L.A. prosecutor put on leave over questionable case sparked by election conspiracy theories
A Los Angeles prosecutor is calling on the city to re-examine its longstanding policy of declining to prosecute crimes in which the perpetrator is motivated by political ideology. But that move appears to have backfired, at least on the criminal side, in the case of a man who was charged with murder after a Facebook page he created called for mass murder of police officers and prosecutors.
Prosecutors in California were investigating whether a Facebook page created by Eric Arthur Martinez was involved in an unsolved killing of a L.A. police officer. They say Martinez was also involved in the creation of threats related to the police and that he was a “serial offender” based on his Facebook page. Martinez was charged with murder in the 2016 killing of Officer Richard J. Lopez and was released on bail.
The same day the murder charge was filed, the L.A. city attorney’s office announced that they were withdrawing all charges related to the murder of Officer Lopez based on an ongoing investigation. The police did not comment on the investigation or the new charges, but instead issued a statement saying that they were “grateful to the Los Angeles Police Department for their partnership and cooperation in this case. We extend our sincere apologies to the Los Angeles Police Department and to the victim’s family, and we will respect the department’s decision in the future.”
A few hours after L.A. officials made the announcement, the department’s top brass abruptly announced that they were taking a leave of absence, effective immediately. On January 5, 2017, Police Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement that the force “had a very productive and valuable partnership with the office of the District Attorney and their office” in pursuing this matter.
The Facebook page that led to the charges was created in 2015 and has since been removed from the social media platform. The page shared links to a “White Power�