LAPD Retaliating Against Dissidents, Officers Say By Andrea Ford and Richard A Serrano Tim

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------------------------------------------------------------ LAPD Retaliating Against Dissidents, Officers Say By Andrea Ford and Richard A Serrano Times Staff Writers Los Angeles Times July 22, 1991 Page A1 A number of Los Angeles police officers, some of whom testified before the Christopher Commission, contend that they are being punished for publicly criticizing their department and commanding officers after the Rodney G. King beating. The officers include a veteran detective who said he has been reassigned to answer phones in a station house after publicly criticizing Police Chief Daryl F. Gates; a patrol officer who said she was suddenly and inexplicably ordered back to work from medical leave after a news report on her Christopher Commission testimony was published, and another patrol officer who said he was the victim of a racist prank after he testified. The allegations came after Assistant Chief David D. Dotson was stripped of a key command after his criticisms of Gates to the Christopher Commission were made public. A week later, a deputy chief who also criticized the department found that Gates had ordered audits of the units under his command. There has also been speculation that some police officials have been rewarded for defending Gates in public. Los Angeles Police Commissioner Stanley Sheinbaum said his panel, which oversees Police Department operations, has been contacted by several officers who believe that they have become the targets of retaliation for speaking out about problems within the department. "It raises a concern that people are being treated better for being pro-Gates and being retaliated against for being critical of Gates," Sheinbaum said. "If it's true, then it seems that decisions are made by the chief on a personal basis rather than on what's good for the department." "...one will always be concerned about retaliation, just as one would always be concerned about anything that would endorse a code of silence. People in the department are afraid to speak out, and that speaks right to the problem of morale." The speculation that officers who supported Gates have been rewarded arose after it was disclosed that Lt. George Aliano, longtime president of the Police Protective League, the city's largest police union, is likely to be returned to police work with a promotion to the position of adjutant for a deputy chief. Long an adversary of Gates, Aliano quickly came to the chief's defense during the public furor for Gates' ouster over the King incident. In a second instance, Lt. Lyman Doster, who also publicly supported Gates, was transferred to what he described as the "coveted position" of City Council liaison for the Police Department. The rumors of retaliation and rewards were fueled last Thursday when Gates, at a staff meeting, twice advised his top commanders that "a meticulous review" would be made of the entire department in light of the Christopher Commission's findings. "The impression I got was that 'meticulous review' means cover your butt and the message there is that everybody better watch what they do." said the source, who asked not to be identified. Shortly after the release of the Christopher Commission report on July 9, Gates relieved Dotson of his duties supervising the department's Internal Affairs Division, which investigates complaints against officers. The move by Gates caused outrage, both at City Hall and in the Police Commission, prompting cries that Gates was punishing Dotson for sharply critical testimony he gave the Christopher Commission. Dotson told the panel that the Police Department has "failed miserably" to hold supervisors accountable for excessive force by officers under their command. The Police Commission subsequently ordered Gates to transfer the Internal Affairs Division back to Dotson's jurisdiction. Gates also ordered an audit of Deputy Chief Glenn A. Levant's command after learning that he told the Christopher Commission that officers were discouraging citizens from filing misconduct complaints against fellow officers. Lower-level officers say they also have been targeted for audits. Detective Bill Pavelic, a former supervisor in the Southwest Division, said the audits are a favorite tool of some commanders who are looking for reasons to discipline officers who are critical of the department. Pavelic, a 17-year veteran and longtime critic of the Police Department's leadership, said his commanders began repeatedly auditing his work earlier this year after he began talking with reporters about what he perceived as department favoritism toward students and adminisrators at USC after a rape and two beatings that allegedly involved fraternity members and the sons of key alumni. Pavelic said he became a target of direct retaliation after he delivered a scathing 45-minute, public condemnation of Gates last month at the so-called "People's Grand Jury on Police Abuses," an unofficial tribunal that organizers billed as an alternative to the Christopher Commission. Two weeks later, while he was on leave, Pavelic said he received a phone call informing him that he was being reassigned from the Crimes Against Persons unit to a desk job that is usually reserved for officers on light duty. "This is all retaliatory," Pavelic said. "I predicted at the People's Grand Jury that this is what would happen. This is another form of discipline. This is what we do with the dissidents. Pavelic said the reassignment can be seen no outher way because he is not on light duty and had received at least 80 commendautions. Pavelic said he had at least 80 commendations as a detective supervisor. "I have worked numerous assignments, am considered an expert interrogator," he said. "My partner and I have highest clearance and filing rates with the district attorney in the city on rape and sexual cases." Police Department spokesman Lt. Fred Nixon would not confirm or deny Pavelic's characterization of his service record or discuss his current or past assignments, saying such matters were part of an officer's personnel record and thus considered confidential. Nor would Nixon discuss allegations of retaliation by Janie Bouey, a four-year veteran who said she is now listed as absent without leave because she would not return to work against her physician's orders. Bouey, who had been on medical leave since mid-March as the result of injuries she received in an on-duty car accident, said the order to return to work came last month, the same day an article appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel recounting her testimony before a public hearing of the Christopher Commission. "My doctor is a city physician who was treating me privately," Bouey said. "They made me go to another city physician who said I was fine." Later, Bouey said a Police Department employee at the Harbor Division, where she was last assigned, told her he overheard a police supervisor saying she would "get hurt" if she returned to work. Bouey first went public with her complaints immediately after the King beating. At a press conference of the 30-member African-American Peace Officers Assn. and in other interviews, she told of Ku Klux Klan business cards being left on her car in the police parking lot at the Foothill Division. She said she began receiving telephoned death threats--from fellow officers, she believes--after she was shown in a newspaper photo wearing a T-shirt with the logo of the long-defunct Black Panther Party. Bouey said she bought the shirt last year at the funeral in Oakland of former Panther Party leader Huey P. Newton. The photo "was taken in my back yard on my time," Bouey said. "I really didn't think anything of it." Garland Hardeman, an Inglewood City Councilman and a nine-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department who also testified before the Christopher Commission, said some officers may be bringing problems on themslves by being too strident in their condemnation of the department. "When you jump out there and put yourself in harm's way you can't leave yourself open for department violations," Hardeman said. "They will use them against you." Hardeman said he has been harassed in the past for speaking out against racial discrimination in the Police Department.

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