Friday, December 08, 2006

CopTalk Radio Comes to LA

Whew! What a couple of weeks. My computer crashed as I was trying to blog AND develop a radio show. That's right, the ex-liberal from Hollywood is going radio!

If you don't already know, I’ve been critical of the Los Angeles Police Department’s continuing decline and the correspondent rise of corruption in Los Angeles since 1987. That’s not news. What IS news is that I’m starting my own radio show this Sunday night on KRLA 870. And because I’m the new kid on the block, I’ve got the graveyard shift. So if midnight is late for you, you can download my show on this site. I’ll have more information next week as the show progresses.

Some have dismissed me as an enemy of the LAPD or disgruntled employee, however those who know me know that serving my community and fellow officers was a lifelong dream - one that I would not take back a moment of service. I honor and respect my fellow officers - which is why I've created this blog.

When I write about the LAPD’s decline, I’m not talking about the finest men and women I’ve ever known or worked with. There are occasional bad cops but, more often than not, the Raphael Perezes and David Macks exist not because LA cops are bad, but because the mayor has pressured his civilian Personnel Department to accept questionable applicants under the pretext of diversity. And if we remember that LA cops make millions of citizen contacts every year, the fact is that a tiny fraction of screw-ups says more about the LAPD's overall professionalism than its anomalies. And just because the LAPD knows how to root out bad cops doesn't make Mayor MECHA a hero. The LAPD served LA residents honorably long before the mayor started waxing reconquista.

If you're confused about police brutality or misconduct, ask yourself whether I’m a better basketball player than Kobe Bryant because he averages more fouls than I do. Most criminals play center court. Cops can watch from the stands or risk fouls. Police work is not all doughnuts and coffee. If Officer Joe spends his career on the streets and Commander Sally sits behind a desk, Snoop Dogg's more likely to complain about Joe than Sally. But does that really make Sally a better cop? Warren Christopher wants you to think so.

I know background investigators who were transferred because they refused to certify criminal police applicants. I know great prosecutors who were transferred to cheesy assignments because they refused to lie in court for, well, I'll share that later. One questionable LAPD applicant recently admitted his participation in a murder while training at the Academy. Background investigators and LAPD recruiters are under tremendous pressure to ignore an applicant’s unsuitability, as long as their color and gender (e.g., NOT male white) compliment Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's gubernatorial pursuit.

I digress. CopTalk is a unique and natural progression of my little blog. I want to create a safe place where LA cops and other insiders can confidentially report stories that expose LA's shadier players. CopTalk comes out of my own pocket, so I’m looking for advertisers and friends who believe in my efforts. With your help, CopTalk will report what the media won't.

What do I mean by media won't? Well, I've known many of LA's busy staff writers. I tell them stuff and the story disappears. I complained to the LA Times' Jim Newton a few years ago. I even visited with him at my home in the early 1990s. He told me then that he couldn't get my stories past his editors. I told him about an LAPD sergeant who, while drunk, crashed his car off duty, fled the scene, and reported his car stolen hoping to blame the "phantom thief." His ruse was betrayed by his broken arm and bruises but instead of presenting the case to prosecutors, LAPD investigators buried most of the charges. I complained to supervisors who ordered me not to talk about it. I told Sergeant Ivan Minsal of Internal Affairs and he shrugged. The two FBI agents who I visited told me it was LAPD's "internal problem" and not their business. And Jim Newton couldn't get the story past his editor. I even showed him copies of the reports that had somehow disappeared.

Everyone knows the Christopher Commission Report is a fraud, but if we disclose that to the public, LA will suffer another riot. So we farm recommendations to committees to sit on for a few month, or years. And after a discreet period has passed we tell the public, “Yes, that was a good recommendation in 1991, but with the passage of time and other internal changes within LAPD, it is no longer appropriate.”
Former LAPD Commission President Edith Perez
As I described here, LA is descending into the cesspool that characterized Mayor Frank Shaw’s Administration in the 1930s. Shaw became the first big-city mayor to be removed from office after LAPD’s Internal Affairs Division planted a bomb in the car of former LA cop–turned journalist, Harry Raymond. Like Villaraigosa, Shaw owned LA’s chief of police, and the LAPD became the enforcement arm of Shaw’s political machine. Raymond survived to tell the story and voters decided then that the LAPD could not adequately protect its citizens unless their chief of police was granted civil service protections.

Understandably, this rankled LA’s corrupt (or complicit) judges, politicians, and gangsters. LA’s mayor could no longer fire a chief who didn’t keep good cops out of the mayor’s business, or away from his shady friends. And because Jack Webb delivered LAPD policies to residents from 1949-1975 (unfiltered by the moyor, media, or ACLU), LAPD officers often enjoyed more popularity than LA's mayors and council members ever dreamed

This began to change when, in 1983, Mayor Bradley’s civilian police commission ordered LAPD officers to beat suspects with metal pipes instead of using non-lethal control holds. From 1983 through 1991, hundreds of suspects were unnecessarily beaten. Trial lawyers sued on behalf of the suspects, won hundreds of millions of your tax dollars in lawsuits, and kicked back part of their booty through their trial lawyers associations to the politicians who ordered the brutality. The scam enriched and empowered mayors Bradley and Hahn, and the media blamed rogue cops. LA’s city attorney and the media refused to describe the Police Commission’s policies, and those commissioners (Bradley’s appointed friends) weren’t willing to explain their role, leaving LAPD’s officers and chief holding the bag. Few of these cases ever see the light of day because the City Council settles these matters behind closed doors, leaving taxpayers in the dark.

By the time videotape captured Rodney King in 1991, Bradley and his lawyer, Warren Christopher, convinced an understandably angry community that the King beating was the result of Chief Daryl Gates’ civil service protections and “problem officers.” A year later, the accused officers were acquitted of the beating not because it hadn’t occurred, but because Mayor Bradley’s police commission had ordered it. But unlike Nuremburg where Nazi generals went to trial, LA’s generals appointed their own lawyers to investigate. And LA’s media, prosecutors, and politicians went right along with it. Within minutes of the verdict an enraged Bradley told blacks that they had a right to be angry and a right to demonstrate (their) anger. In doing so, Mayor Tom Bradley incited a riot that cost LA taxpayers $2 billion in property damage and lost tourism. But LA’s lawyers, judges, prosecutors, police administrators, media, and complicit revisionists like Raphael Sonenshein and Erwin Chemerinsky fooled voters into removing the civil service protections that had cleaned up LA corruption in the 1930s – under the pretext of reform.

But the opposite has occurred. Since the “Blue Ribbon” Christopher Commission adjourned in 1991, the LAPD has endured repeated scandals – despite the crippling and wholly unnecessary oversight by lawyers who have no clue or concern about police work. Their role is nothing more than a ruse to cripple the LAPD's ability to pursue corrupt politicians.

I’m not saying that Chief Bratton isn’t appreciated by street cops. I hear good things from them. But Bratton’s an East Coast cop, so he knows how to swim in municipal sleaze. As bad as a complicit chief is for Los Angeles, he appreciated by cops who suffered under the functionally retarded Willie Williams and the politically ambitious Bernard Parks. A retired LA cop told me this morning: “I worked around Bernie at Wilshire and know him personally through a mutual friend. He is one of the most racist individuals I have ever met.” Although anecdotes about Parks are widely known, Sonenshein, Chemerinsky, and the ACLU never seemed very concerned. Bigotry and intolerance depends upon who you hate.

Oops! I’m running long on this post – much longer than I wanted to. CopTalk starts this Sunday and I plan to post links to MP3 downloads.

How can you help? Please spread the word to officers, detectives, and supervisors that they may contact me privately - not just LA cops, but other agencies as well. If you’re an active or retired LA cop or a concerned citizen and want to help, you can send donations here.