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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.

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

In my 33 years with Los Angeles County, I have seen judges removed from the bench and prosecutors fired because of drug abuse and corruption. Like cops, they are human beings and susceptible to the same weaknesses and corrupting influences.

Last year, a courageous Los Angeles attorney, Richard Fine, was jailed and disbarred when he exposed the fact that Los Angeles Superior Court judges have for many years been receiving illegal money under the table from the Los Angeles County supervisors in addition to their lawful salary from the state. The supervisors and California legislators quickly moved to amend the law (ex post facto, Latin for "from after the action") to keep the judges from prosecution. Where is the U.S. Department of Justice intervention on this issue?

The judges insist that this extra money from Los Angeles — one third of their income — did nothing to influence any decision they rendered. I doubt if the people who unsuccessfully attempted to bring cases against the county before the Superior Court think the courts remained unbiased. My point is that no one seems to be calling for judges or attornies to be required to give financial statements. They're not subject to corruption? Why the focus only on cops?

For many years, I and many other gang cops in Los Angeles have complained about certain individuals hired and paid for by these same Los Angeles politicians to run gang prevention programs funded with millions of taxpayer dollars. Many of these "gang workers" claim to be "former" gang members. These programs and former gang members have had the most dismal track record of corruption and fraud in the history of Los Angeles tax-funded programs, yet no one mandates drug testing and financial-disclosure statements from them. Why not?

I'm sure the LAPD's narcotics officers weren't happy about abdicating their rights and privacy to keep their jobs. Obviously the gang cops are more cohesive in their resistance. If ending corruption is the real goal, let's apply all the regulations equally across the board. I can support mandatory financial disclosure for all gang-unit officers, if this attempt to ensure equal justice under the law is applied to all corruptible government employees equally.

Let's start with city and county officials and politicians. All local politicians should be subject to random drug testing and should be required to give an annual financial disclosure statement. This would have prevented what happened in the city of Bell — the mayor and City Council are now on trial for corruption.

The federal consent decree against LAPD began with two crooked cops — Rafael Perez and David Mack. To save his own skin, Nino Durdon would later join them. Los Angeles city officials and the District Attorney's office chose to believe the accusations against other officers made by these lying, crooked cops. This and a bunch of complaints solicited from 18th Street and MS-13 gang members by politically motivated LAPD haters. Almost all of these allegations proved to be completely unfounded. 

If we're going to test and monitor the gang unit officers, let's also drug-test and get financial statements from gang workers and gang prevention program administrators. All judges and prosecutors should be drug-tested and financially monitored. Every policeman, sheriff, parole and probation officer and all the public employees should also be drug tested and financially monitored. Why not apply the rules equally to everyone?

Fat chance of that.


High-Crime LAPD Gang Units Dismantled

Indicted California Officials Cut Officer Pensions As They Boosted Their Own

Judge Lifts LAPD Consent Decree

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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 A good story about LA County years ago.

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