Councilman Wants To Recover Costs In Alleged Hoax

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The City Council voted unanimously Friday to sue a Los Angeles School Police Department officer accused of fabricating a story about being shot by a burglary suspect in Woodland Hills.

Councilman Dennis Zine, who proposed the lawsuit, said Officer Jeffrey Stenroos “not only wasted precious city resources and inconvenienced tens of thousands of people, but he also abused the trust the public places in their police force and shamed the professional standards upheld by law enforcement agencies.”

Zine, a former police officer, said he wants to recover money spent by the city in searching for a nonexistent suspect.

“In my entire 43-year career in law enforcement, I have never witnessed such a reckless stunt and I am appalled by the actions of this uniformed officer,” he said, adding, “To fabricate this event is unconscionable and I will be using every tool I have available to me to make sure the city is paid its due restitution.”

Stenroos, 30, was arrested at 6:30 p.m. Thursday by the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division on suspicion of felony filing a false police report, according to inmate records. He was booked at 10:04 p.m. and released on $20,000 bail at 11:49 p.m.

The officer’s report of being shot in the chest Jan. 19 near El Camino Real High School sparked a massive manhunt and the lockdown of nine schools in the area that affected thousands of students, their parents and residents.

At Zine’s urging last week, the City Council, three police organizations, and the founder of the 99 Cents Only store put up a $100,000 reward for information on the gunman that Stenroos had described.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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