In the months following his entrance into the Sheriff’s contest, Rhambo, who underwent an immense background check and vetting process from the FBI, Homeland Security and City of Los Angeles before becoming LAX Airport Police Chief, has hammered the incumbent on a near-daily basis on deputy gangs. Rhambo has made the core of his campaign – including multiple videos – about his plans to end the deputy gangs. He additionally is supported by the elected officials who are leading the charge against these types of police gangs. Steve Bradford, Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, who authored SB 2, California’s police decertification law, and Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair, Mike Gipson, who authored AB 985, which provides a legal framework to ban police gangs altogether, both backed Rhambo last summer. Rhambo also worked with the two lawmakers in crafting their groundbreaking legislation.
Clearly, Rhambo’s next actions underscored the fact that he felt compelled to go further in proving that Villanueva’s text messages were false when he took an extraordinary step and gave the Los Angeles Times and Spectrum News a video showing himself shirtless – baring his full upper body on television to show the lack of gang tattoos. In the Spectrum interview, Rhambo stated, “This is eerily reminiscent of a time in which people of color had to really be examined like cattle before a sale. But I felt compelled that, you know, because people said he might have tattoos that depict deputy gang involvement on other parts of his body. And clearly I do not.”
While the text messages were patently false, Sheriff Villanueva undeniably sent them in a last-minute attempt to prevent the L.A. County Democratic Party from endorsing Rhambo for Sheriff in the upcoming June 2022 primary election. Regardless, earlier this week, the party announced that the LAX Police Chief had earned 68% of the vote among the party’s Screening and Early Endorsement Recommendation (SEER) Committee, landing Rhambo a highly coveted recommendation for the full Democratic Party endorsement, which is set for a vote mid-January of 2022.
What’s next? This week.
First, the obvious conflict of interest issue here, in which Knock LA was “conceived by” and is affiliated with Ground Game LA, which literally runs campaigns and works to elect their chosen political candidates to office. Thus at the onset, this begs the question of objectivity overall with the entire Knock LA blog platform.
Secondly, the Knock LA blog neglected to include the fact that Rhambo, as he has affirmed repeatedly, including multiple times on television by revealing his body clothes-less to prove he has no gang tattoos, is not, and has never been, a member of a deputy gang or clique. There is also no concrete evidence to suggest otherwise.
Thirdly, the blog uses innuendo and implies that simply because the candidate was named in a broader LASD lawsuit or within the scope of an investigation into the LASD, he is guilty even though Rhambo was never charged with any crime nor was he personally found liable or guilty of any misconduct. This is an important note as since leaving the LASD, Rhambo had to pass an extensive vetting process, which included reviews of his tenure at LASD, with the FBI and U.S. Homeland Security, among other agencies.
Lastly, while it’s unclear when exactly the interview took place, on day one of Rhambo’s campaign, the candidate outlined on his website how he would end deputy gangs
. Nonetheless, the blog selectively quoted the candidate only saying, “there’s not much I can do to you unless you violate policy or the law.” Knock LA leaves out the fact that both the Bradford and Gipson bills were signed into law with Rhambo’s help
, meaning that members of deputy gangs can now be properly held accountable. Essentially, it also means that Rhambo helped create the legal mechanisms to solve the deputy gang problem. Rhambo has frequently, and publicly, made clear that we would enforce the new laws — effectively ending the reign of deputy sheriffs at the department.
A failed incumbent sheriff who is desperate to maintain power lying about a lifelong public servant’s record? Or a blog conceived by what amounts to be a political campaign apparatus but which portends to be something else — painting only half of a picture of Rhambo in an attempt to sow the seeds of innuendo and insinuations? The answer? Both.
Rhambo, if elected, would be the first Black sheriff of the largest Sheriff’s Department in America. And he is having to face hurdles that no other candidate is having to face, even telling the Times, “The fact that I have to prove I don’t have tattoos on my upper body, disrobe, quite frankly is a little humiliating.” Do we think that this demand would be made of him if he were a white cop from Malibu, instead of a Black man from Compton and South L.A.?