Tue, Dec

Are Journalists Being Targeted for Assassination in Inglewood?

INSIDE INGLEWOOD-In Inglewood, the murder rate has spiraled out of control—and the latest shooting death could be one meant to send a message to journalists who dare to write about the many scandals involving the mayor, James T. Butts, and those who are helping him to get re-elected this November.

The city’s ninth shooting death of 2014 took place Monday around 8:22 a.m., according to Inglewood Police Lt. Jacqueline Layne who is the chief’s adjunct. According to the Daily Breeze, Domique Austin, 25, “was fatally shot in a drive-by attack while walking up to his Inglewood apartment on Monday."

Within 24 hours of the incident, a prominent resident who is also a commissioner and is close to the mayor sent out an email to Inglewood residents stating that “A 25-year old male was killed while getting out of his car on 82nd Pl. and Crenshaw Drive. Apparently, he was a free-lance journalist working on gang-related issues.”

Assistant LA County Coroner Chief Ed Winter said that Austin was shot by someone who got out of a passing car, fired the fatal shot and jumped back in the vehicle before speeding off.

In 2013, there were no homicides in Inglewood until April 5 when a shooting death took place directly outside the house where the incumbent city council candidate that Butts hoped to oust performed campaign literature preparation. 

That candidate was being backed by a newspaper, the Morningside Park Chronicle—where this journalist worked and continues to work—that strongly criticized the mayor and his two city council candidates. 

The assassination, whereby two men were able to calmly walk with their target to an area that was just outside of homeowners’ security cameras, occurred one week before the heated city council election involving the mayor’s hand-picked candidates whom he backed to the tune of nearly $250,000.

Over the next nine months of 2013, 16 more shooting deaths took place in Inglewood.

In the first three months of 2014, nine more shooting deaths took place. The latest is the Monday morning assassination of a person said to be a journalist. Curiously, that shooting death took place one block from where the publisher of the Chronicle holds her monthly Morningside Park Sustainable City meetings.

Not one of the 26 shooting homicides have been solved. Only one arrest has been made—and it was such an obvious frame-up that three separate videos of the accused man being miles away at the very moment of the shooting may form the basis of a lawsuit that will probably cost Inglewood taxpayers many millions of dollars.

Mayor Butts is a 19-year veteran of the Inglewood Police Department, the former police chief of Santa Monica who was allegedly ousted owing to his discriminatory behavior, the former head of LAX security who was said to have been pushed out for similar behavior and as mayor of Inglewood has acted in a threatening manner toward local journalists who have asked questions about current and past scandals.

One of his former police colleagues in Santa Monica, Alex Padilla, also sits on the Inglewood city council for District 2 where many of this year’s murders have taken place.

According to TransparentCalifornia.com, Butts retired from Santa Monica in 2006 and continues to draw an annual pension of $236,914. Padilla retired in 2009 and draws an annual pension of $190,127 from the same city.

Numerous requests for comment regarding the recent murders sent to IPD Chief Mark Fronterotta, Lt. Layne, Butts and IPD spokespersons remain unanswered.


(Randall Fleming is a veteran journalist and magazine publisher. He has worked at and for the New York Post, the Brooklyn Spectator and the Los Feliz Ledger. He is currently editor-in-chief at the Morningside Park Chronicle, a monthly newspaper based in Inglewood, CA and on-line at www.MorningsideParkChronicle.com






Vol 12 Issue 28

Pub: Apr 4, 2014