Notes from the March 2, 2010 Weekly Police Commission Meeting
Apartment Burglaries with Drilled Locks

Open Letter from Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck

This week, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) participated in the California Homicide Investigators Association (CHIA) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.  

CHIA was formed in 1968 when homicide detectives from Los Angeles and San Francisco met over dinner to discuss the Zodiac Killer investigation. Today, CHIA is the largest organization of homicide and death investigation professionals in the United States with over 1,400 members that include law enforcement representatives from all over the United States and Canada.  

Each year different law enforcement organizations take turns hosting the conference.  At this year’s CHIA conference, hosted by the LAPD, a multimedia exhibit called, “Behind the Scenes: The LAPD Homicide Experience,” was created and features homicide evidence from crimes and deaths that have captured the public's attention.  The teaching exhibit was opened on Wednesday to the public and thousands of guests have stood in lines for up to two hours to glimpse Los Angeles's history.  

A number of the exhibits show evidence that was collected during various well-known incidents and they were carefully designed so visitors would gain a better appreciation for the tragedy of murder and the difficult jobs law enforcement detectives have in solving often very complicated cases.  Murder is the absolute worst thing one human being can do to another and the displays were designed to provide a unique insight into the sacrifice of victims and their families as well as the emotional toll murder takes on homicide detectives and the District Attorneys who prosecute the cases. Homicide is by nature horrific, but the entertainment media often portrays it as sterile and benign.  When people see the reality of murder, it becomes an unthinkable act.    

Based on the feedback we have received, it is now clear that a few of the items on display have offended some crime victims’ families.  We have both been to hundreds of murder scenes in our law enforcement career and we have consoled many family members. It was never our intent to cause grief to victims of crime or their families.  The CHIA exhibit was designed to be educational and to show the public how murder cases are very carefully investigated.  We never intended to compound the grief of murder victim’s families, but unfortunately, a few items on display have been interpreted by some people as such, and that was never our intention. Our organizations strive to bring justice to homicide victims not to cause sorrow to their families.

Steve Cooley                                 Charlie Beck
District Attorney                            Chief of Police


A little too late. The only reason they apologize is because someome complained. This should have never happened.

Both Beck and Cooley should be forced to resign for their extremely poor judgment.

I disagree. I don't see the big deal with them being displayed. Almost every aspect of this case has been on display. This wasn't done out of malice. It was just interesting history.

Why is it such a big deal to show these items??? Do they complain to the news and tv shows when they show RFK getting shot over and over? I dont think so. So LAPD is quick to apoligize when they need not too. Resign for poor judgement please!!! And Citizen are a waste of time.

Feed up has a valid point. Why is District Attorney Steve Cooley & Cheif Charlie Beck apologizing for something that has been on display on the news & media for the past 40 years? If the Kennedy family wants apologies, why not start with the History Channel, A&E, and all of the other media channels out there that have shown Robert F. Kennedy being shot over and over again? Why are they demanding such from a police department that only showed Robert Kennedy's clothes?

This was and is valid history and a learning tool for homicide investigators around the world. Show me where the malice was in showing clothing items. If the Manson murders and OJ Simpson case were on display, would the Tate & Goldberg families be up in arms? I dont think so. And do you know why? Because it is apart of history and shoud be viewed as such.

And as far as Cooley and Beck needing to resign, you're out of your mind. If you ask for their resignation you better start asking for CEO's of media outlets who keep showing the RFK assisination on a weekley basis.

thanks feed up.

These men share both the burden and the reward of leading world class Departments dedicated to helping victims. Part of leadership is offering an apology even if it was not required. They have both taken the high road on this issue, and offered the olive branch publicly. It's refreshing and humane.

Yep, no apology necessary. I'm sorry I missed the exhibit. We are sorry for crime victims' losses but they don't get to dictate how this public agency chooses to treat public, historic material long after the events.

Feed Up, I believe you've made a valid point. I would correct just one thing: there is no footage of RFK being shot. No cameras captured the actual shooting itself. All the assassination footage is of RFK lying on the floor after he was shot. But that's a minor point and, again, I believe you made a valid point. As I see it, Cooley and Beck did nothing wrong.

I agree that D.A. Cooley and Chief Beck made no mistake in placing RFK's clothing on public display. These two officials are decent, upstanding public servants and they don't owe anyone an apology. And I would further urge Steve and Charlie to place even more RFK evidence on public display and make no apologies for that either. I mean additional RFK evidence like the Pruszynski recording, which came to light only recently. The Internet is full of online references to this extraordinary recording because it is the only audio tape known to have recorded the sounds of the actual gunshots in the RFK assassination. Whether you place it on public display in Vegas or L.A., the Pruszynski recording is what Steve and Charlie ought to put in the public realm right now for everybody to listen to.

It seems that someone will always be offended, no matter how much you try to be considerate. The RFK assassination is part of American History. People want to know. Maybe it could be presented in a more gentile way, but it still should be an option to see.

The comments to this entry are closed.