Another scandal is breaking from within the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). More than a dozen LAPD officers are being investigated for falsifying information they gathered during stops and for falsely identifying people as gang members. Several officers have been taken off active duty in response to the investigation. It is believed that officers were fabricating information in an effort to boost stop statistics.
In 2019, a San Fernando mother received written communication from LAPD telling her that her son had been identified as a gang member. The mother believed this to be a mistake, so she reported it to a supervisor at a police station. The supervisor reviewed body camera video and other information and found inaccuracies in the reporting of three officers who were involved in the case.
This launched an Internal Affairs investigation that spread to other officers assigned to crime suppression in the Metropolitan Division. According to a statement by LAPD,
Over the course of several months, Internal Affairs investigators have continued their investigation resulting in identifying additional inaccuracies in the documentation on field interview cards completed by those officers as well as others.
LAPD told the mother of the man that he would not be identified as a gang member and that all references to him as such would be removed. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said in a statement,
An officer's integrity must be absolute. There is no place in the Department for any individual who would purposely falsify information on a Department report.
LAPD doubled the size of its elite Metro Division in 2015 to deal with a surge in violent crimes. By 2018, the number of stops the Metro Division officers were making was 14 times greater than before the expansion. Most of the stops were focused in South Los Angeles, which is one-third African American. In fact, according to a Los Angeles Times study, black people and Latinos were far more likely to be stopped and searched than white people, even though officers were more likely to find illegal items on white people.
In response, LAPD announced it would cut back on randomly stopping vehicles and would instead focus on tracking down suspects in violent offenses. Chief Moore said the Metro's practice of random stops was not effective and was causing innocent people to feel they were being racially profiled.
Sigal Law Group
Being falsely identified as a gang member or being falsely accused of a crime has a serious impact on a person's life. Once again, this story goes to show that those in law enforcement make mistakes, and those mistakes could cost you. If you have been falsely identified or accused of a crime, you need experienced legal representation. Call the Sigal Law Group at 818-325-0570 or fill out our contact form today.