WitnessLA on Warren Olney’s Which Way LA? Discussing Jump Out Boys Planned Firing, Deputy Gangs in General, and More – UPDATEDFebruary 8th, 2013 by Celeste Fremon
UPDATE: THIS SEEMS TO BE MY WEEK FOR RADIO. I’M GOING TO BE ON WITH SUZI WEISSMAN ON KPFK’S BENEATH THE SURFACE, TODAY, FRIDAY, between 5pm and 6pm. (I’ll be doing a ten minute news segment at some point during the hour.) We’ll be discussing the Christopher Dorner story and much else.
THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT AND THE MATTER OF DEPUTY GANGS
I was on Warren Olney’s Which Way LA? on Thursday night talking about whether the LA Sheriff’s Department’s recently announced plans to fire 7 members of the LASD’s Jump Out Boys clique was an action that was more symbol than substance—designed to refurbish the department’s scandal-wracked reputation.
[You can find the podcast here.]
LASD spokesman, Steve Whitmore, was also on the show, as was LA Times reporter, Robert Faturechi. Whitmore said that the Jump Out Boys firing was simply the first in a process of “cleaning house.”
Yet, given the department’s largely unadressed history of deputy cliques—which, in too many cases, seem to project an us-versus-them, we’re the “alpha dogs, do what you got to do ethos of policing—it is difficult not to be skeptical about all this purported sweeping up.
When on the show, I listed a few of the corners of the LASD “house” that could use some cleaning, when it comes to deputy gangs.
For instance I mentioned this account of problematic deputy gangs inside Men’s Central Jail, as told by retired LASD Commander Bob Olmsted during his testimony to the jails commission:
Following up on Busansky’s line of questioning, the Commission’s executive director, Miriam Krinsky, asked if Olmsted had ever heard the term, “earn your ink.”
Olmsted nodded, yes, he had.
“I was a commander at the time. When significant force was going up, I told Captain Cruz that I wanted to see every report where significant force occurred in Men’s Central Jail.
“There was one particular report that stood out in my mind. The inmate was interviewed, and he said, ‘I was up against the wall. I had my hands behind my back. Then one deputy said to the other deputy, “Are you ready to earn your ink?” And then, boom! All of a sudden they busted his orbital. “ (The orbital being the eye socket.)
“And I’m thinking, what the hell does ‘earn your ink” mean? Then I started asking a around. People said, ‘Oh, you don’t know? The 2000 Boys have a Roman Numeral II tattooed on the back of their calf. And that’s how you earn your ink, by busting somebody’s head.’”
At this last, the commission members, who had listened to all of Olmsted’s testimony with unusual intensity, lapsed into a thoughtful silence—except for Reverend Murray, who shook his head slightly.
“Mmmmm. Mmmmm. Mmmmmm.” Murray, murmured sadly, his expression of dismay not meant for the microphone, which picked it up anyway.
When I spoke to Olmsted on Thursday morning, and asked him if there had been any firings around these issues, he said to his knowledge, there had not.
And then there is the matter of the Regulators, as represented in an internal LASD document, circa 2004, that WLA acquired some time back. The memo indicates strong concern among command staff about the gangster-like behavior of the Regulators clique based at Century station. Among other concerns, it was reported that, as with the Jump Out Boys, if a Regulator was involved in “a fatal deputy involved shooting,” then smoke was added to the barrels of the revolvers featured in the clique’s signatory tattoo. (In the case of the Regulators, the clique tattoo reportedly depicted a trench-coated skeleton wearing a cowboy hat and holding not one, but two nice big guns.)
There were, of course, illustrations of the problem I didn’t have the time to mention.
For instance, there is the matter of Sergeant Timothy Cooper who allegedly pulled a gun on Sergeant Mark Moffett, pointed it at his head inside the Compton station in front of a witness and mouthed, “I’m going to kill you.” Serg. Cooper sports both a Viking tattoo and a Regulator tattoo. He received a 15 day suspension and, according to our sources, at least half of that suspension was “suspended.”
**And then there are the Vikings clique members who are scattered throughout the department in positions of responsibility, people like Lt. Greg Thompson, who last we heard was being investigated by the LASD for this incident inside Men’s Central Jails, and by the feds in this incident, was named multiple times for alleged misconduct as a Vikings clique member in this famous class action lawsuit. To my knowledge Thompson has not even been relieved of duty.
The list goes on after that.
When I spoke to Witmore after the broadcast, he reiterated the sheriff’s intention to do housecleaning.
“And look,” he said, “just these seven sends a chill through the department.”
SHERIFF’S BOOSTER CLUB DENIES MISUSE OF FUNDS BY LASD CAPTAIN JOSEPH STEPHEN, NAMED IN SEXUAL COERCION INVESTIGATION
John Loesing at The Acorn has looked into this side story about alleged misappropriation of booster club funds for personal use by former Los Hills/Malibu Station Captain Joseph Stephen. The accusation sprang up following the sexual coercion allegations against three former Sheriff’s Department higher ups, including Stephen, who has recently been relieved of duty. The Sheriff’s Department has reportedly opened an Internal Affairs investigation on the matter but Acorn spoke to Daniel Stern, a board member with the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Foundation, who said that the accusation involving “….possible sexual misconduct and misappropriation of Booster Club funds” relating to parties and prostitution while he attended the 2012 Baker to Vegas Relay, a law enforcement fundraising run” was completely unfounded.
EDITOR’S NOTE: WLA GRIEVES FOR 2 RIVERSIDE OFFICERS SHOT, ONE FATALLY, IN AMBUSH ATTACK REPORTEDLY BY CHRISTOPHER JORDAN DORNER
The Press Enterprise has the story of the two Riverside officers shot early on Thursday, allegedly by Christopher Jordan Dorner.
(That’s our respected friend, Riverside Chief of Police Sergio Diaz, at the press conference about Dorner and the shooting in the video above.)
Christopher Jordan Dorner is, of course, the former LAPD officer who is suspected of shooting and killing Monica Quan, the daughter of longtime LAPD officer Randy Quan, and her fiance Keith Lawrence, in a ghastly and tragic act of revenge against the LAPD for what he believed was his unfair dismissal.
WLA grieves too for the Quan and Mitchell families.
It is our deep hope that Dorner can be quickly apprehended without anyone else getting hurt, and that this frightening chapter can come to an end.
The LA Times Joel Rubin, Jack Leonard and Kate Linthicum have an informative article on Dorner and his background here.
And you can read details, witness testimony and the ruling regarding Dorner’s 2011 appeal of his firing here: DORNER v. LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT It was his second appeal in the matter.
Here, by the way, is a link to Dorner’s manifesto, but with the names of the officers and others he names redacted for their safety.