BECK PRESS CONFERENCE TUESDAY MORNING
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck is holding a press conference Tuesday at 9 am to “provide an update to the Christopher Dorner case and on the reopening of the investigation.”
Along with Beck, LAPD Captain Phil Tingirides plus his wife, Sergeant Emada Tingirides, will “address the media with their experience as protected employees during the Dorner manhunt.”
To refresh your memory, Captain Tingirides sat on the Board of Rights panel that recommended Dorner’s dismissal and was one of the dozen department members whose families were threatened most specifically in the “manifesto” that has been attributed to Christopher Dorner. (There were upwards of 50 officers and their families who were considered at risk, but with some, the risk assessment was considered to be much higher. Tingirides was one of those at the high risk end.)
Interestingly, Tingirides, who is white, is married to an LAPD officer (Emada Tingirides) who is black—a fact that one imagines was not lost on those planning the press conference, given the intense and painful conversations about the LAPD and racism that the whole Dorner matter has brought back to the surface. (Emada Tingirides worked at the department’s Harbor division with Dorner.)
In any case, it is a good thing that Beck is having press conference at this juncture. (I understand there was a contingent inside the department advising him against it.) Now let us see what comes of this morning’s discussion.
It is also encouraging to note that the chief and other command staff members have made a point of scheduling upcoming open meetings in South LA to hear what community members have to say about about the department, and what they want to see changed.
NOTE: While we wait for the outcome of the press conference, here’s this morning’s interview between Phil and Emada Tingirides and CBS’s John Miller, who was one of the highest ranking civilians at the LAPD under Bill Bratton. We learn, among other things, that some of the South LA’s gang members and former gang members offered to act as a protection detail for the Tangirides couple and their six kids, when the Dorner threat was announced. (Tangirides kindly but firmly turned the homeboys down.)
LAPD LIEUTENANT (& FORMER IA INVESTIGATOR) SAYS DEPARTMENT SHOULD ABOLISH INTERNAL AFFAIRS, AND THAT COPS SHOULD NOT BE INVESTIGATING COPS IF THEY WANT TO GAIN THE TRUST OF THE COMMUNITY
In an Op Ed for the Washington Post, LAPD Lieutenant Sunil Dutta, who worked for LAPD’s Internal Affairs (among other postings), says it’s time to have civilians—not cops—investigate the police. And he explains why he thinks this is right for both the community and for the Los Angeles Police Department.
Here are some clips:
….The department’s problems aren’t all in the past, either: In November, a jury awarded former officer Pedro Torres $2.8 million after finding that officials retaliated when he verified claims about an allegedly racist supervisor. During the past decade, 17 officers have won million-dollar-plus verdicts in lawsuits claiming harassment, discrimination and retaliation. African American officers, including some supervisors I’ve spoken with, say in private that they don’t feel like they are part of the system and don’t trust it.
I worked as an internal affairs investigator in the LAPD for about three years. When I visited police divisions to look into complaints against officers, I was usually greeted by the same question: “Who are you going to burn today?” Officers often believed that internal affairs was out to get them on flimsy charges.
At the same time, when I interviewed community members who had filed complaints against officers, I was disappointed to learn that, despite my reassurances and best efforts to conduct impartial inquiries, many complainants believed that a fair investigation was simply not possible. Nor do misconduct investigations satisfy a skeptical public. If an officer is exonerated, the community often believes that malfeasance is being covered up.
Police serve the community — any concerns about their integrity must be transparently, expeditiously and judiciously resolved. Relying on cops to police cops is neither efficient nor confidence-inspiring.
The solution? Abolish internal affairs units and outsource their work to external civilian agencies.
Police have slowly started to incorporate civilian oversight in their misconduct investigations. For example, the LAPD’s office of inspector general has oversight over the department’s internal discipline. Yet, while the inspector general’s staff receives copies of every personnel complaint filed and tracks and audits selected cases, it does not have the authority to impose discipline. Nor do most civilian review boards, which are not empowered to conduct independent investigations. This leads detractors to say that such boards are ineffectual.
Police have long resisted external oversight….
Anyway, read on.
And for more on Sunil Dutta, who is quite an interesting guy (whose writing has appeared in the past here at WLA), I refer you to Wikipedia.
CAPT. BILL MURPHY, HEAD OF THE LAPD’S DORNER PROTECTION DETAIL, TALKS TO HIGHLAND PARK PATCH
Ajay Singh of the Highland Park Patch, snagged a Q&A with Captain Bill Murphy, the LAPD Northeast Division commander who ended up being in charge of providing police protection to officers and their families targeted by Christopher Dorner.
In this interview with Capt. Murphy we learn such things as the fact that the department briefly considered temporarily relocating the threatened families to a military base, but quickly realized the impracticality—what with kids and schools and…”they had pets and what not.”
There are lots of other interesting nuggets of that nature.
Oddly what Singh did not appear to ask Murphy is about the matter of shooting the two newspaper delivery women.
I’ve interviewed Bill Murphy many times in the past and have always found him to be a straight shooter unafraid of treating the press like grown ups, and who, when he can’t talk about something says so, and why, without any kind of dodging.
So I wondered at the oversight.
In any case, the interview is still quite worth reading.
LA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE AND ALTERNATE PUBLIC DEFENDER OPEN INVESTIGATION INTO PASADENA COPS AFTER JUDGE DECLARES MISTRIAL IN A MURDER CASE AND…LOTS, LOTS MORE
Okay, this ongoing story about members of the Pasadena Police Department’s homicide squad is the brewing police misconduct scandal that seems to be getting lost amid...well….everything else. But it’s been hitting the press intermittently since last summer, with Pasadena Star-News’s Brian Charles taking the lead in the reporting.
Now the LA DA’s office has taken action, as has the alternate public attorney’s office, after Judge Larry Fidler declared a mistrial in a murder case, and evidently admonished Detective William Broghamer and Officer Kevin Okamoto for their “egregious” conduct during an 2007 homicide investigation.
A defense attorney for one of the defendants in that case said the county’s twin investigations will likely expose deep rooted corruption.
“They shouldn’t have a homicide department,” Attorney Andrew Stein said Thursday. “The department needs to be cleaned out from the top-down. I don’t understand how anyone could allow this culture to exist.”
So what exactly have Detectives Broghamer and Okamoto and another of their colleagues, a Detective Keith Gomez, been accused of doing?
Here’s another clip from Charles’ story:
Earlier this month [Pasadena PD Chief] Sanchez placed Okamoto on paid leave after [Judge] Fidler said the officer hid exculpatory evidence from defense attorneys. Broghamer was placed on desk duty after the same judge admonished him for his conduct during an interrogation in which he threatened to take a witnesses’ child away from her if she didn’t recant earlier statements.
Under duress, the woman changed her testimony; Okamoto signed paperwork authorizing the woman to receive $6,450 in taxpayer dollars for “relocation expenses.”
Okamoto, Broghamer and Detective Keith Gomez have been the subject of complaints filed by attorneys, witnesses, jurors and suspects. Allegations of kidnapping, assaults, death threats, soliciting of bribes, evidence suppression and malfeasance are contained within the complaints.
You might want to read that last sentence again.
To further elucidate, here are some links to stories that give windows into a few of the jaw-dropping accusations against the three detectives:
Here for example, is the story about the three detectives allegedly kidnapping and beating a witness who wouldn’t say what they wanted him to say regarding a case they were investigating.
And….here’s the story in which a criminologist reports that he was asked by Detective Okamoto to withhold evidence from the defense and “mislead” the defense attorney.
And…here’s the thing about Detective Okamoto allegedly forcing a female witness to change her testimony about a murder defendant, using a whole series of convincing threats and a quid pro quo-ish set up that looks an awful lot like a bribe.
We’ll check in on this story in the future, so stay tuned.
JUDGE WHO STRUCK DOWN CALIFORNIA’S GAY MARRIAGE BAN SPEAKS OUT
As the prospect of the Prop 8 case being argued before SCOTUS a little over a month away, Howard Mintz of the San Jose Mercury News writes about his intriguing interview with former San Francisco Federal Judge Vaughn Walker who originally heard the Prop 8 legal challenge.
Here’s a clip:
On a May day in 2009, Vaughn Walker was going through one of his weekly routines as a federal judge, reviewing a stack of new lawsuits assigned to his San Francisco chambers, when one case caught his eye: Perry v. Schwarzenegger.
At the time, Walker had no inkling that history might rest in those pages, that one of the most important legal collisions in the nation over same-sex marriage might hang in the balance. In fact, at first, all Walker noticed was then-Gov. Schwarzenegger’s name.
But it did not take long for the veteran chief judge, himself quietly but openly in a longtime gay relationship with a doctor, to realize that he had inherited the legal challenge to Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. The silver-haired judge with the iconoclast’s reputation would be center stage in the gay marriage controversy.
“That’s when I had the —-’Oh (my)’ moment,” Walker told this newspaper during an interview last week, recalling that he was already mulling retirement when the lawsuit landed on his desk.
The case temporarily took retirement off the table for Walker. And now the Proposition 8 showdown has reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear arguments on March 26 and, to some extent, review Walker’s handiwork before ruling by June. Walker, after conducting an unprecedented trial, in 2010 declared the state’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional, saying the law had no social justification and singled out same-sex couples for discrimination.
A federal appeals court agreed with Walker, although it took a much narrower approach in invalidating Proposition 8. Still, Walker’s role has shaped the nearly four-year legal battle over same-sex marriage rights in California.
Read on. It’s good stuff.