A cache of text message records from Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore’s phone during the Black Lives Matter protests/riots in early June shows that indeed, as we reported, officers were pressured to “take a knee” by superiors – and that the chief himself was also being pressured, by LA City Council President Nury Martinez.
The text messages were from June 2, 2020, during a time when Moore was attending a Police Commission meeting. Investigative reporter Aura Bogado obtained the text messages and published the cache on Document Cloud.
Moore’s Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief Dominic Choi, texted Moore saying:
“Nury Martinez wants the Dept to order officers at City Hall to take knee. She was advised it was voluntary and we will not give an order. She may try to reach out to you.”
Moore replied, advising Choi that he might want to give a heads-up to Jeretta Sandoz, Vice President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL), the police union.
“You might relay to TJ and Jeretta.”
Then, in reply to Choi saying that Martinez might reach out to Moore, Moore wrote:
“She can reach out to me… I’m not going to order people to take a knee.. encourage, model the way..”
Moore might not have ordered people to take a knee, but multiple LAPD sources who spoke to RedState said that Choi did – or attempted to – and that didn’t go over well. As we reported on June 13, one source said:
“From everything we’ve seen, leadership is capitulating to political pressure. Command staff attempted to tell us to “take a knee” before the protesters. Since that is a political statement and our job is not political, most if not all refused.”
Some officers downtown and in Hollywood did take a knee, but that act of solidarity did nothing to prevent additional destruction. Mayor Eric Garcetti took a knee, and the protesters downtown seemed to think the officers were going to continue doing so since they kept demanding it.
“LAPD, take a knee,” yells a kneeling crowd of thousands at LA City Hall. Police departments across the nation have taken a knee with protesters. Yesterday Mayor Garcetti did on these same steps. It’s all symbolic messaging. LAPD officers here arent budging. pic.twitter.com/9JDsydrwxa
— Jonah Valdez (@Jonahmv) June 3, 2020
Peaceful protestors line up in front of LAPD asking them to take a knee. None of the officers did. pic.twitter.com/bDyhRy48Lu
— Liz Plank (@feministabulous) June 4, 2020
Wonder if Martinez thought Moore would do her bidding?
Of course, Martinez is the City Councilwoman who filed the motion to cut LAPD’s budget by $150 million – a motion that passed Wednesday – even though she was at that moment and for two months prior taking advantage of 24/7 armed security provided by members of the LAPD, which cost taxpayers $100,000.
In announcing her motion, as our Nick Arama reported at the time, Martinez shared her twisted perception of police:
“We need a vision for our city that says ‘there is going to be justice.’ American society is founded on a racial hierarchy, one that is born out of slavery, followed by Jim Crow segregation and corporate abuse of labor. As such, police departments are asked to enforce a system of laws that are designed to reinforce and maintain economic and racial inequality.”
Although an order from Chief Moore to his officers to “take a knee” was likely not allowable anyway, it’s good to see that he wasn’t going to attempt it. But, why would a city councilwoman think she had the authority or prerogative to ask the chief to issue such an order? Are there members of the LAPD’s command structure who agree with and/or do Martinez’s bidding? Is her motion, filed June 3, to roll back a 7 percent budget increase and cut the existing budget by $150 million payback for Moore’s refusal to issue the order she wanted him to issue? Something about this episode stinks.