Though Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said earlier this week he had nothing to do with the LAPD’s $6,000 purchase of a horse from his daughter, he signed a form approving the deal, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
Records obtained by the Times show Beck’s signature at the bottom of a March 14 intradepartmental memo regarding the purchase of the horse for use by the department’s mounted patrol.
LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said he was aware of the Times report and a statement in response was forthcoming.
On Wednesday evening Beck released the following statement regarding the sale:
“Yesterday, I stated that the paperwork for the donation of a horse originally owned by my daughter, LAPD Officer Brandi Scimone, and purchased with private funds ‘steered completely around me.’ Since that time, I reviewed the file and realized that I had signed the LA Police Foundation’s Grant Request after the donation had been evaluated and approved by the Office of Special Operations and had also signed the Intradepartmental Correspondence to the Board of Police Commissioners to approve of the donation. Therefore, I now realize that my comments were mistaken.”
“After evaluating the circumstances of this donation, in retrospect, I should have ensured that the Department had formally transmitted to the Commission the additional documentation on file which identified the original owner of the horse. I will continue to work with the Commission to increase the Department’s transparency.”
The horse had demonstrated “his advanced training and excellent line breeding,” and horses with similar qualities had previously been purchased for $8,500, the memo noted.
“It would be highly unlikely to purchase a police horse of this caliber for this amount by any other seller,” the memo stated.
The seller was a Los Angeles Police Department employee assigned to the mounted platoon, the memo said. Brandi Pearson, Beck’s daughter, and a veteran LAPD officer, was the seller, the Times reported.
The memo stated the $6,000 to pay for the horse was to be provided by a private donation to the Police Foundation from a man named Richard Shapiro. The foundation funds LAPD equipment purchases not covered by the city’s police budget, according to the Times.
Beck’s spokesman on Wednesday referred inquiries to Assistant Chief Michel Moore, who oversees the mounted platoon; Moore said Beck was not involved in the “evaluation of the horse’s qualifications or value,” according to the Times.
Beck’s signature was only a formality, Assistant Chief Michel Moore said in a phone interview with KTLA.
“Chief Beck had absolutely no involvement in identifying this as a potential purchase, or the merits of that decision. His only involvement was his signature on that correspondence,” Moore said.
The purchase was first reported by commentator Jasmyne Cannick, who posted information about it on her website Sunday.
The Police Commission’s inspector general was investigating the circumstances surrounding the horse purchase, the Times reported Monday.
Commission President Steve Soboroff also issued a statement on Wednesday.
“After reviewing the information provided to date by the Department, the Inspector General, and Chief Beck, I am comfortable that the Chief was not involved in the selection, evaluation or purchase of the horse (by the LAPD Foundation) that was previously owned by Chief Beck’s daughter, LAPD Officer Brandi Scimone, and that he did not influence any decision to accept the donation by the Department.”
“Based on the Chief’s statements today, I am now satisfied the Commission will have sufficient disclosure going forward.”
Beck is currently seeking appointment to a second term as the city’s police chief. The commission was set to vote on whether to reinstate him next week.
A spokeswoman for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti emphasized the inspector general’s investigation of the allegations against Beck.
“As Mayor Garcetti said Monday, he supports Chief Beck, who has done a great job in making this a safer city and in strengthening ties between LAPD and the community,” Garcetti spokeswoman Vicki Curry said.