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
It appears that Mark Smith, Inspector General of the Los Angeles Police Department, and Mayor Eric Garcetti planned earlier this year to open a satellite Inspector General’s office in South Los Angeles “when COVID allows.” According to emails I obtained recently, Garcetti aide Jeff Gorell, Smith, and Police Commission President Eileen Decker were ready on July 9 to announce this publicly.
On July 7 Gorell emailed Garcetti to inform him of the plan, in which the satellite would have “some capacity for in-person report-taking and meetings [and] staffed 2 days per week.” Apparently Garcetti nixed the announcement, though, because it was never made.
According to Gorell’s later email to Decker they’d decided “to postpone the announcement of the satellite IG office until later when we can couple it with other UOF reforms.” The point being, I guess, that Garcetti intended the satellite office, like the use of force reforms, to placate people protesting daily to express their disgust for LAPD’s apparently unslakeable thirst for blood.
Well, I haven’t heard about this plan again, and I haven’t heard much of the ‘other UOF reforms” either. I guess none of it seemed so important while MEG thought he was on his way to Washington? Or something like that. Anyway, read on for a transcription.
Continue reading Garcetti Aide Jeff Gorell And LAPD Inspector General Mark Smith Were All Set In July To Announce Plans To Open A Satellite Inspector General’s Office In South Los Angeles — To Be Staffed Two Days A Week — For Accepting Reports And As A Meeting Space — But When Gorell Checked In With His “Chief” About It A Couple Days Before The Announcement Garcetti Put The Nix On It — Wanted To Bundle It Up With “Other UOF Reforms” — And Now It’s December — With No Satellite Office Announcement And No UOF Reforms — Maybe None Of It Looked Pressing To Garcetti While Visions Of Cabinet-Level Appointments Danced In His Head?
It’s been widely reported that the Los Angeles Police Commission contracted with the National Police Foundation to write a report on the Los Angeles Police Department‘s behavior during the recent May/June 2020 uprising in response to the May 2020 murder of George Floyd. The Commission and LAPD have been busy supplying the NPF with all the evidence they could ever desire.
Not quite so widely reported on is the Commission’s Advisory Committee on Building Trust and Equity. This group was convened in July 2020 to report back to the Commission with recommendations for reforming LAPD, Their report isn’t out yet, but recently I obtained a copy of a draft. It’s a very mainstream set of useless shopworn proposals that, in the words of renowned tweetist @banannaise, “mostly boils down to … tell[ing] the cops to be nice to people and … to stop breaking the law.”
Which was predictable given the Commission’s deferential attitude towards LAPD along with the unstated but obvious charge to the Committee to smooth things over as much as possible. But the fact that the Committee’s conclusions are predetermined doesn’t imply that they’re not committed to making the process look as valid as possible nor that much of their work, even if done in the service of appearing valid, is worthless.
As part of this work, then, the Committee is looking in detail at a huge range of existing police reform proposals, many of which LAPD has already tried, some voluntarily and some by court order. They’ve collected these proposals in a number of spreadsheets, also including LAPD-specific analyses, and I recently obtained copies of a number of these documents (and published them here on the Internet Archive).
Regardless of the value of the Committee’s final report these records are very interesting. Two of them, this 25 page list of LAPD reforms recommended by the 1991 Christopher Commission and this 74 page list of all LAPD reforms required by the 2001 Rampart Scandal Consent Decree, are extremely interesting. You can also view these files as HTML in your web browser. Click here for the Christopher Commission reforms and here for the Consent Decree reforms.
Continue reading More Records From The Police Commission Committee On Building Trust And Equity — Including Eileen Decker’s 25 Page Discussion Of Reforms Recommended By The Christopher Commission In 1991 — With Her Thoughts On Current Compliance And Potential Improvements — And 74 Pages On The 2001 Consent Decree Reforms — And Much More — Demonstrating The Police Commission’s Compliance Check Methodology — Which Is To Count A Reform As Implemented If LAPD Adopts A Policy — Or Requires More Training — Or Introduces Another Level Of Review — Without Looking Independently At What The Police Are Actually Doing — This Won’t Change LAPD — As The Forty Years Of Reform History In These Documents Shows Very Clearly
In September and October the Los Angeles Police Commission Advisory Committee on Building Trust and Equity sponsored a number of Community Town Halls. Various organizations got ten minutes or so to present their ideas on police reform to the Committee including, interestingly, the Los Angeles Police Protective League.
I didn’t pay much attention to these town hall things while they were happening but then I obtained a copy of an appalling LAPPL powerpoint file which turned out to be from that appalling organization’s presentation at the October 1st Town Hall. This crazy slide deck made me wonder what the heck had gone on in that meeting.
The LAPPL was repped by well-known psychopath Rob Harris and not-quite-so-well-known psychopath Jeretta Sandoz. Their argument essentially, and I am paraphrasing it, but accurately, is that because 9% of Angelenos are Black and 44% of “violent crime suspects” are Black, it is therefore not racist that the police arrest disproportionately many Black people. Also LAPD is sad because local politicians are mean to them.
After spilling the numbers, Sandoz gets to the point in pretty much the most offensive way possible: “Look at these numbers. Do Black lives really matter in the community?” As Sandoz says: “If the LAPD arrested the 13,485 black violent crime suspects does that mean the LAPD is biased against black Angelenos? The answer to that is no. The numbers don’t lie.” But, well, yes, actually, it does mean precisely that. The answer to that is yes. The numbers do, in fact, lie. Just ask anyone who’s learned about selection bias, whether in classrooms from statistics teachers or on the streets of Los Angeles from the LAPD. Then Harris again with a forever reel of disingenuously designed fake polling. Eleventy-seven percent of the public support cops and reject commies. And then things got strange.
Continue reading Los Angeles Police Protective League Presentation On Police Reform From October 1st Town Hall Is Unhinged — “Nearly all the reforms that are being talked about are already in place in the Department” — “44% of violent crime suspects are Black — If LAPD arrested these black violent crime suspects does that mean LAPD is biased against Black Angelenos?” — “Public ridicule by City leaders, City politicians, of Department and the officers” — City Leaders, you “have to do better protecting your police officers” — Here’s Video And A Copy Of Their Powerpoint Too!
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!