Tag Archives: Jaywalking

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.

 

The LAPD Told the LA Times to Fire Me (Part 3 of 3)

On July 27, 2015, the Los Angeles Times fired me as its long-time editorial cartoonist. The reason given was their belief, based on a secret LAPD audiotape of my 2001 arrest for jaywalking, that I lied about my treatment by the police officer in a May 11, 2015 blog for the Times. However, when I had the tape enhanced and cleaned up, it proved I’d told the truth. So why won’t the Times comment or admit they were wrong?

The LAPD Told the LA Times to Fire Me (Part 2 of 3)

On July 27, 2015, the Los Angeles Times fired me as its long-time editorial cartoonist. The reason given was their belief, based on a secret LAPD audiotape of my 2001 arrest for jaywalking, that I lied about my treatment by the police officer in a May 11, 2015 blog for the Times. However, when I had the tape enhanced and cleaned up, it proved I’d told the truth. So why won’t the Times comment or admit they were wrong?

The LAPD Told the LA Times to Fire Me (Part 1 of 3)

On July 27, 2015, the Los Angeles Times fired me as its long-time editorial cartoonist. The reason given was their belief, based on a secret LAPD audiotape of my 2001 arrest for jaywalking, that I lied about my treatment by the police officer in a May 11, 2015 blog for the Times. However, when I had the tape enhanced and cleaned up, it proved I’d told the truth. So why won’t the Times comment or admit they were wrong?

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.

LAPD’s crosswalk crackdown: Don’t police have something better to do?

Originally published by The Los Angeles Times:

This one is personal.

Just over 10 years ago, I was ticketed – and handcuffed – for an alleged pedestrian violation while crossing Melrose Avenue. Ironically, this was one of the rare times that I was innocent of even jaywalking, something I do every day.

Anyway, I had done everything right. I waited for the green “walking man” signal before stepping off the curb. I walked between the crosswalk lines. I got across the street just as the flashing red signal began.

All of a sudden, a motorcycle officer zoomed over, threw me up against the wall, slapped on the cuffs, roughed me up and wrote me a ticket. It was an ugly scene, and in broad daylight it must have looked like one, because within minutes there were a couple of dozen passersby shouting at the cop.

Another motorcycle officer appeared, asked the colleague what the heck he was thinking and ordered him to let me go, which he did. But not before he threw my driver’s license into the sewer.

I filed a formal complaint with the Los Angeles Police Department. A few months went by without my hearing anything, so I called to check in. I was told that the complaint was dismissed. They had never notified me.

Stories about the LAPD’s current ticketing crackdown against people who enter the crosswalk after the pedestrian crossing signal has begun flashing red and counting down reminded me of my incident. The Times reports that the LAPD has ticketed four times as many pedestrians for this violation in the division that includes downtown than in other areas of the city.

Is this really a worthwhile use of police resources? Two City Council members have asked for data on whether such tickets really improve public safety.

As Times columnist Steve Lopez points out, the price of these tickets – $197 – is wildly out of proportion to the scale of the so-called “offense.” Moreover, few Angelenos know that stepping into the crosswalk after the red flash of death starts is against the law. “Many… think, as I did, that the countdown is there to tell you how much time you have to cross the street,” writes Lopez.

Because, you know, it’s a countdown. In seconds. If you are familiar with the space-time continuum, and you have crossed the particular street before, you’re probably able to judge with a fair degree of accuracy whether you will be able to make it across in time. Why show the countdown if we aren’t supposed to use that information?

At a certain point, it’s easy to conclude that this is less about pedestrian safety than it is about revenue enhancement. Besides, how safe is the scenario I depict in my cartoon, in which people are racing across intersections at breakneck speed in order to avoid paying nearly $200 in fines?