When you have police officers running "special ops" against an editorial cartoonist because they don't like what he draws, you know America has fallen into the abyss of fascism.
|Set-Up and Fired: Former LA Times cartoonist, Ted Rall.|
The editorial page editor of The Los Angeles Times, which has run my cartoons for six years, had called me to tell me that the paper would run an “Editor’s Note” announcing that they were firing me because I had lied about my treatment by a Los Angeles police officer when he arrested me for jaywalking in 2001.
I was about to be disgraced. Compared to Brian Williams and Jayson Blair. As a journalist, nothing is worse than being accused of willfully lying about a story. It’s the end of your career.
Tuesday, when the piece appeared in print as well as online, word spread like wildfire that the police had a secret audiotape of my arrest. I had written in the Times that I had been treated rudely: shoved, handcuffed, and finally, the cop tossed my driver’s license on the ground. The audiotape, claimed my editor, proved that none of that had happened. It was, in fact, a polite encounter with a friendly officer.
The Internet exploded. Predictably, right-wing blogs led the charge, dutifully transcribing editor Nick Goldberg’s accusations against me, which he accepted at face value from the LAPD: Breitbart, Newsbusters, the usual gang of idiots. Soon Twitter was full of taunts. My email filled with mirthful, snarky insults.
RELATED STORY: Won't The L.A. Times Admit They Were Wrong About Ted Rall?Amid the chaos of my career falling apart. I asked people familiar with audio technology to check the LAPD-supplied tape, which contains about 20 seconds of talk and 6 minutes of unintelligible noise, for signs of tampering — and to see if there was any way to clean it up.
On Friday morning, I woke up like a kid on Christmas morn. But what I found in my in box was better than a bike and a skateboard: an enhanced audiofile that proves, unequivocally, that I was telling the 100% truth when I wrote that essay in May.
On the tape, you can clearly hear a female bystander shouting at the LAPD officer who’d stopped me for jaywalking to “take off his handcuffs.” She yells this twice.
Officer Will Durr responds first with a “No, no, no … ” and then by whistling loudly into the mic.
The enhanced tape clearly proves that the cops are lying, not me — and it even suggests cops might have knowingly tampered with the tape.