On October 10, 2020, LAPD Chief Michel Moore sent an email to a bunch of police luminaries with the subject line CM Marqueece Harris-Dawson Tweet – Ridiculous. The outline is in the headline and the full text is below. But first, is anyone still wondering who actually runs this City?
After the City Council choosing layoffs and furloughs over even freezing LAPD’s budget, let alone reducing it? After seeing police officers surround and intimidate CD 7 rep Monica Rodriguez? After the LAPPL’s disingenuous attacks on CD11 rep Mike Bonin?
If so, they won’t be wondering after reading Michel Moore tell more than twenty five of his subordinates that he “expect[s] better” from Councilmember Harris-Dawson, that he’s “committed to holding [politicians] accountable,” that after their conversation Harris-Dawson had the “ridiculous” tweet, apparently neither written nor approved by him, deleted and replaced “with a positive and supportive message.” Here’s a transcription of the email:
Continue reading On October 10, 2020 LAPD Chief Michel Moore “Was Personally Insulted By The Content” Of A Tweet On Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s Twitter — So He Asked MHD About It — MHD Denied Writing It Or Even Knowing About It — But Promised To Replace It With “A Positive And Supportive Message” — Then Moore Emailed 27 LAPD Brass And Told Them That He Had “Personally Discussed This With The CM And Expect[ed] Better” — Who Is It That’s In Charge Of This City Again?
This post is about a complaint I filed just now with LAPD Captain Bryan Lium against Kris Tu and Thanh Su of the Department’s Public Records Unit. If you want to skip straight to it here is the link!
The LAPD let me know recently that they will not comply with the California Public Records Act when it comes to my requests. Which isn’t much of a change, actually. Other than a few months in 2018 when they followed the law they have never complied. It took them over a year to get to my first request to them in 2015 and things have only gotten worse.
But late last year they settled a major CPRA case with the ACLU and part of the agreement required the Department to adopt a policy stating explicitly that LAPD employees, both sworn and nonsworn, were subject to discipline for willful violations of the law. And since they will no longer produce records in response to my requests I’ve been using the time I would have spent reviewing and writing about their records to file complaints against them instead.
In August of this year I filed one against LAPD CPRA Sub-boss Kris Tu and his supervisor, Lieutenant Marla Ciuffetelli. Then another against Ciuffetelli alone. A few weeks ago I filed my third, this against Tu again and also Discovery Analyst Masoomeh Cheraghi.
And today I filed my fourth! This one’s against Tu and Analyst Thanh Su. There are two issues involved here. First their refusal to state which exemptions they claim justify their redactions and withholdings and second their refusal to state the name of the person who determined to apply the exemptions. Read the transcription below for the details and stay tuned to see what happens!
Continue reading Today I Filed Yet Another Complaint Against LAPD Detective Kris Tu — Sub-Boss Of Their Public Records Unit — And His Subordinate Thanh Su — For Willfully Violating The California Public Records Act — Read All About It Right Here!
On June 16, 2020 Council District 5 rep Paul Koretz was one of only three Councilmembers to vote against asking City staff to report back on ways to cut a mere $150M from the LAPD budget. For some background check out this excellent essay by Jacob Woocher in Knock-LA. Koretz defended his position both before and after the vote by admitting that he’d received public comments urging him to support the cuts but also, according to Elizabeth Chou of the Daily News, “Koretz said he’s heard “emphatic” calls to defund the police dept, but he said he’s also heard from others who “feel very differently, and for whom public safety is a very high priority.” Those people fear “slower response times” from police”.
Koretz wants to show the world that he’s representing his constituents, rather than voting the straight LA Police Protective League line in opposition to his constituents’ desires. But doesn’t he sound like he’s lying? So I thought I’d check it out by asking CD5 for the communications from the public, hoping to learn how many of these folks who, according to Koretz, “feel very differently, and for whom public safety is a very high priority” actually did get in touch with Koretz.
Continue reading In June 2020 Paul Koretz Was One Of Only Three LA City Councilmembers To Vote Against Even Studying An Absurdly Minuscule LAPD Budget Reduction — He Told The Daily News That He Had Heard From People On Both Sides Of The Issue — Creating The Impression That He Was Balancing The Conflicting Wishes Of His Constituents — But I Just Got Copies Of All The June 2020 Constituent Emails To Him On Police Defunding — Can’t Count Precisely But There Are Around 270 In Favor Of Defunding — And One — Yes, One — Against — So It Looks Like Koretz Was Confused — Which Is A Politely Sarcastic Way To Describe What Koretz Really Is — About Who He Represents
NOTE: This post is about a complaint I filed today against a couple of LAPD CPRA staff and that’s a link straight to it if you want to skip the post.
In August 2019 I learned that LAPD used facial recognition technology to, among other random things, identify homeless people in Chinatown on behalf of outlaw Chinatown BID Boss George Yu. In September 2019 I asked LAPD for records relating to their use of facial recognition. They stalled and stalled and stalled until June 2020 when Kris Tu, a detective in charge of LAPD’s CPRA unit, told me that there were no responsive records.
Which, as was very recently revealed, was certainly not the whole truth. Furthermore, I recently obtained this email chain involving LAPD CPRA analyst Masoomeh Cheraghi. She responded in May 2020 to a February 2020 email announcing various LAPD facial recognition policies, announced that she was working on my request, and was told by LAPD staff that there was in fact a Detective Bureau Notice on the subject.
However, she failed to produce either the email or the Notice, although both are clearly responsive to my request. Not only that, but in June 2020 Kris Tu told me explicitly that there were no responsive records despite the fact that Cheraghi, his subordinate, provably knew of at least two of them and had at least one of them in her possession.
Continue reading We Now Know That The LAPD Lied To A Whole Series Of Public Records Requesters About Facial Recognition — They’ve Been Lying About It For Years — And They Lied About It To Me Too — I Recently Discovered Proof That LAPD Discovery Had Records Responsive To My Request In Their Actual Possession At The Time That LAPD Discovery Boss Kris Tu Told Me There Weren’t Any — And The LAPD Department Manual CPRA Section Requires LAPD To Comply — And States Explicitly That If They Willfully Withhold Records They May Be Subject To Punishment — Which Is Why Today I Filed A Complaint Against Tu — And Masoomeh Cheraghi — A Civilian Analyst Who Had One Of The Responsive Records In Her Possession When Tu Illegally Closed My Request — And You Can Read It Here!
NOTE: This post is about Police Commission Calendars from 2013 through 2020, and they’re here on Archive.Org.
The Los Angeles Police Commission theoretically oversees the Los Angeles Police Department via powers enumerated in the City Charter at §570 et seq. Although these powers are pretty broad, e.g. they include the power to recommend that the Chief be fired subject to approval of Council, the Commission doesn’t do much with them at all, as you surely know if you’ve ever attended one of their meetings. They act more like collegial collaborators with the police than any respectable oversight body ought to do.
You’ll have seen that the only people in the room who’ve spent any time at all thinking about police oversight are members of the public there to give comment. The Commission itself is overly friendly with the police and exceedingly hostile towards any members of the public who are not also overly friendly with the police. And it turns out that this impression of unseemly collaboration between overseers and overseen is also accurate outside public view.
The Commissioners have regular private meetings with the Chief and other members of LAPD’s command staff, sometimes over a meal. For instance on January 17, 2018 Steve Soboroff and another person had lunch with Beck at YXTA, a gentrification bar on Skid Row which apparently has good carne asada. Soboroff and Beck met regularly before Beck retired, often at YXTA but sometimes at Langer’s and elsewhere. On March 6, 2018 Soboroff had breakfast with Dominic Choi at the Pacific Dining Car.
Continue reading Internal Police Commission Calendars Show Commissioners Regularly Attending Social And Ceremonial Events With LAPD Brass — And Meeting Very Regularly — Very Privately With Charlie Beck — Michel Moore — Other LAPD Command Staff — With Private Meals At The Pacific Dining Car — Langer’s — YXTA — They Were Briefed On LAPD Facial Recognition In 2018 — Even Though The Department Publicly Lied And Denied Their Use Of It Until September 2020 — They Have Scheduled Breakfasts Tuesdays At 8 AM — So Many Commissioners Have So Many Private Meetings With Michel Moore That Brown Act Violations Seem Unavoidable — And More!
It’s well known that the City of Los Angeles actively supports gentrification and thereby transfers an appalling amount of wealth to real estate developers. But it might not be as well known that a lot of people who aren’t developers, many of them not even in the real estate business, also with the active support of the City, make a lot of money from gentrification. E.g. the official police garages or the vast array of PR consultants who function as the set dressers of gentrification by “repositioning” so-called “up and coming neighborhoods” to make them cozy and attractive to the new residents.
And very recently I learned about a new aspect of this process related to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program. The City uses its municipal power to bring such suits to directly support the gentrification of specific neighborhoods. For instance see the (apparently) ongoing prosecution of a nuisance case against Nipsey Hussle’s property at Crenshaw and Slauson As with the police garages and the neighborhood branding consultants, here too there are nondevelopers, in this case property management companies and private security patrols, making good money from gentrification with the open assistance of the City of Los Angeles.
Continue reading Developers Aren’t The Only Ones Making Money From Gentrification In Los Angeles — There Is A Whole Gentrification Service Sector Also Cashing In — In Both Cases With The Active Support Of The City Of Los Angeles — For Instance Before The City Attorney Files A Nuisance Abatement Petition They Meet With The Property Owner — And Make Demands Of Them — Like That They Hire A Property Management Company — And/Or A Private Security Patrol — But They Have A Very Short List Of Approved Companies To Use — Which They Claim Not To Endorse — But In The Coercive Context Of Such Meetings This Means Nothing At All
Homeless people need cell phones to survive, and charging them is a perennial problem. Although the City of Los Angeles could very, very easily put electrical outlets on streetlights they refuse to do so, which leads to the dangerous but necessary practice of makeshift rewiring by unhoused people. As revealed by this newly obtained email conversation, in March 2019 this was happening regularly in Chinatown.
LAPD Officer Stephen Nichols told George Yu, the unhinged megalomaniac leader of the reprehensible Chinatown Business Improvement District, that if Yu gave him a list of affected lights he would personally deal with the unauthorized wiring. But Yu told him not to do that. Yu cited a recent electrocution death in Westlake and told Nichols:
“Lets let BSL do their work. I would prefer natural selection like the Westlake incident to happen as that will be the only way that the City will take care of business.”
When Nichols finally got Yu’s point, which took a surprising amount of discussion, he thought it was hilarious. Nichols’s entire response: “☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺” Here we see the thoroughly disgusting spectacle of an LAPD officer, sworn to protect and to serve, sharing a laugh with a notorious psychopath over the tactical political utility of mass electrocutions of homeless people.
Continue reading Chinatown Business Improvement District Chief George Yu Calls Self-Electrocution Of Homeless People “Natural Selection” — Yu Told LAPD Officer Stephen Nichols Not To Repair Dangerously Altered Streetlight Wiring — So That More Homeless People Would Die When They Charged Their Phones — Because “that will be the only way that the City will take care of business” — And LAPD Officer Stephen Nichols’s Response To Yu’s Homicidal Mania? — And I Quote — “☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺”
Nuisance abatement suits are brought by the Los Angeles City Attorney against homeowners or commercial landlords or tenants who allegedly allow their property to be used to further criminal activity. The City of Los Angeles notoriously uses such suits along with gang injunctions and the myriad of laws criminalizing homelessness to effect and defend the progress of gentrification.
The suits benefit the City on a number of levels. More broadly they’re a way to terrorize poor property owners by reminding them that they can be randomly targeted and forced to sell their homes. Nuisance suits also give the City a way to change the character of a neighborhood by targeting businesses that don’t suit the image being created by gentrifying developers. Most pragmatically, most cynically, the City also uses them to increase its surveillance capacities in gentrifying neighborhoods.
For instance, prior to bringing suit the City often demands that property owners install street-facing surveillance cameras and give LAPD full-time at-will access to the video feed. If you’re walking by Holiday Liquor at 4966 W. Adams, e.g., smile for the camera because LAPD is watching you! This phenomenon, among many others, is discussed in an essential recent paper by Ananya Roy, Terra Graziani, and Pamela Stephens, who note that in the infamous 2017 Chesapeake Apartments nuisance case, the City sought a number of concessions of this sort from the owner:
the establishment of extensive security systems at the property with direct access by the Los Angeles Police Department to these systems of monitoring and surveillance. … including video monitoring and electronic access control systems and private security guards.
Continue reading Three Depositions Of LAPD Officers Reveal Interesting Facts About The City Attorney’s Gentrification-Enhancing Nuisance Abatement Program — They Force Property Owners To Install Surveillance Cameras And Give LAPD Immediate Access To The Feed — E.g. Holiday Liquor At 4966 W. Adams Has Cameras That Cops Can Watch You On 24/7 Without Even Asking Anyone — And It Really Sounds Like These Cops Made Up Stories About Whatever Bad Stuff Was Happening At The Liquor Store — And Those Damn Gang Classes LAPD Teaches…
In 2017 the ACLU of Southern California sued the Los Angeles Police Department over their habitual egregious violations of the California Public Records Act. The City settled the case in September 2019 by paying the ACLU $57K and signing an extensive agreement which included a number of conditions regarding LAPD’s CPRA practices.
One of the conditions requires LAPD to use a web platform for handling CPRA requests, to publish the requests so that they’re searchable, and to publish records produced as well. The full text of this clause is transcribed below. The City addressed this requirement by adopting NextRequest, but so far LAPD has failed to publish requests consistently, and even when they do publish them, they often won’t publish the released documents or the conversation with the requester, both of which the settlement requires them to do.
In particular, at the time of writing, requests 19-4413 and 19-4414 remain unpublished and the released documents remain unavailable and unsearchable for anyone but the logged-in requester. It’s essential that LAPD publish all published requests, but I have a particular interest in these two given that recently LAPD Chief Michel Moore publicly accused me of making requests that “are intentionally designed to be unclear, confounding, and/or overbroad.”
The evidence Moore cited is based on these two requests, which are none of the things he accuses me of intentionally designing them to be. So a couple weeks ago I asked LAPD Lt. Marla Ciuffetelli, new boss of the CPRA Unit, to publish them. She has so far completely ignored my request despite the fact that LAPD is subject to a court order requiring publication and despite the fact that the requests are themselves public records, which I requested.
But one of the other clauses in the agreement says that LAPD officers who willfully violate the CPRA may be subject to discipline. So yesterday I filed this complaint against Ciuffetelli with Bryan Lium, her superior officer, which is also transcribed below. I am sure that as they usually do they’ll kick it around for a year or two and then exonerate Ciuffetelli, but maybe not. In any case, I will certainly let you know what happens!
Continue reading Lt. Marla Ciuffetelli Runs LAPD’s Public Records Unit — And She Refuses To Publish CPRA Requests On NextRequest — So That They Remain Unreadable And Unsearchable By The Public — This Is A Direct Violation Of A Settlement Agreement LAPD Signed Last Year To Settle A Monumental CPRA Case — So I Filed A Complaint With LAPD About Ciuffetelli’s Transgressions — Which You Can Read Here — Of Course!