Summertime Blues

During the dog days of summer, I find out it’s extraordinarily difficult to get the media, or my colleagues, interested in my firing by the LA Times at the behest of the LAPD, who provided them with a tampered tape that wound up exonerating me. Or, perhaps, their silence has nothing to do with summer vacation season.

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22 thoughts on “Summertime Blues

  1. Any reason Ted, why you cannot simply publish and provide a link to the recording – both in its original and cleaned-up version ? Is anyone – the LAPD or the LA Times claiming copyright ownership of it ? If not, you would seem to be within your rights – but do consult a lawyer ! – to publish it, for example, on this site, which shouldn’t take too much time from your attempts to make ends meet. Who knows, it might just go viral….

    Henri

      • Thanks, Ted and mein verehrter Lehrer ! I shall indeed listen the first chance I get, when people give me a little relief from their requests for emergency help in connexion with the update/upgrade to Win10. If only the members in our computer-interested club of retirees would choose operating systems like Linux Mint 17.2 (http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=190), life would be so much simpler !… 😉

        Henri

      • @ mhenriday –

        A bit of a tangent, but I’ll say that wifey downloaded Windows 10 and hated it so much she uninstalled it and went back to Windows 7. (I’m not even going to give it a try.) 🙁

      • I’ve now listened, Ted, and can’t help shaking my head, though none will see the gesture. I hope you’ll excuse me, but there must be something deeply wrong with a country where basic employee protection is so lacking that an employer can cite a recording like that provided by the LAPD to the LA Times as sufficient legal basis for termination of employment. The journal would have had a better argument had they simply said that they didn’t care for the colour of your eyes (brown, I believe)….

        Henri

      • @ mhenriday –

        In a “right-to-work” state, an employer can terminate an employee with no other reason than that which you’ve mentioned.

        I don’t know about California, but in Arkansas that would be possible and feasible.

        “Right-to-work” means “no-employee-rights” at all.

      • I forgot to mention that I’ve red online that there was no contract between Ted and the LAT — that makes it a bit more complicated, if true.

      • There was no contract, at least not one I remember. The LA Times obviously had the right to terminate me at will. Although wrongful termination is at issue, since it was based on a total lack of due diligence which led to a false allegation of dishonesty. The biggest issue is, did they have the write to defame me?

      • «“Right-to-work” means “no-employee-rights” at all.» My point precisely, mein verehrter Lehrer….

        Henri

  2. Slave rebellions were notorious failures in the U.S. throughout centuries of slavery.

    Leaders of rebellions were characterized as abnormal by social norms of the day.

    So slaves, for the most part, saw rebellions as suicidal actions with a big downside and little upside.

    The social norm of today is a slave mentality, so normal people do not challenge the invincible Powers That Be, choosing self-disciplined censorship over harsh, authoritarian, externally imposed, disciplined censorship. That is why only there is one Snowden out of a million people with his access.

    John Brown is still popularly held as a crazy person rather than as a normal principled person.

    Principled action is not a normal product of a slave mentality.

      • I’ve read a few of his books decades ago.

        From memory here are names of a few of them: The Sane Society; Man For Himself; The Art of Love; The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness.

        I think they would be worthy of a read today.

      • I’ve just finished Man for Himself. Not nearly as good as Escape from Freedom though. Psychoanalysis and Religion is next on my list to read.

        Pretty good from memory: those are some of his most important books. Though it was the Art of LOVING. 😉

        An overarching theme is that most in Western societies are automatons, conditioned to be their very own slave-masters, so I could not help but think of Fromm when reading you comment. Indeed, his work is as relevant today as ever.

        What I find most fascinating while reading is that he will say the same sorts of things Ayn Rand would, such as man is an end unto himself and his purpose is developing his own potential, and then he will veer off course, saying we are our brother’s keeper. Regardless, he speaks truth as he sees it, as does our proprietor.

  3. Ted,

    You are too close to the events on this one. The media is notoriously difficult to engage. At most times. Especially about the police.

    1. Although you have written several times on the events surrounding all of this, you have not provided a single, one-stop location to explore this in depth. Your detractors, I have noticed, fix on the minor discrepancies (first he said wallet, then he said license) and the fragmentary nature of various posts you have made, thus clouding the whole issue. As a result, the whole thing has become unwieldy.

    2. You are trying to treat this entire thing as one single issue. It is not. Here’s an example of how I see this:
    2a. Rall’s Encounter with Durr. The narratives you have provided seem to vary in small degrees. The exact items might differ (wallet v. license/gutter v. sewer) but the overarching description? Does it remain sound? You need to put together something that provides all the narratives in one space, side by side, and go through them, explaining and clarifying. You may even end up acknowledging minor errors. This whole thing isn’t about a columnist making a minor error or the creeping nature of memory to rewrite small details. But until you present the One True Single Narrative complete with explanations of why some of the details have varied from account to account, “They” will keep cherrypicking — a little from A, a few things from B.

    2b. An exploration of what it means that the LAPD was making secret recordings (LEGAL, by the way) all those years ago and retaining then. This is a large, complicated sub-issue because it involves notions of the police state, Brady requirements, etc.
    2c. Where are the rest of Durr’s recordings?
    2d. Who was the second police offficer?
    2e. Who else has had interactions with Durr? Does Copwatch have a file on him? Does he have mountains of dismissed complaints? Only two? Over 400? The arrests and ticketings he’s done in the past 15 years are public records, no? He has a patrol beat?

    3. Much of what you have written about this — and, hey, I doubt I could remain dispassionate, either — has contained elements of sarcasm, snark, smartmouthery, and so forth. This is perfectly understandable, but does not help your case. The strings of twitter messages might be satisfying, but they could also chase off people. You need every person you can get on your side for this.

    4. The other side of this — the LATimes and the LAPD — have pretty much no names. You have Goldberg, who fired you. You have Pringle, who interrogated you. You have an LAPD spokesperson who will not CONFIRM that a tape came from the LAPD. I haven’t heard a single thing Durr has to say. There are two experts who have weighed in on the tape. the LATimes Reader Rep wrote a piece.
    4a. Why has Pringle made no comment about your statements that he asked why the license couldn’t be heard hitting the ground? The question is ridiculous on its face and serves to undermine his credibility as a reporter. But he doesn’t object?
    4b. Have the two experts actually been made aware of the reader rep column and been asked if her statements are correct as to their assessments of the tape?
    4c. I dislike “conspiracies” because they rarely exist. But the way you were handled on this by Pringle and Goldberg is completely unprofessional. A public crucifixion based on a tape that they didn’t even try to clean up? A career-ending grab-and-bounce out the door without your hat assisted by a reporter who usually investigates the police? A tape they didn’t even give you enough time to get cleaned up on your own dime? They could have simply suspended you while they did a proper investigation. So there’s something very fishy there. The LAPD? Let me ask this: Can anyone provide an example of the police lying? Not just the LAPD, any random metro force? Now, let me ask this, Serpico: Can anyone provide an example of a metro force doing an investigation in which the police officer was found to have violated policy or behaved in an unprofessional manner? Such cases are rare as hell. And they only occur after the victim’s side posts a video to youtube showing the cop in question beating the unconscious person’s handcuffed body with a club.

    5. You aren’t giving your supporters any directions. You’re OWSing this. You have to be the one running this. For instance: there is no list of names and contact information with a request that people send e-mails or call. E-mail or call whom? Start with the media contacts. Ask your readers to spread the word. Ask them to write and e-mail. Ask people to report on what feedback they’re getting. Have them call. Then report which sources have been contacted. Call them yourself. Ask why they aren’t covering the piece. Don’t chew them out. Just ask. There’s a big difference between “Well, several people e-mailed the NYTimes public editor, and she never responded to any of them” and “After several people e-mailed the NYT public editor, I called her office on such and such a date to ask why she wasn’t addressing the issue. She refused to take my call.” The former is just whining. The latter is documenting.

    6. What politicians at the federal and state level have you brought in on this? What organizations have you contacted directly about this? The LAPD has a long, violent history. Have you gotten in touch with the places that have been following the LAPD for years and years? You could be in for the surprise of your life.

    I wish you luck, Ted. Because you will need it. This is going to consume a lot of time for you.

    • Yes. I want to know who the second officer is. And how many complaints Durr has gotten.

      5 and 6 are where I’d spend my time.

      1 should be easy enough. LATimesScandal(dot)com. Maybe just a simple landing page of the complete narrative. I’d try to make it as concise as possible, which would be admittedly difficult, but as alex points out, your opponents keep their attacks so short and simple…

      When they say something about sewer/gutter or wallet/license, the response is that the major points are on the tape. The handcuffs and angry crowd. And of course, they cannot prove Durr handed you your license any more than you can prove he threw it down, so what’s their point? Distraction.

      It should be clear that if you were honest about the major points, you were very likely honest about the minor ones. If only more people thought that way.

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