Tuesday’s column (MLK Day in West Covina)

The portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on a podium outside West Covina City Hall on Monday should have told the story: This is a city that respects due process, equal protection and civil rights.

And yet, there are people out there who might have a different story to tell – at least when it came to dealing with the West Covina Police Department and a cop who was assigned to investigate rape cases.

Sometime last year the cop, identified as Tyler Kennedy, investigated a spousal rape case involving a woman with whom he had an intimate relationship. She told Kennedy her soon-to-be ex-husband had raped her.

Kennedy took that information and arrested the ex-husband. He had the man locked up and then appeared before a judge asking that the man be held without bail.

Fortunately Superior Court Judge Lesley Green didn’t fully support Kennedy. But, the judge did increase the man’s bail to $100,000, according to court documents.

All based on the testimony of Kennedy – who was having an affair with the accused’s wife.

Sound fishy?

Eventually the husband was charged with three misdemeanors, but the case was thrown out in November when prosecutors learned of Kennedy’s relationship with the alleged victim.

That should be enough evidence of something foul right?

It wasn’t enough for many of those recalling Dr. King’s legacy outside City Hall Monday.

Prosecutors in the West Covina courthouse didn’t inform their superiors that there might be a bad cop on the streets – and his actions may have jeopardized other sex crimes investigations.

Is it likely he did this before?

Probably not, but each and every case where Kennedy was the lead detective should be re-examined by the Justice System Integrity Division of the District Attorney’s Office – not low-level prosecutors looking to clear cases.

What if there is some innocent locked up in a hell hole of a state prison on a rape beef simply because he crossed Kennedy?

What if some slime bag gets set free because of Kennedy’s alleged lies?

After all it was Kennedy’s testimony about kiddie porn in the possession of convicted child molester Kenneth Conklin that resulted in that predator being sent to state prison for 75 years.

Citing the Police Officers’ Bill of Rights, city officials claim they can’t say much about Kennedy’s situation.

Maybe that’s the case. But, it sure seems as if someone wanted to sweep this one under the rug. Look at the facts.

Rather than take a bad cop off the streets, the West Covina Police Department simply demoted Kennedy and gave him some time off work. He was back in a patrol car within a month.

Based on advice from attorneys, members of the West Covina City Council didn’t bother to check out the man’s claims that his constitutional guarantees of equal protection, due process and basic civil rights were violated.

They simply denied a claim from his attorney.

Right now the handling of the case makes justice in West Covina and Los Angeles County appear decidedly more Third World than the righteous democracy Dr. King struggled to achieve in the United States.

But, as Dr. King once said, “The dawn will come. Disappointment, despair and sorrow are born at midnight, but morning follows.”

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