By Lisa Collins
Last week, an ethics complaint was filed against former city councilmember and LAPD Police Chief Bernard Parks. The complaint filed by a community activist cited improper use of the City of L.A. official seal and LAPD badge in a letter received by United States Attorney Martin Estrada regarding the sentencing of Mark Ridley-Thomas and subsequently included in his filing to Judge Dale Fischer for consideration in sentencing.
Acting L.A. City Clerk Petty F. Santos promptly issued a cease-and-desist order to Parks.
“In your letter (see attached) submitted in connection with a case pending before the Federal District Court (Case NO. CR 21 -00485-DSF-1), the City Seal was used in a manner that does not meet a City purpose, per the LAMC,” Santos wrote.
“The City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Police Department reserve all of their rights with regard to their trademarks and trade dress.”
In the letter to Judge Fischer, Parks asserted that the prosecutor’s recommendation of a six-year prison sentence was too lenient. “In fact,” Parks wrote, “their sentencing recommendation is the only aspect of this trial, where they [the U.S. Attorneys] have fallen short.”
The letter went on to accuse Ridley-Thomas of “attempting to use his race to undermine the public’s faith in the judicial process” and to lead his colleagues on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to the “brink of corruption.”
“I ask that you consider sentencing Mr. Ridley-Thomas to the highest penalty that his crimes allow,” Parks continued. “This would be both fair and just as he abused the powers of his office and would serve as an example to those in office as well as those considering running for office.”
In the ethics complaint it was noted that Parks had lost a hotly contested 2008 election bid for county supervisor, suggesting it to be the motive behind the letter.