LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has defended Police Chief Charlie Beck’s decision to save the job of an LAPD officer with family ties to the department.
Beck lightened a penalty for Shaun Hillman, the nephew of former LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Hillman and son of a retired LAPD officer who was accused of pulling a gun on a man and using racial slurs at a Norco bar in 2012.
Speaking to KCAL9’s Dave Lopez on Wednesday, Garcetti said he does not believe favoritism played a part in Beck’s decision.
“I don’t believe that there was favoritism. In fact, you can cut it both ways. Being somebody who’s well-known or has a relative can actually hurt you more,” Garcetti said, adding that he had spoken to Beck about the matter.
According to various reports, Hillman admitted on audiotape to being drunk the night of the incident, pulling a gun and using racial slurs when questioned by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
But sources say when the LAPD conducted its internal investigation, Hillman denied everything. He was not charged with a crime. However, a disciplinary board unanimously recommended he be fired for lack of integrity.
Chief Beck overruled the disciplinary board, and Hillman received a 65-day suspension instead. It was the second in 100 cases where the board had recommended firing that Beck overruled them.
Asked if he would have preferred Hillman to remain fired, Garcetti said: “You know, I’m going to let my chief be a chief. When I disagree I will speak out, and a coupe of times we’ve disagreed. Right now I’m going to let my chief be a chief.”
Garcetti also said Beck, whose contract expires in November, has expressed his desire to serve for another five years.
The decision lies with the mayor, who said he plans to sit down with the chief to further discuss the matter.
“I go in with a lot of positive thoughts for Chief Beck and the job that he’s done. But process is there for a reason,” he said.
Beck was unavailable for comment at press time.