no different. People give the best years of their lives with high hopes of promoting and working for the LAPD is no different. However, today thanks to nepotism, cronyism and favoritism morale in the Department is at an all time low and the number one, two and three complaints I hear from rank-and-file officers almost always has to do with command staff shenanigans which are usually directly tied to promotions.
Now for those who don’t care how cops on the job feel about promoting, let me be the first to tell you that the issue of who is promoted, especially when it comes to positions of leadership, will eventually affect us all. As a matter of fact, it’s affecting us right now as there are scores of highly qualified men and women—be it patrol officers, detectives, sergeants or lieutenants—who would rather stay right where they are than have to sell their souls to the devil just for the chance to promote. I know quite a few of them and I can tell you that while the public might not agree with every decision they’d have to make if they were in a position of leadership, they’d appreciate their rationale, openness and willingness to go against the grain and do things differently if needed. In the end, we Mr. and Mrs. Civilian miss out.
But no, what we have is a system where the friends of friends, lovers of others, godparents, and relatives get promoted at lightening speed to command staff positions and when they get there they don’t forget who put them there and so they dutifully continue the oppressive culture that causes their colleagues to look the other way at promoting any higher than the rank of lieutenant.
I think to a certain degree a little of this is expected but under Chief Beck’s reign it’s really gotten out of control and all of us, both civilians and Department personnel, are feeling the affects of it.
That’s not to say that every member of command staff in the LAPD is corrupt and got there by being sponsored—but I think it’s fair to say that a majority of them did and those are the very same people who are responsible for making critical decisions about issues that many in the community care about—officer-involved-shootings, misconduct, whether or not to investigate something and more. Also, let us not forget what Chief Beck said when it comes to board of rights disciplinary hearings for officers. He said that he only sends officers to board of rights hearing to be terminated. If you’re a member of the command staff sitting as a quasi judge at one these disciplinary hearings and you know that your boss expects you to terminate the officer in question, what are you going to do? I know very few members of command staff who in the face of what is right and what is wrong, would go against something the Chief wants. The ones who have demonstrated their willingness to do just that have and are continuing to pay the price.
The Police Commission has a responsibility to be the watchdogs that Angelenos expect them to be and that they’re supposed to be. Their job is not just to monitor the behavior of police officers but to also take a closer look at what’s happening with command staff and insert themselves in the promotional process to put an end to the cronyism, nepotism and culture of insensitivity and corruption that currently exists. It’s a win for the community and the rank-and-file who both don’t want to see the cycle of insanity continued by promoting the same people or same type of people and expecting different results.
And lastly, remember that when the City of Los Angeles pays out gazillions in dollars awarded by juries in lawsuits or through settlements, that directly affects the money we have available for all of those other pesky issues like homelessness, jobs, body cameras and more. We don’t need anymore commanding officers who will add to that problem.
So about that list.
25 candidates for Police Commander. Of that 25, three are women and three are African-American. To date, that I know of, the LAPD has never promoted a Latina to the rank of Commander.
All of the candidates in Rank (Band) 2 have less than five years in rank as a Captain. The only candidates with more than five years in rank are in Rank (Band) 1 and 3. That’s important to note because in theory the Department should be promoting members of command staff with experience, not relationships or those who are sponsored. Again, that’s the definition of insanity.
I took a good look at the list and a few names jumped out at me that I want to talk to you about. So let’s get to it.
Captain III (Mission) Todd Chamberlain
Played a Role in Costing the City over $1.4MM in a Lawsuit
Back in March of 2013 a jury awarded Earl Wright, a Black police officer, $1,498,884 after he alleged that the Department did nothing when he complained about his treatment on the job.
Court documents showed that Wright alleged that a Sergeant Peter Foster, a white officer who supervised the Community Relations Office in Central Division, gave him a 20-year anniversary cake with a fried chicken leg and slice of watermelon on top. Foster, at the time was a part of Community Relations, also allegedly responded to a text from Wright asking for permission to leave work with, “Why? You gotta go pick watermelons?”
Other instances of the treatment that Wright endured including Foster sending Wright a text message depicting one yellow duckling with its arms raised above its head while standing in front of five black ducklings, according to the lawsuit, NBC reports. Under the depiction was a message that used a slang version of the “N” word to ask Wright what he was up to.
Wright also alleged that his face and that of another officer, Lenny Davis, were superimposed on a “Sanford and Son” poster that was plastered around the department.
Now if this how the Community Relations Office of the Los Angeles Police Department treats the Black people who work for and with them…exactly.
There seems to be some real fear within the Department that Chief Beck might actually promote this guy even after he cost the City over a million dollars.
At the time of the jury’s decision, Chief Beck told the media that he was “truly saddened by the events that occurred in that work environment perpetrated by a few individuals, including Officer Wright.” Talk about blaming the victim. He added that the department “has used its experience from the allegations revealed in this case to more aggressively monitor workplace environments and investigate allegations of misconduct.”
If there weren’t merit to Officer Wright’s lawsuit, a jury wouldn’t have found in his favor and the city council wouldn’t have green lighted a $1,498,884 settlement covering attorney fees, court costs and other penalties.
According to LAPD insiders, while Sgt. Peter Foster was the main culprit, Wright’s superiors were slow to take action and should have removed the supervisor immediately once notified—something they did not do.
If Captain Todd Chamberlain is allowed to promote to the rank of commander, once again Chief Beck will have rewarded bad behavior—discriminating behavior. The message will be sent again not only to the rank-and-file but to us civilians as well that the LAPD has no real interest in doing anything at all about the racist bias culture which not only exists with the Department and the community it serves but inside with its Black officers as well. Promoting Chamberlain will continue the racial polarization that currently exists inside of the Department as well as send a clear message that racist behavior toward your fellow Black officers won’t get your fired—it will get you promoted.
Captain III (Strategic Planning Group) Jeffrey Bert
Is Costing the City Thousands in Fighting Lawsuits
I don’t know where to start with this one.
Besides being the genius in charge during the three nights of protests decrying a Ferguson grand jury’s decision to not indict the officer involved in the killing of Michael Brown, this is the same Captain Bert in charge of Northeast Division where the Los Angeles Times noted that “the highest misclassification rate was found in the LAPD’s Central Bureau — which includes downtown, northeast and east L.A. — and where 13% of minor assaults were incorrectly categorized.” This is that same Captain Bert named in a civil lawsuit filed by a 34-year veteran of the Department for discrimination, harassment and retaliation and the same Captain Bert that according to the Los Angeles Times, “a department review found Northeast Division’s staffing levels were skewed many days by the use of so-called ghost cars — a scheme in which officers are shown to be in the field when they are actually behind a desk or working non-patrol duty.” Yes, that Captain Bert.
Currently we hear Bert’s been assigned to the Chief’s office because folks like the way he writes. I know all too well about Bert’s writing skills. What was his speciality? Ahhh yes, fiction. He should fit right in up there.
Captain I (Community Relations Division) Ruby Malachi
Accused of Having a ‘Special’ Relationship with Chief Beck
I don’t have much to say about Captain Malachi except that her record speed up the ladder of promotion without every having been over an actual patrol division–which is standard for new Captain–has caught the ire of her colleagues who last year sent a letter out detailing an alleged affair between her and her boss Chief Charlie Beck. Add to that these deafening rumors of a divorce between her and husband who is also on the job and her assignment to this new hybrid division that she’s been placed over. I could be wrong but the only other Captain that I can think of in recent time that promoted her way up the ladder without ever being over a patrol division is now retired Assistant Chief Sandy Jo McArthur (earlier this story mentioned the wrong person Deputy Chief Debra McCarthy, the Commanding Officer of Professional Standards Bureau). If I’m wrong, I’m sure she’ll correct me (and see someone did).
But still, sometimes it’s not about what it is, it’s about what it looks like and to a lot of Captain Malachi’s co-workers it looks like she’s got an inside track on the art of promotion in the LAPD.
Captain III (Metro) Ed Prokop
The Last Captain On Earth Who Should Be Promoted to Commander in Any Department
It seems like only yesterday we started detailing all of the nefarious dealings and screw-ups of Captain Prokop. Remember Prokop promoted from Sergeant to Captain III in record time and is said to be a favorite of Chief Beck’s—a relationship that started when Prokop was a brand new officer at none other than Southeast Division around 1996.
Whether it was Prokop’s role as the Captain over Shootin’ Newton Division during some of Los Angeles’ most notorious officer-involved incidents including the deaths of Ezell Ford and Omar Abrego, his alleged DUI, the missing money from the Newton Police Activities League (PAL) and following lawsuit or the missing $10,000, Prokop has enough dirty laundry to where I can’t understand why he’s even a Captain III today and not a Lieutenant somewhere.
We’ll know soon whom Chief Beck bestows the prestigious title of Commander on. Hopefully, the Police Commission will start to take a more proactive role in looking at how members of command staff who have cost the City millions of dollars in lawsuits and have been involved in highly publicized misconduct are able to continue to represent the Department in positions of leadership. Hopefully.
When it comes to the LAPD, the only thing worse than promoting people who clearly should not be promoted is the Department’s Vatican Shuffle where they quietly move members of command staff around when they’ve been caught in misconduct in an effort to protect them.
The bottom line is that the people on this list today are the future leaders of the Los Angeles Department tomorrow. We should all be concerned–civilians and officers.
Hear ye, hear ye!
There’s news spilling out of the Los Angeles Police Department
We hear that…
Effective Deployment Period 2, January 24, 2016:
Media Relations and Community Affairs Group (MRCAG) and Community Relationship Division (CRD) will report to the Office of Constitutional Policing and Policy (OCPP).
Effective Monday, January 11, 2016:
Captain I Andrew Neiman will serve as the Department’s Public Information Officer and as Acting Commanding Officer of Media Relations and Community Affairs Group (MRCAG).
That’s it for now.
Well it looks like it’s now Commander Todd Chamberlain.