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A call for Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse to resign

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Police Chief Scott LaChasse photo courtesy City of Burbank

Police Chief Scott LaChasse photo courtesy City of Burbank

A call for Burbank Police Chief, Scott LaChasse, to resign. It comes from Burbank Police Commissioner and Attorney, David Diamond. I have met with Diamond after receiving emails from him about his decision.  Diamond is adamant that the Chief should step down for a number reasons.

Diamond is serving his first term on the Burbank Police Commission. He was appointed to the commission by the city council in 2015. Diamond was selected as chair twice by his fellow commissioners and now holds the position of vice-chair. On the personal side, Diamond has practiced law for more than 18 years.

Diamond endorsed for Superior Court Judge by L.A. Times

In the June 5, 2018 primary, the Los Angeles Times endorsed  Diamond for a seat on the Los Angeles County Superior Court over his opponent, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney,Troy Davis: “Diamond chairs the Burbank Police Commission and as an attorney has served as a family lawyer, a civil litigator and a criminal defense lawyer. He faces Troy Davis, an impressive prosecutor. Each has the backing of numerous judges of the Superior Court, and each has a reputation as a good courtroom lawyer. The Times chooses Diamond for the diversity of his experience.” (Los Angeles Times endorsements for L.A. Superior Court May 12, 2018)

Photo courtesy David Diamond

Photo courtesy David Diamond

Diamond was denied the opportunity to use the title “Police Commissioner/Attorney” on the primary ballot after it was challenged by his opponent. Police Chief LaChasse signed a sworn declaration, under penalty of perjury, making the following statements suggesting work on the commission is not that significant:

Chief LaChasse’s declaration:

“The Police Commission meets once a month, except for December, for approximately an hour or two; and on rare occasions, Commissioners may review materials in preparation for the meetings.”

“I applaud the unpaid volunteers who serve on our Police Commission, but cannot verify that service on the commission is a time consuming activity; it is not an occupation or job.”

Some of Diamond’s fellow commissioners signed declarations under penalty of perjury as well and they appear to dispute the Chief’s assessment of their duties and time commitment.

Burbank Police Commissioner Nidal Kobaissi

Burbank Police Commissioner/Retired Glendale Community College District Police Captain, Nidal Kobaissi, said this in a declaration:

“I spend several hours each week reviewing and analyzing Police Commission documents, so that I will be knowledgeable regarding the matters on the upcoming meeting agendas and be prepared to serve as an active participant in the meetings and to represent the citizens of Burbank to the best of my ability.”

Burbank Police Commissioner Amy Dineen

Two term Burbank Police Commissioner, Amy Dineen, said in her declaration:

“Anyone who says that all Police Commissioners do is attend meetings once a month or that serving as a Police Commissioner is nominal, pro forma, or titular does not have an accurate understanding of what we do as Police Commissioners.

As Police Commissioners, Diamond, our fellow Commissioners and I spend a significant number of hours each month reviewing documents such as municipal budgets, crime reports and statistics, citizen complaints and commendations. In preparation for Police Commission meetings, we review minutes of previous meetings to ensure their accuracy, review agendas and related documents, and spend additional time being ready to address issues that arise at the meetings.

In addition to preparing for and attending meetings, we attend various trainings, such as those regarding the Ralph M. Brown Act and other laws that we are required to observe in our capacity as Police Commissioners. We also meet with members of the Burbank Police Officers’ Association and interact with members of the Police Department and the community at various municipal functions.”

Chief disputes claim he intended to endorse Diamond

Also, did LaChasse flip-flop on a decision to endorse Diamond? In a February 16, 2018 email to Diamond, LaChasse’s secretary, Sherre Nakamura, wrote: “Chief would be happy to provide his endorsement.” However, the following month, in an article in the Metropolitan News-Enterprise, LaChasse is quoted as saying in an email: “I had absolutely no knowledge that he was running for a judgeship, and I have not and will not endorse him.” Is this just a case of miscommunication between boss and secretary? Diamond thinks it is more than that.

Public Records Requests

Last month, Diamond’s  lawyer, Shaheen Manshoory, sent two public records requests to the City of Burbank  for “all communications between Chief LaChasse and Amy Albano and Steve Cooley from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018 as they relate to David Diamond, the judicial race/election, and the declaration in court regarding the ballot designation.” However, according to a letter from the City Attorney’s office, some documents were released, others were exempt from disclosure by law (Government Code Section 6254 (f) ).

Diamond says the released documents show Steve Cooley, ex-Los Angeles County District Attorney and campaign advisor for Troy Davis, is friendly with both Chief LaChasse and Burbank City Attorney Albano.

Among the released documents, an email exchange between Cooley and Chief LaChasse on March 31, 2018.

Cooley: “…Troy Davis will likely best DD (David Diamond) handily in June”

LaChasse:  “I can’t believe his (David Diamond’s) biggest remaining attribute appears to be serving the indigent defendants!”

Primary results June 5, 2018

Diamond was defeated in the primary by Troy Davis. The final election results: Davis 632,652 for 58.31% of the vote, Diamond received 452,286 for 41.69% . Diamond claims his call for Chief LaChasse’s resignation is not about election results or sour grapes.

“The Chief must resign immediately. If his actions were exhibited by one of his officers, they would be done. He either lied to the public and newspaper outlets or has lost the mental capacity to remember the facts. Either way, he must go. When he was hired, the public was told it would only be for a few years. The rank and file want a new chief. He failed miserably in dealing with Tom Angel (controversy) and by sitting on several internal affairs complaints, it constitutes dereliction of duty.”

Chief LaChasse responds

I sent an email request for a response from Chief LaChasse to Diamond’s accusations and the apparent discrepancy he has with some police commissioners over their duties. I got back this statement dealing only with internal affairs complaints via Burbank Police Information Officer, Sergeant Derek Green:

“… in response to Mr. Diamond’s statement regarding the internal affairs investigations, which were found to have not been processed in a timely manner, exceeding the statutory deadlines. As stated in the OIR (Office of Independent Review) report, this was thoroughly investigated by an outside entity. The investigation identified a deficiency in the processing of 12 internal affairs investigations and resulted in the discipline of a command staff member.”

Meanwhile, the regular scheduled meeting of the Burbank Police Commission is set for 6 p.m. this evening at City Hall.

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