LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — After the LAPD accused political cartoonist Ted Rall of lying in a blog post he wrote in the Los Angeles Times in May, the Times decided this week it will no longer publish work from the award-winning cartoonist.
Now, Rall is calling out the Times for taking the Police Department’s word over his own.
Rall, a frequent critic of the Police Department in his cartoons, wrote in a Los Angeles Times blog post in May that an LAPD officer roughed him up – handcuffing him, pushing him against a wall and dropping his driver’s license in a sewer – after the officer stopped him for jaywalking on Melrose Avenue in 2001.
But the LAPD challenged Rall’s account, claiming the officer did not abuse Rall and furnishing the Times with an audio recording to back up its side of the story. After listening to the tape, the Times decided this week to cut ties with Rall, who contributed to the newspaper as a freelancer.
“The recording and other evidence provided by the LAPD raise serious questions about the accuracy of Rall’s blog post. Based on this, the piece should not have been published,” Nicholas Goldberg, editor of the editorial page, wrote on the Times website. “Rall’s future work will not appear in The Times.”
The police union said it supports the Times’ decision.
“This serves as an example of how an accusation and subsequent negative story about the behavior of police officers may be inaccurate and feed a negative narrative about law enforcement,” the L.A. Police Protective League said in a statement. “We hope other news publications will take note.”
But Rall told CBS2/KCAL9’s Erica Nochlin that he’s standing by his side of the story.
“I would do it all over the same way today,” he said. “I’m disgusted that the Times took the LAPD’s word, based on nothing.”
He said the audio recording misrepresents the officer interaction, since the officer knew he was being recorded and much of the recording is static. He’s hired an audio expert to sift through the recording.
“To say the sound quality is bad is charitable,” Rall said. “There’s nothing on the tape.”