All it takes is one incident of bad behavior to call a person's integrity into question.
John Motto is a retired detective from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), but after a video surfaced and went viral of him verbally assaulting a fellow driver, his entire work history was called into question.
You can watch the video here:
WARNING: racial slurs and profanity
Incident in Valencia from this weekend where man is seen using racial slurs after a car accident. https://t.co/ddHcYIWp8Q— What's Up SCV (@What's Up SCV)1615853828.0
In the video, Motto is seen engaging with a Black driver and a woman, presumably Motto's wife, on the sidewalk next to Motto's truck and the other driver's car a few feet behind.
The video was filmed by an anonymous person who witnessed the altercation. When the two drivers began arguing, they began filming.
The woman was yelling at the Black driver to get back into his car, while he was yelling at Motto about turning his back and walking away from their conversation.
When the driver turned back to his car, Motto waved his hand dismissively and said:
"Go back into your little cage until the monkey controller gets here."
The Black driver appeared appalled and turned to the videographer:
"Are you serious? You all hear this sh*t, right?"
Motto then repeatedly asked the fellow driver if he was going to take his ID out or if he had to call someone.
The driver continued talking to the videographer:
"You all hear this sh*t, right? You heard him call me a [n-word], right?"
"No, he started the [n-word] thing, because he is a dumb [n-word]."
The driver then pointed at Motto, to which Motto replied:
"Yeah, I said it. Right after you."
People were appalled and wanted justice.
@whatsupscv The most violent part is EVERYONE on the scene implicitly agreeing the black guy is the one most capabl… https://t.co/eWAkbyUQNU— Dope-rah Pimpfree (@Dope-rah Pimpfree)1615988124.0
@whatsupscv I'll quote Will Smith when he said something black people have always known, "Racism isn't getting worse; it's getting filmed."— Sheldon is tall & dark. 2 out of 3 ain't bad. (@Sheldon is tall & dark. 2 out of 3 ain't bad.)1615920100.0
@whatsupscv He said he said the n word cause the black dude said it first. But expects folks to gloss over the fact… https://t.co/rMy44ClkAq— Misha (@Misha)1615954458.0
@whatsupscv Good thing we have professional officers who know how to keep their cool in minor incidents...— Tenuto (@Tenuto)1615995704.0
The video went viral and was brought to the attention of the LAPD.
The LAPD responded in a Twitter thread:
"It has come to the Department's attention that there is a video posted on social media of a retired LAPD detective."
"The individual in the video uses a racial slur while engaged in an argument."
"The individual is not a current member of the LAPD and retired in May 2020 as a detective assigned to Operations Central Bureau Homicide. To ensure there is no current Department nexus to this incident, there has been an internal investigation started."
"What is seen in the video is not reflective of the thousands of hard-working and dedicated men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department."
"The Los Angeles District Attorney's office has announced they will be reviewing 370 cases handled by the retired LAPD detective. The Department has pledged full cooperation with the process."
It has come to the Department’s attention that there is a video posted on social media of a retired LAPD detective.… https://t.co/a2LabDjcYk— LAPD HQ (@LAPD HQ)1615944114.0
George Gascón, an LA district attorney, also tweeted and assured this situation was being handled with care.
"The video in question is disturbing and involves a former homicide detective exhibiting racist tendencies."
"[The LAPD] is taking immediate action and has identified several cases where this individual was a witness."
"We are in the process of notifying defense attorneys in such cases."
The video in question is disturbing & involves a former homicide detective exhibiting racist tendencies.… https://t.co/BZqiSF1uvs— George Gascón (@George Gascón)1615952538.0
As a retired detective, John Motto cannot receive the typical punishments from the LAPD, such as being fired or being put on administrative leave.
The District Attorney's office associated with the LAPD will be revisiting all 370 cases Motto was involved in, however, to asses whether or not biases were involved.
George Gascón followed up in a statement:
"Under the law, we are required, once we are aware of someone having racist tendencies, as in the case of the [Black driver] individual, we have to notify all the defense lawyers in all the cases that this individual [John Motto] may have been a witness to or participated in the investigation."
Attorney DeWitt Lacey explained:
"They're going to question whether or not evidence was planted."
"They're gonna question whether or not he ignored evidence from people of color, Black folks in particular."
"They're gonna question the type of people he went after."
It's unclear what will happen in the future if biases are determined present in the cases that John Motto was involved in. But it does appear that the investigation will be thorough, so instances of bias and racism will be less likely to go further unnoticed.