Police departments across America are struggling to hire new officers, and they say that desperate times call for desperate measures.  

But now one of the very cities being investigated by the FBI for allegations that an agency there is hiring gang members… seems to have a department that’s openly come out against hiring conservatives.

We’d love to give you an official statement from the Los Angeles Police Department, but their “crisis communication” strategy on the topic appears to be stonewalling all reporters looking for answers.

More on the gang thing in a minute.  But first, here’s the back story.

News broke Saturday September 28th that the LAPD would be opening an investigation into a recruitment ad for their department that simply stated- “Choose your future! LAPD is hiring!”- which somehow appeared on the Breitbart news website.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times:

“Police Chief Michel Moore said Saturday on Twitter that the LAPD did not purchase ad space from the site and is trying to determine whether the posting was meant to “discredit” the department.”   

He then went on to say that the LAPD and the city’s personnel department were investigating if it was a spoof ad.  Their ongoing active recruitment can be found on their website, LAPDOnline.org.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with how online advertising often works, it goes like this.

You’re a cop looking for a job.  You take a peak at some job postings.  The sites you’re looking on will often drop what’s called a “cookie” into your browser, which allows that job posting to follow you around the internet, appearing on other third party websites.

Apparently the chief is too busy attacking Breitbart to do a little research as to how this magical thing called the “internet” works.

The ads appearance on Breitbart was called into question according to The Times when Noah Shachtman, editor-in-chief of the Daily Beast, tweeted asking ‘why LAPD recruitment ads were appearing on Breitbart’.

Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans?  It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans.  Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice.  Check it out today.

 

So why the big issue? Wouldn’t the department want to pull viable candidates from all over the country from a nationally read, mainstream news outlet? Especially if there is a police recruit shortage?  Nope!

As explained by MercuryNews.com:

“Critics have repeatedly accused Breitbart of running racist and sexist content over the past decade. They cite articles with such headlines as ‘The Smartest People in the World Are All Men’ and ‘Data: Young Muslims Are a Ticking Time Bomb in the West.’”

Politico, demonstrating their own feelings about the competition, has also weighed in on Breitbart:

“The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke ejected a Breitbart News reporter from a campaign event last month, saying the website walks the line between being news and a perpetrator of hate speech. The campaign also said Breitbart used to have a section devoted to ‘black crime’.”  

Not that anyone takes O’Rourke seriously, but it shows the insanity of what’s happening.

That same ad has no doubt appeared on liberal websites that offer space for ads that follow viewers around.  So why isn’t anyone making an issue out of THAT?

Department officials wanted to make it very clear that their values are NOT conservative.  But their tweets, which are meant to explain the reasoning for the investigation, don’t seem to indicate exactly what those values are.

“We are aware that a recruitment advertisement has been circulated on a website that creates a negative juxtaposition to our core values,” vowing that they will find ways to make sure that this never happens again.  

All signs point to the LAPD suggesting that being a conservative goes against their core values, and that all readers of the news site, must be racist or sexiest.

In a statement that was released by Breitbart spokeswoman Elizabeth Moore states the company is:

“One of the most pro-police, pro-law-enforcement news organizations in America. We have been cited by the New York Times Magazine as having one of the most diverse news rooms in the nation, with a history of promoting women and minorities into leadership positions. We also know we have strong readership among the rank-and-file in the LAPD,” Moore stated.

So let’s talk about those “core values” for a minute.

The law enforcement community is simply a microcosm of our greater society. The problems and issues we see in our communities will most likely be present in police departments, sheriff’s offices and federal agencies. Issues include, alcoholism, drug use, abuse, theft, suicide and yes, even murder. But among the things that should never be present at any level, much less at a larger degree, is gang membership and activity.  

It is that very alleged activity that has led the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to launch a probe into multiple gangs hidden within the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The Banditos, Spartans, Regulators, and Reapers are literal gangs that are claimed to exist within the Los Angeles law enforcement agency. The investigation started after allegations of abuse by the Banditos in March.

All members of the Banditos have tattoos of a skeleton wearing a sombrero, bandolier, and pistol. Allegations against these deputies include using gang tactics to recruit young Latino deputies, and punishing those who reject their advances with physical attacks.

An unidentified source told the Los Angeles Times that FBI agents “are trying to determine whether leaders of the Banditos require or encourage aspiring members to commit criminal acts, such as planting evidence or writing false incident reports, to secure membership in the group.”

Four deputies were put on paid leave following the aforementioned allegations. Sheriff Alex Villanueva minimized the danger, calling the gangs a “cultural norm,” and believes that any problems with these types of activities were eliminated as a result of previous investigations.

Cultural norm? Gang activity is being explained away as a cultural norm?

In the last decade, there have been accusations against ‘gang member’ deputies of police brutality, even breaking the bones of suspects in their custody as an initiation ritual, allowing the deputies to be deemed worthy of their inclusion.” Sheriff Villanueva has chalked that fault up to previous leadership, saying the gangs “ran roughshod” over past sheriffs.

The latest allegations stemmed from a party last September. New deputies working in East L.A. were celebrating the completion of their probationary period with the department.

It was at the end of this party when several veteran deputies showed up that things went south.

According to legal documents filed against the county by seven deputies, the men belonged to the Banditos.

The claims are a precursor to a civil suit, which will seek tens of millions of dollars from the county for failing to address the hostile work environment the Banditos are alleged to have created.

Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans?  It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans.  Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice.  Check it out today.

LET Unity

The evening in question ended in violence when the Banditos are accused of attacking several of the new deputies. One rookie said he was thrown to the ground and punched in the face before being knocked unconscious. Another recalled being choked to the point of passing out.

“This is not just a case about beating up a handful of cops, it’s about fear through intimidation to maintain the corrupt status quo and make certain the new idealistic cops don’t talk,” said Vincent Miller, an attorney representing the seven deputies who filed the claims. “This has been going on for years, and the county needs to fix it.”

The Sheriff’s Department issued a statement that said it would not tolerate any form of hazing or harassment within the organization.

“The allegations outlined in this recent claim arose prior to Sheriff [Alex] Villanueva assuming office. The allegations are being fully investigated and appropriate actions were properly commenced by the prior administration,” the statement said. “Sheriff Villanueva had the Unit Commander replaced, in addition to key supervisory personnel. The new Unit Commander has met with staff members and has made it abundantly clear that activities which violate workplace policy or the law will be immediately addressed with swift and appropriate action.”

Ron Hernandez is the president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the union that represents rank-and-file deputies. He said the group would withhold specific comment out of respect for the ongoing investigation.

“ALADS fully supports a detailed, fair, timely investigation, with an interest in due process for all parties said to be involved,” Hernandez said.

The allegations are the latest for a department that has struggled for years to address numerous examples of secretive, gang-like deputy societies accused of committing abuses against inmates, fellow deputies and while on patrol.

According to the L.A. Times, in July last year, then-Sheriff Jim McDonnell launched what he said would be a comprehensive study of deputy cliques after The Times revealed that a Compton station deputy involved in the fatal shooting of a black man had testified that he and as many as 20 of his colleagues had matching skull tattoos.

That inquiry went unfinished when Villanueva, a former lieutenant in the department, unseated McDonnell and took office in early December. Villanueva, who has drawn fire from critics who worry he is rolling back reforms meant to curb abuse by deputies, has at times defended deputies with station tattoos, saying they’re honorable people. But he has criticized previous administrations for allowing a broader culture of hazing to fester in the department.

In comments shortly after taking office, he blamed station captains and other top officials for failing to stop a work culture of “unchecked hazing” that allowed cliques to form and grow.

Some deputies have defended the tattoos they share with others in their stationas a source of benign camaraderie and a way to boost morale. Some have also said they have a free-speech right to wear them.

The recent allegations are not the first against the Banditos. In 2014, the county paid a female deputy assigned to the East L.A. station $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit, in which she claimed she had been physically and mentally harassed by some of the clique’s 80 members after refusing to go along with its “traditions and initiation rituals.”

In a statement, Hilda Solis, a member of the Board of Supervisors, said she was “disappointed and dismayed” at the latest allegations.

“I have spoken repeatedly with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, the Civilian Oversight Commission, the Office of Inspector General, and county counsel about my deep concern about the potential existence of secret cliques or gangs of sheriff deputies. The Sheriff’s Department must hold itself out to the highest levels of professionalism and respect for others. The role of sheriff’s deputies is to protect and serve the public, and secret cliques and violent gangs of law enforcement personnel must be eliminated. East L.A. and the greater L.A. County community deserve nothing less.”

Now back to the LAPD and their desperate struggle to point fingers and figure out who is to blame for the recruitment ad that they first said wasn’t real but then figured out might be real but they don’t want it to be real.

Let’s talk a little bit more about how it happened.

Bruce Whidden, a City of Los Angeles personnel department spokesman, reported to the Times that the “[personnel] agency buys job ads through Google on behalf of the LAPD and other city departments. The department is now reexamining its ad filters.”

So how do these ads originate?

According to, Matt Rivitz, founder of Sleeping Giants, (according to the Los Angeles Times) a volunteer-driven campaign aimed at “targeting racism, sexism and other forms of bigotry in the media”:

“Companies that purchase online advertising typically rely on Google, Facebook or other third parties and frequently don’t know where their messages are appearing.”

Rivitz is a frequent Breitbart antagonist.  In fact, sources tell Law Enforcement Today that “Sleeping Giants” is a well-funded organization focused on shutting down conservative media.  

Sleeping Giants uses Twitter to tell advertisers outrageous lies about conservative media outlets—that they are divisive, bigoted, racist, sexist—and advertisers, in fear for the reputation of their brands, pull their ads.  It’s a scam on advertisers and conservative media alike.

One of their biggest targets?  Breitbart.

“Sleeping Giants, which has more than 200,000 followers on Twitter, has waged a concentrated messaging campaign against Breitbart, regularly asking advertisers on the site whether they want their products to be associated with the site’s articles.”  

In other words, they don’t want to say that it could have been done by an individual who maybe thought reaching out to conservative readers would bring in applicants to the LAPD.  

They also don’t want to acknowledge that they don’t understand how advertising works.

If you read between the lines of the comments of the top brass at the LAPD and city officials, it would appear that they have stated (without saying it) that the LAPD is only looking for individuals that do not live a life of conservative values.  

We wonder how that makes LAPD officers who are currently part of the force feel.  It’s hard to believe that there are no conservative members of the police force, and no conservatives living in LA or California for that matter.  We know for a fact that countless members of LAPD happen to follow Breitbart.

So, does that mean that police departments shouldn’t recruit for individuals on all news sites?  CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc.?   Has this grown beyond the question on the values of this specific website, and moved into who the LAPD is really looking to hire going forward?

It really calls into question, when did ‘conservative’ become such a bad word or mind set?  Why do some feel that individuals (or police officers) can’t be conservative and still approach life (or their careers) with an open mind?  

And so we’d publicly challenge LAPD to respond to our questions, just to get some clarification.  

Are conservatives welcome on the force?  When hiring, is the LAPD now actively discriminating against people who hold conservative values?  What happens to conservative men and women currently on the force—are they in danger of losing their jobs because of their beliefs or because they are avid Breitbart readers?  Just what are the LAPD’s “core values”? The taxpayers who fund the LAPD are owed answers.

Come on, LAPD leadership.  Isn’t it time to put the safety and security of the citizens and law enforcement ahead of your own political perspectives?

———

Want to make sure you never miss a story from Law Enforcement Today?  With so much “stuff” happening in the world on social media, it’s easy for things to get lost.  
 
Make sure you click “following” and then click “see first” so you don’t miss a thing!  (See image below.)  Thanks for being a part of the LET family!
 
Facebook Follow First