Californian Attorney General Xavier Becerra has revoked access to CalGang records created by the Los Angeles Police Department after LAPD chief Michel Moore decided to permanently withdraw from the program after an internal revision of a significant abuse of the gang -Tracking database uncovered by LAPD employee of the AG office said today.
The restriction applies to all nationwide users of the CalGang database. The State Department of Justice has issued a bulletin to all law enforcement agencies asking authorities using the CalGang database to carefully review measures, including a thorough internal audit, to verify the integrity of their entries in the system.
Becerra also encourages government legislation to review the CalGang program and consider further reforms.
The LAPD recently imposed a moratorium on the use of the CalGang system, a nationwide database used by law enforcement agencies to exchange information about potential gang members.
"I've said it before and I'll say it again: CalGang is only as good as the data it stores," said Becerra. “If a quarter of the program data is suspicious, the benefits of the entire system are rightly examined. Legislators commissioned the DOJ to monitor the CalGang database and develop mechanisms to ensure system integrity. For this reason, we officially revoke access to the data records generated by the LAPD. Public safety tools must bring real benefit to the public and withstand the durability test of constant review. It should now be obvious to everyone: CalGang needs to change. "
Criminal charges have been brought against three Los Angeles Police Department officials accused of falsifying records alleging that they have been arrested, gang or gang members, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said on Friday .
37-year-old Braxton Shaw, 42-year-old Michael Coblentz, and 36-year-old Nicolas Martinez were charged late Thursday with conspiracies to obstruct the judiciary and multiple submissions of a false police report and false evidence, the prosecutor said.
The three were released at their own discretion shortly after their arrest by the LAPD's Home Affairs Department. They are scheduled to be charged on October 13 in downtown Los Angeles courthouse.
In a statement posted on Twitter, LAPD chief Michel Moore said: “Public trust is the foundation of the local police, and these allegations shake this basis. The actions of these few tarnish the badge that we all wear. The department is committed to continuing this in-depth investigation to restore the trust of the people we protect and serve. "
The indictment goes back to an "investigation of wrongdoing" carried out by the LAPD Internal Affairs Group and, according to the department, monitored by the Inspector General's Office.
The LAPD found that one of the defendants – which of the three was not specified – was "removed from duty" in January when Moore concluded that the official's actions were "a serious violation of the department's policies."
According to the LAPD, this officer was "referred to an administrative court for deportation", after which the other two officers were assigned to home work.
The LAPD also said that 21 more officers are being investigated for the completion of field interview cards used by officials to interview people while on duty. According to the LAPD, ten of these officers are "at home until the results of the investigation are available", eight are assigned administrative tasks, five remain on site and one has retired since the beginning of the investigation.
Shaw, Coblentz, and Martinez, who were assigned to the LAPD's Metropolitan Division at the time, allegedly forged field interview cards and misidentified dozens of people as gang members. Some of the incorrect information contained in the cards has been used to incorrectly register people in a state gang database, the prosecutor said.
In some cases, the three are alleged to have written on field interview cards that a person they no longer allowed to be a gang member, although videos from body-worn cameras showed that the person was never asked the question, according to the prosecutor . In other cases, the accused allegedly wrote on field interview cards that a respondent admitted to being a gang member even though the person denied it, the prosecutor said.
Shaw, who could be up to 31 years and eight months in district prison if convicted, is charged with 43 cases of false evidence for the field interview cards, eight cases of submission of a false report, and one conspiracy case.
The overt acts included in the conspiracy allegation state that Shaw incorrectly documented some people as gang members with gang tattoos and gang monikers, and that between March 2018 and January 2019 he incorrectly documented a "fictional person" as gang member 15 times Has.
Coblentz allegedly forged seven field interview cards. He is charged with seven cases of false evidence, five cases for submitting a false report and one case of conspiracy and could be up to seven years and eight months behind bars if found guilty. Martinez, who allegedly forged two field interview cards, is charged with two cases in which he provided false evidence and submitted a false report and conspiracy. According to the district, he can expect a prison term of up to four years and four months.
"Measures were quickly taken to take security precautions to ensure that this type of behavior did not recur," said a LAPD statement. “These measures included retraining all Metropolitan employees after an FI card (field interview) had been properly completed and spot checks of the official's body-worn video with an increased frequency of checks. While we used stricter criteria when collecting and reviewing information related to the California Gang database, we recently committed to stop using the database for purposes other than removing people. "
The LAPD investigated the alleged abuse of CalGang after it was announced in January that a non-gang teenager was admitted to the system.
Becerra announced in February that his office would review the department's records and guidelines on the use of the database.
"At the moment, the input from the LAPD (CalGang) is under scrutiny and we are all interested in getting it all right," Becerra said. “We don't have a clear or complete picture of what happened yet, but we know enough to know that we have to act. Falsifying police records and misusing the CalGang database is not acceptable. If Californians are incorrectly included in the database, this may lead to an unjustified check. "
The CalGang system was monitored by individual police departments until the legislature passed bill 90 in 2017, which empowered the attorney general.