A left-wing cartoonist’s recent depiction of a 14-year-old encounter with the LAPD has gotten him canned as a freelance contributor to the LA Times after the paper said it had “serious questions” about the accuracy of the encounter.
Ted Rall, whose illustrator’s pen has targeted the intellect of U.S. troops in Iraq and the widows of terror attack victims, was dropped by the Times after a May 11 blog post in which he said he was “roughed” up by police for jaywalking in 2001.
“An audiotape of the encounter recorded by the police officer does not back up Rall’s assertions"
- The Los Angeles Times
“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,” Rall wrote. “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.”
But it seems Rall’s remembrance of the incident may be a bit too colorful.
The Times reviewed several pieces of evidence, including police records and a complaint filed by Rall at the time, which seem to contradict the facts of Rall’s blog post.
“An audiotape of the encounter recorded by the police officer does not back up Rall’s assertions; it gives no indication that there was physical violence of any sort by the policeman or that Rall’s license was thrown into the sewer or that he was handcuffed,” the Times wrote on Thursday in the space above where Rall’s blog post was originally published. “Nor is there any evidence on the recording of a crowd of shouting onlookers.”
Rall “stands by his blog post,” according to the Times.
Rall defends himself in a nearly 2,500-word post on anewdomain.net, including why, when his encounter with the LAPD was over, he asked the officer for dining recommendations.
"Listening to the tape now, I can't imagine what I was thinking," Rall writes. "The only explanation I can fathom is that I had classic Stockholm Syndrome. I was stunned at the time. Not that I'm comparing myself with a rape victim -- far from it -- but now I better understand why sometimes a raped woman will question pressing charges or call a date-rapist at home hours after he left her. I was blathering nonsense, I guess."
The LA Times said the piece never should have been published.
“The Los Angeles Times is a trusted source of news because of the quality and integrity of the work its journalists do,” the Times wrote. “This is a reminder of the need to remain vigilant about what we publish.”