*LAPD Captain Phil Tingirides and his wife LAPD Sergeant Emada Tingirides were invited guests of the first Lady, Michelle Obama, to the President’s 2015 State of the Union address.
The LAPD couple were being honored for their work with the Community Safety Partnership program; a public relations partnership between police and the community in Watts. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told reporters that the Tingirides “were a great representative of the city of Los Angeles and what’s going on here.”
Truer words have never been spoken by Chief Beck. Beck went on to say, ” This is a national stage right now. Police legitimacy, public trust, police-community relations are all at the forefront of everybody’s thoughts right now,”
What’s going on here in the city of Los Angeles is apparent discontent, mistrust and intellectual dishonesty.There are continued protests in the streets of Los Angeles with regard to the #BlackLivesMatter movement and the still unresolved murder and lack of progress into the criminal investigation of the police officers who shot Ezell Ford, here in Los Angeles.
While crime may be down in the Jordan Downs project and community relations maybe improved it’s important to understand another important role the Tingirides played on the LAPD.
In 2008, Capt. Phil Tingirides was the chairman of the 3-member Board of Rights (BOR) panel for former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner. Dorner was the black LAPD officer who complained of racism and retaliation at the hands of the LAPD for being a whistleblower and later sought revenge against those he felt were responsible for his wrongful termination. Let me be clear, I DO NOT CONDONE DORNER’S ACTIONS. However, I do understand Dorner’s frustration. I know first hand what it is like to go against the LAPD machine. This machine will chew you up and spit you out. This machine will grind you down; wear you down and cause you to contemplate wicked thoughts.
In his manifesto, Dorner wrote, “I later went to a Board of Rights (department hearing for decision of continued employment) from 10/08 to 1/09. During this BOR hearing a video was played for the BOR panel where Christopher Gettler stated that he was indeed kicked by Officer Evans (video sent to multiple news agencies). In addition to Christopher Gettler stating he was kicked, his father Richard Gettler, also stated that his son had stated he was kicked by an officer when he was arrested after being released from custody. This was all presented for the department at the BOR hearing. They still found me guilty and terminated me. What they didn’t mention was that the BOR panel made up of Capt. Phil Tingirides, Capt. Justin Eisenberg, and City Attorney Martella had a signigicant problem from the time the board was assembled. Capt. Phil Tingirides was a personal friend of Teresa Evans from when he was her supervisor at Harbor station. That is a clear conflict of interest and I made my argument for his removal early and was denied. The advocate for the LAPD BOR was Sgt. Anderson. Anderson also had a conflict of interest as she was Evans friend and former partner from Harbor division where they both worked patrol together. I made my argument for her removal when I discovered her relation to Evans and it was denied.”
If the LAPD wanted to appear fair and avoid any inference of impropriety; negate any argument of collusion between the Internal Affairs advocate, Capt. Tingirides and Officer Teresa Evans, why didn’t the LAPD assign any one of the other sixty plus captains at their disposal. Not only was Capt. Tingirides allowed to remain on the board of rights but he chaired the panel. It’s important to understand that the BOR chairman wields particular power over the other sworn member as well as the civilian member on the BOR.
Why didn’t the LAPD chose one of the other many supervisors assigned to Internal Affairs Division rather than allow Sergeant Anderson to act as the department advocate at Dorner’s BOR. And why did that BOR , affectionately referred to as a “kangaroo court” by some officers, discount the testimony of Christopher Gettler (allegedly kicked by officer Evans) and his father?
And then there’s Sergeant Emada Tingirides. Sgt. Tingirides apparently had been propped up by Chief Beck at a press conference in February 2013, during the Dorner manhunt and made the proclamation that she “had never seen racism within the Los Angeles Police Department.” Really sergeant? Well, I just want to know where the heck have you been sergeant? I believe that working conditions have improved somewhat between the time that I first joined the LAPD in 1980 and the time that you joined – but Never?
Well, as a retired LAPD sergeant, I have seen racism within the Los Angeles Police Department. I have been a victim of racism within the Los Angeles Police Department. I have also seen favoritism within the Los Angeles Police Department. I have seen and been a victim of the two-tiered system of discipline within the Los Angeles Police Department; much like Dorner and a host of other police officers recently surveyed and attesting to the same.
I have also seen how some officers are rewarded if their cart is hitched to the right horse, I have seen favor bestowed upon certain officers who for instance will tell a bank of television reporters that racism does not exist on the LAPD.; or as a sergeant/advocate lie at a BOR and then promote to Commander on the LAPD; or ensure that guilty finding the police chief most certainly expects from a BOR finding. And by favor I mean a dismissal of charges of police abuse; a promotion and maybe even inclusion on a very special guest list at a very special speech.
I want to be crystal clear in that I did not personally know Dorner. I was not privy to the details of his BOR. I am not a fan. But what I do know is the LAPD.
LAPD: Tell the truth, don’t embellish, don’t hide the facts and let the chips fall where they may. Let’s not pretend that the elephant (Tingirides) in the room is not there. Let’s not negate the unfairness of that kangaroo court and minimize Dorner’s complaints just because a few stats purportedly indicate crime is down in the projects.Stats can be manipulated – we all know that. Do right because it is right and eventually it will feel right.
Cheryl Dorsey is a retired LAPD sergeant, speaker, and much sought after police expert on important issues making national headlines; as such she has appeared as a guest expert on the Dr. Phil Show, HLN and KPCC. She writes and provides commentary on police culture and surviving police encounters. She is the author of The Creation of a Manifesto, Black & Blue; an autobiography that pulls the covers of the LAPD and provides an unfiltered look into the department’s internal processes. Visit Cheryl’s website www.cheryldorsey.net., listen to her on Soundcloud follow on Twitter @retLAPDsgt