Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story 3/7/03

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This feature has already mentioned the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart scandal (, but Rampart is a police corruption story that keeps on giving. The long-running scandal involved out-of-control cops in LAPD's Rampart division near downtown Los Angeles who stole and resold drug evidence from police lockers, beat suspects, stole drugs from dealers, and even shot and paralyzed one unarmed man, planted a gun, and provided sworn testimony sending their victim to prison for 23 years. The scandal has already cost the city of Los Angeles more than $40 million in civil rights claims and more than 100 cases that had to be dropped or overturned. Seventy officers have been investigated and nine have been convicted and sent to prison.

Last November, District Attorney Steve Cooley announced he would not prosecute an additional 82 cases, citing a lack of evidence. But now new LAPD Chief William Bratton has called for an independent investigation into the extent of the abuses, one that looks up the chain of command. Bratton rejected an internal LAPD investigation of Rampart as so flawed he would not use it, and also demanded a thorough investigation of allegations by Rampart villain former LAPD police officer Nino Durden that corruption and official misbehavior were widespread at the division. Durden made those allegations during 2001 interviews with state and federal investigators while he was in prison, but they remained hidden until the Los Angeles Times obtained a copy last week.

"I've been to too many community meetings where Rampart keeps coming up again and again and again," Bratton told the Times, as he called for an external investigation of the scandal. A new investigating body will be appointed within two weeks, he added.

It's about time, said Ramona Ripston, director of the Southern California American Civil Liberties Union. "This issue is too important to be swept under the rug. At stake is nothing more than the department's credibility and prospects for regaining the community's trust," she told the Times.

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Issue #277, 3/7/03 50 Years for Stealing Videotapes? No Problem, Say Justices -- Supreme Court Upholds California Three-Strikes Law | Medical Marijuana Update: Bill Killed in New Mexico, New Ones Introduced in New York and Rhode Island | Australia: NSW Green Party Drug Platform in Tabloid Exposé Furor as Election Looms | "Seeds of Peace" Released in Brussels as Prelude to Vienna UN Conference | Medical Marijuana Supporters Demonstrate at Fundraiser for Presidential Candidate Howard Dean | Alert: HEA Reform Legislation Re-filed, Needs Your Support | Newsbrief: Swiss Lawmakers Give Okay to Continued Prescription Heroin | Newsbrief: Sweden's Drug Head Calls for Needle Exchange Programs Across Country | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Oxycontin Not So Deadly, Researchers Find | Newsbrief: California Highway Patrol Settles Racial Profiling Lawsuit | Kansas Legislators Consider "Treatment Not Jail" Bill | Newsbrief: In Surprise Move, Judge Changes Mind, Declines to Jail Oakland Cannabis Co-op Head | Newsbrief: Two Suicides Enough for One Pot Bust, Says Wisconsin Judge, Orders Probation for Son of Dead Couple | Media Scan: New York Times, The Economist, The Independent, Washington Times, Change the Climate Ads, HRC Newsletter | Drug War Vigil Film Festival Seeking Submissions | The Reformer's Calendar
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