A statement in that email falsely claimed that "Trutanich busted the notorious 38th Street Gang— confiscating an arsenal of 80 firearms and removing 57 long time gang members from the streets."
|"Oh what a tangled web we weave" might best describe Sheriff Baca's|
explanation for his claims that Trutanich "busted" the notorious 38th St. Gang
and confiscated 80 weapons and removed 57 gang members.
Sheriff Baca, perhaps wisely, avoided answering questions directly and instead, responding through his spokesman, Steve Whitmore, said "the statement was accurate because Trutanich served on an anti-gang task force that was responsible for the effort," but could offer no explanation as to why the Los Angeles Times report of the task force's commendable efforts failed to even mention Trutanich, let alone credit him with the claimed central role,
It seems that, according to Sheriff Baca, serving on a task force means "busting a gang," "confiscating" weapons, and "removing" gang members. Sadly, many will feel that the Sheriff's explanation does not even come close to passing the straight-face test.
The Sheriff's insistence that Trutanich was the "Buster" may come as a surprise to the brave men and women of the LAPD, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who actually arrested 37 defendants on federal indictments on the day of the sweep, and already had 14 in custody, with 7 others remaining at large. The surprise, of course, is that City Attorney Trutanich did not participate in that activity, other than to hog the limelight at the ensuing press conference.
While Trutanich's membership of the task force at least explains Trutanich's tenuous connection to the serious work of law enforcement in arresting criminal gang members, the statement that he "confiscated weapons" is patently false. Equally, the suggestion that Trutanich removed "57 gangmembers" is wholly without merit.
A few more questions might have clarified the utterly deceptive nature of these claims: How many criminal charges were filed by the City Attorney's Office against the 57 gangmembers "removed" by Trutanich? Did Trutanich, or even the City Attorney's Office, file any criminal charges in respect of those 80 weapons Trutanich "confiscated?" The answers are, of course, "Zero" and "No," and that's because Trutanich does not have jurisdiction to prosecute felony crimes, any more than he has the right to make the ridiculously false claims about the level of his involvement in this matter.
By the Sheriff and Trutanich's standards, the meter maids who controlled traffic, sealing off streets on the day of the raid, all "Busted the notorious 38th St Gang," "confiscated" weapons, and "removed" 57 gangmembers. Pathetic seems to be the word that sums up what many now understand to be an ill conceived attempt to support what can only be described as a lie.
That the Sheriff of Los Angeles, the County's "Top Cop," should feel compelled to perpetuate this lie is a sad reflection on the way a claimed 25 year friendship with Trutanich can cloud judgement. No peace officer would ever offer evidence as incredulous as this and expect to retain any degree of credibility.
If the Sheriff's excuse for his statement was not all that might have been hoped for, the fact that the media are taking note of Trutanich's grandstanding might serve as a warning to Trutanich to be more careful in making claims that cannot be supported by any stretch of the imagination, let alone fact.