LAPD Scandal Over Alleged Gang Framing Expands
The investigation into allegations that members of the Los Angeles Police Department’s elite Metro Division falsely portrayed people as gang members or associates has expanded into a criminal probe and forced LAPD leaders to inform community members about the scandal.
It has also raised questions about the criminal cases brought by the officers under scrutiny. Officers assigned across the city are suspected of falsifying field interview cards during stops and entering incorrect information about those questioned in an effort to boost stop statistics.
“This definitely has a criminal aspect. Falsifying information on a department report is a crime,” Chief Michel Moore told the Police Commission on Tuesday. “I must look straight at these allegations. It does give me concern.”
The LAPD said it launched the investigation last year after a Van Nuys mother received a letter in early 2019 informing her that her son had been identified as a gang member. She believed her son was misidentified and reported it to a supervisor at a nearby police station. The supervisor immediately reviewed body-worn camera footage and other information and found inaccuracies by the officer. The department removed the son from the gang database.
Commission members expressed alarm. President Eileen Decker asked Moore to address the scandal at the start of the meeting. She also asked the commission’s inspector general, Mark Smith, to monitor the LAPD investigation and to conduct a separate inquiry.
“These allegations are extremely troubling,” Decker said.
Commissioner Dale Bonner noted the lack of safeguards that allowed the allegedly fake labeling to happen without detection. To prevent possible abuses, the department now requires a gang lieutenant to review body-worn camera video to make sure it matches the field interview cards when adding a person to the database, Moore said.
Published: January 15, 2020
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