Knock LA kept busy in 2022, publishing over 200 articles in the course of the year. But there are ten pieces that drew more readers than any others:
10. “‘I Just Watched a Murder’: New Details Emerge in the Police Killing of Frederick Holder” by Cerise Castle
Frederick Holder was shot and killed by LASD deputies in Norwalk in 2021. This article was published when the autopsy images were released, revealing the gruesome injuries inflicted by the 11 shots fired from a distance of around 10 feet. This is another senseless killing by police in Los Angeles, unfortunately a situation we’ve become all too familiar with. In December 2022, District Attorney George Gascón ruled against disciplining the officers involved.
9. “Hunting for Humans” by Cerise Castle
Coming in at number 9 is “Hunting for Humans,” part 2 of the 15-part series A Tradition of Violence. While this series was published in 2021, it’s no surprise that readers are still finding their way to this engaging history, especially considering that author Cerise Castle won two awards in 2022 for her work. This piece examines the early days of the Lynwood Vikings and how the gang operated.
8. “LAPD Officer William Dorsey Jones Jr. Kills Two People, Including 14-Year-Old Valentina Orellana Peralta” by Cerise Castle and Jon Peltz
It’s heartbreaking that so many of our pieces revolve around police violence, but we’re committed to keeping the public informed and holding police accountable. William Dorsey Jones Jr.’s killing of 14-year-old Valentina Orellana Peralta is no different.
In this piece, reporters Cerise Castle and Jon Peltz break down the events surrounding the shooting, including background on the officer’s social media presence. Daniel Elena Lopez was suffering a mental health crisis when Jones shot and killed him. A stray bullet hit Valentina while she was sheltering in a fitting room with her mother. In November 2022, the LAPD Commission decided that Jones acted out of policy, but they have yet to give any disciplinary action.
7. “Los Angeles Progressive Ballot Cheat Sheet By Neighborhood” by Knock LA Editorial
Over 1.6 million Angelenos voted in the June Primary Election, and Knock LA was here to help. Our Progressive Voter Guide neighborhood cheat sheets came in at number 7 on the countdown. We are proud to support your right to vote by doing the research on over 150 local races and distilling it, especially with cheat sheets that make voting day go more smoothly.
6. “EXCLUSIVE: Santa Ana Police’s MET Team Includes Gang-Like Group That Sexually Assaulted a Child” by Ben Camacho
After successfully suing to obtain records of incidents involving Santa Ana police officers, reporter Ben Camacho revealed a gang-like group within the department. The “Major Enforcement Team,” composed of individuals hand-picked by top brass at SAPD, has been involved in a number of sexual misconduct incidents, one of which involved a child. Seven months after the publication of this article, Santa Ana City Council voted to create a resident-led police oversight commission.
5. “The Protected Class” by Cerise Castle
Part 1 of A Tradition of Violence brings us to number 5 on our countdown. This piece starts with the origin of deputy gangs: The Little Devils and their actions at the Chicano Moratorium in 1970. This gang originated in the East LA Sheriff’s station, and Castle details other gangs that came to light throughout the late 1900s: the Cavemen, the Wayside Whities, and the Lynwood Vikings. Violence from the LASD and their gangs continues to this day, making this series an essential read for all Angelenos.
4. “LASD Deputy Shot Off Another Deputy’s Gang Tattoo, Received Promotion” by Cerise Castle
Another story in the ongoing saga of violence surrounding LASD gangs made number 4 on our list. This piece examines new details in a 2015 off-duty shooting where a deputy attempted to burn off another deputy’s tattoo with the barrel of a recently-fired gun. When that failed, he shot the man in the leg. The investigations around this incident were inconsistent, highlighting the department’s well-documented pattern of covering up deputy misconduct.
3. “The Knock LA Los Angeles Progressive Voter Guide for the November 2022 Midterm Election” by Knock LA Editorial
The Knock LA Voter Guide is a labor of love for a better Los Angeles. Every election cycle, volunteers pour hours of work into researching and writing about as many candidates as possible. Out of all of our projects, the Voter Guide is one we consider the most important, as researching every race that you can vote in is a lot of work for one person to do on their own. It’s an honor to have so many people relying on our Voter Guide to inform their decisions on election day.
2. “The Knock LA Los Angeles Progressive Voter Guide for the June 2022 Primary Election” by Knock LA Editorial
Like the Voter Guide for the November midterm elections, we were honored to be able to support Angeleno voters as they headed to voting centers around the county for the June primary election. It was thrilling to see Knock LA–recommended candidate Eunisses Hernandez win her election outright, and we saw many of our recommended candidates go through to the general election. Primaries certainly don’t get as much attention as general elections, so it’s interesting to see that the Primary Voter Guide received more views than the General Voter Guide.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the article featuring the leaked audio exposing Nury Martinez, Kevin de León, Gil Cedillo, and Ron Herrera’s racist backdoor conversation came in at number 1 on our list. This news garnered national attention, even prompting President Joe Biden to call for the councilmembers’ resignations.
The fallout from this leak included Martinez and Herrera stepping down from their positions as lame duck Cedillo held his position in office to continue collecting paychecks from taxpayers. Kevin de León has yet to step down, but has been filmed fighting activists and has derailed city council proceedings with his presence. Thank you to reporter Jon Peltz for his work on bringing this audio to light and to the thousands of Angelenos that came to Knock LA to be better informed about their elected officials.
2022 was a big year for us here at Knock LA, and we’d like to thank all of our donors and Patrons for making our work possible. All money raised goes directly to our writers, editors, live-tweeters, and other folks that work to bring the true story of Los Angeles to your fingertips.