City Attorney Misconduct Exposed by LBPD Criminal Charges

By: 
Stephen Downing

On Dec. 4 the Beachcomber published a story entitled “Two LBPD Officers Arrested, Criminally Charged” in which it was reported that Officer Dedier Reyes, a 16-year veteran, and David Salcedo, a 5-year veteran, were charged with crimes including perjury, filing a false police report and filing a false government report.

That story can be read here: https://beachcomber.news/content/two-lbpd-officers-arrested-criminally-charged

Also reported in the same article was the fact that “Officer Dedier Reyes has been the subject of multiple Beachcomber articles over the past several years, the most recent published on Dec. 2, entitled “City Attorney Contracts Hired Guns to Defend Internal Corruption.”

That story – along with links to previous articles reporting Reyes involvement as a defendant in a federal civil rights law suit filed on behalf of Christopher Williams, an African American city bus driver, by his attorney, Narine Mkrtchyan of Glendale – can be read here: https://beachcomber.news/content/city-attorney-contracts-hired-guns-defend-internal-corruption-0

Beachcomber Questions

Based upon receipt of reports from sources that the Beachcomber was unable to confirm, several questions were asked of LBPD Media Relations on Dec. 2 for which answers were provided after publication of the Dec. 4 article by a spokesperson for Chief of Police Robert Luna.

Question #1: “The Beachcomber would like to confirm and obtain details related to reports we have received that the “wrong person” the officer’s arrested and the department later released was falsely connected to the recovery of a gun used in a homicide and that the internal misconduct investigation was withheld from authorities pending prosecution of the real homicide suspect.

LBPD Response: “The initial arrest of the suspect was a gun arrest. Homicide investigators reviewed the suspect and gun and determined that neither was tied to the homicide that they were investigating. In the process of the review, the investigators discovered the discrepancy between the security video and the arrest reports. The homicide investigation was not compromised.”

Question #2: Please provide comment as to why the IAD investigation was not implemented at the time the misconduct was discovered.”

LBPD Response: “The internal administrative review began when the misconduct was discovered.”

The LBPD response is incomplete. The department’s Dec. 3 press release stated that “Both officers have been suspended pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation” but did not explain why the administrative review – which to date has been on-going for 46 months – has yet to be adjudicated, nor does it explain why it took 46 months to “suspend Reyes pending the outcome of the internal affairs investigation.”

Misconduct Described as Recidivist Behavior

On Dec. 5 the Beachcomber acquired a Nov. 11 court document filed in the United States Central District Court associated with the Williams’ civil rights lawsuit against Reyes.

In the court document William’s attorney argues, “Defendant Reyes’ employment records reveals his use of force against Williams is “recidivist behavior” and that “Reyes had an unusually large amount of use of force incidents.”

The document listed exhibits detailing the fact that during his career Reyes has received seven citizen complaints, two administrative complaints and has been involved in 18 use of force incidents, including an administrative complaint “for assaulting (girlfriend), suspended sent to department psychologist” and one for “Insubordination, violation of use of force policy, suspended and sent to department psychologist.”

Permitted to Take Exam

The Beachcomber also learned that since the LBPD’s 2018 discovery of misconduct by Reyes and not suspended from street duty, that he was permitted to take the 2021 police sergeant’s examination and scored high enough to place #20 on the eligibility list, a position that assures his appointment to the supervisory rank.

The sergeant’s eligibility list is currently the source of a “scoring scandal” presently scheduled for “discussion” by the Civil Service Commission on Dec. 7.

The scandal involves allegations of internal cronyism engineered by violation of Civil Service Commission rules that require a score of 70 or better on all parts of the examination as reported by the Beachcomber in articles published Oct. 31 and Dec. 4 which can be read here: https://beachcomber.news/content/civil-services-commissioners-look-lbpd-sergeant-exam-rule-violations

The city refused a Beachcomber PRA request to produce documents related to individual scores achieved by candidates taking the examination, therefore It is unknown if Reyes is among the sergeant candidates who scored below 70 on the written test and allowed to proceed to compete in the other parts of the examination.

Final Question on Reyes Arrest

Question #3: The Beachcomber would like to know if the matters surrounding this incident were produced in the discovery documents provided by court order in the Christopher Williams civil rights case scheduled for trial on Jan. 11?

LBPD Response: “Since the Christopher Williams case is a pending litigation, we defer those questions to the city attorney’s office.”

City Attorney Misconduct

On Dec. 5 the Beachcomber asked the question of the city attorney via email but did not receive a response prior to publication.

On Dec. 5 the Beachcomber asked the same question of Williams' attorney, Narine Mkrtchyan, and learned that the court did not order discovery but that Mkrtchyan did send a discovery request to the city asking for “each defendants extant citizen complaints, administrative and criminal investigations” and according to Mkrtchyan, “the city attorney agreed to produce the documents subject to a court approved protective order.”

Mkrtchyan said, “When I read the LBPD press release about Reyes’ arrest, I immediately realized that the city attorney breached the agreement by suppressing the documents in the case that got Reyes arrested.”

Mkrtchyan said, “from what we now know, the underlying incident that lead to Reyes arrest was discovered in Feb. 2018, a month before the William’s incident in 2018, so when we made our complaint to the LBPD in April 2018 the LBPD was aware that Reyes was under scrutiny. Now I see (in the LBPD press release) that the LBPD made their criminal recommendation on Reyes to the DA’s Office in January 2019, before we even filed the lawsuit.”

Mkrtchyan continued: “Their representation (the city attorney) was that we received all of Reyes IA (internal affairs) files as of February 2020. The city attorney's office then declared a conflict and substituted out of the case as of March 2020 and separate counsel was appointed to represent Reyes.”

Mkrtchyan said, “the reasons behind this move were also not disclosed to us and the defense counsel even asked the court to exclude any mention of separate representation to the jury at trial.”  

The attorney added, “Therefore, it appears the city attorney declared a conflict precisely because Reyes was under a criminal investigation and that presented several conflicts.”

In her statement to the Beachcomber, William’s attorney concluded by saying that when she learned of the LBPD press release on Dec. 3 she sent a letter to outside counsel hired by the city attorney demanding that the files be produced ASAP and that “I will seek discovery sanctions for this suppression of material evidence if they do not, as this is a violation of all discovery rules.”

Stephen Downing is a resident of Long Beach and a retired LAPD deputy chief of police.

stephen.beachcomber@gmail.com

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Comments

As I say every-time I post, The LBPD is a criminal organization that is assisted by the LB city attorneys office, this recent development is more prof, “Their representation (the city attorney) was that we received all of Reyes IA (internal affairs) files as of February 2020. The city attorney's office then declared a conflict and substituted out of the case as of March 2020 and separate counsel was appointed to represent Reyes.” Like I also say when are the Fed's coming in to put this corruption to an end? Why are we, the citizens of the LBC putting up with this? SMH

In my opinion, the City of Long Beach is a criminal organization allowed to operate outside the law by the Mayor, City Councilmembers and City Manager. It has been my experience and observation that subordinate behavior mirrors the behavior of its upper management. If not for the frequently publicized criminal behavior of City Hall upper management, there would not be criminal behavior at the lower levels like LBPD.

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