LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck tonight acknowledged signing correspondence related to the department's $6,000 purchase of a horse from his daughter, reversing his previous comments.
“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,”' Beck said in a statement released by the department.
“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 department also released a statement from Police Commission President Steve Soboroff, who said he was “comfortable that the chief was not involved in the selection, evaluation or purchase of the horse” and Beck “did not influence any decision to accept the donation by the department."
The Police Commission is expected to vote next week on whether to appoint Beck to another five-year term as chief.
The Los Angeles Times reported on its website today that Beck was among four high-ranking LAPD officials who signed a memo approving the deal in mid-March.
According to the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Times and posted on its website, the funding to purchase the horse came from a private donor, and the purchase price was considered a bargain, with similar horses costing around $8,500.
The document identifies the seller only as “a department employee assigned to the Mounted Platoon.” It never identifies the seller by name.