A decorated Los Angeles Police Department lieutenant once assigned to the internal affairs division testified in federal court this week that he was retaliated against by his superiors after he unearthed evidence undermining a decades-old murder conviction, reports the city’s Times. Jim Gavin is suing his department for allegedly waging a campaign of harassment against him and his police officer wife in the wake of his work on the case of convicted killer Bruce Lisker. Lisker was convicted of killing his mother in 1985 and sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.
Gavin was a sergeant in internal affairs five years ago when he received a complaint from Lisker alleging that he was the victim of a sloppy, dishonest investigation by an LAPD detective. Gavin began delving into the allegations and soon discovered evidence supporting Lisker’s claim. For example, he found that bloody shoe prints, presumably left by the killer and attributed to Lisker at trial, did not match Lisker’s shoes. Gavin told jurors that after uncovering the potentially exculpatory evidence, he was ordered to cut short his investigation by his then-boss, Lt. Mike Williams. After articles mentioning his role in the case appeared in the Times, Gavin said he was charged with official misconduct for leaking confidential information, threatened with a criminal charge, transferred out of internal affairs against his will and slighted in his annual performance evaluation.