LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)’s Major Crimes Division has opened an investigation into the leaked conversation that led to the City Hall racism scandal to determine if the conversation was recorded illegally, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Oct. 25.
“The department has initiated a criminal investigation into an allegation of eavesdropping relative to the [Los Angeles County Federation of Labor] meeting involving then-Council person Nury Martinez, Council member Gil Cedillo, and Council member Kevin de León and the Fed President, Mr. [Ron] Herrera,” Moore said during a media availability.
“Our Major Crimes Division is conducting that, and we will bring our results to the appropriate prosecuting agency upon completion of that investigation.”
He was asked, “So, Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, the president of the LA Fed, and Kevin de León came to the LAPD and asked for an investigation into it?” Moore replied, “Yes.”
“They approached the department on Friday, this past Friday, and requested that we conduct an investigation into the illegal recording of their private conversation,” Moore said.
“The department immediately dispatched detectives to conduct recorded interviews of the individuals and our investigation will continue as to the facts and circumstances of how the meeting occurred and information from the victims of why they believe the recording was unlawful and also understanding from them the assertion that it was not with their permission.”
However, late Tuesday, a spokesperson for de León said the council member did not request an investigation.
It remains unknown who recorded the year-old, racially charged conversation that took place at the offices of the LA County Federation of Labor, and who leaked it some two weeks ago—triggering a series of events that led Martinez to step down as City Council president and then resigned from the council altogether, and de León and Cedillo to face relentless calls for them to resign as well.
Herrera, too, stepped down as president of the LA County Federation of Labor shortly after the leaked conversation became public.
City News Service was not immediately able to confirm who filed a report that prompted the LAPD probe.
Earlier this month, in an email sent to some of its union affiliates and first obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the LA Fed said there was “a serious security and privacy breach” at its offices. The federation also noted that the “illegal recordings” were posted online, but the organization was “successful at getting the posts removed and the unidentified user suspended.”
The email stated that the federation is investigating the source of the leak and will “make sure these crimes are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
California is a “two-party consent” state, meaning that all parties—not necessarily just two—participating in a conversation must give their approval for the conversation to be recorded. Violators could face both civil and criminal penalties.
De León has resisted calls for him to step down, while a spokesman for Cedillo has repeatedly said the councilman is “at a place of reflection.” Cedillo only has a few weeks left on the council after losing his re-election bid to Eunisses Hernandez.
In the recorded conversation—which originally was posted on Reddit before being removed Oct. 9—Martinez made disparaging comments aimed at Bonin’s 2-year-old black adopted son and at other ethnic groups while the group discussed the politically sensitive process of redrawing council district boundaries.
Martinez spoke about Councilman Mike Bonin’s black son as “Parece changuito”—which is translated to “like a little monkey”—while recalling seeing Bonin’s son on a float during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, where she said the child was like “an accessory.”
De León chimed in and said Bonin treats his child the same way as “when Nury brings her Goyard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag.”
Martinez appeared to suggest Bonin’s son was misbehaving on the float, and if she and another woman didn’t step in to “parent his kid” the float may have tumbled over.
“They’re raising him like a little white kid,” Martinez was heard saying. “I was like, ‘this kid needs a beatdown,’ let me take him around the corner, and then I’ll bring him back.”
De León also criticized Bonin. “Mike Bonin won’t [expletive] ever say peep about Latinos. He’ll never say a [expletive] word about us,” he said.
From The Epoch Times