LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Three Los Angeles Police Department officers pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that they falsified field interview cards to claim the people they stopped were gang members.
Rene Braga, 40, Raul Uribe, 35, and Julio Garcia, 36, were charged last October, less than three months after three other officers from the LAPD’s Metropolitan Division — Braxton Shaw, 38, Michael Coblentz, 43, and Nicolas Martinez, 37 — were charged with similar crimes.READ MORE: Lakers To Welcome Back Fans At Staples Center Thursday
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Braga, Uribe and Garcia are accused of writing on a field information card that a person admitted to being a gang member, even though body camera video showed the officers either never asked individuals about gang membership or the people denied gang affiliation when asked.
According to prosecutors, some of the false information on the cards was used to wrongfully enter the names of people into a state gang database.
Braga has been charged with one count each of filing a false police report and preparing false documentary evidence. He could face a maximum of three years and eight months in county jail if convicted as charged.
Both Uribe and Garcia have been charged with one count each of preparing false documentary evidence. If convicted as charged, they could each face up to three years in jail.
Braga, Uribe and Garcia are free on their own recognizance. They are due back in court April 20 for a preliminary hearing.
Meanwhile, Shaw, Coblentz and Martinez are also free on their own recognizance while awaiting arraignment scheduled for May 20.
Shaw could face up to 31 years and eight months in county jail if convicted of 43 counts of preparing false documentary evidence involving the field interview cards, eight counts of filing a false report and one count of conspiracy, the D.A.’s office said.READ MORE: Missing Angeles National Forest Hiker Found Safe With Help Of Map Enthusiast
Coblentz could face up to seven years and eight months in jail if convicted of seven counts of preparing false documentary evidence, five counts of filing a false report and one count of conspiracy, the D.A.’s office said.
Martinez could face up to four years and four months in jail if convicted of two counts each of preparing false documentary evidence and filing a false police report and one count of conspiracy, the D.A.’s office said.
All of the charges stemmed from a “misconduct investigation” by LAPD’s Internal Affairs Division that was monitored by the Office of the Inspector General, according to the department.
At the time, LAPD said there were 21 other officers under investigation — 10 of them were assigned to “home pending the outcome of the investigation,” eight were assigned to administrative duties, five remained in the field and one retired, according to the department.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced in February 2020 that his office would audit LAPD’s records and policies on the use of the CalGang database after it was announced that a teenager with no gang affiliation had been entered into the system.
According to the D.A.’s office, the alleged misconduct could disrupt criminal cases against as many as 750 defendants.MORE NEWS: Authorities Looking For Offender Who Left Los Angeles Rehabilitation Facility
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)