SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — LAPD Chief Charlie Beck is responding to accusations of providing special treatment for an officer being disciplined in the department.
LAPD Officer Shaun Hillman became involved in a late-night altercation at the Maverick Bar in Norco, and reportedly used racial slurs, before allegedly lying to investigators.
While the disciplinary board decided that his actions were severe enough for his termination from the force, Chief Beck overturned the board’s verdict, and on Tuesday defended his decision to do so, following a police commission meeting in San Pedro.
“Well it has become a very public issue, but that can’t be what drives my decision to make these kinds of calls,” Chief Beck said. “I’ve got a tough job, and I have to apply a standard that is consistent, not just because of a person’s position, or just because of who they’re related to, or any other reason. It has to be a consistent standard that I set. And I did that in this case.”
Beck also said that, while his decision carries greater weight than that of the disciplinary board, the officer in question will serve a suspension of 65 days.
“When this case is discussed, most people don’t bring up the fact that there were eight counts alleged, and only three of those were found guilty,” Chief Beck noted. “And those three counts required a different penalty than what I had originally recommended. The only way a person gets to a board of rights is that I send them, and if those eight counts had been sustained, as I sent the person, I would have fired him.”
Officer Hillman’s father was an LAPD officer, while his uncle, Michael Hillman, was a popular and well-known deputy chief, who ascended through the ranks alongside Chief Beck.
Beck, however, insists that favoritism had played no part in his decision on the matter.
“Favoritism had nothing to do with my decision on this,” Chief Beck said. “I made decisions on this based on the facts, I can’t discuss what those particulars are. You all know that. That’s state law. But I can tell you this: I took a close look at it, I applied the individual’s past record, I applied the department’s past standards to misconduct, and I made the decision I thought was right.”
President of the police commission Steve Soboroff, meanwhile, suggested that he has agreed to disagree with Chief Beck.
“The fact that in certain cases two people may differ on what they think is right, the fact that they both feel they are right is good, and again, healthy,” Soboroff said. “And I think that the role of the chief and I are not to be a hundred-percent DNA match. And so, we can agree on the vast majority of things, and when we don’t, I ask him to be very open with me when he doesn’t, and he asks me the same.”