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Sheriff Baca’s Well-Paid Civilian Aide Relieved of Duty After ABC-7 Probe

November 14th, 2013 by Celeste Fremon



For nearly 14 years, Bishop Edward Turner has functioned as one of Sheriff Lee Baca’s top level
civilian field deputies and as head of the sheriff’s volunteer Multi-Faith Clergy Council.

For this work—which department sources describe as a sort of part-time community outreach intended to bolster Baca’s relationships in LA’s African American communities—Turner was paid $105,000 a year, given his own county car, county-paid gasoline, a county cell phone, 3 county computers and, when needed, his own “collateral duty deputy” to help him with unspecified tasks. All of this on the taxpayers’ dime.

On Wednesday, however, Turner was abruptly relieved of his duties pending an internal affairs investigation, after KABC-TV reporters began asking questions for which the department found it had no answers, according to LASD spokesman Steve Whitmore. (For weeks, KABC had been looking into Turner and his activities with the LASD.)

In two news segments airing Wednesday night, reporter Marc Brown revealed the three issues that triggered Turner’s sudden departure from the LASD and the accompanying department probe into his activities.

The three issues are as follows:

1. KABC reporters found that an illegal marijuana dispensary is operating on land that Turner owns located across the street from the church where Turner is the founding pastor, the Power of Love Christian Fellowship ministries.

When asked about the dispensary—which is illegal in that it is not one of the 134 dispensaries sanctioned by Measure D— Turner claimed he didn’t really know anything about the operation, or its illegality. However, when KABC talked to the dispensary’s owner, the man said he walked the rent check across the street to Turner’s church every month.

2. In addition to his church, Turner runs a nonprofit organization called H.O.P.E. for Life. KABC tried to look into the organization’s financials, which, due to its tax exempt status, should have been publically accessible. They found that H.O.P.E. for Life had its nonprofit status revoked in 2009 for its failure to file the proper yearly disclosures with the IRS.

This information evidently did not play well with the sheriff who, among other things, has repeatedly raised money for H.O.P.E for Life with the department’s yearly “Multi-faith Prayer Breakfast” (an event that many upper-level department supervisors are reportedly strongly urged to attend).

3. Then, weirdest of all, KABC obtained a highly suggestive sheriff’s department incident report, circa 2005 involving a mysterious package addressed to Turner’s church containing large amounts of cash.

Here’s what KABC’s Marc Brown reported:

We also had questions about a 2005 sheriff’s department “incident report.” A package that was addressed to Turner’s Power of Love church was intercepted by a sheriff’s department narcotics team. The package contained $84,020 in cash.

Detectives wrote in their report that based on their expertise, that the cash was the “direct proceeds from the sale of controlled substances, or illegal narcotics.”

“I was totally appalled and upset about that situation,” said Turner.

According to the report, Turner called a detective and said he wasn’t expecting a parcel and didn’t know anyone in New York who would send him a box of money.

When WitnessLA spoke to Steve Whitmore on Wednesday night after the broadcast, he reiterated that the sheriff was “taken aback” by news of the marijuana dispensary, especially since Baca has been very public about his opposition to dispensaries, which—despite his early support of medical marijuana—he views as having spun out of control.

Whitmore also said that Baca moved quickly to cancel all upcoming donations to Turner’s non-nonprofit.

“The sheriff knew nothing about any of this,” said Whitmore

About the box of cash, Whitmore said that the matter had been “fully investigated” by the department, and that, despite the fact that the package was addressed to Turner’s church, “they couldn’t connect the package to Bishop Turner.”

“But we’re still going to look into all that again in our investigation,” he said and added that the Mike Gennacco’s Office of Independent Review will be “monitoring” the department’s IA investigation.

Curiously, Whitmore also added that former undersheriff Paul Tanaka was responsible when the 2005 box-of-money-in-the-mail issue occurred, and when the subsequent investigation was conducted, clearing Turner.

“Like I said, we’re going to look into all that again.”


The rest of KABC’s well-reported and startling report may be found here.

Posted in LASD, Medical Marijuana, Paul Tanaka, Sheriff Lee Baca | 46 Comments »

46 Responses

  1. LeftattheBall Says:

    SO the Sheriff testifies to the Board of Supervisors that he, and he alone is in control of the Department, yet when feces hits the fan, he says “Tanaka was in control.” Referring to the $80 plus thousand sent to the church.
    And lets just ask ourselves when was the last time we new anyone that would put $80 plus thousand dollars in cash and mail it via the post office in a box? And how many times does that happen to be the wrong address?
    I know we rely on stupid people to be gainfully employed, but please don’t think I am that stupid.

  2. J.London Says:

    We also had questions about a 2005 sheriff’s department “incident report.” A package that was addressed to Turner’s Power of Love church was intercepted by a sheriff’s department narcotics team. The package contained $84,020 in cash.
    Detectives wrote in their report that based on their expertise, that the cash was the “direct proceeds from the sale of controlled substances, or illegal narcotics.”
    “I was totally appalled and upset about that situation,” said Turner.
    According to the report, Turner called a detective and said he wasn’t expecting a parcel and didn’t know anyone in New York who would send him a box of money.

    well, same old S different day isn’t it Lee Baca?

  3. Eyeswideopen Says:

    Sheriff Baca didn’t know again? That is sooo old,lame and tiresome. That $105,000 salary to this so called “minister” was not for better relations between Black community and the Sheriff’s Department, that was for better relations between the candidate Baca and the Black community at the tax payer’s expense. This man needs to run off into retirement and soon!

  4. Bandwagon Says:

    Hey guys, don’t worry. The new investigation will be completly unbiased and devoid of political interference. We can all sleep tonight because Mike Gennacco and the OIR will be “monitoring” the investigation.

  5. It's time Says:

    Sheriff Baca…”I didn’t know.” Bishop Turner…”I really didn’t know.”…and so it goes. At least OIR will be monitoring…we can all sleep well tonight.

  6. proud ole retiree Says:

    I am sure there is a special place for those who prey ( with an ‘E” ) on others under the cloak of religion and those who assist under the cloak of public safety . And it ‘ain’t heaven.

  7. Investigative Mind Says:

    #6. Your correct on your response to this situation and I just wonder who is going to take the fall for this one.

  8. InterestedParty Says:

    This newly revealed Turner Scandal is just more “tip of the iceberg” stuff superficially reflective of the deeper corruption pervasive in the organization grown by leaders Lee Baca and Paul Tanaka. No one employed by the department for any length of time finds this shocking, at all.

  9. The Past Says:

    One thing for certain, this case should not be investigated by anyone other than the State A/G or the FBI. The tread goes all the way to Sheriff Baca. Tens of thousands in cash, Department computers, personal fund raising by the Sheriff, personal aide, the lack of independence found with OIR, possible nod & wink by the former U/S & or Detective Chief all says anything but an internal investigation. Ask Narco staff of the past about, then Chief Baca, meddling in the active Vignali narco case. He, Baca, has a history of violating lines of authority & likely knows full well who dealt with the cash in question. What happened to it?

  10. Time to Clean House Says:

    He’s on the County payroll and rarely shows up for work?  Shenanigans like this would have any  other County employees  put on certified time and fired. Not Leroy’s friends. What an abuse of power. 

  11. They say Says:

    The word on the yard is Too Cool Turner’s narco dough was squashed by Waldie.

  12. lol Says:

    Raising money under an unfiled 501 c status is BIG! The Federal government (IRS) does not mess around when it comes to these issues. Being that the non-profit status was inoperable since 2009 (5 Years..WOW!) will definitely land people in jail, especially if hundreds of thousand of dollars have been raised. I’m sure a federal investigation has been initiated based on Channel 7′s findings.

    This will FOR SURE be Mr. Baca’s demise. Tragic.

  13. J.London Says:

    #11: I have posted many times that none of these crimes could have occurred without the help of an Undersheriff! It’s not believable that Stonich or Waldie didn’t know! If Tanaka was smart he could save himself a lot of grief by telling the AG/FBI what he knows before Turner turns on them! Once again it took the news media to uncover this crap! OIR should change to OMA Oh My A$$

  14. Jack Dawson Says:

    Sometimes when I don’t fell well I like to read Steve Whitmore quotes so I can induce vomiting. I had to take a shower after reading these.

  15. times awasting Says:

    Tax payers should be screaming about this.

  16. Joe Says:

    To top it off, he has a sworn aide assigned to him.

  17. Celeste Fremon Says:

    EDITOR’S NOTE:

    FYI: A couple of commenters have brought some of Bishop Turner's family members in to the discussion. As you can see, I have not let those comments through.

    It's not that the comments were all that bad, per se. They were fairly restrained, actually. it is merely that I don't want to go down that road at all.

    Thanks in advance for understanding.

  18. pk Says:

    This is like watching Jay Carney giving cover to Obama.

  19. times awasting Says:

    Who was his aide?

  20. Mutual Assured Destruction Says:

    Is he a Bishop or a Blood? It’s difficult to believe the Sheriff and Tanaka have been bamboozled by yet another unscrupulous character. Unfortunately, the idea of an outside entity conducting the investigation will probably die on the vine as nothing more than a brilliant idea.

    I heard an interesting rumor yesterday. I was told the department recently sent the Board Of Supervisors a letter stating they not only had the Sergeant’s exam cheating scandal been contained, but they had thrown out the 17 questions believed to be compromised. I was also told the department has started a second investigation into the scandal. Regarding the second investigation, there are approximately 17 witnesses with subject rights. It sounds like another “Here are the names, these are the violations, make em stick” investigation. Again, an investigation that should be conducted by an outside and unbiased entity. Imagine if it were you who had legitimately answered those 17 questions correct and that would have given you enough points to move you up a band? Essentially, those who didn’t cheat are being force fed a supersized McFecalmatter meal.

    Maybe it’s just me being binary in my thinking that Aristotelian two-value logic is screwed up. But the direction this department is headed and the logic steering it makes no sense.

    The Sheriff and Tanaka feud is alot like the Sonny Bono and Cher Sarkisin divorce. One is destined to ski into a tree.

  21. RetiredCommandPerson Says:

    Sorry..I accidently sent my post before I was done..

    As I was saying: the sheriff promoted his supporters who were either under qualified and not qualified at all. He trusted this core of misfits to run the entire department while he (Sheriff) carried on his political agenda which included solving the world’s problems.

    Although he may have actually known or ordered some of the recent controversial incidents recently in the news, he actually did not know about much of what was going on. This is because his followers saw fit to purposely keep him in the dark.

    Unfortunately it took this recent aggressive attention from the media to make the Sheriff realize his mistakes. I think it’s much too late to repair the damage.

    The upcoming election period should prove very interesting. I’m looking forward to the upcoming entertainment. Pretty sad stuff !

  22. LASB Says:

    Who’s b.s.’ing who here? That $105,000, county car, county gas, county phone????
    That’s simply the result of Sheriff Baca asking Turner what it would take for Turner to give him his endorsement, Turner named his price, and the Sherifif agreed.
    Computers, aides, Clergy Council etc. etc.? That’s all the b.s. they went to in order to make this look like anything other than what obviously was.
    Baca: “If I meet your price, you can guarantee me the African American vote? I can bank on it”?
    Turner: “You can take it to the bank. I’ll be preaching to my peeps that you’re the man”.

    If Baca didn’t know about any of Turner’s scandalous crap, it’s because he not only didn’t want to know, he didn’t care. As long as Turner delivered the African American vote, Baca didn’t give a shit how scandalous he was. Why do you think he kept associating with Turner AFTER the $84,000 in cash in a box caper. Red flag? Naw. Doesn’t mean a thing to him. Ask yourself if Baca is that stupid. If the answer is no, Baca’s crooked as hell. If the answer is yes, he is far too stupid to be the Sheriff of the LASD.

    Until now. Now he is outraged.

  23. lol Says:

    #21-

    “Although he may have actually known or ordered some of the recent controversial incidents recently in the news, he actually did not know about much of what was going on. This is because his followers saw fit to purposely keep him in the dark”

    The fact of the matter is, he IS the Sheriff and he should have known. The “I didn’t know” bit is played out. The Feds will investigate this one and heads will roll. IRS lives for this stuff and will have some in handcuffs soon. Tax evasion and or fraud? Regardless, when this investigation is audited,the Sheriff’s political career WILL NOT survive.

    Stay tuned.

  24. Sherlockholmes Says:

    WitLA or Channel 7 should look into the entire clergy council program. I think there are more than Bishop Turner who had county cars, salaries, badges, etc. I personally feel the clergy council should all be volunteers who serve God, not the Sheriff. To make them feel official they can keep their clergy council raid jackets, but they can drive their own cars. It should be reward enough that they are affiliated with our agency. There are alot of great clergy members in the program who serve our department well and I venture to say many of them don’t need the trinkets/bennies. Those that do should be examined by our agency as to their sincerity. It is perhaps a situation where a program that started out with great intentions may have spiraled out of control and needs to be reigned in.

  25. CrackerJack Says:

    You seriously trust the IRS to go after Turner? It’s almost 2014 and his tax exempt problems happened in 2009. The IRS (with hacks like Lois Lerner) only target political enemies of the current administration for scrutiny. Does that remind you of anybody ?? HINT: 88 dwarfs in 88 cities and the Please Don’t Elect Me Sheriff.

    Don’t expect the FEDS to go after these crooks. Baca was the main reason Clinton pardoned Mark Rich and he skated on that one……It’s always about the money with these PAY-TO-PLAY clowns……..People who know where the bodies are buried have to continue to RAT to the news.

    Thanks for the hot tip to ABC Paul!! You don’t even need an informant number to snitch to them. Let it FLY bro.

  26. TwoPlayedThatGame Says:

    Call it a victory for Olmsted. Tanaka worked a take over of PPOA Board, and Olmsted quietly got his people to take over ALADS Board. I don’t think Tall-Paul saw that one coming. Very interesting.

  27. exCPT280TS Says:

    Sheriff Baca, soon to be federal inmate Baca, I will mail you your care package of KY every month. I know your cell mate, Mr. BBC will love you.

  28. lol Says:

    Cracker Jack – The IRS is complaint driven. They don’t have the staffing to audit every non-profit registered (or not registered) to thoroughly investigate. This is now in there hands…on a silver platter. I’m sure they will do what is necessary.

    Stay tuned.

  29. shake my head Says:

    I just looked at the POPA website and the Tanaka wonder twins got defeated

  30. LATBG Says:

    Tanaka, if you are hearing a hissing sound, it’s the air being let out of your campaign! You embarrassed yourself tonight in your interview on Channel 7. Is that the best answer you could come up with, uhhhhhh blame it on the aide?

    Is it too much to ask you to take responsibility for your actions? You’re selling this bullshit story that unit this or unit that was not your responsibility at the time scandal X happened. Guess what Paul, our memory is not clouded by campaign contributions. As soon as you set foot as the chief of Admin Services, you took control of and gamed the promotions and transfer processes while raking in the campaign contributions from eager boot lickers. This was 2003, and you kept control of Admin Services as you moved up to one A/S spot, and then the other one once Doyle Campbell left. And once you became U/S, you did not sprout a conscious.

    For those keeping score, that means Tall Paul manipulated every process at his disposal to place his cronies in every specialized unit and rank throughout the Department. They answered directly to him and did his unethical bidding with a snap of his fingers. From cancelling investigations, burying reports, and hiding inmate informants from the feds, Paul owns every bad thing that happened since 2003, right along with Sheriff Moonbeam.

    There is no amount of money that is going to paper this over Paul, either in the eyes of the voters or the press.

  31. Investigative Mind Says:

    Well, I sure missed something earlier regarding ABC 7 news. Time to research on the internet.

  32. Jack Dawson Says:

    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/html5/video?id=9328076&pid=null&section=null

    More Steve Whitmore. The Sheriff doesn’t stop investigations he initiates them……. That’s true catipillar eyes: on people who piss him off.

  33. interesting Says:

    A note about eyes looking right and left..

    (Left and right are for the person giving the signals and making the movements)

    Eyes tend to look right when the brain is imagining or creating, and left when the brain is recalling or remembering. This relates to right and left sides of the brain – in this context broadly the parts of the brain handling creativity/feelings (right) and facts/memory (left). This is analysed in greater detail below, chiefly based on NLP theory developed in the 1960s. Under certain circumstances ‘creating’ can mean fabrication or lying, especially (but not always – beware), when the person is supposed to be recalling facts. Looking right when stating facts does not necessarily mean lying – it could for example mean that the person does not know the answer, and is talking hypothetically or speculating or guessing.

    signal part of body possible
    meaning(s) detailed explanation
    Left and right are for the person giving the signals and making the movements.
    looking right (generally) eyes creating, fabricating, guessing, lying, storytelling Creating here is basically making things up and saying them. Depending on context this can indicate lying, but in other circumstances, for example, storytelling to a child, this would be perfectly normal. Looking right and down indicates accessing feelings, which again can be a perfectly genuine response or not, depending on the context, and to an extent the person.
    Just my observation on Tanaka’s interview tonight.

  34. Time to Clean House Says:

    Love this quote from Paul in the interview. 
    “It was unacceptable then, its unacceptable now.The fact of the matter is sir, law enforcement can not  play favorites.” 

    Keep talking Paul. You’re be sheriff in no time. 

     The alleged promotions of individuals  that contributed to your Gardena campaign wasn’t playing favorites? Giving numbered coins to go smoke cigars on the special patio wasn’t playing favorites?  

    The only place Baca and Tanaka need to be is in a federal prison. 

  35. CSN83 Says:

    I find it interesting that so many of us on the Department have watched Turner from afar (or have been forced to attend events & be in close proximity with him) and many/most have always had that cop’s 6th sense that something just wasn’t right about him. All of those vibes have now shown themselves to have a reason. I am probably not alone in feeling a bit of vindication in saying, “I knew it!” And how many people saw through the lies & BS Turner dished up in his ABC7 interview??!! It was almost comical. BTW – I REFUSE to call him Bishop since he runs an “independent” church. WHO exactly made him a bishop? The Sheriff??? Was it something Turner created to give himself some semblance of credibility?

    Here are a few questions: When the Sheriff wanted Whitmore AND Turner to become Reserve Deputies in his oh-so-infamous hiring of every Tom, Dick & Harry for the Reserve program, WHY, oh WHY, did they not become reserves??? Could it be when they found out they would be subject to a “full, complete, & impartial” background investigation they declined to fill out the 26-page pre-background paperwork so near & dear to all of us who have gone through the process to be hired (whether regular or reserve)? WHY did they run away from that???

    WHY did the Sheriff try to just “grandfather” Turner & Whitmore into the Reserve program? Was it because he knew neither of them would pass the background process?

    What item is Turner sitting on? Was it an existing job title? Or one the Sheriff created to be able to have Turner do his “thang” for Baca? Who approved that? Was it taken to the CEO like ALL appointments MUST be? What justification was given for that salary? (I’m not positive, but it seems to me that is higher than a lot of sworn items on the Department.)

    And what about this tax-exempt non-status? HOW does that happen? Meaning, how does a “church” have their tax-exempt status revoked? That must take some doing!

  36. lol Says:

    CSN83-

    “He just didn’t know!” …. lol!

    This one is going to bite the Sheriff very HARD! Ouch.

  37. CSN83 Says:

    I googled this on ask.com and asked the question, How do i become a Bishop?

    How to Become a Bishop?
    Answer
    To become a bishop, one would need to be involved in the church. It is always a good idea to begin as a minister or a priest. One would have to work one’s way up the ladder within the church until he reaches the position of the bishop. In most cases the people who become bishops have been involved in the church for at least twenty years. These people tend to be extremely active in the clergy and also often have an educational degree that includes theology.

    Just saying…..

  38. LASB Says:

    CSN, it’s really quite simple. You called it towards the bottom of your post. Baca flat out created a $105,000 a year “job” for that Shama-Lamma-Ding-Dong “Bishop”, and all the perks to go with it.
    In return Turner would do his “thang” and get his peeps in the African American community to support Baca.
    It’s a situation of plain and simple quid pro quo.
    Baca might get the BOS, the public and a few other naive knuckleheads to buy into his “Clergy Council” as a viable group that is justified.
    But there’s not a deputy on the department that doesn’t know exactly what it’s about. It’s about Baca giving them perks, and they in turn tell their flocks to support Baca.
    Take their department ID’s, raid jackets etc. away, don’t give them ANY perks and see how long they volunteer “for the good of the community”.
    Turner just had a higher price than most of them. Baca willingly paid it. But he had to figure out a way to shama-lamma i$105,000 and a county car and phone. That’s not as easy as handing out LASD ID’s and raid jackets. So he created a “job” for Turner.
    ” You’re the head of my Multi-Faith Clergy Council. Now, take a couple LASD computers and set them up in your office so it looks legit”.
    If the Feds. want a stone cold case, all they have to do is get those computers and Turner’s county phone to see ALL that work he did for the Clergy Council.
    I would wager my last dollar that the only thing Turner ever did was notify the other members of the group when their meetings were going to be held. For $105,000 a year, county car and county phone.
    And then the department describes it as a “volunteer” group. You can’t make this stuff up.

  39. LATBG Says:

    Maybe the “Bishop” Ed Turner got his theology education in the same manner Lee Baca got his doctorate, studying how to decriminalize father-daughter incest.

    I can’t seem to recall a time in my life, or anyone that I know, that someone sent me a box with $84,000 in cash. Just when you thought this race was going to get weird, it gets weirder:

    Tanaka’s camp denounced whistleblowing, then blew the whistle on this incident, forgetting they were the ones in charge of burying the investigation in the first place. You just can’t make this stuff up!

    And for all of those enamored with Tanaka’s alleged “sharpness,” it was on full display in the Channel 7 interview. Conclusion: he’s a bag of rocks, film at eleven (literally!).

  40. LareeWaldee Says:

    I see some critical names missing from the cover up of Turners drug money case. Lets see, Turners driver at the time was Sergeant Paul Clay. Paul Clay was so close to Turner that recently Baca pulled him from patrol duties to drive Turner again, this time at the rank of Lieutenant. WOW you say. Turner had a driver too? A lieutenant no less? Why? Because months ago, Turners driver, a guy named Campbell (who replaced Clay), refused to cover for his scandalous behavior? Baca then got a good idea, bring back Clay. Clay proved himself since allegedly it was Clay who told the narco investigators to back off the investigation, (on orders from Baca) and just seize the money. But where was the chief of detectives all this time? Narco reports to a chief. Mike Soderberg don’t you have any comment on this? Paul Clay, did the Sheriff order you or did you think of this all by yourself? Why doesn’t everyone just come clean on this. I’m sure no laws were broken. Baca probably had a legitimate reason for squashing the investigation. He probably had information as the top cop that others didn’t know. This can be cleared up simply I think. Mr Whitmore, you must know. Stop making everyone look suspicious over nothing. Clear this up.

  41. lol Says:

    “I see some critical names missing from the cover up of Turners drug money case. Lets see, Turners driver at the time was Sergeant Paul Clay. Paul Clay was so close to Turner that recently Baca pulled him from patrol duties to drive Turner again, this time at the rank of Lieutenant.”

    WOW!! I wonder what Mr. Clay’s implication is in this? Captains Bars or Jail Bars…. Hmmmm?

  42. In defense of moonbeam Says:

    Ok so old moonbeam was bribing and “taking care” of Turner. Isn’t that the price of doing business these days? Is Turner any worse than Jesse Jackson, Cecil Murray, Danny Bakewell, Al Sharpton ( Do I need to go on)? Heck at least Turner was just selling weed ,the others are more into the extortion racket. Gonna have to give Moonbeam a pass on this one, I’m surprised Celeste is even reporting this story, I would have thought the media would be applauding Moonbeam for his progressive thinking.

  43. They say Says:

    Here is a news flash for all……. They say Tanaka advised Ch7 about the narco caper in exchange for camera time. “uhhhhhhhh, duhhhhhhhh,” is going to haunt you Paulie, big time. The little man owes everything to Leroy. And how does Paul pay it back? The same way he has done everyone, a shank in the back. How is that “whistleblower”thang working for you, Paul?

    And by the way, Dan Cruz and Company, the only lifeline Tanaka threw you was a 200lb anchor. Just wait until the indictments are handed out, he will turn his back on you like he would a skank at a Jr. High School dance. Take it in the backside for Paulie, Dan. He’s got your back.

  44. CSN83 Says:

    At this point, I think the only salvation for the Sheriff is to hire Olivia Pope. Obviously his stint with the bishop has not turned out so well. A pope out-moves a bishop any day, right?

  45. Biggdogg Says:

    Well now I know how a person can fail there oral interview for Lieutenant, grieve the oral and get moved from band 4 to band 2 and the get promoted. I guess working as turners bodyguard payed off. Corruption never ends.

  46. Biggdogg Says:

    Their. Sorry

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