Black people have enough problems without police unnecessarily complicating our lives, and it makes it extra disturbing that more than a dozen police officers in Los Angeles just got caught doing exactly that.
The Los Angeles Times reports that officers within LA’s elite Metro Division are under investigation for falsifying information that was collected during traffic stops in order to falsely portray citizens as gang members or associates:
The officers, assigned to special patrols in South Los Angeles, are suspected of falsifying field interview cards during stops and inputting incorrect information about those questioned in an effort to boost stop statistics.
The investigation has uncovered at least one instance in which bodycam footage and car recordings don’t exactly match what the boys in blue were reporting. And as a result, some of the officers accused of falsifying records have been removed from active duty.
“An officer’s integrity must be absolute,” Police Chief Michel Moore said in a statement. “There is no place in the Department for any individual who would purposely falsify information on a Department report.”
So what brought this scandal to light?
Early last year, the LAPD informed a San Fernando Valley resident that her son had been identified as a gang member. Believing the accusation to be untrue, she reported the misunderstanding to the supervisor at her local police station. That supervisor then reviewed bodycam footage and other gathered information and concluded that yep, something in the water ain’t clean.
The son was then removed from any documentation identifying him as a gang member. Then afterward, the LAPD launched an investigation into the actions of the officers involved.
“Over the course of several months, Internal Affairs investigators have continued their investigation resulting in identifying additional inaccuracies in the documentation on-field interview cards completed by those officers as well as others,” the LAPD said in a statement. “Given the serious nature of the alleged misconduct, all involved officers have been assigned to inactive duty or removed from the field.”
This revelation doesn’t come as a surprise considering the LAPD stops black drivers at a rate of more than five times their share of the city’s population, but it should serve as both a reminder and a warning of the perilous times we live in, and why police reform should remain at the forefront of community activism efforts.