By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Manion’s note to Deputy Chief Ramirez, obtained by the Weekly, comes across as a desperate plea from the new chief: “Who was responsible for securing the ammunition?” he asks her. “Who has keys for the ammunition safe?” ... “Is there an existing written Department protocol? ... Who is in charge of caring for ammunition?”
One pattern clearly emerges: Kerstein spawned many troubles, and Manion consistently failed to undo them. Kerstein created a California nonprofit corporation to privately raise funds, naming himself as president. Under Manion, neither the police union nor the public can find out where the money comes from, what is discussed at meetings — even who runs it.
Dave Helsel, a founding member of the California Highway Patrol’s 11-99 Foundation, says, “I don’t think it’s a good idea for a law-enforcement agency to run its own foundation.”
And Kerstein left this legacy: In 2005, he eagerly hired King, the screwed-up son of a well-to-do Kerstein-family friend, to protect L.A. schoolchildren. After Kerstein left his chief’s job seven months later for a better-paying post in Nevada, Manion let King reel out of control until he finally attacked a young coed.
Caprice Young, another former president of the Board of Education and now a major advocate of charter schools, informed of the Weekly’s findings, remarked, “I never cease to be horrified” by the school district’s dysfunction.
Long before Ian King was a cop, he was an LAPD wannabe from a well-to-do family whose egocentric, passive-aggressive personality earned him a police record. His father, Steven Scott King, was a successful Southern California malpractice litigator who in 2001 was suspended from the state bar for misusing client funds; his mother, Karen, was a homemaker until the pair divorced. After that, the young Ian started dreaming of becoming a cop.
During law school at the University of San Diego, King was pulled over in Long Beach for speeding. According to a police report, he told the officer, “I’m LAPD,” then “flashed an LAPD ID” — and tried to flee in his white BMW. In his car, police discovered a loaded 9mm Smith automatic handgun, a “Sam Brown” police belt with handcuffs, a blue LAPD raid jacket, a bulletproof vest, a baton and “numerous LAPD business cards.” Yet instead of getting hit with impersonating a cop, King got off extremely lightly, convicted only of disturbing the peace.
As a law student in 1996, King had a temporary job with the San Diego County District Attorney’s office but was rejected for a full-time spot after a background check revealed his Long Beach conviction. Deputy District Attorney Robert O. Amador still remembers how King boasted that L.A. IMPACT, an elite interagency law-enforcement task force, helped him to escape the charge of impersonating a cop. Years later, D.A. Amador tells the Weekly, “I was clearing out résumés in my drawer and came across” King’s résumé. “I thought, ‘I’m gonna keep this. This guy’s like a bad penny. He’s going to be back again.’ ”
King graduated 276th in his 309-student law class and never became a lawyer. One friend still loyal to King, John Kinney, a USC frat brother, recalls, “If you were wrong, he’d tell you, ‘This is what the law states.’ ” Lisa Ozur, a childhood friend, tells the Weekly, “Did he rub people the wrong way? Absolutely! But that was Ian.”
King began applying for jobs at police departments and in the military but got nothing but rejections, records show. Amador remembers hearing from federal background checkers who were vetting King’s inevitably doomed applications. The Navy, for one, rejected his bid to be a JAG.
Los Angeles Police Department Detective Gregg Stone tells the Weekly that King was rejected by the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Beverly Hills police departments and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. He did, however, get into a police academy at Riverside Community College — but proved himself a terrible trainee. In 2001, King was excoriated by his instructors in an unsigned two-page report that’s now a court record. They blasted him for putting “an unauthorized chokehold on an instructor,” lying about his nonexistent military service, lying about being a lawyer — even arguing with the expert trainers about police procedure.
The report ends: “Recruit King created more problems for the academy staff than any student in recent memory. All of the problems can be traced directly to his ego, arrogance and apparent desire to prove himself better” than his instructors.
But at the Los Angeles schools, his luck changed. LAUSD wanted to hire King, even though the small police department’s hiring committee knew about his alarming record and rejections. Former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Renee Korn, who later prosecuted King for his attack on Nicole D. and was recently named a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, says that none of the LAUSD police command staff “would sign off” on hiring him. Instead, the decision was made solely by Kerstein. “Someone was made to hire [King],” Detective Stone adds, supporting Korn’s contention. “I was told that by the person who was told to make that happen.”
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