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  • Another Black Mark For LAPD

    Just as they recover from the Hollenbeck scandal, this pops up. My condolences to the many fine officers of the LAPD. They don't deserve this kind of nonsense.

    LAPD officers charged with perjury

    Three officers are accused of lying under oath in a drug-possession case after defense attorneys show a video that contradicts their testimony. Formal perjury charges against officers are rare.

    By Jack Leonard and Joel Rubin

    October 7, 2009

    Three Los Angeles police officers were charged with perjury and conspiracy Tuesday for allegedly lying under oath in a drug-possession case that was dismissed last year when a videotape sharply contradicted their testimony.

    The felony charges mark the most serious allegations of police perjury in Los Angeles since the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart scandal about a decade ago.

    Prosecutors allege in court documents that two officers falsely testified during the trial that they saw a suspect throw an object that split open to reveal crack and powder cocaine. They said they immediately recovered the drugs. A third officer is accused of falsely claiming in an earlier court hearing that he did not help his two colleagues search for the drugs.

    The drug trial ended dramatically when a defense attorney produced grainy surveillance video of the area shortly after the arrest took place. The quality of the tape, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, is poor but shows a group of officers searching for more than 20 minutes before one announces that drugs have been found.

    It is difficult to hear what is being said, but at one point an officer seems to make a reference to the arrest report that needed to be filled out.

    "Be creative in your writing," the officer appears to tell another after the drugs are found.

    "Oh yeah, don't worry, sin duda [no doubt]," is the reply.

    After viewing the video, a judge took the unusual step of declaring the defendant to be "factually innocent."

    "This is very, very disturbing," said John Mack, president of the L.A. Police Commission, the civilian panel that oversees the department. "We expect LAPD officers to possess the highest integrity and certainly we expect them to be truthful. This is frankly a black mark."

    Chief William J. Bratton called the allegations "as serious a charge as you can levy against officers," but said he was confident that it was an isolated incident.

    He and Mack said sweeping reforms in the wake of the department's Rampart scandal, in which dozens of officers were accused of serious misconduct, including perjury and evidence-tampering, had made it much more difficult for officers to engage in such behavior.

    "This is not something that we sweep under the rug," Bratton said. "When we find it, we deal with it."

    Attorneys for the accused officers said their clients would fight the charges and noted that portions of the video appear to have been edited. The footage, which comes from an apartment complex managed by the suspect's mother, also begins after his arrest.

    "Once again, Los Angeles is going to be subjected to the sad spectacle of officers unfairly charged because the video camera goes on either too early, too late or is edited," said attorney Ira Salzman, who represents one of the officers. "We don't know how it was edited. And if the video was turned on earlier, it would have presented a completely different view of the case."

    The drug charges rested almost entirely on the word of the police officers.

    Officers Richard Amio and Evan Samuel testified that they were on patrol in East Hollywood on July 6, 2007, when they recognized Guillermo Alarcon, a suspected gang member, standing on the sidewalk outside his apartment.

    As they shined their car's spotlight at him, they said, Alarcon fled down a walkway. The officers chased him into the apartment building's carport. There, they testified, they saw Alarcon throw a black box -- which turned out to be a key holder -- toward a trash bin.

    "As it hit the Dumpster, I observed that once it landed on the floor it cracked open," Amio told jurors.

    During his testimony, Amio was asked whether it took about 20 minutes to find the drugs. "No," he replied, with a laugh. Samuel gave a similar account.

    The officers said Samuel picked up the box. Inside, they said, he found 12 bindles of powder cocaine and two rocks of crack cocaine, a total street value of about $260.

    Under cross-examination, Samuel and Amio denied that the key holder had been found by Officer Manuel Ortiz and that it had to be pried open. The questioning climaxed when Alarcon's attorney asked Amio: "Are you aware of a video and audio recording that completely contradicts what you have testified to today?"

    "No, sir," Amio replied.

    The video starts shortly after Alarcon was detained in the carport. Officers had seen Alarcon close the door to a nearby laundry room. The video shows the officers spending roughly 15 minutes looking for someone to unlock the door to the room.

    The video does not show who found the drugs. But more than five minutes after the door is opened, it shows a group of officers huddled together talking about trying to open a container. An officer appears to say, "Manny found that."

    After viewing the tape, prosecutors said they believed about 13 seconds of audio had been edited out. Nevertheless, they asked a judge to dismiss the charges against Alarcon.

    Allegations of police officers testifying falsely are hardly unusual in criminal cases, but perjury charges against officers are rare. Prosecutors and others note that defense attorneys and defendants have a vested interest in portraying police as untruthful.

    To file a criminal case, prosecutors must believe that someone intentionally lied rather than simply made a mistake and that any lie could have affected the outcome of a case.

    "Perjury charges are rare against anyone, and rare against police officers," said Sergio Gonzalez, the L.A. County deputy district attorney who oversees the unit that prosecutes police officers.

    Gonzalez could recall only one case in recent years in which an on-duty police officer was charged with lying in court. Alarcon's defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Victor Acevedo, said he was gratified that charges were filed.

    "When you have a police officer who comes to court and lies under oath . . . how much confidence can you have that this is somebody who should be wearing a badge and carrying a gun?" Acevedo said.

    All three officers were charged with conspiracy. Ortiz, a nine-year veteran, also faces one count of perjury. Amio, who joined the department in 2002, is charged with two counts of perjury. Both are on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation.

    Samuel, who joined the LAPD in 2002 and left for the Chino Police Department in 2008, faces four counts of perjury. He was fired while on probation in Chino two weeks after The Times reported on Alarcon's case.

    The FBI also launched an investigation into the allegations last year.

    [email protected]

    [email protected]

    Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times

    Related storiesFrom other L.A. sources
    Two current LAPD officers and a former officer charged with conspiracy and perjury|dailynews.com
    3 LAPD Officers Charged With Lying In Drug Case|cbs2.com
    3 LAPD Officers Accused of Conspiracy, Perjury|ktla.com
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]


  • #2
    The LA Times is no doubt thrilled to death at these allegations. Needless to say, I hope and pray they're not true. If they are true, then it's LAPD's job to take the appropriate adminstrative/disciplinary action. There will be the usual calls for a re-do of Federal oversight, or another "Christopher Commission". Hopefully that B.S. will not materialize. LAPD ( nor any other agency) doesn't need some Dudley Do Right nincompoop writing policy.

    Comment


    • #3
      Sure never see senators or lawyers doing that. It doesn't matter where you work everyone covers everyone else, PD just gets filmed doing theirs..

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
        The LA Times is no doubt thrilled to death at these allegations. Needless to say, I hope and pray they're not true. If they are true, then it's LAPD's job to take the appropriate adminstrative/disciplinary action. There will be the usual calls for a re-do of Federal oversight, or another "Christopher Commission". Hopefully that B.S. will not materialize. LAPD ( nor any other agency) doesn't need some Dudley Do Right nincompoop writing policy.
        This has gone beyond disciplinary action: The D.A.'s office has filed felony criminal charges against the officers. They do not do that lightly. The proof is probably quite solid.
        Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
        Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by StainlessSteve View Post
          Sure never see senators or lawyers doing that. It doesn't matter where you work everyone covers everyone else, PD just gets filmed doing theirs..
          It is one thing to lie, and another to lie under oath in order to send someone to prison. Police officers should not have the ethics of the gutter.
          Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
          Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DAL View Post
            This has gone beyond disciplinary action: The D.A.'s office has filed felony criminal charges against the officers. They do not do that lightly. The proof is probably quite solid.
            Point well taken DAL. but I'll go with the "Presumption of Innocence" for now.
            If these guys are dirty, put em under the jail. My point is, and perhaps I didn't make that clear, is the Dept polices itself. Just don't want to see a repeat of the Rampart deal.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DAL View Post
              It is one thing to lie, and another to lie under oath in order to send someone to prison. Police officers should not have the ethics of the gutter.
              I totally agree DAL and by no means am I defending a liar, I hate anyone that falsely misrepresents the facts, especally if it would mean for someone to go to prision wrongly. I do doubt however that this man just happened to be in the area of a drug sting and these cops just picked "one" so to speak and made an arrest. This is something I learned very late in life, everyone lies, if anyone says they don't.....ever, they-are-a-liar

              Comment


              • #8
                I hope everything works out for these coppers. These guys are just doing their job and chasing a bad guy. Bottom line is, he was slinging dope and now he's the victim.

                Comment


                • #9
                  http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe...eum/index.html
                  Last edited by Nobody; 10-15-2009, 01:00 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That's rough. I have no doubt it was the guy's dope too. The LA times is making this out like they planted the dope. Personally to me 20 minutes is a short amount of time.

                    Thank god I don't work up there.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nobodyjr View Post
                      That's rough. I have no doubt it was the guy's dope too. The LA times is making this out like they planted the dope. Personally to me 20 minutes is a short amount of time.

                      Thank god I don't work up there.
                      I would not rely on the LA Times version of the events. However, I know and respect the D.A. (a former LAPD reserve) and some of his head investigators, who were police officers and deputies before they retired and went to the D.A.'s office.
                      Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
                      Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Point of information: although the Times may be biased in its agenda, the criminal case against the doper was totally dismissed and not refiled based on the testimony of the three officers under investigation. Their inconsistencies were obvious in the trial and the Times is using the transcripts of that trial to formulate its story.

                        Candidly, it does not look good for the officers. I don't backdoor any officers and I hope all turns out right for them, but the evidence must be pretty overwhelming for the DA to file charges.
                        Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

                        [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by StainlessSteve View Post
                          I totally agree DAL and by no means am I defending a liar, I hate anyone that falsely misrepresents the facts, especally if it would mean for someone to go to prision wrongly. I do doubt however that this man just happened to be in the area of a drug sting and these cops just picked "one" so to speak and made an arrest. This is something I learned very late in life, everyone lies, if anyone says they don't.....ever, they-are-a-liar
                          Well he happened to be in the area because he lives there.. the video that was taken is from the apartment complex security camera.. surprisingly his mom is the manager at the complex...
                          There are only two things certain in life. . . Death and taxes

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Just tell it like it happened, but I don't think this is the scandal of the decade.
                            The liberal politician has the only job where they go to the office to work for everyone but those who pay their salary.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DAL View Post
                              It is one thing to lie, and another to lie under oath in order to send someone to prison. Police officers should not have the ethics of the gutter.
                              Ummm, I went to de-tox for a week to respond to this thread as a "civy".


                              Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
                              Point well taken DAL. but I'll go with the "Presumption of Innocence" for now.
                              If these guys are dirty, put em under the jail. My point is, and perhaps I didn't make that clear, is the Dept polices itself. Just don't want to see a repeat of the Rampart deal.
                              Officers,

                              I worked with'in the "machine" of the F.B.O.P.

                              Had a Officer from L.A. whack a real evil, killer scum bag, Many, years ago....The felony charge among others was conspiracy. The Officer was my "client' his "skinny" file was mine.


                              I read it, researched the facts, applicable laws, banged my head, and thought hard.....

                              You all, as sworn officers know the "rules"...
                              The big four......

                              I Sirs, would have given that seasoned hard core police officer a pass if I could have...

                              Thats the reason, I suppose, I quit that career and now, am a civilian...

                              Respecfully,

                              Tha' Professor
                              A Sullivan.

                              P.S. He was convicted of all charges...
                              Last edited by asullivan; 10-08-2009, 01:13 AM.
                              Originally posted by mookster
                              Sully, usually I hafta glance over your posts cuz my brain would have issues with the imagery you portray, however with that one I get it. I agree one hundred percent with ya.
                              Originally posted by CityCopDC
                              I swear to god you are not human. I know a rogue VI when I see one.
                              Originally posted by OfficerDotCom
                              I think no one is probably happier than Sully and I that we ARE NOT the same person.(seriously thanking God for that one).
                              -Frank




                              Old Physicists neva' die, they just hop on a horsey and fly away inta' an infinitely massive black ho ...

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