UPDATE: July 31, 2015 8:06 a.m. ET: Cleaned Up LAPD Tape of Ted Rall Stop Released: Suggests Cops Lied, Listen Here [EXCLUSIVE]
Editorial Page Editor Nick Goldberg, who relied on an internal investigation by Times reporter Paul Pringle, told me the reasons for my firing were “discrepancies” between my May 2015 LA Times column about my experience with an LAPD cop on a 2001 jaywalking stop and LAPD’s account of it. The Times told me that the LAPD said I was lying.
Its best evidence: A static-filled, hard to hear police tape.
And The Times chose to believe the cops. Despite the LAPD’s terrible and long record of cover-ups and horrific felonies.
One of the biggest deciding factors, Goldberg told me, was a discrepancy between me and the LAPD over whether the officer who stopped me had really handcuffed me. I’d written that police officer who stopped me had done just that.
But Pringle told me — much to my surprise — that the officer claims to never have used handcuffs. Ever.
The tape is filled with static for much of the old, analog recording. It neither supports or disproves the officer’s claim. But Goldberg believed the LAPD over me. He never even ran a search for the officer’s name in the Times own archives. Or if he did, he ignored what he found.
Because The LA Times has captured this police officer having handcuffed other suspects in traffic violations before …
The officer has never used handcuffs? Really? Then what’s this?
This police officer, the same officer who’d accused me of jaywalking in West Hollywood in 2001, is depicted by Times reporters as joking around while mocking a suspect for “aggressive driving.” While the suspect who was to receive the ticket for the misdemeanor traffic violation stood there — in handcuffs.
Here’s an excerpt from the news piece the LA Times ran in May.
The sporty little car with the red paint and racing stickers was caught.
Parked beside a Granada Hills road and its handcuffed driver, the Toyota Supra sat with its big modified exhaust hanging just above the ground, like a dog with its tail between its legs.
‘Remember me?’ Officer Will Durr said to the driver — an embarrassed college student he’d pulled over days before in the same illegally modified car.
Durr grinned as he stood beneath the car’s popped hood, ogling the turbo-charged engine, shining his flashlight over the modified air intake that allowed the vehicle to breathe in more power-giving air.”
Now this is the police officer I remember. This is the police officer I can kind of sort of hear on the mostly static audiotape provided by the cops to argue that he was nice and polite. I think he sounds smarmy, sarcastic, grinning. Having fun at the expense of the citizens he apprehends.
The kind of officer who puts the people he accuses of petty traffic violations in cuffs — while he writes them a ticket.
I remember that guy.
Aggressive driving vs. jaywalking
Crazy as it seems to people from other cities, in Los Angeles, jaywalking is more serious than that. It’s an infraction, and an expensive one.
So I have this question for Mssrs. Goldberg and Pringle:
Is it really so incredible that an officer who would handcuff someone for a traffic offense would also handcuff someone for the legally more serious charge of jaywalking, a full-fledged misdemeanor? Care to admit that you were wrong when you accused me of lying — and that it was really the LAPD, with its long record of cover-ups and horrific felonies, that lied about me?”
Wait, I know: Maybe the officer makes his partner do all the handcuffing in all their many successful and storied anti-aggressive driving adventures!
Despite repeated attempts, the Los Angeles Times‘ Goldberg and Pringle have not returned calls to comment.
Image of LAPD Officer Will Durr at a minor traffic infraction in Los Angeles, in which the suspect was handcuffed: LATimes.com, All Rights Reserved
Update: July 31, 2015 8:06 a.m. ET — Cleaned Up LAPD Tape of Ted Rall Stop Released: Proves Cops Lied [EXCLUSIVE]