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Reprimanded LAPD officer discussed at police commission meeting

An LAPD disciplinary board recommended that an officer be fired. So why was he suspended instead?
March 25, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Questions are being raised about L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck's handling of an off-duty officer who's accused of using a racial slur and getting into a confrontation at a bar. An LAPD disciplinary board recommended that officer be fired. So why was he suspended instead?

Tuesday at a Los Angeles Police Commission meeting, Steve Soboroff, the president of the commission, confirmed published reports and went on to say that the matter was brought to his attention by a letter that was sent to the commission.

Chief Beck was not present at Tuesday's meeting, and the department is not commenting on the matter.

"There are rules that cover what I can say and what I can't say," said Soboroff at the weekly commission meeting, referencing Beck's decision to keep an LAPD officer on the force, even after a disciplinary board ruled that the 33-year-old officer should have been fired.

"Based on what I saw and the information that I had, that I think that every police officer in LAPD should be treated exactly like every other police officer," said Soboroff.

Soboroff said the police commission received a letter informing them that Officer Shaun Hillman had remained on the force, even after a disciplinary board found that he gave false statements to investigators about using racial epithets and pulling out a handgun during an off-duty altercation at a bar in Norco.

According to the letter, Hillman is the son of a retired LAPD officer and the nephew of former deputy chief Michael Hillman. So was the young officer given preferential treatment?

"I don't think I should really go into what the letter said, but it was something that I think that was important for us to at," said Soboroff.

Hillman was suspended for 65 days, but Beck allowed him to remain on the force. Outside of that, the LAPD is not commenting.

"California law prohibits the public release of disciplinary information for police officers, so obviously we're not going to discuss the case any further than that," said LAPD Commander Andrew Smith.

This development comes as the police commission is in the process of reviewing the chief's performance to decide whether or not to extend his contract another five years.

"Our discussions with the chief that are ongoing right now are healthy discussions regarding evaluation, which is what we're supposed to be doing right now," said Soboroff. "And is this part of it? Of course it's part of it."

The LAPD confirmed Tuesday that in the past 100 cases where disciplinary panels ruled that an officer should be fired, Beck has overruled those rulings only twice.


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