Despite extensive reform in the seven years since Los Angeles’s Rampart Division police corruption scandal, the city is at risk of similar crises unless the police department is significantly expanded and trades its “warrior policing” model for a more community-friendly problem-solving style, warned a city task force report described in the Los Angeles Times. The Blue Ribbon Rampart Review Panel set out to provide an accounting of one of the most serious police corruption scandals in U.S history. Nine officers were criminally charged, 23 were fired or suspended, 156 felony convictions were invalidated by suspected police misconduct, and the city paid $70 million to settle civil rights lawsuits brought by victims.
Even now, the panel found, police supervisors fail to provide adequate oversight and control of officers – a key problem in the Rampart scandal. The panel faulted the criminal justice system for lacking sufficient checks to prevent officers from lying or fabricating evidence. The group was named in 2003 by the Police Commission at the request of Chief William Bratton to examine police response to allegations of widespread abuse by officers from the Rampart Division’s Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums (CRASH) unit, which was formed to crack down on street gangs.