Pubdate: Tue, 29 Aug 2000
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2000 News World Communications, Inc.
Author: Associated Press
Note: This wire service story also appeared in the Waco Tribune-Herald (TX)  Additional articles on the LAPD Rampart corruption scandal are 
available at


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The city's police department can be sued under federal 
racketeering laws by people who claim corrupt officers from the Rampart 
station violated their civil rights, a judge has ruled.

The ruling, reported in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times, could make the Los 
Angeles Police Department the first in the nation to be sued as a 
racketeering enterprise.

The move also could increase the city's estimated liability of $100 million 
for police corruption cases, since the federal Racketeer Influenced and 
Corrupt Organizations Act allows damages to be tripled.

The LAPD had no immediate comment on Monday's ruling because it had not 
been briefed on it, police spokesman David Kalish said.

U.S. District Judge William Rea's ruling stems from a lawsuit filed on 
behalf of Louie Guerrero, who claims officers from the Rampart station 
choked, kicked and punched him and then arrested him on trumped up charges 
in 1997.

Guerrero sued the city for alleged civil rights and racketeering 
violations. The suit was filed on behalf of Guerrero and any others in 
similar situations.

City attorneys argued the case should be tossed out because the one-year 
statute of limitations had passed. The judge's ruling, however, places the 
lawsuit under the RICO law, which has a statute of limitations of 10 years.

More than 100 convictions have been overturned since the LAPD corruption 
scandal was uncovered last year after allegations officers in an anti-gang 
unit at the Rampart station beat, shot and framed innocent people.
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