Ninety-six Los Angeles police officers accused of wrongdoing escaped possible prosecution in the last two years because investigators waited until the statute of limitations had passed before submitting the cases to prosecutors, says the Los Angeles Times.
Police disciplinary records and prosecutors’ reports reviewed by The Times show that officers were suspected of roughing up citizens, driving drunk and lying to investigators among 65 cases that were dismissed because the LAPD did not seek charges until the legal deadlines had passed. Many of the officers had a history of misconduct.
Despite the failure of the Internal Affairs Division to meet legal deadlines, the LAPD suspended, demoted or dismissed 30% of the accused officers. The department could not explain why so many cases were submitted so late.
Robert Kalunian of the Los Angeles County public defender’s office said the cases show the LAPD “is protecting their own and their department’s reputation.”
The Times analysis shows about one of every five LAPD cases that prosecutors rejected over the last two years was submitted late. The number of lost cases surprised prosecutors. “It is bad and looks bad,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Doyle, who heads the justice integrity unit. He said his office will start objecting in writing whenever a case comes in late.