LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore has moved to fire an officer who allegedly falsified information collected during traffic stops of motorists, the agency announced Friday.
Following reports that several officers with the Los Angeles Police Department were accused of falsifying field interview cards during stops and wrongly portraying people as gang members, three officers were placed on leave and more than a dozen were under investigation.
Moore concluded that the actions of one of the three officers was a serious violation of department policy.
The department is referring the matter to the District Attorney’s Office to consider possible criminal charges, according to the agency.
The traffic stops being investigated were said to have occurred in the San Fernando Valley in early 2019.
Last year, a San Fernando woman received a letter from LAPD informing her that her son had been identified as a gang member. Believing it was a mistake, she contacted LAPD. When the department reviewed video from an officer’s body-worn camera, they found it did not match what the officer reported and the woman’s son was removed from that list.
“I’ve been hearing stories like this from clients, from people who’ve been added to the gang database for years,” Sean Garcia-Leyes, an attorney with the Urban Peace Institute, said. “Ineffective over-broad gang suppression strategies are ineffective safety strategies. They can actually be counterproductive.”
According to the LAPD Internal Affairs Division investigation, all officers involved were assigned to Metropolitan Division crime suppression duties at the time of the reports. The officers involved were assigned to inactive duty or removed from the field as the investigation continues, according to LAPD.
Police Chief Michel Moore said in a statement Friday:
“I am committed to continuing the pursuit of a thorough examination of all of the circumstances of this failure including what organizational issues or motivations may have influenced this behavior. I have heard clearly the voices of those in our community who believe these actions discovered have existed in our past as well as today. And while to date our investigation has found the vast majority of the time our personnel have acted with integrity, we are determined to understand what motivations existed for anyone to commit serious misconduct in the falsification of information on a Department report.”
The Department was said to be working with the Justice System Integrity Division of the L.A. County District Attorney’s office on any potential criminal charges that might arise from any misconduct.