Tag Archives: Richard Tefank

Los Angeles Police Department Inspector General Mark Smith Is Supposed To Investigate LAPD To See That They Comply With The Law — Which Is Pretty Hypocritical Since His Office Intentionally And Egregiously Violates The California Public Records Act — Which Is A Violation Of Requesters’ Constitutional Rights — I Made A Request In September 2020 — His Staffer Julie Buchwald Had The Records Ready By October 2020 — She Messed Around And Didn’t Produce The Records Until April 16 2021 — If Smith Doesn’t Know That Buchwald Is A Liar And An Outlaw Then He’s Incompetent — If He Does Know He’s A Co-Conspirator — Either Way He Has No Business Whatsoever Overseeing Anything Related To Obeying The Law — Especially The Police — He Is A Hypocrite And Ought To Resign Immediately — He Probably Exonerates Every Cop He Investigates To Sooth His Conscience Over His Own Lawbreaking — Even Cops Ought To Refuse To Be Overseen By This Guy — Who At This Point Has Zero Credibility — Did I Mention He Ought To Resign?

On September 20, 2020, I sent a request for some old reports to Mark Smith, the Inspector General of the Los Angeles Police Department. On April 16, 2021 Smith produced the responsive records. This is the story of what happened in the seven months between the request and the production!1

On September 22, 2020, just two days after receiving my request, Police Commission Executive Director Richard Tefank emailed Deputy City Attorney Soraya Kelly who, along with Carlos De La Guerra, staffs CPRA requests for the Commission and the OIG. He wanted legal advice, and he had some very … colorful … ideas about my work:2

Good Morning Again Soraya,

So now I receive this email from [Kohlhaas].

From what he is doing to my office and the OIG I feel this guy is harassing us via CPRA requests. Is there any action that can be taken. Quite frankly I don’t have the time for these games.

Richard

It’s clear from this that Tefank and Mark Smith had been talking, and they weren’t happy with me! Their default attitude towards people who expect them to follow the law they voluntarily made themselves subject to is that they’re being harassed. Meanwhile, on September 29, 2020, precisely when required to do so by law, Smith sent me a letter claiming a 14 day extension to respond, in which he stated that he would in fact respond by October 13, 2020.3

And Tefank’s anxiety about my requests got worse! Just three days after Smith sent me that extension letter Tefank sent a heartbreakingly plaintive email to Smith,4 LAPD Constitutional Cop5 Lizabeth Rhodes, CPRA cops Bryan Lium and Marla Ciuffetelli, and a bunch of deputy city attorneys, including Soraya Kelly, Julie Raffish, Debra Gonzalez, and Carlos de la Guerra:
Continue reading Los Angeles Police Department Inspector General Mark Smith Is Supposed To Investigate LAPD To See That They Comply With The Law — Which Is Pretty Hypocritical Since His Office Intentionally And Egregiously Violates The California Public Records Act — Which Is A Violation Of Requesters’ Constitutional Rights — I Made A Request In September 2020 — His Staffer Julie Buchwald Had The Records Ready By October 2020 — She Messed Around And Didn’t Produce The Records Until April 16 2021 — If Smith Doesn’t Know That Buchwald Is A Liar And An Outlaw Then He’s Incompetent — If He Does Know He’s A Co-Conspirator — Either Way He Has No Business Whatsoever Overseeing Anything Related To Obeying The Law — Especially The Police — He Is A Hypocrite And Ought To Resign Immediately — He Probably Exonerates Every Cop He Investigates To Sooth His Conscience Over His Own Lawbreaking — Even Cops Ought To Refuse To Be Overseen By This Guy — Who At This Point Has Zero Credibility — Did I Mention He Ought To Resign?

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Marla Ciuffetelli of LAPD’s California Public Records Act Unit Specially Facilitated A Request From Denise Chan Of KCET — Ciuffetelli Had It Labeled With A Distinct Label Not Used For Less Favored Media Representatives — And Repeatedly Emailed Richard Tefank Of The Police Commission Encouraging Him To Hurry Up And Finish Chan’s Request — Which He Did — It Was Completed In Less Than Two Months — She Also Went Out Of Her Way To Hinder Tefank’s Processing Of My Requests — She Has A Special Label For Me Too! — Which Apparently Discourages Anyone From Working On My Requests — She Is Going Down For Violating LAMC 49.5.5 By Creating A Private Advantage For Chan — And Probably For Violating The First Amendment — Which Specifically Forbids Government Agents From Granting More Access To Their Pet Reporters — And From Deciding Which Media Outlets Are More Legitimate

I wrote recently about how LAPD Legal Affairs Boss Bryan Lium violated LAMC 49.5.5 by expediting a CPRA request for journalist Aura Bogado while at the same time hindering a request from Stop LAPD Spying. Today’s story, about how LAPD CPRA Unit Boss Marla Ciuffetelli did precisely the same thing for KCET journalist Denise Chan, shows that Lium’s antics with respect to Bogado’s request were not an anomaly.

Ciuffetelli has her subordinates tag requests from her favored media outlets, presumably to distinguish them for expedited handling. And, like Lium, she was willing to send Police Commission Executive Richard Tefank innumerable emails encouraging him to hurry along Chan’s request while repeatedly mentioning the fact that she works for KCET. And, like Lium’s beneficiary Aura Bogado, Denise Chan’s request got filled comparatively very quickly, in less than two months. As we’ve seen, other requests, from less favored requesters, can linger for years with no action at all.

Chan filed Request 20-3691 on June 11, 2020. That link leads to the actual NextRequest page as seen by a user not logged in as Chan or an administrator. But NextRequest request pages have a lot of material not visible to the general public. For instance, take a look at this PDF printout of the same request, but as seen by a logged-in user with staff privileges. In particular, make note of the tags added by the LAPD CPRA Analyst: LAPD: CAT-2, LAPD: CPRA (non-SB1421), LAPD: Media, LAPD: Other

Unfortunately I don’t yet have any way of figuring out what those tags actually mean. But there is still some useful information to be gained. For instance, I’m willing to guess that the LAPD: Media tag means that the requester is from a media organization that LAPD favors for as-yet-undertermined reasons. This may seem obvious, but it’s not for a number of reasons.

In particular, take a look at this request that I submitted to LAPD on July 9, 2020. The linked-to PDF is again the logged-in administrator view, showing the tags: LAPD: CPRA (non-SB1421), LAPD: High Priority , LAPD: High Profile, LAPD: Other Note that although I explicitly and truthfully identified myself as a member of the media the analyst did not add that LAPD: Media tag.

However, they did add at least one tag not applied to Chan’s request, which is the LAPD: High Profile tag. I know for a fact that this tag refers to me personally. To see this, take a look at Marla Ciuffetelli’s weekly CPRA report for the week of August 15, 2020. You can see up at the top a headnote:
Continue reading Marla Ciuffetelli of LAPD’s California Public Records Act Unit Specially Facilitated A Request From Denise Chan Of KCET — Ciuffetelli Had It Labeled With A Distinct Label Not Used For Less Favored Media Representatives — And Repeatedly Emailed Richard Tefank Of The Police Commission Encouraging Him To Hurry Up And Finish Chan’s Request — Which He Did — It Was Completed In Less Than Two Months — She Also Went Out Of Her Way To Hinder Tefank’s Processing Of My Requests — She Has A Special Label For Me Too! — Which Apparently Discourages Anyone From Working On My Requests — She Is Going Down For Violating LAMC 49.5.5 By Creating A Private Advantage For Chan — And Probably For Violating The First Amendment — Which Specifically Forbids Government Agents From Granting More Access To Their Pet Reporters — And From Deciding Which Media Outlets Are More Legitimate

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In June 2020 LAPD Took Only 26 Days To Produce 60 Pages Of Michel Moore’s Text Messages In Response To A CPRA Request From Investigative Reporter Aura Bogado — Which Is So Fast It’s Unbelievable — Bogado Attributed Their Speedy And Complete Response To Her Litigious Reputation And Some Specific Phrases She Included In The Request — But We All Know From Experience LAPD Doesn’t Care About That At All — They Get Sued Successfully All The Time — And I’ve Seen No Evidence That They Care How Requests Are Written — It Turns Out That Bryan Lium — Commander Of LAPD’s Legal Affairs Division — Took A Special Interest In Bogado’s Request And Emailed Richard Tefank About Eleventy-Jillion Times To Hurry It Along — Which Is Actually Why It Got Filled Fast — Meanwhile Lium Tells Everyone That Stop LAPD Spying’s Requests Will Just Have To Wait Because They Have To “Balance” Them With Other Requests — Where “Balance” Apparently Means “Ignore Completely”

On June 30, 2020, investigative reporter Aura Bogado tweeted a thread about text messages sent or received by LAPD Chief Michel Moore during the June 2, 2020 meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission. Bogado obtained these on June 29, 2020 as a result of a June 3, 2020 NextRequest filing.1

As you may know, I’ve had some trouble getting the Los Angeles Police Department to even respond to my CPRA requests, let alone to actually produce significant records quickly enough to be useful. So I asked Bogado how she’d done it, but it turned out that she had no idea whatsoever, although she thought she understood. Here’s what she had to say:

I did a standard CPRA to police records; made sure to include why I thought the records existed (Soboroff lifted his phone to the camera at some point) and also included that the request was subject to litigation if I didn’t get a response. I sue, and win, but that’s usually with the federal gov (I cover im/migration nationally) so I think this was part of the motivation to take my request seriously.

Continue reading In June 2020 LAPD Took Only 26 Days To Produce 60 Pages Of Michel Moore’s Text Messages In Response To A CPRA Request From Investigative Reporter Aura Bogado — Which Is So Fast It’s Unbelievable — Bogado Attributed Their Speedy And Complete Response To Her Litigious Reputation And Some Specific Phrases She Included In The Request — But We All Know From Experience LAPD Doesn’t Care About That At All — They Get Sued Successfully All The Time — And I’ve Seen No Evidence That They Care How Requests Are Written — It Turns Out That Bryan Lium — Commander Of LAPD’s Legal Affairs Division — Took A Special Interest In Bogado’s Request And Emailed Richard Tefank About Eleventy-Jillion Times To Hurry It Along — Which Is Actually Why It Got Filled Fast — Meanwhile Lium Tells Everyone That Stop LAPD Spying’s Requests Will Just Have To Wait Because They Have To “Balance” Them With Other Requests — Where “Balance” Apparently Means “Ignore Completely”

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The Los Angeles Police Commission Asked The National Police Foundation To Write An “After Action Report” On Police Responses To George Floyd Protests Between May 27 and June 10 — The NPF Asked LAPD For A Huge Amount Of Evidence — Including Surveillance And Bodycam Video — Training Records For Every Cop Involved — Training Curriculums For Relevant Courses — Mental Health Referrals (Of Police) And So On — In Fact I Have A Copy Of NPF’s Initial Requests — Four Pages Of Requests — And Inspector General Mark Smith Sent NPF A Long List Of Activist Social Posts About LAPD — And I Have Live Links To All Of Them As Well! — Including For Some Reason A Link To This Blog!

On May 25, 2020 Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd and the United States, including the City of Los Angeles, erupted in massive protests. And police around the country, including right here in the City of Los Angeles, responded with disproportionate aggression and overwhelming violence against the protesters. In the wake of that first wave of protests and nearly universal criticism of their response, the LAPD opened over 50 internal investigations against officers for brutality.1

And the Los Angeles Police Commission, nominally an independent oversight body,2 arranged for the National Police Foundation to conduct a putatively independent report on the matter. It’s doubtful that this report will do anything more than evoke the famous “Few Bad Apples” theory to justify maybe tossing a few cops under the bus while vigorously reaffirming the structural and institutional soundness of the LAPD. The NPF is far too compromised to expect much else.

So I’m predicting that the report, when it finally comes out, will be tedious and fundamentally dishonest. But none of that means that the report creation process isn’t interesting. In fact it’s very interesting, as I learned recently when I obtained a few records relating to the process. These documents have to do with evidence requested by the NPF from both LAPD and the Police Commission, and they’re interesting to me for at least two reasons.

First, the fact that Mark Smith, the Inspector General, gave the NPF a huge list of social media posts about the protests3 and told Richard Tefank, the Executive Director of the Police Commission, in an email that the OIG staff had collected them.4 Wondering if the cops are reading your tweets? Not only are they, but they’re quite likely handing them over as evidence! Smith even sent the NPF a 2016 blog post of mine about Cory Palka.5 Also I made an html version of Smith’s links for maximum clickability and it’s at the end of this post.

And second, there’s the sheer bulk of the material the NPF requested and the sheer promptness with which LAPD handed it over. See this August 27, 2020 memo from the NPF to LAPD and Tefank consisting of four pages of detailed requests for evidence. The version I obtained was marked up in red and blue by Lizabeth Rhodes, director of LAPD’s Office of Constitutional Policing, with the Bates Stamp numbers of all the material they’d already produced as of September 17, just three weeks after the request.
Continue reading The Los Angeles Police Commission Asked The National Police Foundation To Write An “After Action Report” On Police Responses To George Floyd Protests Between May 27 and June 10 — The NPF Asked LAPD For A Huge Amount Of Evidence — Including Surveillance And Bodycam Video — Training Records For Every Cop Involved — Training Curriculums For Relevant Courses — Mental Health Referrals (Of Police) And So On — In Fact I Have A Copy Of NPF’s Initial Requests — Four Pages Of Requests — And Inspector General Mark Smith Sent NPF A Long List Of Activist Social Posts About LAPD — And I Have Live Links To All Of Them As Well! — Including For Some Reason A Link To This Blog!

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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!

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!

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Police Commission Investigation Into Excessive Force Allegation Against BID Patrol Concludes That “No Violations Of Law Occurred Or Other Improper Behavior” But Crucial Precedent Is Set Nevertheless

Richard Tefank, Executive Director of the LA Police Commission.
Here’s the story so far: In November 2015 the BID Patrol attacked a homeless man while in the process of arresting him. It really looks like excessive force, so, at the direction of Richard Tefank, Executive Director of the Police Commission, in September I submitted a complaint to him and also to Kerry Morrison.1 As I reported two months ago, the Police Commission agreed to investigate my complaint, and assigned it to Officer Ernesto Vicencio.

Well, just yesterday I received a letter from Richard Tefank informing me that the investigation was complete and that they had found no wrongdoing on anyone’s part.2 This is disappointing, to be sure, because, as would all sane, right-thinking individuals, I would like to see the BID Patrol jailed, fined, and shut down, and it seems really, really, really clear that those BID Patrollies are breaking the law. However, it’s not that disappointing, because a clear and transcendently important precedent has been set, which will have lasting consequences for the future of BIDs in our City.
Continue reading Police Commission Investigation Into Excessive Force Allegation Against BID Patrol Concludes That “No Violations Of Law Occurred Or Other Improper Behavior” But Crucial Precedent Is Set Nevertheless

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VICTORY!! All Los Angeles BID Security Patrols To Register With Police Commission Per City Attorney, BID Patrol Excessive Force Complaint Under Investigation By LAPD; Direct Result of MK.Org Reporting!

Earlier this afternoon I spoke with Ernesto Vicencio, who is an LAPD investigator assigned to the Police Commission. He told me that the City Attorney either has sent or will soon send a letter to all Los Angeles Business Improvement Districts informing them that their security patrols are required to register with the Los Angeles Police Commission per LAMC 52.34.

This incredibly welcome development is a direct result of my discovery in the Summer of 2016 that it was likely that BID security registration had inadvertently ceased in 2000 due to an oversight. I don’t believe I mentioned it at the time, but in addition to writing a number of posts on the subject, I also sent a petition to the Police Commission asking them to look into the matter and to conclude that BID security ought in fact to register with them.

According to Officer Vicencio the City Attorney has decided to implement this request.1 This development is hugely important, not least because LAMC 52.34 requires private patrol services to have a procedure for investigating citizen complaints. It also grants the Police Commission a great deal of regulatory power over the activities of security patrols who are required to register.

Which brings us to the second stunning and absolutely unexpected thing that Officer Vicencio told me. You may recall that I recently reported on what seemed like a clear use of excessive force by members of the Andrews International Hollywood BID Patrol. Well, about three weeks ago I submitted a report on this matter to Kerry Morrison of the HPOA and also to the Police Commission, as instructed by the Commission’s executive director, Richard Tefank.

Today Vicencio told me that he is handling this matter. He has tried, without success so far, to locate the victim, and he is going to investigate further. Obviously there’s no guarantee that any of these officers will suffer any consequences,2 but again, the larger implications of the fact that they’re being investigated by the City are huge. This means that the Police Commission agrees that they have jurisdiction over citizen complaints against BID security. This changes everything.
Continue reading VICTORY!! All Los Angeles BID Security Patrols To Register With Police Commission Per City Attorney, BID Patrol Excessive Force Complaint Under Investigation By LAPD; Direct Result of MK.Org Reporting!

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Further Speculation on Why BID Patrols Aren’t Registered with the Los Angeles Police Commission

This is not a police officer, it's unregistered-with-the-police-commission BID Patrol officer M. Gomez (Badge #148) looking a lot like a police officer.
This is not a police officer, it’s unregistered-with-the-police-commission BID Patrol officer M. Gomez (Badge #148) looking a lot like a police officer.
Recently I discovered that BID security contractors weren’t registered with the LA Police Commission and that no one seemed to know why. Further investigation suggested that perhaps registration had just fallen through the cracks. Well, after rereading the material from the Council file and requesting and receiving the Police Commission minutes from April 25, 2000, I noticed that there was at least one possibly significant difference in the April 25, 2000 version of LAMC 52.34 that the Commission sent over to the Council on April 27 as compared to the version that the City Attorney sent to the Council on March 31 and that it’s possible to make some kind of a case that this difference answers the BID security question. It’s not a likely case, though. Read on for details on both the potential argument and some potential objections to it.
Continue reading Further Speculation on Why BID Patrols Aren’t Registered with the Los Angeles Police Commission

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Newly Obtained Documents Suggest A Tentative Hypothesis on Why BID Patrols Aren’t Registered with the Los Angeles Police Commission and Why They Ought to Be

Joseph Gunn, executive director of the Los Angeles Police Commission in 1999.
Joseph Gunn, executive director of the Los Angeles Police Commission in 1999.
In the City of Los Angeles, private security patrols that operate on the public streets or sidewalks are required by LAMC 52.34 to register with the Police Commission and to satisfy a number of other requirements. I discovered a couple weeks ago that no BID Patrols are registered (and they routinely violate a number of the other requirements). In that same post I traced the issue back to Council File 99-0355. Part of the approved motion that initiated that file was this:

FURTHER MOVE that the City Ccl request the Police Commission to cease their enforcement against the City’s Downtown Center BID and its private patrol service, and any other BIDs until this matter has been reviewed by the City Ccl.

This at least seems to explain a temporary pause in enforcement, although not a policy-based reason never to enforce the registration requirement and the other regulations.

Furthermore, even a trip to the City Archives to copy the whole file left me lacking a definitive answer to the question of why no BID security provider was registered with the Police Commission. Also, I reported last week that no one in the City, either at the Police Commission or elsewhere, seemed to have a firm idea about why this was.

100 W. First Street.  And isn't this a lovely visual metaphor for the City government of Los Angeles?
100 W. First Street. And isn’t this a lovely visual metaphor for the City government of Los Angeles?

Well, last week the incredibly helpful Richard Tefank pulled a bunch of old Police Commission minutes out of storage for me and last Thursday I went over to 100 W. First Street to take a look at them. Most of the material was also in the Council file, but there were a couple new items that, while they don’t explain dispositively what happened, they suggest a likely hypothesis. Also, if this hypothesis is correct, it’s pretty clear that BID Patrols really ought to be registered and, furthermore, that the Police Commission has the right to investigate and regulate them.
Continue reading Newly Obtained Documents Suggest A Tentative Hypothesis on Why BID Patrols Aren’t Registered with the Los Angeles Police Commission and Why They Ought to Be

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Update on the Question of Why BID Security Patrols Aren’t Registered with the Los Angeles Police Commission

Richard Tefank, Executive Director of the LA Police Commission.
Richard Tefank, Executive Director of the LA Police Commission.
I have some new information about, although not an answer to, the question, which I wrote about last week, of why BID security patrols aren’t registered with the Los Angeles Police Commission even though LAMC 52.34 would seem to require registration. If this is the first time you’re hearing about this, you should read that post first for background.

First of all, I exchanged a number of emails with William Jones, a senior management analyst with the LAPD permit processing section. He directed me to Officer Vicencio in the Police Commission’s Enforcement section. Vicencio was on vacation last week, but I finally got a chance to speak to him on the phone. He told me that BID Patrols were exempt from the LAMC 52.34 requirement because state law exempted them. He did not know what section of state law exempted them. He also told me that “about fifteen years ago” the City Attorney issued an opinion stating that BID Patrols were not subject to the registration requirement. He said that any private security firm that was under contract to the City or had an MOU with the City was not required to register.
Continue reading Update on the Question of Why BID Security Patrols Aren’t Registered with the Los Angeles Police Commission

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