City Council

LA City Council President, Community Leaders Call for Hate-Speech Probe

The comment card included a drawing of a burning cross and a drawing of a tree with a person hanging from a noose.

Leaders in the African-American community and rabbis on Monday called for the State Bar of California to disbar attorney Wayne Spindler for the racially-charged comments he wrote on a public speaker card at a Los Angeles City Council meeting.

Daniel Bakewell, publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel, an African-American owned and operated newspaper, called on the state bar to take away Spindler's law license on grounds that he violated ethics.

A spokeswoman for the State Bar said "a criminal conviction would be grounds for discipline."

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office is trying to determine whether his comments violate the law.

He was arrested on a charge of suspicion of making a criminal threat.

Spindler said City Councilmembers are out to take away his right to freedom of speech. He denies he was threatening Councilman Herb Wesson, the council president who is black.

Wesson has obtained a temporary restraining order Spindler, a gadfly, who used Ku Klux Klan imagery on a comment card.

The order requires Spindler, 46, to stay at least 10 yards away from Wesson during council and committee meetings.

Spindler can still attend the meetings and give public comment in a peaceful and orderly way. Spindler must also stay 10 yards from Wesson's vehicle and field office, and 100 yards from the council president's home.

Spindler also must keep two yards away from Wesson's City Hall office, which is meant to allow him to go down the hallway to get to other rooms. Spindler must also give up possession of any firearms, guns or ammunition within 24 hours of the order.

Police last week arrested Spindler on suspicion of making criminal threats on a public comment request card during a committee meeting chaired by Wesson.

The card features images of a burning cross and a person hanging from a tree by a noose. At the center of the card is a drawing of what appears to be a triangular-shaped person wearing a KKK hood carrying a noose and a sign that says "Herb = (N-word)."

Wesson said this week that he reported the public comment card to police "at the urging of my staff."

Spindler was arrested Friday and his bail was set at $75,000. He was released about 10 p.m. that day. Spindler was accused of submitting the public-comment card at a May 11 meeting of the council's Rules, Elections, Intergovernmental Relations and Neighborhoods Committee.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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