LAPD launches criminal probe of racist leak at request of Martinez, De León, Cedillo, Brown
The Los Angeles Police Department launched a criminal investigation Wednesday into the publication of racially insensitive information within the department using software designed for police agencies, an effort that comes after a scandal at the L.A. Times over a leaked e-mail that revealed tensions between a Latino detective and black civilians.
The probe of the L.A. Times’ e-mail story was announced by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was joined at City Hall by two top law enforcement officials: Police Chief Charlie Beck and Police Chief Charlie Beck.
Beck said the police department is investigating the report of a racially insensitive e-mail that was published by the Times Monday, and that the city was not aware of the source of the e-mail until after the Times published it. The department will work to remove the offending information from its system and review any possible disciplinary action against the reporter, Beck said.
“I want to be clear that I am not questioning the motives of anyone who works in the Police Department. This is an internal matter for us as a department,” Beck said.
The story had been made public in a Sunday e-mail to several dozen senior police officials at the Los Angeles Police Department that contained a private message to one detective that included racial slurs and racial stereotypes about minorities, including disparaging remarks about an Asian woman and her husband as lazy and racist, according to police sources.
The Times’ investigation is being conducted independently and as no one in the newspaper staff has been disciplined, a Times official said.
The e-mail was provided to the Times by sources who said they felt it had been inappropriately published and sent by the Times to a city employee.
Police investigators at the L.A. Times did not contact L.A. residents, the sources said. Several people who received the messages had not even heard of the Times, the sources said.
“We don’t really know how the Times got the information, whether the Times was using the system, whether the computer was hacked and so on,” one L.