Los Angeles detectives are investigating whether last year’s recordings were capturedwas made illegally, the police chief said on Tuesday.
Recording revelations earlier this month exposed a growing scandal in the country’s second-largest city just weeks before election day. The great discussion of council members – laden with crude insults – laid bare the unequal representation and political power divided along racial lines in Los Angeles.
Council President, Nuri Martinez,While two other council members – below the White House – have resisted widespread calls for his removal.
The uproar began nearly two weeks ago with the release of an undisclosed recording of a 2021 private meeting with Martinez and councilmen Kevin De Leon and Gil Cedillo as well as Los Angeles County Federation of Labor chief Ron Herrera.
“The department has opened a criminal investigation into the hearing allegations,” Los Angeles Police Chief Michelle Moore said Tuesday in response to a question from The Associated Press, during a media availability.
The group, all Latino Democrats, was captured recording plans to defend their political clout in the rescheduling of council districts during a one-hour closed-door meeting, which was accompanied by major comments. He used racist language to mock colleagues – as well as the young black son of a councilman – while he planned to defend Latino political power in council districts.
It is not known who made the tape and why.
Under California law, all parties must consent to the recording of a private conversation or phone call. Otherwise, the person making the recording may face criminal and civil penalties. The state’s wiretapping statutes are among the strongest in the country and allow the “injured party”—the person being recorded without their permission—to sue.
Martinez, De Leon, Cedillo and Herrera contacted the Los Angeles Police Department on Friday — more than two weeks after the recording, which was posted on Reddit, was first reported by the Los Angeles Times — and asked the agency. asked to open an investigation. , said Moore.
“It (the request) was made by the principals – it was not made through any mediator or otherwise,” he said.
The chief said that detectives have since interviewed the group about why they believe the recordings were made “unlawfully and in secret”.
“As far as possible, we will also look to understand how such recordings were made and, if possible, identify the person or persons responsible,” he added.
The county labor federation previously declared the leaking of the recording illegal and unsuccessfully tried to block the publication of the details of the discussion by the LA Times.
Moore said no suspects had been identified.
The chief said detectives would consult with city attorneys — whose office handles misdemeanors — and county prosecutors on felony charges, if necessary.
Other questions remain about what the investigation may have involved and whether other recordings were made at labor federation headquarters.
The state is separately investigating how the council’s districts were created and whether the process was rigged. Democrat Attorney General Rob Bonta has said his investigation could lead to civil liability or criminal charges, depending on what is found.
The fallout has left City Hall in turmoil and President Joe Biden has called for De Leon and Cedillo to step down. The noisy protesters at city council meetings have continued to raise slogans and slogans as they try to increase pressure on the two to resign.