At least three Los Angeles Police officers have been suspended for falsely identifying individuals as gang members, the department said Monday in a news release.
The officers were removed from the field after an internal affairs investigation found inaccuracies in documentation they completed, the release said. The inaccurate documentation was intended to boost traffic stop statistics, LAPD officer Mike Lopez told CNN.
All three officers had been assigned to the elite Metropolitan Division. An investigation into the division is ongoing to ensure there are no more discrepancies, the department said.
“Public trust is the foundation of community policing and the LAPD has zero tolerance for any employee that would violate that trust,” the LAPD said in a news release Monday. “The department is working with the Justice System Integrity Division of the L.A. County District Attorney’s office on any potential criminal charges that may arise from any misconduct.”
The issue was first discovered when a mother reported to the department that a letter from the department mistakenly identified her son as a gang member, the release said. The department found several falsifications in the document and initiated an investigation into the officers.
Over several months, internal investigators reviewed body camera footage and found inaccuracies in the field interview cards completed by several officers, the release said.
A Los Angeles Police Department source familiar with the matter told CNN the information written on some of the cards was “blatantly inaccurate” and expressed anger and frustration over the details of the case.
“Lying intentionally is a death knell to someone’s career but more importantly it negatively impacts the reputation of our department,” the source said, while also pointing to the injustice to those who were falsely labeled.