Tag Archives: firing

SYNDICATED COLUMN: After Charlottesville: If You Fire a Fascist, You Are a Fascist

Image result for charlottesville

No one should get fired for his political beliefs.

Not even a Nazi.

I am disturbed by the news that some of the white nationalists who attended the violent “Unite the Right” hatefest in Charlottesville last weekend are being outted on social media. Attendees have been on the receiving end of threats and doxxing. It was reported that a restaurant worker in Berkeley was canned after he was exposed on Twitter.

Needless to say — it ought to be, anyway — I hate Nazis, Klansmen and the like. Their politics and values are exactly the opposite of mine. Still, no one should get fired for parading around with torches like it’s Germany in 1933.

This isn’t a First Amendment issue. Nothing in our outdated constitution prevents an employer from firing you on account of your politics. In 2004 an Alabama company even fired a woman for having a John Kerry for President bumpersticker on her car.

It is a free speech issue.

A business has the right to control its employees’ behavior in order to protect its image. Particularly in a liberal stronghold like Berkeley but anywhere really, no one wants a waiter wearing a swastika tattoo or spouting racist views. But if Top Dog restaurant can fire a racist dude for racist views he expresses thousands of miles away, there’s nothing to prevent Google from firing a software engineer for sexism — or you for whatever you happen to believe.

Firing a worker for their politics — especially when those politics are expressed outside the workplace — is McCarthyism. McCarthyism is wrong, McCarthyism is immoral and McCarthyism ought to be illegal.

As usual during episodes like this, many of my comrades on the left are gloating over what they see as righteous payback against violent, racist, anti-Semitic thugs. This makes me very uncomfortable, and not just because it feels more like the “human flesh search engine” online vigilantism that occurs in China than the United States, where the MYOB ethos ruled pre-Internet.

I don’t deny that this is personal. My political views have gotten me targeted by a cyberstalker/identity thief, fired by a publication over a cartoon that appeared elsewhere in another venue, and defamed by a newspaper as a favor to the local police chief who’d cozied up to the paper’s publisher. I’ve been working long enough to observe that what’s popular today gets censored tomorrow, and vice versa. Top Dog gets plaudits for firing a fascist; next time the victim could be a garden-variety Democrat.

“Historically it’s more dangerous as an employee to be associated with racial justice and the NAACP, than it was to be affiliated with the KKK,” notes Walter Greason, a historian and professor at Monmouth University.

A sign posted by Top Dog management reflects a common view: “We do respect our employees’ right to their opinions,” the sign read. “They are free to make their own choices, but must accept the responsibilities of those choices.” The question is, should those “responsibilities” include being deprived of a livelihood?

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve read some variation of “You have the right to be a fascist/racist/sexist/jerk/communist, but XYZ Corp. has the right to fire you too.” Or, as Oli­ver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote in 1891: “A employee may have a constitutional right to talk politics, but he has no constitutional right to be employed.”

True, that’s the law. What I’m arguing is that free speech will always be meaningless until the constitution is amended. Workers should be protected from retribution for what they think and say.

We live in a capitalist society. Except for those born rich, we must work or else starve. The U.S. is the only nation with at-will employment. And jobs are hard to find. Under these conditions, without workplace free-speech protections, employees must think twice before they attend a rally, post a controversial memo, join a party or slap a bumpersticker on their vehicle. Are you willing to risk unemployment, poverty and perhaps homelessness — not just you, but also your spouse and children? If the answer is “yes,” God bless you. History is made by people like you.

For many others, though, the answer is “no, I can’t afford free speech.” The upsides of free expression are intangible while the downside risks are terrifyingly brutal. A 2016 Harris poll found that 33% of U.S. employees are afraid to talk about politics at work. Increasingly workers have to worry about losing their jobs as the result of talking about politics outside of work too.

The American workplace is a fascist state. It’s time to overthrow the millions of little Hitlers who think the fact that issuing a paycheck turns their employees into slaves subject to thought control.

Just don’t talk about this around anyone who knows where you work.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall) is author of “Trump: A Graphic Biography,” an examination of the life of the Republican presidential nominee in comics form. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

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Tale of the Tape

After the LA Times fired me as a favor to the LAPD, I spent weeks trying to trace the provenance of the dodgy tape supplied by the LAPD. Who at LAPD gave it to whom at the LA Times? Too bad the institution that ought to be investigating such things refused to do so.

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OVERVIEW: About my firing by the LA Times as a favor to the LAPD

Almost two weeks ago, the LA Times fired me as their editorial cartoonist, where I’d been since 2009.

Editor Nick Goldberg told me it was because I’d lied in a blog post for the LA Times about how an LAPD cop treated me during a 2001 arrest for jaywalking. They based this on an LAPD audiotape of the arrest. You can read my account of the arrest here.

But when I had the tape analyzed – after Goldberg hastily fired me – it showed that it was the LAPD that is lying, not me. (Goldberg didn’t bother to analyze the tape.) Moreover, the LAPD tape was probably tampered with to try to put the cop in a better light than he’d behaved.

The Times knows they were wrong, yet they’re refusing to reverse their decision, apologize, or retract ” A Note to Readers” that calls me a liar and a fabulist, from latimes.com. The LAPD police union posted a gloaty sinister blog post threatening other journalists to toe the line lest they be next but perhaps they’re feeling the heat, so it’s down now.

Here’s an overview of the sordid affair.

  • Start with this Timeline of Events by ANewDomain.net, where most of the breaking news has been and will continue to be released as it comes out. It contains links to most aND’s coverage. (Skip down to the boldface article below if you’re in a hurry and just want to listen to the audiotape.)
  • LISTEN to the full, professionally produced audio enhancement. Click here if you’re in a hurry and to read a detailed transcript that reveals an angry crowd and proof that my blog for the LA Times was accurate. If you’re still having trouble hearing it, and/or have time to wait for a large download, here is the higher-quality WAV file.

Here is my initial response to my firing, before I had the LAPD tape enhanced.

The LA Times told me the LAPD told me the arresting officer never used cuffs, ever. But he did – in the pages of the LA Times: “A Discrepancy In The Cop’s Story”  by Ted Rall (aNewDomain commentary)

Listen to the Tapes:

Listen to a rough version of the audio enhancement where you can hear an angry woman shouting “Take off his handcuffs!”

Media Coverage (in reverse chronological order):

(* = good places to start)

Cartoonist fired by LA Times after LAPD arrest says evidence ‘spliced and edited’ (by Steven W. Thrasher, The Guardian)

Project Censored: “A remarkable case of censorship” (Project Censored/Pacifica Radio – 1 hour radio interview)

Los Angeles Times Defends Firing Ted Rall, Editorial Cartoonist And Fierce LAPD Critic (by Brendan James, International Business Times)

* Rall’s Deal: Controversial cartoonist Ted Rall fights for his professional life after being fired by the LA Times (by Kevin Ulrich, Pasadena Weekly)

Was Ted Rall Wrongfully Fired From LA Times? (Video) (Huffington Post Live)

* Fired Los Angeles Times cartoonist hits back at newspaper for siding with LAPD (by Sam Thielman, The Guardian)

Ted Rall’s Fight With The LAPD Happens To You (by Ken Womble, Mimesis Law)

Ted Rall Matters (Rob Rogers blog)

US Cartoonist Ted Rall Versus the LA Times (Cartoon Movement, Netherlands)

* Cartoonists call for review of tape used as evidence to cut ties with Ted Rall (Poynter.org)

American Association of Editorial Cartoonists Calls for Independent Investigation into LAPD Tape Used to Fire Rall (Daily Cartoonist)

The Strange Case of the LA Times Cartoonist Fired for Being Too-Critical of LA Police (Orange Beach Rag)

Did The LAPD Have A Political Cartoonist Fired? by Ryan Steadman and Guelda Voien (The New York Observer)

‘Cleaned-Up’ Audiotape of Political Cartoonist’s Clash With LAPD Bolsters His Story by Hunter Harris (news story, New York Observer)

In Defense of Ted Rall, A Hard Guy To Defend by Ken Kurson (editorial, New York Observer)

The LA Times fired a journalist after cops told them he lied—but did they investigate? by Rob Beschizza (Boing Boing)

Cops Gun Down Unarmed Journalist’s Career  by investigative reporter Greg Palast (Reader Supported News)

Why Won’t The L.A. Times Admit They Were Wrong About Cartoonist Ted Rall? by Susie Madrak (Crooks and Liars)

LA Times Fires, Publicly Shames Editorial Cartoonist Ted Rall (Mike Lynch Cartoons blog)

Reporting by me and others at aNewDomain.net:

LA Times Responds to Charges That It Fired Me as A Favor to LAPD by Ted Rall

Why The Ted Rall LA Times Scandal Matters So Much (legal analysis by Tom Ewing, aNewDomain.net)

Rall Vindicated, LAPD And LA Times under Fire by Tom Ewing and Gina Smith, aNewDomain.net

The LAPPL applauds L.A. Times firing of cartoonist Ted Rall (LA Police Union Blog gloating, and threatening other journalists)

14 Years Ago, A Woman Vindicated Me Now by Ted Rall (Common Dreams)

Editor: LA Times “Cannot Comment” On Ted Rall. Why? By Gina Smith (aNewDomain)

 

Finally, here’s how you can help.

 

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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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Published at ANewDomain.net: “Ted Rall LAPD Scandal: Second New Tape Reveals Startling Details”

Originally published by ANewDomain.net:

Update, Aug. 2, 2015: We now have the latest enhanced version (v. 2) of the Los Angeles Police Department tape dub that cops used to convince Los Angeles Times editors that Ted Rall lied in print about police mistreatment on a 2001 jaywalking stop on Melrose Ave. The Times fired Rall early last week as a cartoonist and columnist based on that tape.

But this latest pro-enhanced version, released by Rall and aNewDomain today, Monday, Aug. 3, 1 a.m. Pacific, conclusively backs up Rall’s story that LAPD officer Will Durr in fact handcuffed him in front of a crowd of loudly protesting onlookers.  The LAPD and Times never bothered to enhance the 6:20 tape, six minutes of which was incomprehensible static. But we did. Here’s Rall on this new tape, which even clearer and more damning than the version we released late last week. – Ed

By Ted Rall, with Gina Smith reporting.

aNewDomainted-rall-on-greece — Three weeks after 9/11, I was walking on Melrose Avenue in the West Hollywood section of Los Angeles. I had just appeared for a taping of the TV show “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher,” at nearby CBS Television City’s studio.

I was buoyant. There, I’d met former MTV VJ Kennedy. And Woody Harrelson, who was hanging out in the green room, had just told me he was a fan. I was having a great night. I was on my way to dinner with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, agent, radio producer and some friends. I crossed the north side of Melrose at the corner of Gardner Street. With the light. In the crosswalk.

That’s when the cop, LAPD Officer Will Durr, appeared.

Ted Rall LAPD LaTimes scandalOfficer Durr (shown at right) angrily accused me of jaywalking, though he would’ve known full well I did no such thing if he’d actually watched me cross Melrose.

He threw me against a wall. I’m a big guy, so that’s saying a lot. Then he handcuffed me and began writing up my ticket. As he wrote it up and I stood there, stunned and cuffed, an angry crowd of people gathered on the street; many of them loudly protested his mistreatment of me. He whistled, strangely, in response to most of the comments of the people giving him a hard time. And then he was done, he threw my license in the gutter.

On May 11, 2015 I wrote about my experience in a blog for the website of The Los Angeles Times, where I’d been a cartoonist and commentator since 2009. (It was a long relationship. The Times ran my syndicated editorial cartoons since the early 1990s.)

LA Times-editor-Nick-Goldberg-believed-the-cops-over-rall-in-the-ted-rall-lapd-la-times-scandalBut last week, on July 27, Times reporter Paul Pringle and editorial page editor Nick Goldberg (pictured at left) called me at my New York home office. Based on an audiotape I never knew existed, one that Officer Durr clandestinely recorded on the scene 14 years ago, they told me my May 11, 2015 blog post was a lie.

According to the LAPD and that tape that someone at the LAPD gave them (the Times refuses to answer questions from reporters, so we don’t know who slipped it to them), they believed I had never been handcuffed, there had been no angry crowd and no nasty toss of my license. And they said they believed the tape evidence alone made it clear that, based on the tape and the tape alone, I was a liar.

Pringle played me the tape. The audio was awful (listen here). The 6:20 tape contained only about 20 seconds of semi-audible speech — and lots of bizarre whistling. But the majority of the tape — fully six minutes worth — was incomprehensible noise and static.

The LAPD and the Times made no apparent attempt to enhance, or authenticate, the LAPD-supplied audio using commonly available audio technology and talent. Nevertheless, Goldberg informed me, I was fired, based on that tape. Not only that, I would be publicly humiliated. The next day, he published an Editor’s Note announcing my firing and the LAPD’s allegations in the print and online editions of the newspaper. It took me two days to come up with the first enhanced version. Still mostly inaudible, it revealed at least one bystander’s voice loudly asking Durr to “take off his handcuffs.”

The audio engineers we hired at Post Haste Digital to clean it up gave us this new tape, the newly enhanced version of the tape we’re posting now, early Aug. 3, 2015. It gives a really clear idea of what went down October 3, 2001 at the corner of Melrose and Gardner.

See the full transcript below the fold. And listen to both tapes below. Caution: Both contain adult language, including obscenities, frank sexual innuendo and vulgar language not suitable to family viewing or listening.

Here’s the newly enhanced version of the LAPD police tape dub (release: August 3, 2015)

For comparison, here’s the original LAPD-made dub of LAPD Officer Durr’s personal tape of the incident, as supplied to the Los Angeles Times as “proof” that I was lying.

Transcript of the New Tape

3.364 – Officer Will Durr, to Ted Rall: “You have an ID?”

7.570 – Officer: “the LA County Police Department, the reason I stopped you, you got a red light, and you just walked across just as free as you wanted to, so…”

15.654 – Ted Rall: “I’m really sorry, I totally missed”

16.902 – Officer: “That’s alright, you’re gonna get a ticket for it, I need you to take that out, of your wallet, please.”

30.585 – “Is this your current address? ‘kay…”

34.173 – Click Click (may be handcuffs going on)

(at this point, Ted is waiting, and probably handcuffed, while officer writes ticket)

55.363 – Officer whistles

1:00.580 – Officer hums

1:03.186 – Unintelligible noise – possibly zipper. (Note: Officer may be attempting to cover up microphone by zippering uniform more, as he notices bystanders coming closer.)

1:26.700 – Voice, female

2:05.207 – Voice, unclear if male or female

2:13.000 – Voice, female

3:00.314 – Officer whistles, possibly to cover up her voice

3:07.426 – Voice, unclear if male or female

3:13.662 – Voice, unclear if male or female

3:17.756 – Woman1 (possibly Asian): “Why’d you handcuff him?”

3:21.672 – Voice, male

3:22.549 – Woman1: “Why’d you…”

3:26.706 – Ted talking to Woman1: “, and I’m from New York,” Woman1: “yeah!” Ted: “So I can say that.”

3:33.351 – Woman1, to Ted: “You just tell him…”

3:35.000 – Officer whistles while Woman1 yells

3:37.864 – Woman2, to officer, disgusted: “Don’t think about his family”

3:39.621 – Ted, protesting: “I have a right to a ”

3:43.500 – Woman1, agreeing: “Yeah”

3:46.442 – Woman2, incredulous: “So he’s really detaining him?”

3:47.000 – Woman3: “He was just jaywalking… you need to take off.. no, take off his handcuffs!”

3:54.073 – Officer: “No no no no. First, I’m giving him a ticket.” Note: The officer is admitting that Ted is handcuffed.

3:57.179 – Woman3: “Then take off…”

4:01.305 –Woman2, disparaging officer: “He’s overdressed”

4:04.845– Woman2, mocking officer, disgusted: “Let’s go murder some widows!”

4:06.730 – Woman3: “Stop it!” (shouting)

4:07.063 – Officer: “I’m doing the right thing.”

4:11.736 – Woman2 mocking, “You’re gonna make a big tip!”

4:14.054 – Woman2, mocking officer, “I’m just a big girly-boy, give or take”

4:15.908 – Possibly woman3: “He’s behind him, this makes it…”

4:18.738 – Woman3 or 4, British, “Don’t forget to ride his asshole!”

4:21.054 – Officer, mocking back: “Well, I appreciate it.”

4:22.209 – Woman1 , mocking officer: “Here, fuck me and get over it!”

4:23.450 – Woman2, to officer: “I mean, don’t you got other problems going on in LA right now?”

4:27.114 – Officer responding to woman2, “Not especially.”

4:28.192 – Woman2, disgusted: “Well, go over there.”

4:31.198 – Officer, mocking back “Oh, I feel really scared.”

4:36.500 – Officer, humming into mic.

4:34.500 – Officer, humming into mic.

4:51.452 – Officer: “Alrighty, sir, you’ve been cited for 21456(B) of the vehicle code”

4:58.224 – Officer, sarcastic: “Here, I’ll take that until we’re done, there ya go” – (Here he seems to be referring to taking off handcuffs, so Ted can sign ticket

5:00.930 – Officer: “You did a violation, so…”

5:04.436 – Officer: “I need you to go ahead and sign at the X, you’re not admitting guilt …”

5:08.094 – Officer: “It has the before the you”

5:11.948 – Ted, withdrawn: “ ‘kay… can you tell me how much it is?”

5:15.317 – Officer: “’Scuse me?”

5:16.000 – Ted: “Can you tell me how much it is, or?”

5:17.352 – Officer, sarcastic tone: “No, we don’t know how much it is. There, I’ll show you a number on the back of the ticket. You can call and find all that information out as well as where you can go if you want to fight the ticket, or any other options.”

5:36.719 – Officer, sarcastic tone: “Here’s your license back…”

5:42.644 – Click, then scuffle noise – This may be license hitting the ground and the sound of Ted getting down to pick it up

5:46.048 – Officer: “Copy of your citation, like I said, there’s a lot of information on the back, you might wanna read it..”

5:50.766 – Ted, “Do what? Okay..”

5:53.400 – Officer, sarcastic: “Thank you sir… what?”

5:58.158 – Ted:

6:00.428 – Officer: “You know what? This is my first month here, so I don’t know any of the local eateries, unfortunately… I don’t hang out down there. Alright, have a good day.”

6:16.276 – Officer: “Contact complete.”

Select Clip – Optimized

Below, find a comparison between the LAPD dub the police gave the Times as proof that I lied about the crowd and the handcuffing and the newly enhanced (v. 2) tape we received from audio engineers on Sunday, Aug. 2.

3:17.756 – Woman1 (possibly Asian): “Why’d you handcuff him?”

LAPD-supplied audio clip:

Enhanced audio clip:

At this writing, spokespeople for neither the LAPD or the Los Angeles Times have returned our reporters’ repeated calls for content. And Goldberg’s Editor’s Note, which explains Rall’s firing as a result of the original tape’s contents, is still online.

For aNewDomain, I’m Ted Rall.

Special thanks to: Audio Enhancement by Post Haste Digital, Los Angeles

Additional reporting: aNewDomain editor-in-chief Gina Smith, aNewDomain senior ed/investigative reporter, Nancy Imperiale and aNewDomain legal analyst Tom Ewing of aNewDomain and SkewedNews.

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SYNDICATED COLUMN: L.A. Confidential: How The LAPD Conspired To Get Me Fired From The Los Angeles Times — And How I Proved They Lied

 On Monday night, I was in tears.

The editorial page editor of The Los Angeles Times, which has run my cartoons for six years, had called me to tell me that the paper would run an “Editor’s Note” announcing that they were firing me because I had lied about my treatment by a Los Angeles police officer when he arrested me for jaywalking in 2001.

I was about to be disgraced. Compared to Brian Williams and Jayson Blair. As a journalist, nothing is worse than being accused of willfully lying about a story. It’s the end of your career.

You’re dead.

Tuesday, when the piece appeared in print as well as online, word spread like wildfire that the police had a secret audiotape of my arrest. I had written in the Times that I had been treated rudely: shoved, handcuffed, and finally, the cop tossed my driver’s license on the ground. The audiotape, claimed my editor, proved that none of that had happened. It was, in fact, a polite encounter with a friendly officer.

The Internet exploded. Predictably, right-wing blogs led the charge, dutifully transcribing editor Nick Goldberg’s accusations against me, which he accepted at face value from the LAPD: Breitbart, Newsbusters, the usual gang of idiots. Soon Twitter was full of taunts. My email filled with mirthful, snarky insults.

Amid the chaos of my career falling apart. I asked people familiar with audio technology to check the LAPD-supplied tape, which contains about 20 seconds of talk and 6 minutes of unintelligible noise, for signs of tampering — and to see if there was any way to clean it up.

On Friday morning, I woke up like a kid on Christmas morn. But what I found in my in box was better than a bike and a skateboard: an enhanced audiofile that proves, unequivocally, that I was telling the 100% truth when I wrote that essay in May.

On the tape, you can clearly hear a female bystander shouting at the LAPD officer who’d stopped me 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.

The enhanced tape clearly proves that the cops are lying, not me — and it even suggests cops might have knowingly tampered with the tape.

You can listen to the tape at ANewDomain.net. My incident is at the 03:30 mark.

You can hear a female witness — a witness the LAPD convinced my editors at the Times did not exist and I was making up — 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 the bystander persists in protesting the cop’s handcuffing my wrists, LAPD Officer Durr whistles. At the time of the incident, I was puzzled by his whistling, which seemed like unusual behavior. Now I believe I understand, that it is the officer’s technique to tamp down sounds (like protesting bystanders) that he doesn’t want on the recording.

The recorder was on his uniform secretly. I had no idea the encounter was being recorded or that a copy existed until this week.

Any way you look at it, the Los Angeles Police Department is lying. Cops lied when they said that I didn’t get handcuffed. They lied when they said I was mistaken about the presence of protesting witnesses. And they lied when they told my editors at The Los Angeles Times that I’m a liar who should be fired.

And the Los Angeles Times believed the LAPD, not me, their columnist. So they sacked me.

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

It is the job of the media to question authority, not to blindly defend it and eat its own.

Even in its defense of the LAPD, the Times couldn’t be bothered to do due diligence. Editors made no effort to investigate longtime traffic Officer Will Durr’s bizarre claims that he has never, ever handcuffed anyone. I exposed that lie yesterday. The Times didn’t even bother searching its own website before siding with the LAPD.

If they can’t type “Will Durr” into a search field, I suppose it’s too much to expect the LA Times could 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, the LAPD wound up discrediting themselves and further eroding its own reputation. And they’re taking the Times with them.

But the LAPD’s reputation has, of course, already been destroyed by decades of police brutality, systematic corruption and fatal police shootings of one unarmed black man after another.

Will the Times do the right thing: apologize, issue a retraction, and return my cartoons and blogs to the pages of the newspaper? I hope so.

What a week.

(Ted Rall, syndicated writer and the cartoonist for The Los Angeles Times, is the author of the book “Snowden,” the biography of the NSA whistleblower, to be published August 18th. Want to support independent journalism? You can subscribe to Ted Rall at Beacon.)

COPYRIGHT 2015 TED RALL, DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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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.

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