Pubdate: Sat,  1 Mar 2003
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2003 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Paul Wilborn, Associated Press, 3/1/2003
Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)


New Chief Orders Independent Probe

LOS ANGELES -- The police corruption scandal that cost the city $40 million
in legal settlements flared up this week when the new chief, William
Bratton, ordered an outside investigation. Meanwhile, newly reported
testimony suggested that corrupt officers are still on the beat. 

Bratton, who took office in October, criticized an internal review of the
scandal as unacceptably flawed and called for an independent probe of the
allegations that officers planted guns and drugs, lied under oath, and shot
unarmed suspects.

The Rampart scandal, named for the gang-dominated section of the city where
it originated, led to reversals of convictions or dismissal of charges in
about 100 cases.

The scandal broke in 1999 after a former officer was arrested for stealing
cocaine from an evidence locker and talked about a 1996 case in which
officers shot and paralyzed a man. Seventy officers were investigated and
nine have been prosecuted.

In November, District Attorney Steve Cooley declined to prosecute 82 more
cases, citing in part insufficient evidence. The scandal flared up with
Bratton's call for a more rigorous investigation and recently disclosed
transcripts of an imprisoned ex-officer's interviews with state and federal
prosecutors in 2001.

The district attorney's office said it will look into whether any cases
should be reopened.Federal prosecutors continue to investigate the Rampart
scandal, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the US attorney's office. An
independent panel will be appointed in two weeks, said Joe Gunn, executive
director of the city's civilian Police Commission.
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