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LAPD Police Chief Michel Moore (Photo: lapdonline.org)

LAPD Opens Investigation Into Leaked Recording of Council’s Racist Comments

LAPD Chief confirms investigation request was done by the principals

By Evan Symon, October 26, 2022 12:17 pm

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore confirmed on Tuesday in a press conference that his department has launched a criminal investigation into who made the recording of a highly controversial and racist conversation between three City Council members and a labor leader last year, which was leaked earlier this month.

The recording, which also featured a conversation on how they could manipulate City Council boundaries and help reconfigure power, made national and international news earlier this month following being leaked, largely due to the racist language in the recording. The leak itself has sparked widespread protests in the city that have lasted for weeks, with the outcry from the scandal causing both Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera and Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez to resign in disgrace, as well as City Councilmen Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo to receive more and more calls to resign amidst their refusal too.

While other effects have been felt, such as both LA City Attorney Mike Feuer and the City Council pushing for a vote next year that would move the power of redistricting from Councilmembers to an independent commission and Attorney General Rob Bonta also looking into the redistricting matter, the question of who recorded the conversation and for what reason has remained unknown. At first, the question of who made the recording was largely overlooked due to the content of the recording. But as the scandal has evolved, that question has received renewed interest. Specifically, legal questions arose over California’s law stating that all parties need to consent to being recorded. With civil and criminal penalties  possible for the person who recorded the conversation and later leaked it, there had been some calls for an investigation to begin.

Last Friday, a possible investigation became much more likely following Martinez, de Leon, Cedillo and Herrera personally filing a complaint with the LAPD, saying that their conversation was recorded illegally. During the weekend, speculation grew as to whether or not an LAPD investigation would be launched, only for Chief Moore to confirm on Tuesday that the LAPD does in fact have an investigation going into the recording.

The LAPD begins investigating who made the controversial recording

“This request was done by the principals – this wasn’t done through some intermediary or otherwise,” confirmed Moore on Tuesday. “The department has initiated a criminal investigation into an allegation of eavesdropping. We are looking into how such a recording was made and identify, if possible, the person or persons responsible. Detectives will consult with the city attorney and county prosecutors for felony charges if needed

“Detectives have since interviewed [Martinez, de Leon, Cedillo, and Herrera] about why they believe the recording was made unlawfully and surreptitiously. No suspects have been identified.”

Experts noted that while most Angelinos and lawmakers agree that the four should absolutely resign for their parts in the racist recording, that an investigation should also happen given how that it was leaked surreptitiously.

“As much as people like the fact that it exposed these people as racists, complicit with racist things, or were ok with ripping apart Council boundaries just to benefit themselves, the recording was made illegally, and that does need to be looked into too,” explained Ron Stern, a lawyer who has been a part of multiple suits involving illegal recordings, to the Globe on Wednesday. “It doesn’t matter how much good it did because it did break the law and rights were violated. The LAPD really does need to look into this legally speaking.”

Shawn McDonald, a policy advisor based in Long Beach, added that “For Martinez and de Leon and the others, there isn’t much consolation they can get at this point. They can get some recourse this way. A lot of people don’t have sympathy for them and are glad that the recording exposed them. But it was illegally recorded and released. There’s no real way around the fact that this does warrant an investigation.

As of Wednesday, no suspects in the case have been named.

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2 thoughts on “LAPD Opens Investigation Into Leaked Recording of Council’s Racist Comments

  1. Did it ever occur to everyone that they likely record all Council business through a sound board and the “hot mic” captured this sideline discussion and someone who’s involved in the processing or storage of these sound files was likely so disturbed by the content that they felt compelled to blow the whistle on these cabrons…

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