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Sister of slain LAPD officer says councilman's use of badge 'hurtful,' 'disrespectful' [Updated]

February 17, 2011 | 11:54 am

The sister of a Los Angeles Police Department officer killed in the line of duty 32 years ago said Thursday that she wanted City Councilman Jose Huizar to stop using her brother’s badge as an issue in his March 8 reelection campaign.

Karen Kubly, a retired LAPD officer herself, sent an e-mail Wednesday to Huizar saying it was “hurtful and most disrespectful” for him to use the badge in his campaign against businessman Rudy Martinez without notifying her family first.

Huizar sent a mailer to voters last week focusing on a 2005 LAPD investigation into Martinez’s possession of a badge with David Kubly’s number. That mailer includes excerpts from a heavily redacted report on the investigation that was never provided to Kubly’s family.

In an interview, Kubly said Huizar had used her brother for political gain and to make himself “look like a better man.” And in her e-mail, a copy of which was provided to the Los Angeles Times, she told Huizar that her family had never recovered from the loss of David Kubly, who was killed in 1979 while trying to apprehend a robbery suspect.

“Your campaign has never contacted our family to talk about this matter," she wrote, "but just used David’s precious memory to tarnish the Martinez campaign.”

Huizar campaign consultant Parke Skelton said the councilman would meet Monday with Kubly and follow “whatever her family’s wishes are.” He also said that Huizar had relied on the union that represents rank-and-file police officers to inform Kubly’s family that a badge story would be written by The Times two weeks ago.

“We talked to the L.A. Police Protective League about the sensitive issues involved, and they said they had a relationship with Mrs. Kubly,” Skelton said.

Kubly's full e-mail appears at the end of this post.

Huizar and Martinez are running to represent a district that encompasses Boyle Heights, El Sereno, Eagle Rock and other neighborhoods. That campaign has been extraordinarily nasty.

Kubly said she met with Martinez last week and received an apology from him. Martinez said he felt it was “important” to meet with Kubly and maintained that he did nothing wrong.

Martinez has said repeatedly that he received the badge from LAPD officials several years ago to make miniature copies for a fundraiser. But in its report, the LAPD concluded that Martinez, a police volunteer at the time, had given implausible answers and obstructed the badge investigation.

Kubly, who retired from the LAPD in 2005, said she had no interest in the campaign and simply wanted a new investigation into the badge. “This whole thing is the LAPD’s problem," and Rudy Martinez "got stuck in the middle of it,” she said.

The full e-mail follows:

Councilmember Huizar,

I am writing this letter [asking] that you and your campaign stop using the memory of my brother and his badge for your re-election campaign. Your actions and those of your campaign have been hurtful and most disrespectful to our family, since we have never recovered from David being killed. Your campaign has never contacted our family to talk about this matter, but just used David's precious memory to tarnish the Martinez campaign.

I have no vested interested in either campaign, so forth with this is not [to] make things better for either candidate, it was the right thing to do.

Mr. Martinez and myself met a few days ago to discuss this issue [in] great detail after he contacted me [requesting] a meeting to speak with me concerning the controversy regarding my brothers badge. After our meeting and much discussion with my family, it is clear that Mr. Martinez had no gains in having this badge.

He could not have any idea whom this badge belonged to, how could he have.

Our family wants a through investigation of the issues concerning the LAPD's mishandling of my brothers badge. Unlike the investigation in 2005 where there was no resolution or closure. We expect LAPD to investigate this matter and be honest about my brother's badge. Who booked the badge when my brother was shot? 

Who took the badge evidence when it was supposedly given to our family? Why would they (LAPD) change the words "Policeman" to "Police Officer?"  This takes away from the true badge David wore when he was killed. Why was their a "duplicate badge?"  bearing the same numbers as David's badge. Why was I never allowed to wear David's badge when I came on the department in 1987?  We never had these questions answered and expect an answer from the LAPD. 

If you have any concern about our family, you could begin now by asking LAPD for a through investigation of this issue which they never did. In the meantime we hope that you will respect the wishes of our family and refrain from using my brother and his memory in any future campaign communications.  Please feel free to contact me if you have questions. I will give you my time just as I did for Mr. Martinez.

Sincerely,
Karen Kubly

[Updated at 3:55 p.m.: Kubly went beyond simply sending Huizar an angry e-mail. She also recorded an automated phone message for the Martinez campaign, one that went out to voters on Thursday restating her criticism of Huizar over the badge issue.

By Thursday afternoon, however, Kubly had a change of heart and called on the Martinez campaign to stop making the calls. Kubly said she made her request after she spoke personally with Huizar, who promised her that he would no longer make the badge an issue in the campaign.

Martinez campaign spokesman George Gonzalez said that the campaign would agree to Kubly’s request and stop issuing the calls. But Skelton, the Huizar campaign consultant, said “numerous voters” were continuing to receive the calls as late as 1:30 p.m.

“I don’t believe they’ve told the officer’s sister the truth,” he said. “If they wanted to stop them, they would have stopped them. But they didn’t want to stop them.”

Paul Weber, president of Police Protective League, had no comment on either campaign. “The best thing would be for the Police Department to do an investigation” into the badge, he said, “and put this thing to bed.”]

RELATED:

Voter guide: March 8 Los Angeles Election

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

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