Lupe Andrade has filed nearly 100 complaints against LAPD officers in the last few years. She has crashed undercover operations and taken photographs of officers. She has made T-shirts calling them corrupt, dangled a banner over the 10 Freeway decrying them and picketed the Hollenbeck station – all in the name, she said, of protecting the community from bad cops. Citizen complaints are not available for public review, but Andrade said many of hers are for harassment and rude behavior – not brutality or other more serious offenses.
But police accuse Andrade, a prenatal educator, of colluding with gang members in a campaign to “wrest control of the neighborhood” by scaring officers away from Boyle Heights’ Ramona Gardens housing project, where she used to live. In an unusual move that has drawn concern from civil liberties advocates, police – acting independently of the department – banded together and went to court asking a judge to order Andrade to stay away from them and their station. Meanwhile, she has been charged with more than two dozen misdemeanors over the last few years, from driving without a license to more serious allegations.