In a move that could complicate Los Angeles’ high-profile crackdown on street gangs, leaders of the city’s police union want gang enforcement officers to refuse to provide personal financial information as mandated by a federal decree, the Los Angeles Times says. Union officials, who are considering a lawsuit to block the disclosure requirement, say the Los Angeles Police Department could experience an exodus of officers from gang units as the city is attempting to beef up gang enforcement. Dozens of officers reportedly are threatening to seek transfers if the city presses its demand.
The financial disclosure requirement was issued in response to the Rampart Division corruption scandal, in which gang officers were caught stealing drugs and framing suspects. The U.S. Department of Justice obtained a consent decree with the city requiring that future gang officers disclose their finances so that supervisors might more easily tell if they were illegally profiting from their police work. A union official argued that disclosure “will offer very little protection against corruption, but will instead make officers and their families vulnerable to financial crimes such as identity theft and will subject their private lives to public scrutiny.”