Wave Staff and Wire Reports
LOS ANGELES — Police Chief Michel Moore denied allegations Dec. 20 that he ordered a pair of Internal Affairs Division detectives to investigate Mayor Karen Bass shortly after her election last year about her acceptance of a scholarship from USC.
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, the two detectives filed complaints with the Office of the Inspector General alleging Moore directed them to conduct the investigation into Bass and the scholarship — which came to light during her campaign. The request came at a time when Bass was considering whether to retain Moore as LAPD chief, according to The Times.
Bass’ campaign opponent, Rick Caruso, had questioned her acceptance of the scholarship while she was serving in Congress, saying she later proposed legislation aimed at increasing federal funding for private universities such as USC. Bass repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and insisted she got clearance from the House Ethics Committee to accept the scholarship.
In a statement issued Dec. 20, the police department called the detectives’ allegations “patently false,” noting that the Internal Affairs Division is restricted to only investigate alleged misconduct by department employees.
“I did not initiate, request, or authorize an investigation as alleged in any fashion,” Moore said in the statement. “This matter is now with the Office of the Inspector General and I look forward to their investigation into these fictitious allegations.”
According to The Times, which reviewed the detectives’ complaints, the pair contend they ultimately refused to accept the assignment to investigate the mayor. They said it was unclear if the Internal Affairs agency ever proceeded with any type of probe into Bass.
A representative for the Office of the Inspector General confirmed to The Times that the office had received the complaints, and “we are handling them according to our standard protocols. In general, when the [Office of the Inspector General] receives allegations of misconduct against any department employee, we ensure that a formal complaint investigation is initiated.”
The Mayor’s Office told The Times: “Mayor Bass’ focus is on reducing crime. People need to get with that program and stop wasting time and resources on debunked political attacks.”
According to reports published by The Times prior to her election as mayor in November 2022, Bass was awarded a $95,000 scholarship by the USC Social of Social Work, that was under the direction of Marilyn Flynn.
Flynn was the dean of the school who also was implicated in the corruption trial of former City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas. Flynn received a sentence of three years probation in connection with the Ridley-Thomas case after she admitted to bribing the former official when he was a county supervisor in exchange for his help in securing a county contract for her department.
Ridley-Thomas was convicted earlier this year by a federal jury of taking part in a scheme to benefit him and his son at USC. He has been sentenced to 42 months in prison and his awaiting an appeal of his conviction to be heard.
Moore was appointed to a second-five year term as police chief in January, more than a month after Bass took office as mayor.
The chief is appointed by the Police Commission, whose members are appointed by the mayor.