Los Angeles Airport Police officers have had it with lack of leadership, hypocrisy and corruption from Chief Cecil Rhambo.
As the June primary nears, the charismatic Cecil Rhambo seems to be dodging political bullets more than he probably expected he would have to in a county that votes deep blue. The anchor chains of his decades-long friendship with disgraced former undersheriff and convicted felon Paul Tanaka cost him the coveted endorsement of the LA County Democratic Party. That blow caused him to consider quitting altogether, and now his own people have abandoned him from both inside and outside his ranks.
Tell them what you want them to hear
Cecil Rhambo is the most polarizing of all the candidates running as he intentionally modeled his campaign promises of “reform” after the philosophies of D.A. George Gascon and the demands of anti-police organizations. And why not? The anti-police sentiment which was in the news at the time Rhambo announced his candidacy was alive and well, but that boiling sentiment has since fizzled to a low simmer across the country.
Rhambo has every right to stand on whichever platform he thinks will appeal to voters, but there is one problem. People aren’t buying it anymore and those that did are quickly realizing they were duped. Almost everything Rhambo says he stands for now pales in comparison to who he was on the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and people are noticing. Campaign insiders have told us that Rhambo might boast a long list of endorsements but notably, nobody is throwing money at him. The Black community (and generally speaking common sense democrats as a whole) are not too hip on Rhambo. But politically, many of them feel obligated to support him. Perhaps they are still feeling the third-degree burn left by Villanueva’s own multiple personality disorders.
Not OUR guy
Sources inside the Los Angeles Airport Police report Rhambo has brought such disarray to their department that his officers plan to take a vote of “No Confidence” against him this week. And just as that word got out, Rhambo skipped town to take an unplanned leave of absence. Apparently the union that represents the Los Angeles Airport Police cannot take a vote of no confidence on a chief who is technically not in officer during his leave of absence (slick move Cecil). But have no fear officers, we also heard that Rhambo left you in the capable hands of his BFFs promoted in recent weeks. We will let you guys explain all that if you want.
But it isn’t just Rhambo’s past connections to Undersheriff Paul Tanaka, a story that has been covered ad nauseum by other outlets. It’s who he says he is today, portraying himself as a man with lifelong moral opposition to his own past behavior.
On the topic of deputy-involved shootings
Take for example that between 2010 and 2014, Rhambo was the division chief in charge of Compton, South Los Angeles, Century, East Los Angeles, Carson Sheriff Stations, and then Assistant Sheriff in charge of all patrol stations and Custody Division. According to department records, there were 149 deputy involved “hit shootings” subject to his review (those shootings where the person was struck by a bullet) and 41 “non-hit” shootings. Despite numerous cases where persons of color were shot or shot at holding wallets, cell phones, or as in one case, through a wood fence, not a single deputy was fired or disciplined by Rhambo. Instead, Rhambo chose to treat questionable shootings as “training issues”. That in itself is not a surprise as Rhambo accidentally shot two of his own partners along his long career path, but we digress.
The point we are making is not to imply deputy misconduct, but to illustrate a disconnect between the rhetoric Candidate Rhambo projects to the anti-police and defund crowd, and his track record as a top executive on the LASD.
Let’s ask the people he is pandering to if they would elect a former sheriff’s department executive who oversaw the shooting of 200 persons (largely of color) but under his command, not a single deputy was prosecuted or seriously disciplined.
Open your eyes Rhambo cheer squad. Just as your love was lost for Alex Villanueva who went from extreme liberal to extreme conservative, Cecil Rhambo has swung in the exact opposite way in an effort to vacuum up your disaffected vote. To compare chameleons to these two would be an insult to the chameleon.
Today, Candidate Rhambo says he will get rid of deputy gangs “once and for all”. Okay, cool. Nobody likes a gang member so let’s do that. But first, we need to assume that “deputy gangs” exist and for the sake of drawing yet another contrast between the old Rhambo and the new version, we hereby declare that deputy gangs are alive and well!
While under his command, Cecil Rhambo was in charge of the Compton Executioners, the South Los Angeles Grim Reapers, not one but two deputy gangs at Century Station called the Regulators and Spartans, the East Los Angeles Banditos, the Buffalo Soldiers (an exclusively Black membership), the 2000 Boys, the 3000 Boys, the Jump out Boys and a host of other much lesser known deputy groups throughout the department, all of which identify themselves with matching ankle tattoos. Sounds like a gang problem right?
Well, there is something else called a gang “associate” who likes to hang out with the big boys but when accused, throws up his hands and says, “Whoa now. I don’t have any ankle tattoos and I just know those guys. I’m not affiliated with them.” That’s right Cecil, your association with Paul Tanaka, a reputed member of the Lynwood Vikings with a history of bad shootings makes you one of those “associates” of an alleged gang. You do realize how that calls into question your moral standing, right?
While Rhambo was the Captain of Compton Station and then the Division Chief over all the aforementioned stations, and later the Assistant Sheriff in charge of the entire department, did he even once ask the FBI to investigate his belief that “deputy gangs” existed? Nope.
Did he ever open a criminal or internal investigation on someone for being a deputy gang member? Nope.
How does Rhambo stomach his past choice to ignore all the malfeasance cultivated under his command, but now claims to be the solution to his own debauchery? When he had a chance to do something about it he did nothing, but now runs a campaign as the reform candidate to end deputy gangs “once and for all”? We heard that Webster’s definition of “headache” is now accompanied by Rhambo’s campaign photo.
Rhambo did nothing to stand up to abuse and corruption he says existed on the LASD. In fact it was so out of control that the FBI secretly conducted an undercover investigation into the abuse of jail inmates by the 2000 and 3000 boys. And when the Feds got close to Rhambo, how did he manage to escape prosecution? He testified against his long-time friend, Viking Paul Tanaka.
A narrow escape or deal between coconspirators?
Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that the FBI and the Department of Justice were looking at Rhambo along with Baca and Tanaka. So how did Rhambo escape prosecution? Could it be he decided to testify in lieu of charges? Think about it!
How does Rhambo, the executive in charge of the world’s largest jail who is also the right hand of soon to be convicted felon Undersheriff Paul Tanaka escape prosecution for inmate abuses? He agrees to cooperate of course!
So when Cecil Rhambo tells us he fought corruption and proudly points to the fact he testified against Paul Tanaka, you need to ask yourself a serious question that goes to his motive. There’s an old saying that there is no honor among thieves. There’s also no honor among corrupt cops, or is there?
It could all be “forgive and forget” as there have been reports the former coconspirators are back together for an occasional game of golf, and why not? As reported by another outlet, Paul Tanaka requested a temporary release from custody to attend the funeral of Rhambo’s mother in 2015. That doesn’t sound like a fractured relationship. It sounds like a deal was struck between Tanaka and the Feds to save his buddy of 30 years.
Back to Basics
Nobody likes a rat. Nobody likes a hypocrite either. Cecil Rhambo is both yet he runs a campaign designed to fool people of color. In Rhambo’s ridiculous video of him disrobing in a cheesy bathroom set in a failed effort to prove he has no deputy gang tattoos, did he show us his ankles? Maybe there’s a sequel coming soon that will do that.