Then about five years ago, he reportedly began to be taunted and harassed by another LASD sergeant named Timothy Cooper, who told Moffett that he didn’t have what it takes to be a “real deputy”—meaning he was not enough of a hard charger; he didn’t skate the edge.
[NOTE: The Times reported that, according to the district attorney's records, Cooper may have
been a*had ties to the Vikings, "a deputy clique that in the 1990s was alleged to have brutalized minorities, falsely arrested suspects and engaged in wrongful shootings." Paul Tanaka was a member of the Vikings.
According to some of our sources, Cooper is a Regulator, another one of the gang-like deputy cliques like the now infamous 3000 Boys and 2000 Boys, and the Vikings before them, that have matching tattoos, flash hand signs, and take pride in policing very aggressively---in certain cases, some say, brutally. As both the Vikings and the newer Regulators originated in Lynwood, department sources have characterized the Regulators as an evolution of the older deputy clique.
For several years, Moffett did not report Cooper, even as news of their run ins and Cooper's reported swaggering threats made the rounds on the department's gossip telegraph.
Then one morning in 2009, inside the Compton Sheriff's station, Cooper pulled a gun on Moffett and pointed it at his head.
"I'm going to kill you," Moffett said Cooper mouthed at him. "I'm going to kill you."
According to Moffett, he had avoided reporting Cooper's harassment in the past. But this time he decided enough was enough.
The LA Times' Robert Faturechi and Jack Leonard have a report in Wednesday's paper on Moffet's allegations against Cooper, and on the response by the sheriff's department.
WitnessLA is also familiar with Moffett's story---and the department's response to it. We'll have more on this a bit later on.
In the meantime, here are some clips from the LA Times report:
....Moffett told authorities he pulled into the employee lot [at the Compton station] at 4:30 a.m. As he walked toward the station, he said, Cooper pulled up in a sheriff’s patrol SUV, revved the engine and smirked. Cooper then allegedly drove toward him slowly, stopping just a few feet short of striking Moffett.
“What are you going to do?” Moffett recalled saying. “Run me over?”
Cooper, he said, nodded his head and smiled.
Surveillance video shows the SUV proceeding at a steady pace and stopping within five feet of Moffett, the district attorney’s memo states.
Later, inside the station, Cooper walked by Moffett, unsnapped his holster, and again smiled and nodded. He was standing just behind another station supervisor when he brandished his gun.
That supervisor, Sgt. Douglas Iketani, told investigators that he believed Cooper pointed the gun in Moffett’s general direction.
Moffett told investigators that Cooper proceeded to close one eye as if he were aiming before allegedly mouthing his death threat, according to the prosecutor’s memo.
According to the Times report, although the original recommendation was for Cooper to be demoted, the executives on the department’s discipline committee instead opted for a 15-day suspension—a wrist-slap at best.
This same discipline committee has now been disbanded by Sheriff Baca who, as we reported last week, is taking a direct and active role in the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, which—since last Spring—was controlled by Undersheriff Paul Tanaka. [See Dangerous Jails, Part 4.]
The Times reports that Baca had this to say when asked about the departmental change and the Moffett/Cooper case.
“I’m not here to comment about what’s [happened] before,” he said. “I’m here to say improving the sheriff’s discipline process … cannot be delegated.”
The Times also reported:
The now-disbanded committee that determined Cooper’s punishment was typically composed of two assistant sheriffs, Marvin Cavanaugh and Cecil Rhambo, and the undersheriff, Paul Tanaka..
POST SCRIPT: Timothy Cooper is on the 2004 donations list for Paul Tanaka’s Mayoral Campaign. We did not see him on the 2008 or 2009 lists. We have yet to check the others.
EDITORS NOTE: Apologies to our non-LASD obsessed readers. We’ll have news on other topics again tomorrow.
* Note correction from earlier version.