Badge of dead police officer becomes issue in L.A. council race
The issue of a police badge has moved front and center in the bitter campaign in a downtown/Eastside council district.
The Times' David Zahniser reported that a candidate seeking to unseat Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar abruptly quit his post as a reserve police officer five years ago after investigators found he had a police badge — one issued to an officer who died in the line of duty.
Rudy Martinez, then serving as a volunteer at the Los Angeles Police Department, "refused to cooperate" with investigators and quickly resigned after he was asked about the badge, which was found by the employee of a towing company in 2004, according to a police report.
"He was uncooperative from the onset of this investigation, refused to be interviewed, and obstructed the investigators from carrying out and fulfilling their duties in appropriately investigating this matter," said the report, a copy of which was provided to The Times by Huizar's campaign.
Martinez campaign consultant Eric Hacopian acknowledged that the candidate had a badge but had received it from the LAPD so he could make miniatures for a celebrity golf tournament run by the department. Hacopian called the matter a "non-issue" intended to distract voters "from the real issues."