Officials Renew Call for Outside Probe of LAPD 

Officials Renew Call for Outside Probe of LAPD 
Posted by FoM on February 11, 2000 at 12:13:43 PT
By Tina Daunt, Henry Weinstein, Times Staff Writer
Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky branded the Rampart police scandal an "assault on democracy" Thursday, as local officials intensified their calls for an independent investigation into the Los Angeles Police Department's deepening corruption crisis. 
  The Rampart situation--in which officers allegedly conspired to put innocent people in jail and to cover up unjustified shootings and beatings--warrants a U.S. criminal civil rights investigation because there is evidence of "a widespread pattern and practice of federal civil rights violations" by Rampart officers, said lawyer Merrick J. Bobb, an expert on police misconduct who advises the Board of Supervisors and the Los Angeles Police Commission.   Evidence of such a pattern has already led some legal experts to warn that the cost of settling suits growing out of the scandal will be significantly more than the $125 million initially projected by the city attorney. In fact, City Hall insiders now say the cost will virtually preclude any new initiatives in the next city budget.   City officials already have begun the grim process of figuring out how Los Angeles will pay for the expected onslaught of liability claims and lawsuits.   "This is a black cloud," said Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, who heads the council's Public Safety Committee. "Clearly we need to proceed with knowledge and caution."   Chief Legislative Analyst Ronald F. Deaton told members of the council's Budget and Finance Committee to start saving money now to help cover the costs. "We have serious liability issues facing the city," he said. "We have to put money aside."   As reported Thursday in The Times, disgraced former Officer Rafael Perez, who is providing information in exchange for a lesser sentence on cocaine theft charges, has told investigators that more than 30 current and former anti-gang officers at the Rampart station were "in the loop," constituting a secretive group that routinely engaged in illegal shootings, beatings, perjury, false arrests, witness intimidation and other misconduct.   More than 70 LAPD officers are under investigation for either committing crimes or knowing about them and helping to cover them up, according to one document produced by members of a special task force probing the scandal. That document and others were obtained by The Times, along with the nearly 2,000-page transcript of Perez's months-long interrogation.   Report on Polygraph Upsets Perez Lawyer:   So far, 32 criminal cases have been reversed as a result of the investigation, and 20 officers have been relieved of duty, suspended or fired or have quit.   Thursday, Perez attorney Winston Kevin McKesson expressed outrage that The Times had published stories based on documents he has yet to see. McKesson was particularly upset at reports that Perez failed a polygraph examination. The lawyer said the test was either incompetently administered or "was done to ensure a false positive result. There's something going on here, and we don't like it."   In fact, sources close to the investigation said Perez tested as deceptive even in areas where his allegations have been corroborated.   Dr. Edward I. Gelb, a forensic psycho-physiologist and polygraph expert hired by McKesson, said Perez was given a "mixed issue" test in which he was asked questions about different topics. The problem with such a test, Gelb said, is that if one question makes the subject nervous, that reaction may color his other responses as well. For example, if a subject is asked about a burglary, robbery and rape and reacts to the robbery, "he's failed the whole test," Gelb said. "That doesn't necessarily mean he committed the rape."   In fact, officials at various levels of government do not appear overly preoccupied with the polygraph issue.   Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, said his agency is looking into the Rampart matter, but he declined to comment on the scope of the investigation. Other sources close to the U.S. attorney's office said that so far the agency is permitting the LAPD and the district attorney's office to take the lead. Federal authorities can enter the case on their own initiative, if they believe civil rights violations have occurred.   Meanwhile, Police Commission President Gerald L. Chaleff said he will ask his panel to revisit all the LAPD shootings on which it has ruled.   "The Police Commission has ultimate responsibility for ruling on the propriety of police shootings," he said. "If Mr. Perez's statements are true, then it is clear that this commission and its predecessors have been misled. There can be no effective civilian oversight in such a situation."   Yaroslavsky called the alleged actions of the Rampart officers "an assault on democracy, an assault on our judicial system, an assault on our way of life.   "I never would have believed it was possible to think that LAPD officers would deliberately frame people and then celebrate about these actions over a beer," said Yaroslavsky, who along with district attorney candidate Steve Cooley has called for an outside investigation into the scandal.   Yaroslavsky said the way to restore the LAPD's credibility is for Police Chief Bernard C. Parks or Mayor Richard Riordan, or the two acting in tandem, to form a commission composed of respected jurists and other individuals.   "There needs to be people brought in from outside city government to assess the damage and propose solutions," Yaroslavsky said. "This is a terribly dangerous situation for our entire community and law enforcement in general."   Riordan and other city officials disagree with those calling for an outside investigation.   The mayor, who appointed Parks in 1997 and who enthusiastically backs him, said he remains confident that the department is doing a good job uncovering its own problems and bringing them to light.   Riordan stressed that the Christopher Commission, which investigated the LAPD in the wake of the 1991 beating of Rodney G. King, laid down the course that officials are now following.   Among other things, that commission refused to endorse the creation of a civilian review board, believing that Police Department discipline should remain the chief's responsibility.   Riordan said the Police Commission will review the LAPD and ensure that its investigation is thorough.   "They're doing a phenomenal job investigating this," Riordan said of the department. "We need to follow the map of the Christopher Commission and let this work."   War Between D.A.'s Office, Chief Alleged:   One city official said he thought that one factor eroding confidence in the investigation is the sniping between Parks and the district attorney's office. Publicly, the chief is pushing for more convictions to be overturned and more criminal charges to be lodged against officers. In turn, the district attorney's office has said that more work needs to be done before taking those actions.   "This is a time where you want the prosecutors and investigators working together as a team to reach a common goal," the official said. "Here, it's warfare."   Joining the fight, Public Defender Michael Judge reiterated Thursday that the district attorney's office was not providing sufficient information to enable public defenders to conduct meaningful reviews of potentially tainted cases.   In late January, Parks said that he believed 99 people had been framed--up from previous publicly stated estimates of 23--and that he thought the district attorney should dismiss cases "en masse."   In response to that announcement, the public defender's office requested the names of officers involved in the other 76 cases in which Parks was urging immediate action. On Feb. 7, the district attorney's office declined to release the information on the ground that it "might harm the entire investigation."   "We have been greatly frustrated by the exceedingly slow pace of disclosure of the identity of officers who may have engaged in misconduct of which the district attorney and the city attorney's office are aware," Judge said.   He added that he thought some public officials were still unable to grasp the scandal's gravity. "This is so stunning it's difficult for people to comprehend the enormity of the evil that has been done," Judge said.   Times staff writers Matt Lait, Scott Glover and Jim Newton contributed to this story. Published: February 11, 2000Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times Related Article:Flaws Run Deep in the Justice System Articles On Corruption & Police Related Articles:
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Comment #4 posted by Clark on March 27, 2001 at 08:57:06 PT:
I Thought I Lived In America!
I live in Kenner La.there is a crew titled the jump out crewwho has been wrongfully arresting and framing innocent black people myself included,the main officer was arrested in Nov. and my charges were dissimised,yet the pain still remain something must be done this officer's police report can be located under Kenner Police Reports"Jenell Godfrey"Nov.11,2000 she kicked in my door at 5:00 am with guns drawnwe were held at gun point in our bed along with my six yearold son she stole my husband prescription of vicodin es,andplanted weed on me to have something on us to haul us to jail,along with my first born who was 22 years old never had been arrested in his life,my six year old still has nightmares,yet they dropped the charges,I have'nt dropped the memory!
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on February 11, 2000 at 15:18:12 PT
Another reason for continued prohibition
'Evidence of such a pattern has already led some legal experts to warn that the cost of settling suits growing out of the scandal will be significantly more than the $125 million initially projected by the city attorney. In fact, City Hall insiders now say the cost will virtually preclude any new initiatives in the next city budget.'In a very small way (yes, *small* compared to the total) this is presaging what will happen when cannabis is finally legalized. And it is the *real* reason for its' continued prohibition. Lawsuits.Imagine for a moment. Cannabis becomes legal, based upon the scientific evidence (ignored at present by the powers that be, and for the same reason) of its' being one of the most safe substances (to quote late DEA Law Judge Young) in human history.Next imagine the Federal, State and local governments, who so enthusiastically persecuted cannabis users based upon the fraudulent (and now, scientifically disproved) basis of Reefer Madness, facing the very real possibility of having their treasuries drained because of punitive lawsuits by the former victims of that persecution. That's why they cling so desperately to their delusions and scream their propaganda ever louder. That's why McCaffrey continues to ignore the findings of the IoM study, a study he commissioned, himself. He and they know what will happen when their lying stops.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 11, 2000 at 12:52:16 PT
My Thoughts
Hi Dankhank!It's almost 4 here will that do? I think so! LOL!I think a good title for a book on the drug war would be: How did we get here from there?Maybe someone already wrote a book named that but I just want to know the answers myself and from different perspectives if that makes sense? Just pondering!Peace, FoM!
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Comment #1 posted by Dankhank on February 11, 2000 at 12:40:09 PT:
Civil Rights Violation?
The law is a many-splendored thing."Federal authorities can enter the case on their own initiative, if they believe civil rights violations have occurred."Just guessing here, but, seems to me that rights have been violated pretty uncivily ...Yet a determination is still up in the air as to whether "civil rights" have been violated.The perfidy of the human animal is astonishing. Alas, I am in a reflexive mood, here. Watching "Renaissance Man" and trying to understand how we got to this juncture.Our task is to be persuasive and honest.Keep pluggin' away ...It's 2:40, is that close enough? :-)wPeace
Lots o Links
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