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.
aNewDomain — 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.
Officer 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.)
But 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.