Wow. Dan Evans’ column this weekend is just un-fucking-believable. Talk about adding insult to injury. Does his work ever get reviewed by lawyers?
Now here’s a little backstory to it that Evans is not talking about right now, and probably won’t. A couple of months ago we heard from an attorney back East in a completely unconnected complaint that he was trying like hell to get the Times to remove a false and potentially libelous (and obviously harmful) story that the News Press had insisted on keeping online. He named Evans specifically as a major impediment.
We heard the attorney’s side of the story and compared it to the original version as printed, and felt that the guy was correct. The GPD had obviously acted improperly in this old Montrose bar incident, and had in fact been shown to be lying about what transpired. It was an alcohol related arrest that went nowhere, legally, and so it was baffling that Evans was keeping it around. The story made the guy look bad and there was no good reason for it being kept online for so long.
The attorney told us that he was also considering suing the Times for this obvious and irrational bad faith, not just because of the basic unfairness, but because the Times policy about covering such stories was uneven. Some simple arrests get written up while others don’t? And there’s never any proper follow up when the charges end up going nowhere?
We informed this attorney that Evans and the Times did indeed have a history of removing stories when and if they happen to embarrass or annoy other parties, particularly those who are well-connected in town. Like how many existing Leader stories are there right now about the Cusumano’s $100 property sale on Olive?
At one time there were several. Somebody though later on took them down and it certainly wasn’t us. In fact, several years ago someone who also wasn’t us went through and completely vetted the Leader’s archive of a number of old stories of major notoriety.
For instance, they left old Will Rogers columns online, but got rid of the contemporaneous news pieces about constitutional issues and the Burbank police department? Just why was that? Remember all those stories about how the cops were accused of targeting the Iraq war protesters and their supporters over on Burbank Blvd and SF? Try to find them now.
So today Evans is going after this new guy for complaining about other old and misleading news articles being stored online. And notice how he makes things worse for him!
For the last two years, I have taught a journalism class at USC. Most of my students are undergraduate sophomores, too young to drink, but not too young to seriously damage their reputation online.
Why? Because, as I tell them, the Internet is written in ink.
Here’s a case example: In January 2013, Glendale police arrested Robert DeBrino, a retired New York City cop, on suspicion of driving under the influence. When officers found the movie producer in his motionless Corvette, his head was slumped to the side and his pants unzipped.
A witness, according to police reports and court records, said the then 61-year-old had been stumbling around his vehicle before getting inside and falling asleep.
DeBrino told the officers he had driven from nearby Glendale Studios, and admitted hitting a pole with the car as well as taking medication. The methadone and Adderall were properly prescribed, he said, taken for pain after being shot in the stomach and knee while on duty with the NYPD.
Though DeBrino tested negative for alcohol, Glendale police arrested him after he failed a field sobriety test, citing and releasing him a few hours later. About a day later, we wrote a story about the incident, complete with a Nick Nolte-esque mug shot.
Most of the time, that’s the end for us. We have neither the time, the resources, nor the inclination to follow up on DUI cases. Frankly, we don’t care, and we don’t believe our readers do either.
Is that the criteria for Evans? Whether or not he nor anyone else cares? That’s a new one — what an asshole. Welcome to modern commercial journalism folks. Whatever happened to journalistic integrity, or — heaven forbid — a sense of accuracy? Don’t accuse us of the same– because we don’t use the big guns to go after the little guy, and we have removed items when shown to be misleading. We also go out of our way to defend the police-accused all the time; unlike the Leader/New Press, which we have shown will many times print the departmental PR intact and unexamined.
Keep in mind though that this is the same Editor Dan Evans who got pissed at us last fall when we nailed him on an item or two, and then immediately made several false and slanderous statements about all of us around here being bigoted racists, or something like that.
And, how we laughed at teenagers dying in car accidents when we accused the media and the adults of being completely irresponsible in their treatment of the event. Then he thought he’d rub it in by naming names. So he’s got an agenda here:
Six months later, DeBrino’s attorney gave me a call asking that the piece be taken down. Why? Because prosecutors had rejected the case — a fact we were able to confirm. The whole affair hadn’t resulted even in a traffic citation, the lawyer pleaded, but the negative publicity falling on DeBrino had caused him shame and loss of work.
We updated the story to note no charges had been filed. However, under our long-standing policy, the story was not removed. We only put in additional information or note a correction. Again, we moved on.
Just like that? Don’t you love his arrogant, fuck-you attitude here? It gets worse:
Earlier this month, DeBrino’s attorney sent a letter to the Los Angeles Times’ big boss, Eddy Hartenstein, asking again the piece be taken down. This filtered down to me, as the publisher really has better things to do.
Again, a falsehood. Any time an outside attorney makes a demand threat to your boss it’s a BIG deal. Nothing get’s filtered down. So Evans is clearly lying here about what really happened with this letter internally. He’s also idiotically treating it like a joke — in a published opinion column no less! — which won’t go well for him personally if this same demand letter ever finds it way to court.
And what a phony sense of personal integrity he’s trying to posit:
Trying to figure out what had changed, I reached out to DeBrino via his various legal advisers and assistants. It’s a weird story.
DeBrino, in a phone conversation this week, says he wasn’t guilty that night of anything except being tired. He had been up for more than 24 hours, something that explained his disheveled appearance. The case felt like a set up, he said, providing professional pain to match his physical ailments.
It’s hard to say what causes what, but a check of IMDb shows the only movie on DeBrino’s plate is a flick in preproduction called “Run Like the Devil,” which is supposed to come out sometime this year. The prior listings, both in 2006, were for “Shut Up and Shoot” and a Vin Diesel vehicle called “Find Me Guilty.”
Why the gratuitous slam here? What does this guy’s IMDB page have to do with anything?
Evans is just trying to embarrass him in retaliation for complaining and it’s totally fucked up. We’re not too impressed with Evans’ LinkedIn page either– because for one thing, everyone in New York City knows that going to Columbia J-School is a total waste of money. It’s become a joke. Film school makes more sense.
As we reported when we updated the article a year ago, prosecutors declined the case. But on Jan. 21 of this year, one day prior to when the case would have expired due to the statute of limitations, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office decided to move on the charge.
Why? Because the initial blood test DeBrino submitted in 2013 had not been run for methadone, something he, in both court records and in our interview, acknowledged he took. Results of a second test, called a DRE Scan, were not received by Glendale police until Jan. 9 of this year, according to court records. After confirming the presence of methadone, prosecutors moved to file.
But on July 7, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Phillip Argento dismissed the case, stating that prosecutors and police had simply waited too long. The memories of a defense witness, the only one with first-hand knowledge of DeBrino’s driving faculties that night besides DeBrino, had faded due to the passage of time, Argento ruled, prejudicing the case.
Since the delays were completely the fault of the government, he said, meaning the case could not move forward.
Again, why even bring this up? To make the guy look guiltier still? The claim also makes no sense: if the guy had the authority to take methadone, which he says he did, then why didn’t the cops test him at the time? This whole later-on thing makes no sense, which we suspect is also why the judge dismissed the charges.
What’s the lesson in all this? Well, don’t get arrested. Also, if you’re unjustly accused, you have to fight like hell to deal with the fallout from any publicity or public record attached to the incident.
From reading all the documents I could get my hands on, it looks like the Glendale police acted reasonably. DeBrino looked pretty messed up, admitting taking narcotics, and hit a pole with his car.
However, DeBrino never got the chance to defend himself, and as such, the case was properly dumped.
Will we ever know the full story? Probably not. But since the Internet is forever, the only thing to do is to try and provide more context. Hopefully I’ve done that, because I’m really ready to move on from this one.
Don’t get arrested? Spoken just like a White guy. Lucky him. Maybe we should discuss sometime why Dan Evans the Editor really moved out of Burbank– that’d be a fun one.
But Evans the Editor here hasn’t tried to provide more context to this story, and his oh-so-cool concern to say that he’s ‘moving’ on is just cant. No, because the guy is now threatening legal action through his attorney, and apparently has been for a while, Evans is going out of his way to pile things on and keep his online reputation as sullied as possible.
This Dan Evans really ain’t too bright, is he? He comes off like a vindictive dick. It’s not the first time, either.