In the course of her investigation about illegal animal trafficking in the Los Angeles fashion district, KNBC reporter Ana Garcia obtained internal LAPD emails suggesting the department make more arrests to avoid bad media coverage (video above).
Los Angeles passed a law last year that makes it illegal to buy animals from sellers on the street. Robbi Peele, an investigative consumer reporter from the station, emailed the department and asked how many arrests had been made since the law had passed; an LAPD officer returned her email and said only one arrest had been made. In a second email — one that was clearly not supposed to be sent to KNBC — another LAPD staffer, Andrew Smith, warned that the story could be “a black eye” for the department:
This story could be a black eye for us if we dont have a few arrests to show. The law has been on the books for months now, and the “rabbit people” are gonna scream that we dont care. Is there any way you or your crew could make a few arrests for illegal animal purchasing so we can avoid negative coverage?
In a subsequent interview with the station, Smith said he wants officers to make arrests “not just because there’s going to be stories on it, but because it’s time to start making arrests.”
“This is a gentle nudge to those officers to say, ‘Hey it’s been on the books, we done fliers. Time to start going out and making arrests,'” Smith told the NBC O&O.
Read the full email exchange here.[h/t The Atlantic Wire]