FROM Joel Rubin
If first you don't succeed, try him again Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is due back in court on Monday. This time, it's not for testimony or closing arguments, but for sentencing. He faces up to 20 years in prison after being convicted on three federal charges. His conviction is the highest profile win for the U.S. Attorney's office, so far, in its investigation of the Sheriff's Department.
Tanaka Trial Kicks Off Opening statements were made yesterday in the trial of former L.A. County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka . He’s accused of obstructing an F.B.I. investigation into inmate abuse in county jails. The two sides paint very different pictures of Tanaka; what do the opening statements suggest about how the case will unfold?
Ezell Ford Shooting Report Says Officers Will Not Be Charged Eric Garcetti went out the back door of his official Hancock Park home this morning — to avoid protesters against last year's LAPD shooting of Ezell Ford. The Mayor was forced to change vehicles, and police say one woman was thrown to the ground. Garcetti was leaving town, and the group said he should stay for tomorrow's Police Commission hearing on Ford's death. In the LA Times , Joel Rubin has reported that Chief Charlie Beck and Inspector General Alex Bustamante have reached different conclusions about whether two officers were within policy when they drew their weapons, used deadly force — and when they stopped Ford in the first place.
A Shooting on Skid Row Los Angeles police officers shot and killed a homeless man known as “Africa” yesterday on Skid Row. The incident was captured on video by a bystander, and while the footage shows a violent struggle in the moments before shots were fired, it’s not clear exactly why the incident turned deadly. The police department says the victim tried to take one of the officers’ guns. But even before all the details are known, the incident is stoking long-simmering tension between the Skid Row community and the LAPD. We get an update on the situation and hear from an activist on the scene.
Violent Crime Is Rising in Los Angeles — at Least on Paper In Los Angeles, for the first time in 12 years, violent crime increased in 2014. Aggravated assaults were up 24%. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck says better record keeping could be part of the reason. The Department uses the Compstat system introduced by former Chief Bill Bratton — and the LA Times recently discovered that the number of serious violent crimes had been under-reported . Is the city more dangerous…or is there a math problem?
LAPD Examines its own Biases An internal Los Angeles Police Department report out today says employees think the department’s disciplinary system is skewed based on race, gender and rank. The LAPD is looking into the issue after former officer Christopher Dorner went on a killing rampage last year, leaving behind a manifesto about prejudice in the department.
LAPD Police Behavior Software The Los Angeles Police Department has a computer system designed to identify problem officers. It’s been in operation for seven years. But no one has tried to figure out if it actually works, until now. A new report by the LA Police Commission’s Inspector General finds big problems.
New Investigation Shows LAPD Misclassified 1,200 Violent Crimes The LA Police Commission is scheduled to vote tomorrow on whether to re-nominate Charlie Beck for a second term as Chief of the LAPD. One measure will be the rate at which crime has been going down. On Saturday, the LA Times reported that there has been mis-reporting. During 12 months, ending last September, almost 1,200 incidents of stabbings, beatings and robberies were classified as minor crimes rather than the felony crime of aggravated assault. Joel Rubin worked on the investigation, a study of thousands of police records, interviews with two-dozen current and retired LAPD officers and analysis by several experts. Commissioner Robert Saltzman has been critical—most recently, “surprised and troubled” — by the way Beck handed the Department’s purchase of his daughter’s horse.
LAPD Misclassifying Violent Crimes In one year, the Los Angeles Police Department misclassified more than a thousand violent crimes -- like beatings, stabbings and robberies -- as minor offenses. That’s according to a new Los Angeles Times investigation. The paper found that the department rarely misclassified in the opposite direction -- in other words, from minor to serious. That suggests the misclassification was done to paint a picture of a city that is safer than it really is.
Chief Beck, His Future and the Future of Drones at the LAPD Charlie Beck became Chief of the LAPD five years ago, and he's asked the Police Commission for another five-year term. In the meantime, Chief Beck has been very cautious about the use of two unmanned drones the LAPD has been given by the City of Seattle. Joel Rubin covers the LAPD for the Los Angeles Times .
Changes to Police Shooting Investigations The LA Police Commission is revising how it reviews officer-involved shootings. They might start considering the circumstances leading up to the shootings more, instead of just the shootings themselves. That could place the onus on the cops in more cases.
Shooting at LA Airport Leaves One TSA Agent Dead There was a shooting this morning at the LA International Airport, one of America's busiest. Chief of Airport Police Patrick Gannon said that an individual came into Terminal Three, pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire. There are conflicting reports about the gunman's condition. One TSA agent reportedly was killed and several were injured. Los Angeles Times reporter Joel Rubin was at the airport shortly after the shooting.
LA Settles with Women Fired on during Dorner Manhunt The City of Los Angeles will pay $4.2 million to settle claims by two women who were mistakenly fired upon by Los Angeles police officers during the search for disgruntled ex-cop Christopher Dorner. Seventy-one year-old Emma Hernandez was shot in the back and her daughter, Margie Carranza, was also injured while they were delivering papers at 5 o'clock on the morning of February 7. Joel Rubin is a staff writer with the LA Times .
The Hunt for Christopher Dorner Christopher Jordan Dorner was formally charged today with killing a Riverside police officer and attempting to kill two others. So-called "special circumstances" make him eligible for the death penalty. In his lengthy manifesto on Facebook, Dorner vows "unconventional warfare" against all officers involved in his firing by the LAPD — and their families. In many Southern California neighborhoods, armed guards have been assigned to guard his possible victims. Dorner says his careers as police officer and Navy reservist have been ended because he was falsely accused of lying because he is black. He says the LAPD is as racist as it was before the Rodney King beating, despite years of investigations, reforms and new chiefs leading a department with a majority of ethnic minorities. The subject of a manhunt big enough to be called unprecedented in Southern California history, a $1 million reward has been offered for information leading to his arrest and conviction.
Is the LAPD Stepping Backwards? Since the Rodney King beating and the riots of 1992, new police chiefs and commissions have earned high marks for reforming the Los Angeles Police Department. But lately, there's been a string of jury verdicts for abuse and misconduct. It's usually the taxpayers who are on the hook but, in one case, jurors assessed punitive damages against an individual officer.
LA Police Commission Pressures Chief on Officer Shootings LAPD Chief Charlie Beck makes a distinction between "mistakes of the heart and mistakes of the mind." That's from a report in today's LA Times that the Chief and the Police Commission are in disagreement on how to handle four police shootings that killed three people and wounded three more.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Truth and Lies in Trumpland Donald Trump is using mis-information like no President has before him. It's an unprecedented challenge to the news media, and a potential threat to democracy. We hear how the "leader of all the people" is dividing Americans and confusing the rest of the world.
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.