LAPD Tampered with Audiotape LA Times Used to Fire Me – Which Has Now Vindicated Me

Originally published by ANewDomain:

Ted Rall-LAPD-LATimes Battle: New Tape Proves Cops Lied [exclusive]

EXCLUSIVE — Audio engineers hired by Ted Rall and aNewDomain today released a cleaner version of an audio tape Los Angeles police used to convince Los Angeles Times editors to fire political essayist and cartoonist Ted Rall early this week. It is damning.

On the tape, you can clearly hear a female bystander shouting at the LAPD officer who’d stopped Rall for jaywalking to “take off his handcuffs.” She yells this twice. Officer Will Durr responds first with a “No, no, no … ” and then by whistling loudly into the mic. Listen for yourself, below.

The LAPD and the Times have been claiming that the original version of the tape, released on Monday, proved the officer did not handcuff Rall or otherwise rough him up as Rall had written in a May 2015 Times column. They claimed the tape proved Rall was lying. That was the basis for the Times abruptly dumping him this week. But this newly enhanced tape clearly proves that the cops are lying — and it even suggests cops might have knowingly tampered with the tape. Why? We’re pursuing this developing story. For now, here’s what Ted Rall has to say about the tape and what you’ll hear on it. – Ed

aNewDomain — We now have an enhanced version of the LAPD tape that cops used to convince the Los Angeles Times to fire me as its political cartoonist and blogger this week.

On the cleaned-up version of the tape, which you can hear below, just advance the recording to minute 3:30. You’ll hear a female witness, one the LAPD told my former editors at the Times I was lying about, and one they said didn’t exist, on the tape. She protests: “He was just jaywalking …  you need to take off … you need to take off his handcuffs.”

She says that at 3:30 and repeats it at 3:50.

To this, LAPD Officer Will Durr replies: “No, no, no, no, no.”

When she persists in protesting the cop’s handcuffing me, LAPD officer Durr whistles. At the time of the incident, I was puzzled by his whistling, which is unusual behavior for a cop. Now I believe it’s his technique to tamp down sounds (like her) that he doesn’t want on the recording. (The recorder was on his uniform, secretly.) Any way you look at it, though, this proves he and the LAPD are lying: Cops lied when they said that I didn’t get handcuffed, lied when they said I lied about the presence of protesting witnesses, and lied when they went to my Times editors and called me a liar.

Listen for yourself:

So we know the officer deliberately used whistling to alter the recording. It is also clear that he deliberately muffled it.

It’s the media’s job to question authority, not to blindly defend it and execute on its behalf.

Even in its defense of the LAPD, the LAT couldn’t be bothered to do due diligence. Editors made no effort to investigate long-time traffic cop Will Durr’s bizarre claims that he has never ever handcuffed anyone. We disproved that cop’s lie yesterday. They didn’t even bother searching their own website.

If they can’t type “Will Durr” into a search field, how can they be bothered to track down a sound engineer in L friggin A?

Classic Streisand Effect: In their attempt to discredit me and destroy my reputation as a journalist, they wound up discrediting themselves and further eroding their own reputation, which has already been destroyed by decades of police brutality, systematic corruption and fatal police shootings of one unarmed black man after another.

Two shorter clips, enhanced differently, follow. Listen to them, below.

So the cops lied. And there are other questions …

The main question is: Why? Why would they lie?

The audio tape was not a public record. No one requested my permission, required under California law, to release it. Did The Los Angeles Times file the required papers to get it?

Did The Los Angeles Times approach the LAPD to request the tape, or did the cops (or a third party, like the LAPPL police union, or the pension fund for cops) approach them?

Did the LAPPL (the police union) which has been gloating on its blog that the Ted Rall incident should be a “lesson” other media outlets should learn from — go out of their way to get me out?

Why would the LAPD spend taxpayer money to dig out an ancient audio tape and go to the trouble of doctoring it, if they did, and transcribing it, which they did, and walking it over to the Times to get me fired?

Under LA law and LAPD rules, an officer must include contemporaneous date, location and other identifying data within each uninterrupted recorded incident — otherwise it’s a violation of citizens’ privacy rights. That info isn’t on the tape, which means it was either illegal, or it was spliced out/tampered with. Which was it?

Also, was it illegal for the Times or the LAPD to get the tape, which isn’t public information, without my approval? Our legal analyst Tom Ewing will be following up with analysis around that question later in the day.

Does the fact that a big chunk of The Los Angeles Times is now owned by Oaktree Capital, an investment firm that itself is powered by billions in investment from the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pension Fund, have anything to do with this?

This pension fund, points out investigative reporter Gina Smith, has previously demanded firings of editorial writers and commentators at a San Diego daily, one that the LA Times’ parent company, Tribune Publishing, just bought. Watch for that report, too.

Notes on Audio Enhancement Methodology

The long enhanced version posted here was processed by a technician who wishes to remain anonymous because he lives in Los Angeles, is African-American, and has frequently been harassed by the LAPD. Here is his statement about how he was able to isolate the sound of the eyewitness to me being handcuffed —  the one who the Times said didn’t exist, about an act the LAPD said never happened: “I used a noise reduction plugin to diminish hiss, handling, and street noise. An equalizer cuts low frequency rumble and boosts the upper mid range to enhance intelligibility. A limiter brings up the overall volume.”

A different person, who lives near Los Angeles and also prefers to remain anonymous because she fears retaliation by the LAPD, used this longer version to create the two shorter clips. She said: “I’m using audio repair software to remove surface/street noise with de-noise filters, and an equalizer targeting the vocal ranges of the bystanders.”

I have hired a professional audio technician based in Los Angeles to further clean up the tape provided by the LAPD. I will post the results when I get them.

Additional reporting: Gina Smith, Nancy Imperiale and Tom Ewing of aNewDomain and SkewedNews.

17 thoughts on “LAPD Tampered with Audiotape LA Times Used to Fire Me – Which Has Now Vindicated Me

  1. Ted, I notice you’re on RT quite a bit and now you have a graphic novel coming out about Edward Snowden. Your politics are very much left of center and very critical of the political establishment, even the Democrats’ so-called progressive left-wing. You have probably attracted the attention of this establishment and they are now retaliating against you. It has been the mission of certain institutions like the FBI and CIA to deal with political dissidents that pose a threat or a potential threat to the system. I don’t want to freak you out, but I think it is entirely likely that the LAPD is a front and a cover for this attack on you; the masterminds of this retribution and character assassination may be higher up the food chain than you have imagined.

  2. What you may also FOIA is other, more extensively secret audio recordings of this nature that were used back (as it most likely is even now) then as evidence to bust or otherwise “discover” other “perps,” e.g. prostitution, drug-busts, etc. Just how much of this apparently secret evidence has been used to “probable-cause” search a business or home? ANY convictions that all such evidence initiated should be “out-the-door.”

    This looks to me as if the LAPD has inadvertently “outed” its own shadow-collection of secret audio (and perhaps also — selectively — video) evidence that’s commonly been used to blackmail other (important, or perhaps even just well-financed …) people into doing what they want.


    • … and the suppression of all desire to investigate in this direction is also why it may be getting so-much-less play in the front-line corporate media.


      • “Just do what we say and nobody gets hurt”

        – every B movie villain ever. Also, the LARD.

      • Also Ted,

        Who was the police rep who contacted — and secretly divulged a confidential document to — the LA Times? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t somebody on the legal staff. More likely maybe somebody in their (secretly maintained? shadow) records section.

        Either way you look at it, this becomes a “Snowden” event, where covert government “informers (in this case, rats)” go to the media and release information that they have no legal right to do so. Regarding this incident, I’m pretty sure that there’s something somewhere in the Patriot(not) Act that should get somebody in the LAPD a trip to GITMO.


    • And I’m still amazed that Ted thinks he’s that important to have a conspiracy after him. He’s a virtually anonymous leftist crybaby who wets his pants at the thought of anything beyond hurling insults in a comic.

      Quite frankly, his blubbering that a cop was mean to him is an insult to any lefty protester who proudly took a police baton to the face or a multi-year jail sentence with their heads held high.

      • “And I’m still amazed that Ted thinks he’s that important to have a conspiracy after him.”

        Maybe because the conspiracy has been PROVEN?!

        You’re a fucking idiot.

      • Say what? I’m seeing here, at best, a controversy-phobic newspaper and possibly sloppy police work. That’s it. I’m also seeing a minging cartoonist who’s making Abbie Hoffman do cartwheels in his grave for daring to imply that a little bit of rude and heavy-handed treatment is some sort of heroic struggle. When Ted gets the full Chicago 8 treatment, then I’ll believe that someone’s out to get him – but he’ll be on his knees begging The Man for mercy long before that happens.

      • Yo, Flaming Ball Sac – you really need to do a little research before posting. Ted’s the author of over a dozen books, he’s been singled out the likes of Anne Coltface and Bill O’Leily, and stepped on enough toes to receive anonymous death threats.

        He may be just another white guy hassled by the pigs, but he does already have an established audience. BTW – here are his awards:

        1995 — Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award
        1996 — Finalist, Pulitzer Prize
        1997 — First Prize, Firecracker Alternative Press Award, for “Real Americans Admit: The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done!”
        1997 — First Prize, Deadline Club Award, Society of Professional Journalists
        2000 — Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award
        2001 — Amazon’s Best Books of the Year, for “2024: A Graphic Novel”
        2002 — Best Book of the Year, American Library Association, for “To Afghanistan and Back”
        2002 — James Aronson Award for Social Justice Graphics
        2007 — Second Prize, Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Awards [24]
        2007 — Second Prize, Lambda Legal’s “Life Without Fair Courts” cartoon contest[25]
        2008 — Ohioana Citation for Art and Journalism
        2010 — Scripps Howard National Journalism Award, Finalist [26]
        2011 — First Prize, Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Awards [27]

  3. A few minutes with Google shows that CA dumped their ‘deep pockets’ law years ago, but since the LARD is part of LA methinks that LA can still be held accountable.

    Wrongful termination in CA only applies in cases of discrimination or retaliation. hmmnm, were they retaliating for getting harassed by the cops?

    This story certainly seems a like it would inspire some killer cartoons. Maybe Ted would like to give a few cartoons away for free..? The Los Angeles Free Press (First US underground newspaper) is up & running again – complete with a website

      • So noted – what I should have said is:

        Let’s chip in & commission a Ted Rall original cartoon or three, with the understanding that they will be made generally available to whatever alternative presses and websites want ’em.

        (Always assuming Ted would be up for it)

      • I go back to my idea that this should be Ted’s next book. Put it on CrowdFund or whatever the hell it’s called.

  4. > Ted Rall incident should be a “lesson” other media outlets should learn from

    Yep, it was – do I need to explicitly state the lesson? “Don’t badmouth the boys in blue”

    Now, let’s see whether they can learn from Ted Rall’s own lesson. (and how much Ted Rall can earn from the lesson)

  5. “Also, was it illegal for the Times or the LAPD to get the tape, which isn’t public information, without my approval?”

    I suggest a FOIA request to see who’s signature allowed the release on this audio.

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