South L.A. clergy leaders call for chief’s resignation

Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — Clergy and civic leaders called for the resignation or removal of Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore if allegations prove true that Moore ordered two internal affairs detectives to investigate Mayor Karen Bass shortly after her election over her acceptance of a scholarship from USC.

Moore has denied the allegations, which were first reported Dec. 20 by the Los Angeles Times. Allegedly, Moore’s request for the investigation came at a time when Bass was considering whether to retain him as chief.

“I did not initiate, request, or authorize an investigation as alleged in any fashion,” Moore said in a statement released after The Times’ initial report. “This matter is now with the Office of the Inspector General and I look forward to their investigation into these fictitious allegations.”

A department statement also called the detectives’ allegations “patently false,” noting that the Internal Affairs Division is restricted to investigate only alleged misconduct by department employees.

At a news conference Dec. 22, members of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Los Angeles, American Jewish University, Black Jewish Justice Alliance, L.A. NAACP and the National Action Network of Los Angeles joined together to address the matter.

“If LAPD Chief Moore has directed detectives to investigate our Mayor Karen Bass based off of a personal agenda we’re asking him to resign immediately,” Pastor K.W. Tulloss, president of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Los Angeles, said.

“We cannot be sidetracked by a personal agenda. Our city must continue to progress along many of the issues that we have.”

Bass’ office declined to comment on the news conference, and the LAPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I as everybody else this morning are here because of our concern for the ethical and legitimate administration of our city,” said Rabbi Aryeh Cohen of the American Jewish University and the Black Jewish Justice Alliance, who also participated in the news conference. “There are way many problems for the chief to go on his own following personal vendetta.”

Darrell Goode, president of the NAACP Santa Monica-Venice Branch, said his organization was in attendance to support the clergy in their initiative. 

Goode noted that his organization needs time to process the facts — to see whether an investigation is warranted and to act accordingly based on the findings of any probe.

According to The Times, two detectives filed complaints with the Office of the Inspector General alleging Moore directed them to conduct an investigation into Bass and the scholarship.

The pair contend they ultimately refused to accept the assignment, according to The Times, which reviewed the detectives’ complaints. 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 paper that the office had received the complaints and that “we are handling them according to our standard protocols. In general, when the OIG receives allegations of misconduct against any department employee, we ensure that a formal complaint investigation is initiated.”

During the 2022 mayoral campaign, Bass’ campaign opponent, Rick Caruso, 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.

Regarding The Times article, the mayor’s office said: “Mayor Bass’ focus is on reducing crime. People need to get with that program and stop wasting time and resources on debunked political attacks.”