City controller has begun monitoring LAPD

When protesters took to the streets last month to speak out against police killings, Los Angeles City Controller Kenneth Mejia springed into action, sending members of his leadership team to oversee the LAPD at successive events.

Senior officials from the Controller’s Office went to downtown, Hollywood and Venice for three consecutive days of protests, rallying “First-hand impressions of local conditions” and trying to understand “how our tax money is being spent,” said Mejia and his media spokesman.

Now these activities are being criticized by the police department’s largest union, which claims Mejia’s monitors pose a security risk by approaching officers at inopportune moments. In a letter sent Friday, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents more than 9,200 officers, asked City Atty. Hydee Feldstein Soto and LAPD chief Michel Moore to set up a meeting with Mejia and the union to establish protocols of interactions between his team and rank and file officers.

“Being questioned while performing their duties is unsafe and puts our officers and the public at risk of injury or worse,” League President Craig Lally said in the letter.

A person speaks into a microphone.

Kenneth Mejia during a campaign event at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles on September 1, 2022.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Mejia did not respond to an interview request. But during an appearance on Twitch Tuesday, he said his team acted professionally when dealing with police and other city workers. At one demonstration, Mejia said his team “stayed to the side and out of the way” and communicated with a lieutenant on the ground.

“The lieutenant was actually there … talked to us all the time and mostly talked about what their operations were, what they were going to do next,” he said, adding, “It went pretty smoothly.”

Feldstein Soto declined to set up a meeting, telling the league in a letter Monday that both the City Controller’s office and the LAPD were her clients and that meetings with them would be subject to attorney-client privilege.

LAPD Capt. Kelly Muniz said the police chief will release information requested by the controller’s office, but has also asked Mejia not to interfere in the day-to-day operations of the department. She said she hadn’t heard of any conflicts at protests.

Mejia has the right to question officers on the ground, Muniz said, as long as he doesn’t impede tactical operations.

“Have [the controller’s staff] were outside, did they talk to people? Yes. Is this the most efficient way to collect hard data? Maybe not. But we will provide them with information through the right channels,” she said.

Mejia took office in December after campaigning by promising to be accountable to the LAPD. In the years leading up to his election, he frequently took part in demonstrations and turned up outside the home of then-Mayor Eric Garcetti in Windsor Square. outside the house San Fernando Valley of Councilor Paul Krekorian and in the City Council Chamber on days when protesters temporarily suspended meetings.

In recent weeks, Mejia’s office has requested information on the cost of sending police officers to protests. He and some of his top aides – Chief of Staff Jane Nguyen, Head of Accountability and Oversight Sergio Perez and spokeswoman Diana Chang – have served as protest observers.

On January 27, Mejia, Nguyen and Perez went to a protest at the Civic Center that took place the night officials in Memphis, Tenn. released graphic video of police killing 29-year-old Tire Nichols. The LA demonstration included some tense moments between protesters and police as protesters battered down barricades and spray painting LAPD Headquarters.

The following evening, three members of Mejia’s team went to a demonstration in Hollywood. Police later reported that they arrested a protester on suspicion of smashing a shop window and tagging a building.

On the third night, Mejia, Nguyen and Chang traveled to Venice for a Black Lives Matter protest to mark the death of Keenan Anderson. who died after being repeatedly tased by officials. During this demonstration, protesters left messages on Councilman Traci Park’s doorstep.

Mejia said on Twitter his team is not focused on the behavior of the protesters. “Our goal is to hold the city accountable (NOT to investigate the behavior of community members exercising their rights),” he wrote last month.

Paula Minor, a celebrity organizer at Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, said she was not at any of the protests Mejia was present at. But she supported his push for LAPD oversight, saying it “couldn’t help but be beneficial.”

“If he’s out there, fine,” she said, noting that the city has spent millions of dollars on legal payouts due to police misconduct at protests.

A lawsuit filed by Black Lives Matter organizers accusing the department of excessive violence during the George Floyd-related protests that gripped the city in 2020 is still snaking through the court system, Minor said.

Mejia staff have visited at least one of Mayor Karen Bass’ Inside Safe operations, where outreach staff have brought homeless residents into the home. The controller has also reached out to officers at City Hall, once asking them “what their duties are and why they are there,” said LAPD Sgt. Dennis Clark, who is assigned to the building.

Mejia asked those questions on a day when a large number of protesters were at City Hall, Clark said. City controller has begun monitoring LAPD

Alley Einstein

Alley Einstein is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Alley Einstein joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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