Trump dominated politics on L.A. TV news. A ‘sobering’ City Hall scandal changed that.
By Eric Lax and Janna Kallman
“I’m glad we’re having this conversation,” President Donald Trump said about the city of Los Angeles after a federal judge released him from an ongoing criminal probe into his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia before his election in 2016. That investigation, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, is one of the most complex investigations in American history.
A few hours later, in a meeting with reporters at the White House, Trump described his relationship with the city as “sobering” and said his only criticism was of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who he accused of making an “unauthorized contribution” to a charity after a fire that killed eight people.
The L.A. scandal, then, is Trump’s biggest success story by a wide margin. But when it comes to his administration’s record on crime and public safety, it’s not the only story.
Los Angeles saw a record-setting pace of police officer shootings, a spike in the crime rate and a dramatic increase in violent crime over the past three years. The city also saw a drop in its population, a reversal of the trend that began over the past quarter century.
The Los Angeles Police Department has a long track record of using deadly force and other excessive force, particularly against people of color. And it has been plagued by scandals and misconduct.
This month, the Justice Department opened an investigation into the department after two police officers were charged in connection with the 2014 shooting death of a man who had complained about their treatment.
The LAPD’s handling of complaints against officers, meanwhile, is in some ways the most prominent example of the LAPD’s ongoing problems.
The LAPD has been under federal and state investigation for more than a decade. But a federal judge put the department on notice in 2015 that he planned to hold LAPD officers accountable for misconduct.
“The system is broken,” the judge, Roger Vinson, said during