Tag Archives: Stop LAPD Spying Coalition

Los Angeles Police Department Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — At Issue Are Two Classes Of Records — Both Of Which LAPD Claims Are Investigative And So Exempt From Release — First Are Private Person’s Arrest Forms — Necessary To Track BID Patrol Arrests — Second Are Reports From RPPICS — Some Kind Of Top Secret Cop Tracking And Discussion System — Putatively For Anti-Terrorism

The LAPD has been notoriously bad at complying with the California Public Records Act. So much so that in 2017 the ACLU sued them for systemic violations of the law, which is in addition to any number of small-scale suits based on individual violations, like e.g. Stop LAPD Spying has had to sue them twice, once in 2015 and again in 2018.

These suits were based on the LAPD’s longstanding habit of completely ignoring CPRA requests, often for years at a time. However, since the City of LA started using the NextRequest CPRA platform the LAPD has gotten quite a bit more responsive, although they can still take a maddeningly long time to respond and produce records.

This welcome improvement in LAPD responsiveness does not mean that all is well in Cop-CPRAlandia. They will still arbitrarily deny requests and then cut off the conversation, and they did this to me twice in 2018. Sadly, the CPRA provides no recourse at all for arbitrary unjustified denials beyond the filing of a lawsuit,1 which is what the path I was forced to follow by the LAPD’s extraordinary and unsupportable intransigence. You can read the complaint here, written by the incomparable Abenicio Cisneros, and/or see transcribed selections below the break.

There are two issues at stake. In the first place, remember back in 2016 when Kerry Morrison and her merry gang of curb-stomping thugs at Andrews International Security altered their contract to be able to withhold public records from me? That left me with no way to tell exactly who said curb-stomping thuggie boys arrested, information they naturally wanted to obscure from me because they tend to arrest the wrong people and rather than mend their ways they prefer to cover up their misdeeds.

But last year I discovered that every time the BID Patrol arrests someone they fill out a form for the LAPD. Here is an example of one. As it’s essential to find out not only how many arrests the BID Patrol makes2 but who they’re actually arresting, I requested that the LAPD give me all of these forms from Hollywood from 2018. They refused, and that is my first cause of action.

The other issue has to do with some Orwellian slab of web app crap known as the Regional Public Private Infrastructure Collaboration System. I learned about this from some emails I got from the Downtown Center BID in response to a CPRA request. You can see the emails here on Archive.Org, but they’re not that interesting. They mostly just announce that new information is available on RPPICS, and since they won’t give up the goods, there’s no way to tell what that is.

But this kind of public/private collaboration sharing between police and security is famous for being misused for political surveillance and other illegal and antihuman activities. The LAPD and private security already get up to enough of this in open emails, as does the freaking BID Patrol. Imagine what they’re doing in secret. But we don’t have to imagine, we can make CPRA requests! Which is what I did, asking LAPD for a year’s worth of postings so as to learn what the heck these people were up to in their little secret world. Again, they denied my request, and this is my second cause of action.

And turn the page, if you will, for a few technicalities about the LAPD’s exemption claims and transcribed selections from the petition itself.
Continue reading Los Angeles Police Department Sued To Enforce Compliance With California Public Records Act — At Issue Are Two Classes Of Records — Both Of Which LAPD Claims Are Investigative And So Exempt From Release — First Are Private Person’s Arrest Forms — Necessary To Track BID Patrol Arrests — Second Are Reports From RPPICS — Some Kind Of Top Secret Cop Tracking And Discussion System — Putatively For Anti-Terrorism

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Thousands Of Pages Of 2016 LAPD Emails Shed Light On Hollywood Nightclub Racism And Creepy Cop Tricks — Including Targeted Enforcement Against Minority-Serving Establishments — Sending People “To Jail Before They Commit Crimes” — Explicit Targeting Of Putatively Chronic Offenders — Not To Mention Bizarro-World Redaction Policies Which Shed Some Light On The LAPD’s Contempt For The Public Records Act

Friends, cast your minds back to the Spring of 2015! Kerry Morrison’s various BIDs were all in a psychotic tizzy about dark-skinned people coming to Hollywood on the weekends to drink and dance and have some damn fun. Kerry Morrison and her yes-mob started a campaign against the nightclubs on Hollywood Blvd whose patrons were insufficiently lacking in melanin.1 This led, by the Fall of 2015, to Hollywood’s itchy skritchy little Council-snitchy, the one, the only, Mitch O’Freaking Farrell, starting a high-profile public campaign to shut down every nightspot that made Ms. Kerry Freaking Morrison wrinkle her freaking nose in disdain.

There was some pushback from the club owners in 2016, e.g. from the owner of the Rusty Mullet, whose lawyers played video from this blog at a Council hearing, and the organizers of the #blackhollywoodmatters campaign who, notably, convinced Marqueece Harris-Dawson to vote against the wishes of his smarmy little buddy from CD13 in a committee hearing, although naturally he reversed himself at the full Council vote. But in the usual way of things these minor victories didn’t have much of an effect,2 and by the end of August 2016 Kerry Morrison was, like Grendel’s momma, sitting around her reeking lair counting her ill-gotten victories on her poisonous and twisted little talons.

Around this time, that is, in August 2016, I filed a public records act request with the LAPD asking for emails related to these matters. And because the LAPD is basically a criminal conspiracy with respect to CPRA and just will not comply with the freaking law, which is why they get sued under the CPRA all the freaking time, it took them two whole years to hand over the goods. But they finally did produce thousands of pages3 and I recently published the whole pile on Archive.Org for your pleasure and edification.

At this late date, of course, and this was doubtless the City’s intention, the battle for the soul of Hollywood Blvd is pretty much over, with the reprehensible frightening whitening brightening of its nightlife essentially complete. However, history is interesting as well as political science, so I plan to write on these emails from time to time as there’s a lot of really disturbing and important material in there. The texts for today’s sermon come from this set here, and turn the page for the details!
Continue reading Thousands Of Pages Of 2016 LAPD Emails Shed Light On Hollywood Nightclub Racism And Creepy Cop Tricks — Including Targeted Enforcement Against Minority-Serving Establishments — Sending People “To Jail Before They Commit Crimes” — Explicit Targeting Of Putatively Chronic Offenders — Not To Mention Bizarro-World Redaction Policies Which Shed Some Light On The LAPD’s Contempt For The Public Records Act

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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

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Stop LAPD Spying CPRA Case Hearing Set for Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 1:30 p.m., Stanley Mosk Courthouse Department 85

stop LAPD spying logoLast month (on May 5) Judge James Chalfant, who’s presiding over the CPRA lawsuit filed by the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition to address the LAPD’s utterly lawless noncompliance with the California Public Records Act, entered an order setting the hearing date to Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. This will be in Chalfant’s courtroom, which is Department 85 (room 834) in the Stanley Mosk Courthouse at 111 North Hill Street. I’m sorry for the late notice, but the LA County Superior Courts don’t offer an RSS feed or any other way to be notified of new filings.

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Stop LAPD Spying Meeting Yesterday and Fabulous Street-Fried Potatoes at MacArthur Park

Potatoes fried to order at the MacArthur Park Red Line station yesterday afternoon.  I don't even like French fries, and I could have eaten any number of orders of these.
Potatoes fried to order and drizzled with Mexican-flag-colored sauce at the MacArthur Park Red Line station yesterday afternoon. I don’t even like French fries, and I could have eaten any number of orders of these.
Last night I attended my first meeting of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition. It was interesting, heartening, and full of people worth meeting. I will be going to future meetings, and you should too! But that’s not what I’m here to tell you about. I’m here to tell you about the lovely order of papas fritas I bought from a woman who was cooking them right there in a pot of sizzling oil on the East side of Alvarado Street, tucked away in the South end of the Red Line plaza.
Continue reading Stop LAPD Spying Meeting Yesterday and Fabulous Street-Fried Potatoes at MacArthur Park

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Stop LAPD Spying CPRA Case Trial Setting Conference Continued Until April 7, 2016

slsc.logoPlaintiff Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and respondent City of Los Angeles agreed in a stipulation filed with LA County Superior Court on March 3, 2016, to continue the trial setting conference, originally scheduled for March 7, 2016, until April 7, 2016. The reasons given in the order (with attendant whereases) include:

WHEREAS, after filing of the complaint, the Respondent has produced two sets of responsive documents to Petitioners and continues to search for responsive documents;

WHEREAS, the parties are engaged in ongoing informal discussions about further production…

It’s my impression that if filing a suit encourages the respondent to cough up the goodies then they’re still on the hook for the court costs and attorney’s fees. So it’s fitting and proper that the City is producing documents and talking to the plaintiffs, but they would have saved everyone a lot of time and trouble but just following the law in the first place.

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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

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City of Los Angeles Files Answer to Stop LAPD Spying Coalition Public Records Act Petition: Admits Guilt, Expects Reward

Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Julie Raffish.
Why is the City of LA fighting this lawsuit? What a freaking waste of time and money. On January 26, 2016, the City of Los Angeles filed its answer to the petition filed by Colleen Flynn and Carol Sobel on behalf of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and the National Lawyers Guild Los Angeles seeking a writ of mandate ordering the LAPD to stop messing about and turn over the goddamned goodies. (You can find a collection of filings from this suit here). Paragraphs 1 through 9 of the initial complaint are background, and Julie Raffish, who wrote the answer, gets to indulge her evident taste for dark sarcasm in her responses, e.g. at paragraph 4 denying that the NLG is a non-profit legal association.

She also displays a wry, deadpan humor. For instance, in paragraph 3 the plaintiffs assert that the Coalition to Stop LAPD Spying “empowers its members to work collectively against police repression and to dismantle domestic spying operations” and that therefore the Coalition has an interest in the LAPD’s adhering to the Public Records Act. Julie Raffish has the City admitting that the Coalition is interested, but claiming that, as to the rest of the allegations they “lack sufficient information and knowledge to form a belief as to the truth…” of, I guess, whether there are “police repression” and “domestic spying operations” to be dismantled and worked collectively against. Dry as a bone, is Julie Raffish, and isn’t lawyerly humor fun! But the public records stuff is where it gets really interesting:
Continue reading City of Los Angeles Files Answer to Stop LAPD Spying Coalition Public Records Act Petition: Admits Guilt, Expects Reward

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Stop LAPD Spying Public Records Lawsuit Switched to Judge James C. Chalfant, Hearing Continued to March 8, 2016

The Rampart LAPD Station.  Why?  Don't know.
The Rampart LAPD Station. Why? Don’t know.
The City of Los Angeles, which is being sued by the National Lawyers Guild Los Angeles and the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition because of its flouting of the California Public Records Act, filed a motion a couple weeks ago asking that the judge be changed. Last Thursday this motion, which was peremptory, was granted, and here is the order. It’s now in Judge James C. Chalfant’s courtroom, Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Department 85, and the initial hearing has been set for Tuesday, March 8, at 1:30 PM.
Continue reading Stop LAPD Spying Public Records Lawsuit Switched to Judge James C. Chalfant, Hearing Continued to March 8, 2016

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City of Los Angeles Files Boilerplate Motion in Stop LAPD Spying CPRA Case Stating that Judge Joanne O’Donnell is too Prejudiced to Officiate

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joanne O'Donnell.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joanne O’Donnell.
There’s a (relatively) new development in the Stop LAPD Spying v. City of L.A. Public Records Act case. Unfortunately the L.A. County Superior Court doesn’t seem to have an automated filing notification system like the Federal District Courts do, which is why I missed (until now) this interesting motion that the City of L.A. filed on January 12, 2016. It is a Motion for an Order Establishing Peremptory Challenge to Judicial Officer as well as a Declaration of Julie Raffish. Julie Raffish is the Deputy City Attorney that’s defending the case for L.A. In this declaration she claims that:

Joanne O’Donnell, the judge before whom the trial or hearing in this action is pending or to whom it has been assigned, is prejudiced against the Respondent
[City of Los Angeles] or its attorney or the interest of the Respondent or its attorney, so that the declarant [Julie Raffish] believes that she cannot have a fair and impartial trial or hearing before the judge.

Now, this is obviously a boilerplate motion, and, at least as of today, the first three hits on a Google search on los angeles superior court peremptory challenge to judicial officer are forms for this, using the identical language to the motion filed by Julie Raffish. But there’s more!
Continue reading City of Los Angeles Files Boilerplate Motion in Stop LAPD Spying CPRA Case Stating that Judge Joanne O’Donnell is too Prejudiced to Officiate

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