Los Angeles. Los Angeles detectives arrested a downtown businessman today after the man handed $2,000 cash to a police officer assigned to enforce counterfeit merchandise sales in the downtown Fashion District.
Senior Lead Officer Randy McCain has been enforcing counterfeit sales in the Fashion District since 1994. “He knows everyone, and everyone knows him,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, head of detectives in downtown. “But apparently at least one person did not know him well enough to know he’s an honest cop, working for a professional police department.”
Indeed, Officer McCain has known Demba Camera, 35, for over ten years. On June 24, Officer McCain was involved in the arrest of Camera’s wife, Karina Gonzalez, 24. It was her third arrest for selling counterfeit purses from the couple’s sublet business at 936 S. Maple Street.
“After hearing about his wife’s arrest, Camera called me,” McCain explained. “Not once but several times, then he sent a text message to my private cell phone. It was pretty obvious he was serious about helping his wife.” The text message said in part, “I PAY U.”
Detectives set up a recorded phone call with Camera and McCain last Thursday, the day after the wife’s arrest. “I was really hoping that he would have reconsidered his impulse, but the conversation told me he was serious. I was really surprised.”
The meet was set up for today, near the convention center, just after noon. McCain arrived in uniform, driving a black-and-white police car. Camera handed McCain the cash in full view of watching undercover officers. “He had the nerve to put the bribe in one of his counterfeit bags, too,” Officer McCain explained. “At least the purse did not have a designer label on it yet.”
Officer McCain has been a police officer for over 25 years, and this was the first time anyone has ever offered him a bribe. “They even teach us in the academy that some day we might be offered a bribe,” McCain explained. “We know sometimes that it can be a matter of a person coming from another locale where bribes are expected, but that was not the case here.” While Camera is originally from Senegal, he has been doing business downtown for over a decade.
“We gave Camera several opportunities to think over his offer and withdraw it” McCain added. “My badge and my integrity are not for sale.”
Camera was booked at the Metropolitan Jail for the felony, Bribing a Police Official, and his bail was set at $25,000.
Lieutenant Vernon and Officer McCain can be reached for interviews at 213-972-1203.