Celeste Fremon

Tanaka VerdictCeleste Fremon is WitnessLA’s creator and editor. She is also an award winning freelance journalist specializing in gangs, law enforcement, criminal justice and education policy. She’s the author of G-Dog and the Homeboys, and is working on two new books: An American Family, about the life of a parolee, his wife and kids, during his first four years out of prison (based on her yearlong LA Weekly series of the same name); and, to the surprise of exactly no one, she has more recently been talked into writing a book about the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Her work has been honored by The American Library Association, The LA Press Club, The Society of Professional Journalists, PEN USA, The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, The Western Publishing Association, Sunday Magazine Editors’ Association, The Missouri School of Journalism, The Knight Foundation and others. She’s a periodic adjunct professor at the Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California, and formerly a Visiting Lecturer at UC Irvine where she taught literary journalism as it relates to social justice.

Did the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Defraud the Feds?

Has the department’s “culture of corruption,” as the U.S. Attorney put it, been adequately swept away? An investigation into possible incidents of high-level fraud relating to a fleet of Sea King helicopters loaned under a controversial Defense Department program suggests a troubling answer. In August 28, 2013,  Dave Rathbun sent an email to Chief Edmund Sexton of the Homeland Security Division of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD). “Chief Sexton,” wrote Rathbun, who had been a … [Read more...]

After the Tanaka Verdict

The conviction of former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka on Wednesday for corruption of justice is not only an important milestone in the process of reforming the nation’s largest sheriff’s department, but a significant step towards the reform of American policing in general. While prosecutors are notoriously slow to bring charges against police officers—and juries are equally reluctant to convict those few officers who are charged with crimes—the case of the scandal-ridden L.A. … [Read more...]