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Ted Rall releases enhanced audio, proclaims himself vindicated in LA Times firing

Over the weekend, cartoonist and columnist Ted Rall released what he describes as “enhanced” audio of the recording provided to the LA Times by the LAPD refuting claims Ted made in an online column he wrote on May 11 describing an “ugly scene” created by police while giving him a jaywalking ticket in 2001. Ted claims that the new enhanced version, created by sound engineers he hired, vindicates his side of the storyand proves that the cops lied to the Times about whether the officer handcuffed Ted or not. He has now demanded the LA Times retract their notice to readers why they were firing him.

So that, I believe sums up the recent advances in the story.

Was Ted vindicated? At this point, the only jury is public opinion. The biggest challenge Ted faces is not a single issue of whether he was handcuffed or not (although I think it’s an import piece to the puzzle). The biggest hurdle is column he wrote contained several specific allegations that painted a certain scene – one in which you’d expect a certain amount of drama. The problem with the audio is that no matter how well it is cleaned up, it’s still drama free.

Here’s his original column:

Just over 10 years ago, I was ticketed ? and handcuffed ? for an alleged pedestrian violation while crossing Melrose Avenue. Ironically, this was one of the rare times that I was innocent of even jaywalking, something I do every day.

Anyway, I had done everything right. I waited for the green “walking man” signal before stepping off the curb. I walked between the crosswalk lines. I got across the street just as the flashing red signal began.

All of a sudden, a motorcycle officer zoomed over, threw me up against the wall, slapped on the cuffs, roughed me up and wrote me a ticket.

It was an ugly scene, and in broad daylight it must have looked like one, because within minutes there were a couple of dozen passersby shouting at the cop.

Another motorcycle officer appeared, asked the colleague what the heck he was thinking and ordered him to let me go, which he did. But not before he threw my driver’s license into the sewer.

Here are the specific allegations:

  1. He was thrown up against the wall
  2. He was handcuffed
  3. He was roughed up
  4. A couple dozen (24-ish) passerby shouting at the cops
  5. The police created an “ugly scene”
  6. Another officer appeared to question the first cop’s actions

Here is the enhanced audio:

And here is the one piece of audio that he’s provided that indicates someone saying take off the handcuffs:

If you’ve listened to the audio, ask yourself whether the audio supports the allegations Ted made in his column or not. I give him a lot of leeway (the biggest being was the tape altered/edited/spliced before it got to the LA Times), but even then I just don’t hear the “ugly scene” Ted wrote about. If only Ted had dropped some F-bombs instead of asking for suggestions on where to eat, we could be having an entirely different conversation.

Community Comments

#1 jeff Darcy
@ 11:54 am

How can you be fired when you’re not an employee to begin with?

Is it correct that he was a free-lancer and they are just not going to be picking up his work anymore?

This happened in 2001? Was an issue ever made of this by Ted of anyone else in the past 14 years, or just now?

It’s another good example of why body cameras should be mandatory for the benefit of police and civilians.

#2 Willy Emerick
@ 12:17 pm

Sounds like maybe he “misremembered” the situation….

#3 Terry LaBan
@ 9:34 am

Gotta say, it doesn’t sound very “ugly” to me. Anyone know where I can get something to eat?

#4 Jim Lavery
@ 8:31 am

I believe there are a few crow and humble pie cafés in the vicinity of the incident

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