Tag Archives: LAPD Discovery Section

Yet Another Possible Strategy For Forcing The City Of Los Angeles To Comply With CPRA Without Hiring A Lawyer: A Complaint With Internal Affairs Against The Officers In Charge Of The LAPD Discovery Section

Dominic Choi, commanding officer of LAPD's Risk Management Division, which includes the LAPD Discovery Section, which is ultimately responsible for handling CPRA requests.
Dominic Choi, commanding officer of LAPD’s Risk Management Division, which includes the LAPD Discovery Section, which is ultimately responsible for handling CPRA requests.
The City of Los Angeles is notorious for ignoring its duties under the California Public Records Act. Among City agencies, the LAPD is probably the worst at responding to requests in a timely, comprehensive manner. One of the worst aspects of CPRA is that filing a lawsuit1 is the only recourse if an agency refuses to comply. This is the strategy being pursued by the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.2

So anyway, my own CPRA experiences with LAPD confirm this general impression. For instance, on February 10, 2015, I sent them this:

I’d like to request a list of all active stay-away orders for the Hollywood Entertainment District or maybe you could suggest documents I could request that would allow me to assemble such a list myself? I’m interested in how many there are and what crimes were committed by the people subject to them.

I won’t bother you with a detailed timeline of all my ignored follow-up inquiries and their occasional non-responsive answers to them, but in more than 20 months after my making this request they still had supplied no records in response.3

Well, as you may be aware, I’m presently working through a theory on whether Los Angeles Municipal Ethics laws, specifically LAMC 49.5.5(A), can be used to force the City to comply with CPRA without having to go to court. A description of this project can be found here. Now, LAMC 49.5.5(A) states:

City officials, agency employees, appointees awaiting confirmation by the City Council, and candidates for elected City office shall not misuse or attempt to misuse their positions or prospective positions to create or attempt to create a private advantage or disadvantage, financial or otherwise, for any person.

And the general theory with respect to CPRA is that when a City employee willfully denies someone their rights under CPRA they may well be violating this law, since being denied rights is a disadvantage. You can see a a specific application of this theory here. This law does apply to the LAPD, but my feeling is that the LAPD problem with CPRA compliance is not amenable to an LAMC-49.5.5(A)-based strategy. Read on for details and a potential solution.
Continue reading Yet Another Possible Strategy For Forcing The City Of Los Angeles To Comply With CPRA Without Hiring A Lawyer: A Complaint With Internal Affairs Against The Officers In Charge Of The LAPD Discovery Section

Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala Reads This Blog!!! And Pete Zarcone and Some State Department Anti-Terrorist Hack Engage in Homosocial Bonding by Insulting Bill Farrar!! NO GIRLZ ALLOWD!!

Between them, Girmala and Seyler account for 64% of the hits on this blog!
Between them, Girmala and Seyler account for 64% of the hits on this blog!
This morning our faithful correspondent rode the good old Red Line to the South, to the East, to the Civic Center, to the good old LAPD Discovery Section, where he was privileged to scan maybe a thousand pages of emails between various LAPD luminaries and the BIDs. There’s some serious and important stuff in there, and you’ll be reading about a lot of it here. But there’s also some silly stuff, and we’re breaking out a couple of the goofiest for you here tonight.
Valorie Keegan and Tom LaBonge in 2008, before this blog was even a gleam in Mike's eye... which is why they can afford to laugh!
Valorie Keegan and Tom LaBonge in 2008, before this blog was even a gleam in Mike’s eye… which is why they can afford to laugh!

First we have this little gem, where some lady named Valorie Keegan, who is the current vice chair of the Hollywood Police Advisory Board but beyond that even the Google doesn’t seem to know exactly what she does, emails a link to our humble blog straight to LAPD Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala! And which article is it a link to? It’s this old crowd pleaser about Pete Zarcone and the appearance of corruption at the LAPD. Valorie even admits that our conclusion is true. How’s that for validation from the top?! Chief Bea didn’t seem to have much to say back to Valorie, but if you look at the detailed summary at the top of the email, you’ll see that Chief Bea forwarded the email to someone. Our next task? Find out who! Maybe our readership isn’t 92% Kerry Morrison and her lawyers. Maybe we’re a big hit over at 100 W. First Street as well!

And then there’s this meaty little slab of boys-will-be-boys. It seems that a girl made it into the State Department, despite the large handpainted “NO GURLZ ALLOWD” sign nailed to the bottom of the tree. She emailed Captain Pete and a bunch of other boyz thusly:
Continue reading Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala Reads This Blog!!! And Pete Zarcone and Some State Department Anti-Terrorist Hack Engage in Homosocial Bonding by Insulting Bill Farrar!! NO GIRLZ ALLOWD!!

Why Aren’t BID Security Patrols Registered with the Los Angeles Police Commission?

Any badge, insignia, patch or uniform used or worn by any employee, officer, member or associate of a private patrol service, while on duty for said patrol service, shall be in compliance with State law.  Any such badge, insignia, patch or uniform shall not be of such a design as to be mistaken for an official badge, insignia or uniform worn by a law enforcement officer of the City of Los Angeles or any other law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the City. LAMC 52.34(d)(1)
Any badge, insignia, patch or uniform used or worn by any employee, officer, member or associate of a private patrol service, while on duty for said patrol service, shall be in compliance with State law. Any such badge, insignia, patch or uniform shall not be of such a design as to be mistaken for an official badge, insignia or uniform worn by a law enforcement officer of the City of Los Angeles or any other law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in the City. LAMC 52.34(d)(1)
Recently I was reading the Los Angeles Municipal Code1 and came across LAMC 52.34, which discusses “private patrol services” and their employees, “street patrol officers.” The gist of it seems to be2 that private patrol service operators must register with the Police Commission, and also prove that their employees’ uniforms and badges don’t look too much like real police uniforms and badges. They’re also required to have a complaint process and submit lists of employees and some other things too.

Well, as you can see from the photo above, and from innumerable other photos and videos I’ve obtained from the Hollywood BID Patrol, there is a real problem with BID Patrol officers looking like LAPD. Their uniforms are the same color, their badges are the same shape and color, and so on. Also, they’re famous for not having a complaint process, or at least not one that anyone can discover easily. The Andrews International BID Patrol isn’t the only one with this problem, either. The Media District‘s security vendor, Universal Protection Service, doesn’t seem to have one either. In fact, it was UPS Captain John Irigoyen‘s refusal to accept a complaint about two of his officers that inspired the establishment of this blog. The A/I BID Patrol is as guilty of this lapse as anyone.

Richard Tefank, Executive Director of the LA Police Commission.
Richard Tefank, Executive Director of the LA Police Commission.

The fact that private patrol operators were required to file actual documents with a city agency means that copies would be available! So I fired off some public records requests to Richard Tefank, Executive Director of the Police Commission. He answered right away and told me they’d get right on it. What a relief to discover that Police Commission CPRA requests don’t have to go through the LAPD Discovery Section, which is so notoriously slow to respond that the City of LA has had to pay tens of thousands of dollars in court-imposed fines due to their tardiness. Mr. Tefank handed me off to an officer in the permits section, and he told me that none of the three BID security contractors I asked about; Andrews International, Universal Protection, and Streetplus3 were registered. How could this be, I wondered, given what seems like the plain language of the statute? The story turns out to be immensely complicated, and with lots of new documents.
Continue reading Why Aren’t BID Security Patrols Registered with the Los Angeles Police Commission?

Documents Filed Just Now in LA CAN/LACW Suit Against City of LA, CCEA, Ask for Award of $46,568 in Costs and Entrance of Long List of Damning Facts as True

California-centralI reported a couple weeks ago about the hearing on plaintiffs’ motion to hold the City of LA in contempt for failing to produce discovery documents. The order scheduling the hearing also required the plaintiffs to submit pleadings today outlining the status of the discovery requests and also detailing how much in fees and costs they were asking for. Those documents were filed tonight around 6:30 p.m. and I have them for you here:

Shayla Myers’s declaration has multiple goodies in the exhibits, including a full transcript of the deposition of LAPD Information Technologist LeShon Frierson, in which he revealed for the first time in February that the LAPD does in fact use an email archiving product called GWAVA Retain, which, notably, allows keyword searches across mailboxes, something which the City had wrongly denied was possible. I speculated about this issue in December 2015, so it was a treat to find out that they had this capability, and it’s a treat now to read the actual words of LeShon Frierson describing the software and how it’s used. There are beaucoup emails in there too between Myers and Ronald Whitaker, who’s representing the City. It’s fascinating if, like me, you just can’t resist reading other people’s correspondence.
Continue reading Documents Filed Just Now in LA CAN/LACW Suit Against City of LA, CCEA, Ask for Award of $46,568 in Costs and Entrance of Long List of Damning Facts as True

Late Night Declaration Filed by Ronald Whitaker Opposing Plaintiffs’ Application for Contempt and Sanctions in LACAN/LACW v. City, CCEA

California-centralEarlier today the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the homeless property case, Shayla Myers and Catherine Sweetser, filed a massive application for contempt and sanctions against defendant City of Los Angeles due to their (alleged but totally plausible) recalcitrance in complying with the discovery process. Just now Deputy City Attorney Ronald Whitaker filed a declaration in opposition to this application. There’s nothing that new here, although it’s interesting to see that the City is sticking to its largely discredited claim that

in order to search emails, they need the email addresses of each individual LAPD officer. With the help of our investigator, we have tried to identify each of the individual police officers, of which there are over 400, assigned to the Central Division within the relevant timeframe. The LAPD’s IT department requires us to manually match up each officer name with their serial number, as that is how officers are identified in their email addresses. That process is and has been ongoing.

Continue reading Late Night Declaration Filed by Ronald Whitaker Opposing Plaintiffs’ Application for Contempt and Sanctions in LACAN/LACW v. City, CCEA

Using Your Own Scanner During “Inspection” of Public Records is Allowed by City of Los Angeles, Other Details About LAPD Public Records

The Triforium seen from Fletcher Bowron Square looking southwest from the door of the LAPD Discovery Office this morning.
The Triforium seen from Fletcher Bowron Square looking southwest from the door of the LAPD Discovery Office this morning.
This morning I went to the LAPD Discovery Section at 201 N. Los Angeles Street to inspect the latest batch of emails produced in response to a public records act request I made in January 2015. None of the emails themselves were especially interesting,1 but the procedure itself was interesting. A couple of weeks ago, the incomparably helpful CD13 staffie Dan Halden, after checking with the City Attorney, told me that it was indeed allowed to bring one’s own scanner to a document inspection session. This works out to about 1,000 pages (at 10¢ per page) for a cheap portable scanner, although one with a decent page rate (16 ppm) runs about $200. It seemed worth it, so I brought mine to the LAPD and everything went swimmingly! This is crucial because the City insists2 on printing out emails for inspection and it’s easy to get 2,000 or more pages from a simple request, most of which is junk but it’s hard to tell in advance. Also, I mentioned to Debra Green, who’s handling one of my requests to the LAPD, that no one had answered my other pending ones. She invited me to forward them to her and she’d check into them for me. I did so, and so did she. According to Ms. Green, one of them at least had been assigned to an analyst and was being handled, even though I’d received no response. This may lend some plausibility to the City’s claim in their response to the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition’s Public Records Act lawsuit that, even though they didn’t respond to the requests in question, they nevertheless did look for the records.3 In any case, I’ll update the Practical Guide to CPRA Requests in LA to reflect the possibility of using a scanner. Happy trails, compadres!
Continue reading Using Your Own Scanner During “Inspection” of Public Records is Allowed by City of Los Angeles, Other Details About LAPD Public Records