LAPD Retaliating Against Dissidents, Officers Say By Andrea Ford and Richard A Serrano Tim
LAPD Retaliating Against Dissidents, Officers Say
By Andrea Ford and Richard A Serrano
Times Staff Writers
Los Angeles Times
July 22, 1991
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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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