Award-winning cartoonist and journalist Ted Rall has accused the Los Angeles Times of wrongly casting doubt on his professional integrity, retracting one of his columns and ending his freelance work with the paper in order to curry favor with the Los Angeles police department.
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists has called for an investigation into the process resulting in the Rall’s dismissal, saying the Times “should have demanded a higher standard of proof in this matter”.
A frequent critic of the LAPD and winner of multiple national awards, Rall was formerly a staple of the Los Angeles Times opinion pages. The controversy centers on a column he wrote in May about jaywalking fines, which began with Rall’s recollection of a 2001 incident during which the cartoonist claimed he was handcuffed and “roughed up” by an LAPD officer, who threw his driver’s license into the sewer, during a jaywalking stop. Rall also says he was not jaywalking at the time.
The LAPD contacted the Times to dispute the account, providing difficult-to-hear audio recorded by the officer who conducted the stop, the text of Rall’s complaint in 2002, which mentions the discarded license but not the handcuffs, and the officer’s written denial.