LASD

LA Advocacy Group Makes Website Listing LASD Members It Considers ‘Problematic’ — UPDATED

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

UPDATE: On July 26, Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced he would appeal the state court’s decision.

“This is about respecting the rights of peace officers, and preserving the integrity of criminal cases,” Sheriff McDonnell said. “The legal process, is just that, part of a process where the courts will make a number of determinations that will guide how we move forward.”

Past court decisions, according to McDonnell, have failed to adequately explain how to reconcile conflicts between the prosecution’s requirements to turn over potentially exculpatory information under Brady, and state law that says law enforcement officers’ personnel files are classified.

“There is no other objective, other than to seek clarity and guidance from the courts on how to comply with our legal responsibilities under the Brady Decision,” the sheriff added.


This week, local watchdog group Dignity and Power Now (DPN) announced the launch of a website listing members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deemed “problematic” by DPN.

The group created the site, TheProblematic.org, in response to a California appeals court ruling on July 11. The 2nd District Court of Appeal affirmed a lower court’s decision to block LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s efforts to present the LA County District Attorney’s Office with the names of approximately 300 deputies found to have engaged in misconduct.

Sheriff McDonnell wanted to turn over the list to the DA’s office in accordance with the 1963 US Supreme Court Brady v. Maryland ruling that requires prosecutors to give defense attorneys any potentially exculpatory evidence—including evidence that a testifying officer might be untrustworthy. (The LA Times’ Maya Lau originally broke the story and has been following it.)

There are 11 acts that land deputies on the so-called Brady list, including making false statements, obstructing an investigation/influencing a witness, unreasonable uses of force, tampering with evidence, and receiving bribes.

In its ruling, the appeals court sided with the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS), which sued to bar the sheriff from releasing the names, arguing that McDonnell’s action would violate the state’s Peace Officers Bill of Rights, which bans the public release of police disciplinary files.

“We take very seriously the precedent-setting nature of this case and are currently assessing all legal options with our counsel of record,” the sheriff’s department said in response to the latest ruling. “We expect to make an informed decision in the near future once all factors, options, and potential ramifications are assessed in this complex legal matter.”

In absence of the sheriff’s Brady list, Dignity and Power Now is asking the public to send in tips about LASD members who have allegedly engaged in misconduct. The list does not necessarily contain, nor claim to contain, the names of deputies who are on the sheriff’s unseen list, however.

“We decided to make our own list with data collected from news sources, public records and the survivors of sheriff violence,” said Dignity and Power Now founder Patrisse Cullors. “This website is designed to the give the public insight into who are the deputies harming their communities. Right now even the sheriff can’t do that and that makes it impossible to hold the sheriff’s department accountable.”

Dignity and Power Now says its new website is inspired by the Guardian’s project, The Counted, which through a mix of Guardian reporting and crowdsourced information, built up a detailed database of people killed by law enforcement officers in the United States. The Guardian launched the project in 2015, as tensions surged over high profile deaths of men of color at the hands of law enforcement. The project, which was live in 2015 and 2016, aimed to fill a major data collection gap: the US Department of Justice’s lack of a reliable count of officer-involved fatal shootings and other uses of force.

TheProblematic.org currently features about two dozen officers, including Deputy Jeremy Fennell, who, in a troubling 51-second YouTube video that surfaced in March, appeared to deliberately ignore a “gunshot victim” radio call while sitting in a patrol car and talking to a female friend on his phone. Fennell was arrested in late January on a felony charge, reportedly for domestic violence. (In March, WitnessLA wrote about Fennell and allegations that the deputy may have been wrongfully hired with the help of powerful higher-ups.)

The list also includes Joseph Britton, who allegedly retaliated against and threatened two fellow deputies, Michael Rathbun and James Sexton, after they revealed to a superior reports that Britton was trading information with a white supremacist shot caller inmate in exchange for expensive tattoo work from the inmate’s partner. (WLA wrote about Britton: here.)

ALADS, the deputies’ union fighting the release of McDonnell’s Brady list, has spoken out against the website, which local union leaders say contains errors.

“If they want to be considered credible they should fact check, rather than borrow pieces of previously reported stories and manipulate them to fit their agenda,” said ALADS President Ron Hernandez.

The union president said, for example, that DPN erroneously listed one deputy as relieved of duty. “They talk about deputies cleared of wrong doing and appear to insinuate the sheriff’s department is conspiring to cover up with the DA’s office,” Hernandez said.

Brian Moriguchi, the president of LA County’s Professional Peace Officer’s Association accused DPN of trying to “destroy the careers” of officers.

“They do not care about facts or due process,” Moriguchi said. “They are simply trying to publicly embarrass or ‘out’ officers who use force.”

TheProblematic.org, according to Peter Eliasberg, Chief Counsel of the Southern California ACLU, is “really a product of a ridiculously restrictive set of state laws that deny both criminal defendants and the public critical information about misconduct” committed by deputies “as determined by their own agency.”

The SoCal ACLU, along with California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, the California Public Defenders Association, and Dignity and Power Now, filed an amicus brief in support of Sheriff McDonnell’s efforts to turn over his Brady list to prosecutors.

“People are desperate for ways to find out this information about the very people who are not only tasked with public safety, but who have the legal right to use lethal force,” Eliasberg told WLA.

“Bottom line—somebody has to” hold the sheriff’s department accountable, Patrisse Cullors said. “The Civilian Oversight Commission isn’t doing it and the courts aren’t doing it.”

The LASD, however, does not agree that TheProblematic.org is the way to go about holding the department accountable.

“It’s unfortunate that some groups use the web as a vehicle to spread this type of information that in some cases, is not accurate, or appropriately vetted and has the potential to be inflammatory and jeopardize the safety of the deputies and their families,” the sheriff’s department said in a statement.

37 Comments

  • Gentlemen, (major Kong, Surefire, et al), let me know if any of you make the list. I’d to be able to put a face to the pseudonym. I found the following funny, “ALADS, the deputies’ union fighting the release of McDonnell’s Brady list, has spoken out against the website, which local union leaders say contains errors.” As if errors in their arrests, shootings, reports, etc have ever stopped the fine men and women in uniform from arresting, shooting or submitting “erroneous” reports or testimony. Let the victim-hood whining commence…….

  • The dignity and power now web site is pretty funny. Kind of a witness la with “flava” I don’t feel like I can do it justice, Tokalas you out there? How about a review?

  • There was one Shitbag who no doubt made the Brady list as a young deputy and left as a Shitbag Lieutenant. Google Lt. Greg Thompson. Also check the Federal Board of Prisons. He was
    the prime example of a dirty cop. He was the topic of forums on WLA and every media outlet which covered LASD. Karma made her rounds and paid him a visit.

    • Greg Thompson was a hard working Lynwood deputy who made great arrests on a regular (meaning daily) basis. I am surprised that anyone who worked with him would ever call him a shitbag so, even though my surprise means little, based on your erroneous and false comments I assume you are either a do-nothing poser who was jealous of his work ethic or simply a liar, or possibly both.

      • Great Arrests in Lynwood? There were more walking franks (felonies) in Lynwood than every California State prison yard combined. With a plethora of dope and gangsters in that city, an arrest was on par with writing traffic citations. It’s futile to cover for Greg. Let it go.

      • Whatever happened to Deputy Joseph Britton who aligned himself with a white supremacist in which Greg Thompson “leaked”the confidential memo back to?

  • More political posturing from the fake reformer. His claim of appealing the decision for the purpose of seeking legal guidance is a sick joke. He’s merely playing to his handlers on the board of supervisors and the political establishment while at the same time lying to his own employees.

    Instead of manufacturing a tainted list of 300, he should have fired Mannis, Teran, and the remaining corrupt members of the Banaka regime who used IAB and ICIB for retaliation. Nothing prevented Fresh Eyes from alerting the DA on a case by case basis of tainted testimony and the subsequent harm it may have caused, but that wouldn’t generate the headlines McBucles was looking for. What a failed leader, doing to the LASD what the supervisors already did to probation and health.

  • LATBG: Celeste could do a weekly series on all the shenanigans Mannis has been involved in. I totally agree with your comments regarding her using IAB as a retaliation tool. We can only hope that karma steps up and takes a big bite of her backside. Until then she will have to live with the fact that she is despised by anyone who knows her true character or lack thereof…….

  • LATBG:. I recently saw a retired Captain at my gym. We were discussing the administrative process of the Department. He shared with me a meeting he attended regarding the discipline of a deputy. He initially intended to support the deputy but was sway by the Chief who had personal issues with the deputy. The right/ethical decision should have been to support the deputy as intended. The Captain obviously feared retaliation from the Chief. I think the Captain’s decision is typical of our present leadership where personal ambition/self protection outweighs ” doing the right thing” and corrupts the system.

  • Mannis is as pathetic as they come. She carried Tanaka’s water with open eyes and open arms. And for that, rewarded by promotion. She has absolutely zero personal life so she submerges herself in LASD and does whatever she is told to make herself relevant. The fact that McD retained and promoted her speaks volumes of his “fresh eyes” approach to reform. It hasn’t happened, same players as before and it is obvious he cares not.

    And speaking of young Fennell, what ever became of him? Promoted to Sergeant? Wouldn’t surprise me.

  • Bandwagon, I have seen that process with chiefs dictating the outcome of unit level investigations, with nary a thought towards facts and due process, with my own two eyes. When management is called to testify in civil service, they will perjure themselves without batting an eye. Fresh Eyes even wrote new policy calling for managers to circle the wagons once a decision has been made.

    In essence, McBucles supports his executives lying under oath to support his agenda. Mannis and Terran have ample experience in this field.

  • LATBG:. Great…just the kinda folks you want at ur eulogy if you have to make the ultimate sacrafice. I have tended to question authority during my career where I have seen unethical behavior by supervisors….that has earned me respect with some…and consternation from others….it also contributed to my earlier than planned retirement. But I think I can live with that. I find ur comments insightful and find they often mirror my own. It is obvious we both hold Chief Mannis in high esteem…..

  • It’s amazing when you really think about it. The previous administration was run by s loon, a tyrant, and a drunk. The tyrant is in prison….the loon soon to follow….and our drunk is free to enjoy his favorite alcoholic beverage and a massage on his own time. The jury is still out on the present administration…..

  • I have tried to find solace and a sense of justice due to both Tanaka and Baca being found guilty and sentenced to prison….but in reality….they are there only because they messed with the feds. None of our internal mechanisms within the Department stopped or prevented the corruption. The Public Integrity Unit of the District Attorney’s Office did nothing…as did the Board of Supervisors. The sad truth is we would still be under the corrupt administration of Baca and Tanaka if not for Pandora’s Box. The system within the Department is still corrupt and will not change until a new leader with a sense of duty and integrity is elected. By the way…..anybody given any thought to the deal with the devil McDonnell had to make with the BOS to be elected?

  • Fresh Eyes is as close as you can get to being an appointed sheriff, the ideal scenario for the supes. They need a weak sheriff who will do their bidding, and they got one. He even has the veneer of being properly elected, however he faced a split tan and green field in the primary and a convicted felon in the runoff.

    Bandwagon, you are right about how the checks and balances failed to stop the Banaka crowd. The sad thing is the system remains intact and there will be another Tanaka, without a doubt.

    It would be hilarious to assemble a true Brady list from the ranks of McBuckles management team. The sheer amount of perjury they did to convince the county everything was ok is staggering.

  • LASD as we knew it, (more so) beginning with Baca, was conducted life a mafia family. Anyone standing up to injustice within the department would be committing career suicide or waking up to a horse head in their bed. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • Very true statements regarding Diana Maria Teran and her lackey running ICIB and IAB, K. Mannis. They are the deciders as to who gets axed, they need numbers, “stats” to justify their existence. So they manufacture cases with any little bit of evidence, and if there is none, they will manufacture it, simple as that. All they have to do is order ICIB and IAB, and they will quickly oblige. They are a perfect dictatorship…

  • Unfortunately the line deputies do not have an advocate, union wise or department wise. One day one of the cubs within the department shall become a roaring lion. If nothing else, to wake up those who are sleeping.

  • @Unknown
    That is correct. Diana Teran is leveling line deputies and sergeants. The Chiefs, Commanders and Captains don’t stand up to her. Why you ask? Because she has the full backing of the Sheriff. Our leaders are weak. They will tell deputies on the side that it wasn’t them but at the same time not have the balls to stand up to her or the Sheriff. That is not a leader, that is coward.

    Bob Lindsey for Sheriff. Guaranteed he gets rid of Diana Teran and Mannis day 1.

  • I would prefer indictment to firing if any criminal activity can be proven. Especially related to the retaliation to his son. He has my vote!

    • The retaliation is also committed by ALADS, by NOT paying Robert Lindsey Jr attorney’s fee. They’re pissed because he found a winning attorney outside of Dick Shinee’s circle. If ALADS claim to restructuring themselves is true, then they should do the right thing and pay up.

      • I don’t respond much anymore, but I try to monitor, when possible or alerted by friends. I have offered members the opportunity to come to our meetings and ask questions, and demand answers. But, it is irritating when people pass on bad information. “I Second That” maybe you should speak to Robert Lindsey Jr. rather than come on hear uninformed.

          • Can’t help taking it a little personal. I/we have committed ourselves to changing and/or fixing what needs to be and most of the resistance we get is from the uninformed.

            I try not to allow the organization to blast members personal situations. If you’re interested enough to take a shot at us, feel free to move in on the target. Come to a meeting and get yourself up to speed.

        • I hear you. For those who can’t make those monthly meetings, the prominence of what’s happening with deputies should not be regulated to B2V or the Awards Banquet in the Dispatcher. All major victories concerning deputies should also go into the Dispatcher. (Lindsey)

  • Clam Chowder, the new Sheriff, should not only get rid of the unethical, corrupt lobbyist Diana Teran and her lackey Mannis. He could also get rid of the often worthless captains, and commanders. The new sheriff only needs a good Chief for each division and a good operations Lieutenant at each station. The captains and the commanders are obviously the middle men, with no voice nor courage to stand up to the dictators, proof they are irrelevant. So because of that, the new sheriff could save several millions of dollars in salaries and benefits paid to these irrelevant people who only occupy a chair, waiting for retirement.

    It is sad to see a captain at the station roaming the hallways, acting as if he cares, when in all honesty he could care less. Typical politician attitude, he tells the troops what he knows the troops want to hear just to be liked, so that he is not trashed on the ALADS annual leadership assessment. Why does he not retire after more than 30 years of service? He enjoys the free car, the free phone, the 300k+ pay including benefits, he has no life at home and enjoys the fact most deputies at the station kiss his rear end. The deputies obviously pretend they like him because deputies know it only takes a minor issue for the captain to destroy them, and their families, if he so desires. The power is addictive, look at Baca, he could have been enjoying his retirement and probably be healthier, but the desire of power was
    much stronger.

    Yes, we need a leader, who can lead based on reason and common sense, not a self-serving politician hungry for power, and fake admiration. Fresh-Eyes McBuckles is obviously a politician who did not want to be the sheriff based on the true desire to do the right thing, go figure his motivation.

  • Question to all of you knowledgeable in department policy? Other than causing ICIB/IAB to fabricate a fake case against an employee, for speaking publicly and campaigning hard against McBuckles, is there any real written policy prohibiting those activities?

    Because if all in the sheriff’s department communicate the McBuckles corruption to families, neighbors, friends, at church, sporting activities, etc, we can change the direction of the sheriff’s department.

    Each sheriff’s department member can easily educate 10 to 20 people regarding the current state of the sheriff’s department and expose McBuckles and his inquisition. That translates to a lot of voters, who in turn can educate another great number of people. It is time to walk the talk and put the money where my mouth is. I have not made up my mind who I will support, but it will definitely not be McBuckles. I will contribute the maximum amount of money permitted by law against McBuckles and will commit to walking the streets doing door knocks on a daily basis to educate the public.

    P.S. Someone should do an inquiry into Diana Teran’s activities to prove or disprove she lobbies for a foreign government. There is cause to believe she lobbies for the Mexican government and gets directives from “Los Pinos” in Mexico City.

    • The problem with department member educating 10-20 members is how many people (including themselves) live and vote in Los Angeles County. The second problem is how many of those that do vote in Los Angeles County actually care.

Leave a Comment