Accountability? Metro Denies Access to Video of Potential Sheriff Mis-Conduct
Way back on February 23rd, Streetsblog updated its readers on our request to get a copy of the video from a Metro bus on January 19th when two Los Angeles County Sheriffs boarded, had an altercation with a mentally disabled woman, and eventually punched the woman in the face. The end of the incident was caught on camera by an army veteran and his smart phone. According to the veteran, the sheriffs tried to confiscate his phone.
During the back and forth in the press between Sheriff Lee Baca, witnesses and the victim; it became clear that the only end to the “he said, she said” was to be able to view the entire scene, from the moment that the law officers entered the bus through the altercation. Fortunately, such a record exists. Unfortunately, Metro is refusing to let anyone look at it.
Streetsblog requested a copy of the video from Metro’s usually helpful public relations department. They referred us to the public relations office. In early February, Metro rejected our request citing state statutes that didn’t seem to apply to this request. When we asked for clarification as to how these statutes applied, Metro sat on the request for ten weeks then sent us a response that didn’t answer any of our myriad of questions.
When we started this investigation, we were looking for information to clarify a public debate. As Metro continues to stonewall, our concerns have become more broad about a culture of policing that doesn’t allow for true public oversight.
We’re continuing to review our options going forward, but it’s clear that Metro isn’t going to hand over the records out of a sense of public responsibility. If you would like to contact a member of the Metro Board of Directors on our behalf, I’m including links to their email addresses after the jump.
Michael Antonovich (Los Angeles County Supervisor, 5th District) [ Michael Cano ]
Diane DuBois (Councilmember, City of Lakewood) [ Karen Heit ]
John Fasana (Councilmember, City of Duarte) [ Mary Lou Echternach ]
José Huizar (Councilmember, City of Los Angeles, 14th District) [ Paul Habib ]
Richard Katz (Appointee, City of Los Angeles)
Don Knabe (Los Angeles County Supervisor, 4th District ) [ Julie Moore ]
Gloria Molina (Los Angeles County Supervisor, 1st District) [ Nicole Englund ]
Ara Najarian (Councilmember, City of Glendale) [ Maureen Micheline ]
Pam O’Connor (Councilmember, City of Santa Monica) [ Michael Bohlke ]
Mark Ridley-Thomas (Los Angeles County Supervisor, 2nd District) [ Dan Rosenfeld ]
Antonio Villaraigosa (Mayor, City of Los Angeles) [ Borja Leon ]
Mel Wilson (Appointee, City of Los Angeles)
Zev Yaroslavsky (Los Angeles County Supervisor, 3rd District) [ Vivian Rescalvo ]