Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LAPD union decides to sit out the city attorney race ... for now

Mercer 1891

Los Angeles City Attorney's Office

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich failed to secure an endorsement from the Police Protective League, which helped him win the office in 2009.

The powerful union that represents rank-and-file Los Angeles police officers has declined to endorse a candidate in the race for city attorney during the primary election.

“We are not getting in yet,” said Tyler Izen, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League. “We will probably stay out until the general election.”

The decision may most affect Greg Smith, an attorney who often represents police officers in claims against the city.  Smith enjoys a close relationship with the union, and was hoping its endorsement would propel him into a runoff with one of the other two better-known candidates – incumbent City Attorney Carmen Trutanich or former State Assemblyman Mike Feuer.

Smith was unable to secure the necessary six votes from the nine-member union board. But the union also declined to support Trutanich, who they helped win the office in 2009 with more than $700,000 in independent expenditures.

“The three individuals in the race, frankly, are all friends of the Los Angeles Police Protective League,” Izen said.

Smith has poured $620,000 of his own money into his effort to unseat Trutanich.  It’s his first run for public office.  A campaign spokesman said Smith can still secure a spot in the runoff by emphasizing his ties to law enforcement and touting his lawsuits against the city that sought to end discrimination against police officers in the workplace.

Tuesday, the L.A. City Council approved a $1.5 million payout to one of Smith’s clients, a gay LAPD sergeant who alleged he was the victim of harassment and retaliation by a supervisor.  Sgt. Ronald Crump has agreed to resign from the department as part of the settlement.

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