Chief Bratton: L.A. Weekly Story "Voodoo Reporting"
"I'm not a politician," Police Chief Bill Bratton told a radio audience yesterday. "I work in a political environment, which shows how sane I am."
During Wednesday's Patt Morrison show on KPCC, the LAPD Chief went after a recent L.A. Weekly cover story that questioned his department's use of crime statistics -- especially the chief's assurances, made during Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's re-election campaign and elsewhere, that crime levels are on par with L.A.'s in 1956. Segueing from a discussion about marijuana laws, Morrison asked the chief about reporter Patrick Range McDonald's story.
"Actually," said Bratton, "I think they were smoking a little weed when they wrote that article."
The crack got a chuckle from Morrison, but the chief did not seem to be in a jovial mood about the story, and soon sounded darker motives behind it.
"The reporter that wrote that piece had a conclusion that he was writing to," Bratton said. "Quite frankly I read that article and I couldn't figure out what the hell he was talking about . . . We stand by our numbers."
Bratton may not have figured out what McDonald was talking about, but he knew why the article appeared.
"L.A. Weekly," he intoned, "seems to have it in for the mayor, so anything he says they try to question. . . . the L.A. Weekly, in their effort to go after the mayor seized on this, spent a lot of time writing about it."
When Morrison asked if it may be a little misleading to compare per capita statistics that are separated by half a century, Bratton defended his department's figures while taking one more swipe at the Weekly:
"It's kind of voodoo reporting," he said of McDonald's cover story. "I'm very happy to rely on our statistics, which are audited by the FBI."