LAPD, often acting through the Los Angeles Police Protective League, warps just about every aspect of municipal politics to serve its own twisted ends. They’re famous for their blackmail files on local politicians and all sorts of other intimidation tactics in order to strongarm them into supporting every aspect of the cop-first agenda. But it turns out that I had no idea of how deeply the LAPPL has insinuated itself into the terms and conditions of policing in this City until I read this October 2020 memo from LAPD sergeant Joseph Fransen to Chief Bea Girmala.
The context is a meet-and-confer process involving LAPPL and LAPD brass about when police dog bites are counted as a “use of force.” This is an official label, and its application has consequences for the officer. Per Fransen “the LAPPL views something being a use of force as de facto ‘bad'” and therefore they want it made harder to rule that a police dog bite counts as such. A November 6, 2020 update, part of the same memo linked to above, reveals that Girmala recommended that LAPD partially address LAPPL’s concerns.
The proposal was discussed by the Police Commission’s Use of Force Subcommittee on November 10, 2020 and again on March 9, 2021. As far as I can see it has not yet been considered by the full Commission. In other words, LAPPL, high-ranking LAPD officers, the Inspector General, and two members of the Police Commission have spent more than six months holding secret discussions of the rules under which police dog handlers operate.
Continue reading LAPPL and LAPD have been negotiating a revision of the department’s use of force policy as applied to police dog bites in secret at least since November 2020 — Police Commissioners are involved in the discussions via the LAPC’s Use of Force Subcommittee — which does not meet in public — and is only one of multiple secret subcommittees — none of which comply with the Brown act — used by the Commission to evade public oversight
In April 2016 LAPD was out hunting suspects with police dogs. One of the dogs scratched on the door of Heller Castillo’s house. He thought the police wanted him to open the door and did so, at which time he was attacked by one of their dogs. Castillo filed a suit. In January 2020 he City Attorney’s office recommended in January 2020 that City Council authorize an aggressive settlement offer of $75K that Lisa Lee, the Deputy handling the case, thought wouldn’t be accepted but wanted to make anyway for strategic reasons, even though she knew the City was at fault and was convinced they’d lose badly if the case went to a jury. Here’s a copy of the confidential report that Lee sent to City Council in January 2020
in advance of the closed session called to discuss the issue.
According to the Los Angeles City Charter the City Attorney represents the City of Los Angeles in lawsuits. Which means that from time to time the City Attorney has to consult with the City Council to ask for direction from their client, the City of Los Angeles. On such occasions the Brown Act allows such meetings to take place in secret, which they always do.
But prior to such meetings the City Attorney’s office sends a confidential report to the City Council so that they can be ready to discuss. These reports are generally exempt from release under the California Public Records Act, but from time to time I manage to lay my hands on a copy of one. This last happened with the employment practices case brought by LAPD officer Ray Garvin against the City of Los Angeles.
And today I have another such confidential report for you. This is from January 2020 and has to do with the case Castillo v. City of LA, in which a police dog bit plaintiff Heller Castillo during an LAPD operation in which he was in no way a suspect. Lisa W. Lee, the Deputy City Attorney handling the case, recommends in this report to City Council that she be allowed to make a 998 offer of $75K to settle, even though, as Lee says:
it is anticipated that Plaintiff will not accept an offer of $75,000, [but] we believe that we should make the offer as a tool to encourage settlement.
Lee doesn’t think Castillo would accept $75K because he is asking for $800K, because the state of California imposes strict liability for police dogs biting non-suspects, and the facts are horrific, so that a jury is unlikely to find in the City’s favor:
Continue reading In 2016 An LAPD Police Dog Attacked Heller Castillo — When He Opened His Front Door Because He Thought The Police Wanted Him To — Although He Was Not A Suspect In Any Way — The Law Imposes Strict Liability For Non-Suspect Police Dog Attacks — A Top Secret Confidential Report Obtained By MK.Org Reveals That In January 2020 Deputy City Attorney Lisa Lee Recommended A $75K Settlement Offer Because “a jury would almost certainly find in favor of the Plaintiff” — Which Is A Good Reason To Settle — But Lee Thought The Plaintiff Would Refuse — He Was Asking For $800K And His Lawyers Surely Know About Los Angeles Juries — However Ending The Case Was Not Lee’s Purpose — Which Is Apparent Since She Recommended A So-Called 998 Offer — Which Is An Aggressive Litigation Tactic — That Is Absolutely Not Reasonable For Cities To Use Against Citizens — Cities Ought To Seek Justice — Not Petty Revenge — The Case Is Ongoing By The Way — Trial Setting Conference In April 2021