Commentary: Brady Cops Spend $136K in Attorney Race
From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 7
By Stephen Downing
Police officers who have been dishonest are often called “Brady cops” because of a Supreme Court ruling - Brady vs. Maryland - that requires prosecutors to notify defendants and their attorneys whenever a law enforcement official involved in their case has a sustained record for knowingly lying in an official capacity.
Brady has recently reared its ugly head in Long Beach as the result of a widely advertised mass mailing to the Long Beach Electorate from the president of the Long Beach Police Officer’s Association (LBPOA). He wrote, in part:
“We need an experienced, dedicated crime fighter like City Attorney Charlie Parkin helping us keep you safe. Parkin is the only candidate for city attorney with a real record of cracking down on crime, drug dealers, prostitution and fraud.”
Since the mass mailing arrived in our mailboxes it has been clearly established that Charles Parkin has done none of that. The description better fits Doug Haubert, the city prosecutor.
This begs the question: why would a police officer compromise his integrity and jeopardize his career by using his official position to spread false and misleading statements to the entire Long Beach electorate? By doing so, the LBPOA president has handed criminal defense attorneys the ability to endlessly impeach his credibility as a witness, making himself useless to the city as a peace officer.
Two other members of the LBPOA board of directors have also compromised their integrity. Not only did they break the law by posing for campaign mailer photographs in uniform with political candidates Charles Parkin and Suzie Price, but they also altered their uniforms in an obvious attempt to skirt the law. This deception opens their integrity to attack in court as well, and eliminates their value to the city as sworn employees of the police department.
What is it about Charles Parkin’s run for the city attorney’s office that is so important to the police union that its leadership would put their careers in jeopardy and at the same time drain their membership’s treasury to support his candidacy for an office that has nothing to do with their false representation that Parkin’s crime fighting skills will keep us safe?
The LBPOA president and his board have thus far spent $136,000 on the Parkin campaign while spending $0.00 on the candidate they support for city prosecutor, the one office holder who does in fact contribute toward “keeping us safe.”
So, what’s up with all of these falsehoods and misleading statements to the electorate if “keeping us safe” and engendering a fear of crime is merely a Trojan horse?
This is what’s up:
The union leaders’ sense of impunity is so great and their grip on City Hall so pervasive that they have come to believe they can get away with violating the law and deceiving the electorate. They see themselves as untouchable. And they very well may be untouchable, unless we, the electorate, do something about it.
We should ask the question: What is more important to the LBPOA, the false “fear of crime” messages that promote Parkin as the crime fighter – or the city attorney’s continued unchecked defense of police malfeasance regardless of the harm imposed upon the community or the cost to the taxpayer?
Over the past six years alone police misconduct, wrongful conviction and wrongful shootings have cost the taxpayer over $33 million, including the recent Zerby verdict of $6.4 million handed down by a unanimous jury which the city attorney has absurdly appealed – at massive cost – in his unrelenting defense of the indefensible.
Keeping the status quo assures the LBPOA that the city attorney’s office will continue its decades-long practice of blindly defending police misconduct rather than implementing effective risk management prevention programs that scrutinize lawsuits, bad arrests and misconduct complaints.
The absence of responsible and transparent risk management scrutiny shields the LBPOA from the kinds of criticism that can generate major reforms at City Hall. This is the primary reason the police union is spending obscene amounts of cash to preserve the status quo.
We The People can change all of that. We can support the vast majority of professional police officers and command staff that want a city bureaucracy that supports good, community oriented police work and at the same time remove the barriers that prevent the weeding out of Brady Cops.
That opportunity begins April 8, 2014 at the ballot box. It’s up to us!
Editor’s note: Stephen Downing is a Long Beach resident and a LAPD retired deputy chief of police. Another Downing commentary concerning “Brady Cops” appears online at www.longbeachcomber.com under “guest commentary.”