You will recall that after K-Town For All, Knock.LA, and LA Magazine broke the huge story in August about LAPD officers, most notably Sean Dinse, participating in private anti-homeless vigilante Facebook groups helmed by former LAPD volunteer Fern Peskin-White, a local advertising paper, the Valley News Group, ran their own version of the story on August 15.
This inspired the thuggish vigilante Facebook warriors to launch a campaign of abuse, harassment, and threats against Kathleen Sterling, the head honcho of the VNG. And subsequently, when the LAPD banned its officers from participating in the vigilante groups and announced a public meeting in September to discuss the matter, Sterling gave them notice of the horrifying treatment she’d suffered at the hands of their Facebook fans and how, because of their terroristic tactics, she was frightened to attend the public meeting.
Her email to them is well worth your time to read, and is filled with despicable facts that showcase the appalling thuggery of Fern Peskin-White’s unhinged minions. Sadly I do not have time to write about all of this, but one episode is essential. Sterling told LAPD officers Al Mendoza, Sean Dinse, and Duc Dao, that:
… members of that group were harassing me, trying to put my home address on Facebook and threatening me – and I heard nothing from you. They are also dumping our papers from our distribution points – which is blatantly illegal.
And she attached four screenshots from the group, showing that these self-proclaimed law and order worshipping cop lovers were indeed conspiring to dump and actually dumping her papers. So for instance we have cop lover Donna Tamara Trent telling her partners in crime “EVERYWHERE YOU GO IF YOU SEE THEM GRAB ALL THE COPIES IF YOU CAN. I KNOW A FEW PLACES THAT HAVE THEM. TRASH THEM.” And we have cop lover Sheila Johnson sending her partners in crime a picture of a stack of these free papers and being told by cop lover Houman Salem to Trash it. Cop lover Sheila Johnson agreeably replies that “[she] will try to get what [she] can.”
Then we have cop lover Noni Kay telling her partners in crime that “I threw the one away inside Juicy Ladies.” To which cop lover Diana Bernard Katayama replied with a photograph of a bunch of copies of the paper inside a trash can and telling her partners in crime that she is “off to fined [sic] more.” The set closes with cop lover Mike Pettit telling his partners in crime that he “took care of all the trash at Albertson’s Calabasas” and providing an extensive list of distribution points for his co-conspirators to attack.
And somehow it fell to Valley public information officer Karen Rayner to deal with this matter, which Sterling, you will recall, had told the police was “blatantly illegal.” Take a look at this email from later in the day, in which Karen Rayner, one of the finest legal minds of her generation, writes to her boss Al Mendoza offering up this tasty tidbit of staggering cop genius:
This email was brought to my attention today and I am looking for your input before I respond. Since the papers are free, I could not think of a crime. It’s rude, but is it a crime. You can see from the screen shots, it’s clearly intentional and they are proud of themselves. To confirm I spoke with Detective Dennis Noone and he agreed.
Got it? Rayner “could not think of a crime.” and “Detective Dennis Noone … agreed.” But, you know, it’s interesting, because even though the cops couldn’t think of a crime, the California State Legislature could and did think of a crime. It’s found at 490.7(a,b) PC, which states unambiguously:
The Legislature finds that free newspapers provide a key source of information to the public, in many cases providing an important alternative to the news and ideas expressed in other local media sources. The Legislature further finds that the unauthorized taking of multiple copies of free newspapers, whether done to sell them to recycling centers, to injure a business competitor, to deprive others of the opportunity to read them, or for any other reason, injures the rights of readers, writers, publishers, and advertisers, and impoverishes the marketplace of ideas in California.
(b) No person shall take more than twenty-five (25) copies of the current issue of a free or complimentary newspaper if done with the intent to … (3) Deprive others of the opportunity to read or enjoy the newspaper.
Now, it’s not that the LAPD lacks the resources to find out what crimes there are in the world. They have whole gangs of lawyers and training officers at their disposal to come up with creative and novel legal theories on the basis of which to prosecute the poor, the helpless, the vulnerable and after they come up with them, to promulgate awareness of them at roll call and the like. We’ve seen just for instance Deputy City Attorney Kurt Knecht wracking his pernicious little brain to find ways to cite homeless people for standing in alleys, and Deputy City Attorney Tia Strozier offering free legal advice to psychopathic rageball George Yu and tricky little ways to cite street vendors.
The difference in this case, obviously, is that the perpetrators are lightskinned zillionaire-adjacent housedwelling vigilante cop loving thugs rather than helpless poor people. Obviously, says every fiber of the consciousness of every police officer everywhere anytime, what these people are doing is not illegal. Therefore I won’t, say the cop-consciousness-fibers, even bother googling, even bother asking a Deputy City Attorney to come up with a theory on which to prosecute this merry gang of fun-loving non-criminals. Instead, says Karen Rayner, let’s just drop it.
But now, thanks to the fact that I bothered to spend 3 seconds typing four words into Google,1 the cops are on notice that these vigilante thugs did in fact break a law. And it was less than two months ago. And we have their names and their spontaneous admissions of guilt. They can still be brought to justice. They must be brought to justice. It seems that a first offense is only an infraction, but subsequent violations are misdemeanors, and I’m sure a creative prosecutor, and we have no shortage of creativity of a certain type among our local prosecutors, more’s the damn pity, could find a way to charge each instance as a separate violation.
Not to mention the conspiracy, laid out plain for the whole world to see. Conspiracy is a crime in itself. So, LAPD, the ball’s in your court. They did break the law. You have the evidence. Now arrest them. And City Attorneys out there? Take a little break from arresting the homeless for sitting on the curb and arrest these book-burning Nazi NIMBYs. The whole world is watching, so get to work.
Image of LAPD officer Karen Rayner is ©2019 MichaelKohlhaas.Org.
- If you’re interested it was leginfo destroying free newspapers.