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Richard Valdemar

Richard Valdemar

Sgt. Richard Valdemar retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after spending most of his 33 years on the job combating gangs.
Gangs

Equal Justice Under the Law?

Financial disclosure rules for LAPD gang units should also be applied to attorneys.

February 08, 2011  |  by Richard Valdemar - Also by this author


Los Angeles attorney Richard Fine was jailed and disbarred, when he exposed the fact that Superior Court judges have been receiving illegal money under the table from county supervisors in addition to their lawful salary from the state. He made the October 2010 cover of California Lawyer.

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Police Department announced it would have to disband gang units. This comes after several painful years of rebuilding the gang units after the Rampart corruption scandal. The reason the LAPD felt it had to disband the units is that gang officers presented a united front and refused to participate in the U.S. Department of Justice's ordered new policy of financial disclosure forced on the department by a federal consent decree.

I was driving around the Los Angeles area when I heard this idiot of a talk show host on KFI Radio pontificating about how this made the LAPD officers appear that they were corrupt and hiding something. He said many politicians are required to give these financial disclosure statements when running for office. He also pointed out that LAPD narcotics officers had already cooperated in these financial disclosures. So why can't the gang cops?

Funny, I would bet that if the government and federal courts attempted to force all talk show hosts, other than those on "public radio" stations, to provide financial disclosure statements, the hosts on KFI would be among the first to object. This would of course be criticized on public radio talk shows as making the other talk show hosts look corrupt and having something to hide.

There's a long history with American politicians and their administrations being corrupted by big business and criminal organizations. You can read headlines about them almost every day. You can watch stories of politicians who are caught everyday in the national media. This is the reason that the practice of requiring them to submit financial statements has been imposed on them.

While working a state wiretap case, I found that California wiretap laws were very peculiar. California legislators authorized the use of wire-taps in a large variety of criminal investigations but they specifically excluded its use in public corruption cases. What's up with that?

This imposition against the politicians' right to privacy has apparently not been very effective anyway, because political corruption continues. The corrupt politicians are apparently proficient at hiding these corrupt financial influences or simply lying or leaving these ties out of their financial disclosure statements. Much of their corruption and crooked associations occur after they are in office and no longer reporting their financial activity. Financial disclosure statements, if done "honestly," rely on the individual to self disclose any improper activity — to basically snitch on themselves.

I remember back when my department first attempted to impose random drug testing on the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Our police bargaining unions fought this program.

As for me; I knew I didn't use drugs, and I didn't want my partner (whom I must rely on for my safety) to be a drug abuser. I wanted random drug testing. I wanted it as soon as possible.

However, because I was fairly sure that several high ranking executives in our department were alcoholics, and/or abusers of prescription drugs, I wanted the tests to include the sheriff himself right on down to the lowest-paid civilian employees. Although not mandated to do so, to their credit LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger voluntarily submitted to the financial disclosure requirements. Shouldn't we require this from all other police executives?

Tags: Rampart Scandal, LAPD, Gang Investigator


Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

garry shepard @ 2/9/2011 1:11 PM

Man its not fair these politicians aren't God for one thing and another thing is these political figures shouldn't b exempt from anything why do u think people don't respect them as much that's the problem wamerica land of the free but full of favortism we the people who risk our lives to make a difference wepay for it these politicans don't risk there life like we do the have laws and thousands of bodyguards to protect them

David Berkowitz @ 2/16/2011 9:12 AM

I agree. I was with Los Angeles County 27 years. Everyone one should be required, not just gang units. Also visit www.whenlawmenlie.com. A good story about LA County years ago.

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