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LA police chief recommends firing officer on elite team

Los Angeles Police Department
Posted at 3:35 PM, Jan 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-24 18:35:39-05

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles police chief recommends firing an officer in an elite crime suppression team over allegations that members of the squad falsified records and listed innocent people as gang members, authorities said Friday.

Police Chief Michel Moore said in a statement that the Metropolitan Division officer, whose name has not been released, will face an internal administrative tribunal “for the purpose of removal.”

The LAPD has also presented the case to the district attorney's office for possible criminal charges, the statement said. Two other officers who were allegedly involved remain suspended.

At least 20 members of the unit are being investigated after authorities found additional inaccuracies on field interview cards that police fill out after stopping and questioning people. NBCLA first reported the investigation.

The months-long probe began in early 2019, when a mother in the San Fernando Valley was notified that her son had been identified as a gang member, the department has said. Supervisors found inaccuracies in documents regarding her son.

Moore promised several reforms in light of the accusations Friday, including extra reviews and approvals of gang-related field interview cards as well as retraining for Metropolitan Division and gang enforcement officers. The department also plans to review the appeals process for people who believe they were misidentified as gang members.

The Metropolitan Division fields special suppression units in high-crime areas. Among other things, officers stop some drivers to search for guns and drugs. A Los Angeles Times analysis published last January concluded that from 2015 to 2018, 65% of drivers stopped by Metropolitan Division officers were African American. The Times said African American drivers were stopped at a rate more than five times their share of the city’s population.