Steve Soboroff

Chief Beck Signed Off on Sale of Daughter's Horse

Beck said Tuesday that there was nothing improper about the transaction that has raised some eyebrows.

Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck personally signed off on the department's $6,000 purchase of a horse from his daughter, despite his insistence that he had no part in the decision, he said in a statement Wednesday.

Beck was among four high-ranking LAPD officials who signed a memo approving the deal for the donation with private funds of a horse originally owned by his daughter, LAPD Officer Brandi Scimone.

He said Tuesday that the deal was "steered completely around me.

"Since that time, I reviewed the file and realized that I had signed the LA Police Foundation's Grant Request after the donation had been evaluated and approved by the Office of Special Operations and had also signed the Intradepartmental Correspondence to the Board of Police Commissioners to approve of the donation," he said in a statement Wednesday.

"Therefore, I now realize that my comments were mistaken."

"After evaluating the circumstances of this donation, in retrospect, I should have ensured that the Department had formally transmitted to the Commission the additional documentation on file which identified the original owner of the horse. I will continue to work with the Commission to increase the Department's transparency."

The Los Angeles Times earlier Wednesday obtained a copy of a memo that said he signed the deal.

Vicki Curry, Mayor Eric Garcetti's spokeswoman, said in a statement that all allegations against the chief are investigated, including this case, by the Inspector General and presented to the civilian Police Commission, which oversees the department.

"As Mayor Garcetti said Monday, he supports Chief Beck who has done a great job in making this a safer city and in strengthening ties between LAPD and the community," Curry said in a statement.

Department officials have previously denied any wrongdoing in the purchase of the horse, insisting that Beck recuses himself from matters involving his daughter or son, who is also an LAPD officer.

On Tuesday, Beck said the purchase of the horse from his daughter had been "steered" around him.

LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore told The Times Wednesday that Beck believes his signature on the memo approving the purchase was a "formality" and he did not see it as "tipping the scale" regarding the purchase.

Moore noted that Beck had no hand in evaluating the horse's qualifications or value.

The civilian Police Commission is expected to vote next week on whether to appoint Beck to another five-year term as police chief.

Steve Soboroff, the commission president, initially expressed frustration that Beck and other top officials failed to avoid the public backlash by simply disclosing the horse belonged to his daughter at the time of the deal.

But in a statement released Wednesday evening, he said that after reviewing the information provided by the Department, the Inspector General, and Chief Beck, "I am comfortable that the Chief was not involved in the selection, evaluation or purchase of the horse (by the LAPD Foundation) that was previously owned by Chief Beck's daughter, LAPD Officer Brandi Scimone, and that he did not influence any decision to accept the donation by the Department.

"Based on the Chief's statements today, I am now satisfied the Commission will have sufficient disclosure going forward."

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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