Ted Rall LAPD Scandal: Second New Tape Reveals Startling Details [exclusive]

Ted Rall Lapd tape
Written by Ted Rall

On Friday we released enhanced audio from the LAPD tape the LA Times said it relied on to prove Ted Rall lied. Listen to the new version here. Warning: Adult language, sexual content.

Update, Aug. 2, 2015: We now have the latest enhanced version (v. 2) of the police audio dub The Los Angeles Times relied upon before firing political cartoonist and essayist Ted Rall, allegedly for lying. Listen below. The enhanced tape backs up Rall’s story and undermines most claims by the Times and the LAPD.

aNewDomainted-rall-on-greece commentary — Three weeks after 9/11, I was walking on Melrose Avenue in the West Hollywood section of Los Angeles. I had just appeared for a taping of the TV show “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher” at a nearby CBS Television City studio.

I was buoyant. I’d met former MTV VJ Kennedy. And Woody Harrelson, who was hanging out in the green room, had just told me he was a fan. I was having a great night.

I was on my way to dinner with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, agent, radio producer and some friends. I crossed the north side of Melrose at the corner of Gardner Street. With the light. In the crosswalk.

That’s when a Los Angeles police officer appeared.

Ted Rall LAPD LaTimes scandalThe cop (shown at right in a photo from an unrelated Los Angeles Times story) angrily accused me of jaywalking. He would have known I did no such thing if he’d actually watched me cross Melrose.

He threw me against a wall. I’m a big guy, so that’s saying a lot. Then he handcuffed me and began writing up my ticket.

As he wrote it up and I stood there, stunned and cuffed, an angry crowd of people gathered on the street. Many of the onlookers began calling out, catcalling and protesting the officer’s treatment of me.

I remember the officer whistling to himself several times during the course of the incident. I recall thinking that was strange at the time. You can hear that whistling in the original LAPD dub and both enhanced versions.

After he was done writing me a ticket, instead of handing me my driver’s license, he threw it in the gutter.

On May 11, 2015, I wrote about my experience in a blog for the website of The Los Angeles Times, where I’d been a cartoonist and commentator since 2009. (It was a long relationship. The Times have run my syndicated editorial cartoons since the early 1990s.)

LA Times-editor-Nick-Goldberg-believed-the-cops-over-rall-in-the-ted-rall-lapd-la-times-scandalOn July 27, Times reporter Paul Pringle and editorial page editor Nick Goldberg (pictured at left) called me at my New York home office. They told me that cops had provided them with a dub of an audio tape from my 2001 LAPD jaywalking stop. I never even knew such a tape existed.

So, based on this 14-year-old recording I never knew existed — one that the police officer recorded without my knowledge or consent — the editors at the Times informed me that I had not told the truth in that column. The tape didn’t back me up, they said, adding that the tape evidence portrayed a polite stop with no evidence that I was handcuffed or that an angry, shouting crowd of passersby had gathered.

Then Pringle played me the tape. I was floored. The audio was awful (listen here). The 6:20 tape contained only about 20 seconds of semi-audible speech, and fully six minutes worth — was incomprehensible noise and static. And there was all that whistling.

Goldberg later called me, based on that tape, I would no longer be writing for the Times. Yet the Times made no apparent attempt to enhance, or authenticate, the audio using commonly available technology and expertise.

And for the next several days, I was publicly humiliated and constantly hassled.

First the Times published an Editor’s Note announcing my firing and the LAPD’s allegations in the print and online editions of the newspaper. It still doesn’t have a retraction on it or any kind of note or update that would indicate that there is new information — like the new tape that vindicates me. Why not?

Update, August 6, 2015: The author of the note, Times editorial page editor Goldberg, did not provide an answer to that or other questions in an email to aNewDomain’s Gina Smith. “The Times is not commenting on the issue,” he wrote in the email.

As for the tape, it took me just two days to come up with the first enhanced version of the LAPD audio tape. Still mostly inaudible, it at least revealed at least one bystander’s voice demanding the officer “take off his handcuffs!”

And now, the audio engineers we hired at Post Haste Digital have provided us this latest tape, which is far clearer. That’s the professionally enhanced, newest version of the dub that we are posting today. It provides the clearest picture yet of what went down on Oct. 3, 2001, at the corner of Melrose and Gardner.

See the full transcript below and listen to both tapes below. Caution: Both contain adult language, including obscenities, frank sexual innuendo and vulgar language not suitable to family viewing or listening.

Latest expert-analyzed and amplified version of original LAPD police audio tape dub (release date August 3, 2015):

For comparison, here’s the original LAPD-made dub of the police officer’s recording of the incident, as supplied to the Los Angeles Times as “proof” that I was lying:

Transcript of the latest expert-analyzed and amplified version of original audio:

3.364 – Police Officer to Ted Rall: “You have an ID?”

7.570 – Police Officer: [unintelligible]…”the LA County Police Department, the reason I stopped you, you got a red light, and you just walked across just as free as you wanted to, so…”

15.654 – Rall: “I’m really sorry, I totally missed…” [unintelligible]

16.902 – Police Officer: “That’s alright, you’re gonna get a ticket for it, I need you to take that out, of your wallet, please.”

30.585 – Police Officer: “Is this your current address? ‘kay…”

34.173 – CLICK CLICK [may be handcuffs going on Rall?]

55.363 – Police officer whistles.

1:00.580 – Police officer hums.

1:03.186 – Unintelligible noise – possibly zipper. 

1:26.700 – Voice, female [unintelligible].

2:05.207 – Voice, unclear if male or female [unintelligible].

2:13.000 – Voice, female [unintelligible].

3:00.314 – Police officer whistles.

3:07.426 – Voice, unclear if male or female [unintelligible].

3:13.662 – Voice, unclear if male or female [unintelligible].

3:17.756 – Woman 1: “Why’d you handcuff him?”

3:21.672 – Voice, male [unintelligible].

3:22.549 – Woman 1: “Why’d you…” [unintelligible].

3:26.706 – Rall to Woman 1: [unintelligible]…”I’m from New York”…yeah!”…“So I can say that.”

3:33.351 – Woman 1 to Rall: “You just tell him…” DOG BARK.

3:35.000 – Police officer whistles. Woman 1 yells.

3:37.864 – Woman 2 to Police Officer: “Don’t think about his family.”

3:39.621 – Rall: “I have a right to a…” [unintelligible].

3:43.500 – Woman 1: “Yeah!”

3:46.442 – Woman 2: “So he’s really detaining him?”

3:47.000 – Woman 3: “He was just jaywalking… you need to take off.. no, take off his handcuffs!”

3:54.073 – Police Officer: “No no no no. First, I’m giving him a ticket.”

3:57.179 – Woman 3: “Then take off…[unintelligible]”

4:01.305 –Woman 2: “He’s overdressed! [The police officer was wearing body armor on a warm October night.]

4:04.845– Woman 2: “Let’s go murder some widows!”

4:06.730 – Woman 3: “Stop it!” (shouting)

4:07.063 – Police officer: “I’m doing the right thing.”

4:11.736 – Woman 2 to police officer: “You’re gonna make a big tip!”

4:14.054 – Woman 2 to police officer: “I’m just a big girly-boy, give or take.”

4:15.908 – Woman’s voice, possibly Woman 3: “He’s behind him, this makes it…”[unintelligible].

4:18.738 – Woman’s voice, possibly Woman 3 or Woman 4: “Don’t forget to ride his asshole!”

4:21.054 – Police officer to women: “Well, I appreciate it.”

4:22.209 – Woman 1 to police officer: “Here, fuck me and get over it!”

4:23.450 – Woman 2, to police officer: “I mean, don’t you got other problems going on in LA right now?”

4:27.114 – Police officer: “Not especially.”

4:28.192 – Woman 2: “Well go over there.”

4:31.198 – Police officer: “Oh I feel really scared.”

4:36.500 – Police officer hums.

4:34.500 – Police officer hums.

4:51.452 – Police officer to Rall: “Alrighty, sir, you’ve been cited for 21456(B) of the vehicle code.”

4:58.224 – Police officer: “Here, I’ll take that until we’re done, there ya go.”

5:00.930 – Police officer: “You did a violation, so…”

5:04.436 – Police officer: “I need you to go ahead and sign at the X, you’re not admitting guilt …”

5:08.094 – Police officer: “It has the [unintelligible] before the [unintelligible]…you…”

5:11.948 –  Rall: “’Okay, can you tell me how much it is?”

5:15.317 – Police officer: “Excuse me?”

5:16.000 – Rall: “Can you tell me how much it is, or…?”

5:17.352 – Police officer: “No, we don’t know how much it is. There, I’ll show you a number on the back of the ticket. You can call and find all that information out as well as where you can go if you want to fight the ticket, or any other options.”

5:36.719 – Police officer: “Here’s your license back…”

5:42.644 – CLICK. SCUFFLING sounds.

5:46.048 – Police officer: “…copy of your citation, like I said, there’s a lot of information on the back, you might wanna read it…”

5:50.766 – Rall: “Do what? Okay.”

5:53.400 – Police officer: “Thank you sir… what?”

5:58.158 – Rall: [unintelligible]

6:00.428 – Police officer: “You know what? This is my first month here, so I don’t know any of the local eateries, unfortunately… I don’t hang out down there. Alright, have a good day.”

6:16.276 – Police officer: “Contact complete.”

Select Clip — Optimized

Below, find a comparison between the LAPD dub that the Times told me police provided as proof that I’d lied in print about my jaywalking arrest, and the newly examined and amplified (v. 2) audio we received from expert engineers.

3:17.756 – Woman1: “Why’d you handcuff him?”

LAPD-supplied audio clip:

Enhanced audio clip:


For aNewDomain, I’m .

Special thanks to: Audio Enhancement by Post Haste Digital, Los Angeles.

Additional reporting: aNewDomain editor-in-chief Gina Smith and aNewDomain legal analyst Tom Ewing of aNewDomain and SkewedNews.

Update August 6, 2015: For further reading, check out these links:

Ted Rall-LAPD-LA Times Scandal: Timeline by Gina Smith (aNewDomain)
A Note to Readers (about the Ted Rall firing) by Los Angeles Times editorial page editor Nick Goldberg (LA Times)
LAPPL Applauds LA Times Firing of Ted Rall (by Los Angeles Police Protective League Board of Directors (LAPD.com)
LAPD Convinced LA Times To Fire Me After I Criticized Cops [exclusive] by Ted Rall (aNewDomain commentary)
Ted Rall, Los Angeles Times Cartoonist, Dropped After Blog Post Appears To Stretch The Truth (FoxNews.com)
The LA Times fired a journalist after cops told them he lied—but did they investigate? By Rob Beschiza (boingboing)
 Ted Rall LAPD-LA Times Scandal: A Discrepancy In The Cop’s Story [exclusive] by Ted Rall (aNewDomain commentary)
Ted Rall-LAPD-LA Times Battle: New Tape Proves Cops, Times Were Wrong [exclusive] by Gina Smith, additional reporting by Ted Rall and Tom Ewing  (aNewDomain commentary)
Ted Rall LAPD LA Times Scandal: Second Enhanced LAPD Tape Reveals Startling Details [exclusive] by Ted Rall, Gina Smith and Tom Ewing (aNewDomain
Ted Rall LAPD Scandal: Rall Vindicated, LAPD And LA Times under Fire by Tom Ewing and Gina Smith (aNewDomain news)
Did The LAPD Have A Political Cartoonist Fired? by Ryan Steadman and Guelda Voien (The New York Observer)
‘Cleaned-Up’ Audiotape of Political Cartoonist’s Clash With LAPD Bolsters His Story by Hunter Harris (New York Observer)
In Defense of Ted Rall, A Hard Guy To Defend by Ken Kurson (New York Observer opinion column)
Why Didn’t The Los Angeles Times Examine The Bad Audio from the LAPD? by Ted Rall (aNewDomain commentary)
Cops Gun Down Unarmed Journalist’s Career by Greg Palast (Reader Supported News, opinion) 
Ted Rall: Fisking The Los Angeles Times by Ted Rall (aNewDomain commentary)
Why Won’t The L.A. Times Admit They Were Wrong About Cartoonist Ted Rall? by Susie Madrak (Crooks and Liars)
14 Years Ago, A Woman Vindicated Me Now by Ted Rall (Common Dreams)


  • Ted, I notice you’re on RT quite a bit and now you have a graphic novel
    coming out about Edward Snowden. Your politics are very much left of
    center and very critical of the political establishment, even the
    Democrats’ so-called progressive left-wing. You have probably attracted
    the attention of this establishment and they are now retaliating against
    you. It has been the mission of certain institutions like the FBI and
    CIA to deal with political dissidents that pose a threat or a potential
    threat to the system. I don’t want to freak you out, but I think it is
    entirely likely that the LAPD is a front and a cover for this attack on
    you; the masterminds of this retribution and character assassination may
    be higher up the food chain than you have imagined.

    • I don’t think you’re familiar with the LAPD and the LAPD/LASD relationship with the Los Angeles Times.

      This is basically as old as Los Angeles. Our paper of record covers stuff up for cops when they’re asked, or at least fails to investigate.

      Los Angeles County jails are so bad the Feds are taking over, and you’d barely know it reading the LA Times. They only cover issues like that when national attention forces it.

      It takes Riots to get the Los Angeles times to even consider the possibility that any cops might ever have treated any citizens badly.

      Ted Rall has been calling the LAPD out for 25 years. The Los Angeles times does *not* cross the LAPD.

      That’s the story. The line shouldn’t have been “It’s Chinatown, Jake”.

      It should have been “It’s L.A., Jake”.

  • Ted, try to get on RT right away to tell your story!

    The rest of you, watch RT and Sputnik News (and other alternative media) and never again tune in to garbage propaganda U.$. MSM!

  • Good work, Ted! Though it’s really discouraging that you should’ve had to prove your innocence like this in the first place. And it’s infuriating that there’s no response from the crypto-fascists at LATimes or LAPD…

  • The only worse Los Angeles institution than the LA Times is the LAPD. Ted, you lucked out!

  • WOW! This is the kind of stuff that should anger everybody!! The LAPD continues to kick themselves in the ass and now here you are with the proof that you could only dream of! Can’t wait to see what bullsh*t the LA Times is gonna spew after this.

  • Where did all the posts go? I clicked on ‘View all posts’ and even the few that are visible disappeared. Not too cool. I don’t have time for this. I’ll bookmark this post because I think it’s important. What brought me here was my latest Greg Palast email/bulletin. Good luck Ted Rall.

      • I then have the same gremlin on my cell. The website is screwy. What ever happened to simple. Give me function over form any time. You can see in my previous post that I referred to a post I had done before that. Do you see it? And I’m sure there were more than 17 posts.

        • What can I say, other than the website displays the posts when I visit? If the site were screwed up, everyone’s experience should be the same.
          I looked for the post of yours that you mentioned and couldn’t find it; I even clicked to view all posts of yours, and it wasn’t there.
          However, one of mine didn’t show up last week because it was pending moderation as I discovered when I viewed my own history. It is on the thread now.
          I have no explanation regarding your inability to view other posts.

  • I love Ted Rall’s work and I’m no fan of the LAPD. It is definitely aggregious that this cop would handcuff him for jay walking & it sounds like he did based on the enhanced tape. I have to admit, though, that it seemed less obvious, from the enhanced audio, that the cop angrily accused him of jay walking or threw him against a wall or threw his license in the gutter at the end of the encounter. Why did Ted ask the cop about local eateries at the end if the encounter was so malignant.
    I imagine I will take heat here for expressing any uncertainties about some of the details of the encounter as described by Mr. Rall. I apologize if I am misconstruing anything. I am just trying to understand what happened.
    I truly hope Mr. Rall gets his job back but the LA Times is a mess, like most of the MSM. I’m sure that with his talent Mr. Rall will continue his success with or without the LA Times.

    • Before I was able to listen to the enhanced versions, I was of the opinion that Ted was reaping his just rewards. After listening to those (multiple times), I became convinced that he had been telling the truth all along. One has to take into consideration the fact that much of the tape was “noise” — perhaps deliberately manipulated to obscure audio evidence — during which time the abusive actions of the police were obliterated. Certainly the whistling and humming could have covered up (and probably did) what the officer did not want recorded.