Three LAPD Officers Facing Criminal Charges For Faking Gang Database Records

from the [thinking-face-emoji]-who-are-the-REAL-gangsters-here dept

Law enforcement “gang databases” are a joke. And definitely not a funny one. Officers can convert innocent citizens into gang members just because they live in the same neighborhood or attend the same schools as gang members. Wearing the “wrong” clothes can get people “nominated” for extra law enforcement harassment. So can simply talking to gang members, like volunteers of outreach programs often do.

This has filled gang databases with a bunch of junk data. But it’s junk data that can disrupt lives, if not destroy them completely. Los Angeles cops trying to look busy (this is the best spin I can put on this) have been tossing people into CalGang with zero justification whatsoever. More than a twenty officers are under investigation for falsifying records related to the state’s gang database.

The investigations continue but it appears at least a few LAPD officers might be heading to jail.

Three Los Angeles police officers were charged Friday with falsifying records and obstructing justice by claiming without evidence that people they stopped were gang members or associates, Los Angeles prosecutors announced Friday.


The 59-count complaint charged officers Braxton Shaw, Michael Coblentz and Nicolas Martinez with conspiracy to obstruct justice and multiple counts of filing a false police report and preparing false documentary evidence.

Three down. At least twenty to go. One of the three charged did most of the falsifying. Officer Shaw falsified 43 field interview cards, with the others only contributing a total of nine fakes.

Turns out these officers were ratted out by their own equipment.

They allege the officers wrote on cards that people admitted to being gang members, when footage from the officers’ body cameras showed no such admissions or showed the people had explicitly denied gang affiliation.

The falsification went beyond lying about interactions with Los Angeles residents. Officers also conjured up at least a dozen fictional gang members to add to the database.

Some of this can be chalked up to quotas-that-aren’t-quotas. Quotas have pretty much been banned everywhere, but law enforcement agencies still rely on metrics that generate the same pressure the now-forbidden quotas did. The LAPD uses field interviews with gang members as a productivity measurement, which encourages officers to engage in fraudulent behavior to secure pay raises and promotions. This doesn’t appear to have infected the entire department. Just the one that dealt with gang members the most: the Metro Division. A division with 4% of the force turned in 20% of the department’s field interview cards.

The criminal complaint and the multiple ongoing investigations have — for the moment — killed CalGang.

Last month, amid widespread protests over police abuses, [LAPD Chief Michael] Moore and Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the LAPD would stop submitting new entries into the CalGang database. Moore this week told the Police Commission that a months-long review found glaring inconsistencies and inaccuracies in how the LAPD used the database, and recommended it permanently halt its participation.

Hopefully, this recommendation sticks. And, just as hopefully, the LAPD won’t look to fill this gangland void in the future by creating something else just as damaging and easily-abused once the heat has died down. But if it does create CalGang 2.0, it could fill the database pretty quickly simply by taking a look at the sheriff’s deputies next door.

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Comments on “Three LAPD Officers Facing Criminal Charges For Faking Gang Database Records”

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Kitsune106 says:

Odd question

But could one sue the police officers equipment for hurting people? After all we have civil asset forfeiture here. Also, would that get.around qualified.immunity? As it’s not the officer accused but the property. And since immune, means cannot claim the innonce user defense as.we cannot even question if quilty or not.

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Um...

As the story shows, it’s not so much the list itself as much as how the list is made, and the ability to get innocent people off the list if mistakenly added. In all your examples (and in the story here), the worst sorts of people are making the list (not on it), and there’s virtually no recourse in getting removed if you somehow get on the list.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Upstream (profile) says:

Cop quotas

Cop quotas have always been an excellent example of both bad outcomes of Goodhart’s Law. When a measure becomes a goal, not only does it cease to be an effective measure, but it corrupts the system and produces distorted results. And in the case of police quotas, these distorted results are always bad. In addition to innocent people being unnecessarily harassed, ticketed, charged, convicted, or whatever, the corrupted statistical and historical data becomes useless. Rebranding quotas as ‘metrics’ or ‘activity indicators’ is just putting lipstick on the pig.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Twenty to go?

Three down. At least twenty to go.

Are you counting "corrupt cops in the LA basin who have falsely entered non gang-members into a gang database ON TUESDAYS THAT HAD A FULL MOON"?

There are plenty more than "twenty to go." The LAPD has 9000 officers. The Sheriff has almost 18000.

Stats suggest that in those 27,000 people there are a shit-ton more than 20 to go. Maybe 20,000, maybe 2,000 but either way ORDERS of magnitude more.

There are two types of cops: bad cops, and the ones who let them keep doing it. Reform the process, and defund* where reform fails.


  • By "defund" I don’t mean "move some funds to social programs" — although that helps — I mean take out police department units that won’t reform, disband police unions that fight reform, and ALSO fund social programs to handle e.g. disabled, autistic, deaf, and meth-using people, among others.
OGquaker says:

We are pork-bellys to be wagered

Breonna Taylor was supposed to be "home alone" and a "soft target" according to an audio recording of the police Sargent that was present at the killing. Her family has claimed that a huge "redevelopment" pushed by the Mayor of Louisville was the dynamic behind eliminating residents in that neighborhood. ? "Gangs" accomplish a lot for Investors, the only respected sub-specie of humans on this planet. For the last 40 years, pick any news and the issue is whether investors are happy, or investors are going elsewhere. We are pork-belleys to be wagered. In the 32 years i have lived in South Central, real-estate has run as low as 30% of average home prices in this County, with 30% vacancy (with an endless homeless rant ) in this Zip Code®. With "Gang Injunctions" and the STUPID private, non-profit D.A.R.E. program giving our local fashion police guns and handcuffs and shit-lists ("Gang" was a check-off box on LA traffic tickets for decades) that last a lifetime, no matter how soon the LAPD put a bullet through you’NHI (No Human Involved) My neighbors hundred-year-old single-family home (No Mortgage, paid off 30 years ago) auctioned for $144k a decade ago, and sold as a redevelopment vacant lot for $720k last January.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: We are pork-bellys to be wagered

""Gangs" accomplish a lot for Investors, the only respected sub-specie of humans on this planet."

It’s shit like that which turns select parts of US policing into shit-shows more deserving of some columbian or mexico city barrio than actual law enforcement in a G20 member nation.

I’m thinking the only reason some police departments still give a damn about anti-gang activity is because they aren’t happy with the competition.

ROGS, for lack of a better world says:

Re: Re: We are pork-bellys to be wagered

Yeah, really? Can you offer any fixes to this endemic corruption, or do you just come here to hear your own voice?

re: the only reason some police departments still give a damn about anti-gang activity is because they aren’t happy with the competition.

Its true to the core. But witjout foreign agents /resources, this cannot change.

What can you bring to the table? More mouth?

ROGS, for lack of a better world says:

It reminds me of the premeditated execution of 18 years old Andres Guardado, in Los Angeles, where cops and security “guardados ” routinely gang stalk and murder non-police(non -complicit ) affilliated security personel.

RIP ANDRES GUARDADO, murdered by,(ADL Sponsored ) LASD gang members, aka “gangs in policing ”.

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