LBPD Needs a Top Down Enema

By: 
Stephen Downing
The Long Beach Police Department is a black hole of corruption and cover-up that has created a finely tuned systemic instrument of thug-like retaliation that the organization consistently turns against anyone who dares speak its name in ways other than that which is celebratory, endearing or jubilant. 
 
Consistently backed by a smarmily enabling City Hall PR machine, the LBPD sits safely behind its barricades of defense, denial and pompous self-congratulation aided and abetted by a city manager whose carefully constructed City Hall stonewall has turned the Citizen Police Complaint Commission (CPCC) into a paper tiger by insuring that its “independent” findings never see the light of day. 
 
The most recent being the city manager’s written conclusion in a letter to this writer informing us that all allegations related to the LBPD cover-up of the DUI/domestic violence scandal/payoffs involving Councilwoman Pearce were deemed by him to be “unfounded.”
 
The term “unfounded” means that what was alleged never happened – in spite of the cascade of evidence, inconsistencies and a case analysis from the district attorney that combined to paint the picture of a methodical cover-up that violated every investigative protocol in the book.
 
But, according to City Manager Pat West in his letter of disposition, the LBPD did everything right. And since the city manager and mayor are in the official chain of command for notifications when VIPs, like Councilwoman Pearce, become the subject of a police investigation, we can’t imagine that everything was not done right – in their minds – especially when they were involved in the (very sloppy) cover-up decision-making.
 
The City Charter gives Mr. West final authority to render that kind of decision – no matter what the CPCC has to say about it – and in doing so he completely reversed the findings of the CPCC, according to knowledgeable insiders, one of whom stated, “Let me tell you that what came out from the city manager does not reflect what the commission members recommended.”
 
And so the winds blow away another scandal that cost the taxpayer thousands while adding another layer of corrosion to the machine that runs City Hall, while those we elect to watchdog our treasury say nothing and do nothing but fall into line and ooze out only that which is celebratory, endearing or jubilant.
 
Which takes us to a new scandal, for which the big blue LBPD machine has cranked up its rampart of defenses and oiled its sophisticated tools of retaliation.
 
A Little Background
 
Readers of this column may recall our recent exposure of the traffic collision and DUI cover up involving homicide detective Todd Johnson along with insider reports that LBPD brass have enabled his alcoholism by historically choosing to overlook the fact that he routinely responds to officer involved shooting and homicide investigations while under the influence of alcohol. 
 
When a peer had enough and reported his alcohol induced incompetence, the peer was afforded a disciplinary transfer out of homicide while Johnson remained to respond to homicide investigations and officer involved shootings under the protection of his crony clique of peers, supervisors and command officers.
 
Well, all of that has come to roost – again.
 
Press Telegram reporter Jeremiah Dobruck published a piece on April 22, 2018 that exposed the incompetence of detective Johnson (and his enabling partner) in the handling of a botched homicide case that has caused no end of pain, suffering and endless waiting to a mother whose son was shot to death in 2010.
 
The bottom line of the botched case, reported by Dobruck, came from court testimony that the detectives not only cheated to make their case by leading a witness to point out whom to identify as the shooter but also “misspelled” a witnesses name causing key background information to be concealed from the defense.
 
When Deputy District Attorney Angie Christides discovered all of this, she did the professional (legal) thing and informed the defense and the court of the detective’s misconduct.
 
According to Dobruck the Judge, Judith L. Meyer, called the detective’s alleged behavior “appalling, unethical and inappropriate and Christides announced that she was dropping the case, at least for now.”
 
Dobruck reported that Christides then wrote a memo to her supervisors in which she said that detectives “Todd Johnson and Malcolm Evans, were involved in a series of either blunders or intentional omissions during the investigation…”
 
The clear intention of that memo was to put the detectives on what is known as the district attorney’s “Brady List,” which means their credibility will always be subject to court review and that the district attorney may never allow them to provide prosecutorial support or testify in any future criminal case. 
 
Yet both detectives remain in critical assignments, investigating homicides and officer-involved shootings, gathering evidence and interviewing witnesses – all of which will require their testimony.
 
The primary rampart of their defense, according to Press Telegram reporter Dobruck, came from the chief of detectives, Richard Conant – a police executive who in this writer’s experience – is never wanting for noxious excuses when abysmal decisions are made by the LBPD bureaucracy.
 
In one meeting this writer had with Conant over a year ago, he complained loudly about the district attorney’s point-by-point memo outlining the gross deficiencies of a police shooting in which LBPD officer Jeffrey Meyer turned a minor call into a deadly shooting. 
 
Conant was appalled that the district attorney had the audacity to criticize Meyer’s grossly inappropriate police tactics when the department had already judged the officer’s actions to be appropriate. (And cost our treasury another $1.5 million when the city attorney settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the victim’s mother).
 
According to Dobruck’s article, Conant is back at it coming up with all kinds of “perfect- storm-the-guys-are-really-busy” scenarios’ – never once mentioning Johnson’s alcohol problems or the failure of the LBPD’s supervisory and command staff to discover either the incompetence of their detectives or the unwarranted conditions that lead to grotesque professional failures like misspelling names for record checks or force-feeding witnesses to identify their favorite – and only – murder suspect.
 
But, it didn’t stop there. The retaliation machine is at full spin – Homicide Supervisor Robert Woods (recently appointed to lieutenant) puts the blame for his detective’s incompetence – and his supervisory failures – on the prosecutor while the strength of the entire LBPD – according to Dobruck – lodged a complaint against Christides with the district attorney and the offending detectives – Johnson and Evans – personally launched a retaliatory campaign against the prosecutor by filing a complaint with the State Bar of California.
 
Their message: Don’t screw with the LBPD.
 
It is a message that has been heard time and time again as the LBPD’s unrestrained crony clique continues to cover up misconduct and permit its membership to rise in the ranks while the lawsuits flow, homicides go unpunished, our treasury continues to be drained by lawsuits brought against a rudderless police department and the genuine police professionals of the LBPD are relegated to the coat room – and often fired. 
 
A former member of the homicide squad who has insight into this – and other cases still pending (People vs. Montelongo and People vs. Yvonne Robinson among them) that are impacted by Johnson and Evan’s being placed on the “Brady List” said, “Keep in mind that this happened under the watch of Lt. Lloyd Cox (now IAD commander who covered up the Johnson DUI), Lt. Erik Herzog (now commander), Sgt. Robert Woods (now lieutenant), Lt. Don Wood (now commander) and Deputy Chief Dave Hendricks (now Fullerton Chief of Police) when this murder first occurred. Conant is playing clean up and his excuse for their misconduct and incompetence is B.S and unacceptable.”
 
We could not agree more.
 
Stephen Downing is a resident of Long Beach and a retired LAPD deputy chief of police.
 

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Comments

Detective Todd Johnson is not the first and won’t be the last detective, officer etc. with alleged substance abuse issues that the LBPD will turn a blind eye. LBPD takes care of their own even after they retire. They have shown to me though personal experience to be largely and sadly an unethical organization.

So, shall we anticipate a rebuttal to Stephen Downing's article, like the one made four years ago?
https://patch.com/california/belmontshore/rebuttal-to-chief-downing

I find the article to be extremely interesting, but again, it does expose the corruption within our, “we the people” government entities who continue to abuse a position of power to satisfy or even complement their own negative behaviors and mistakes in life while judging or enforcing the law on others who make the same mistakes. Unfortunately, the citizen complaint commission is similar to other regulatory agencies that never find the government guilty or responsible for sub par performance and if they do find them guilty commissions are only an advisory group that is unable to influence the final decision. I, personally would also like to see the statistics on Commission outcomes? Yes, their are good cops, their are bad cops, their are good people and their are bad people, we just want accountability!

I am surprised this author doesn’t lead into the Kennedy assisination too. He writes very carefully, almost telling us facts, but they are not, he sites one source, who no doubt has an ax to grind and does not appear to back up other facts. He fails to say why those at the scene were all lying and what they were covering up. If I recall Pearce did not vote for the POA contract, so why would they help her out if it was as sinister as this donkey wants us to believe. For somebody that probably had a retirement party in a phone booth, I prefer to believe those that support us, not somebody with an agenda to destroy them.

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