LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The key witness against a man accused of murder says he falsely implicated the suspect under pressure from officers in the city’s scandal-plagued Rampart division, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The witness, Evelio ``Rudy″ Carrillo, said he originally told an anti-gang officer and a homicide detective investigating a fatal drive-by shooting of Wilber Escobar that he knew nothing about the incident.
But they continued to press him about it, he said, showing him an array of photos, including one of Jose Luis Oliverria, which was circled.
The officers ``were trying to give me a hint ... saying that was him, you know, to pick him out,″ Carrillo, 21, said in today’s editions of the Times.
His allegations are the latest to surface in the city’s ongoing corruption scandal in which officers, mostly at the Rampart station, are accused of robbing, shooting and framing innocent people.
More than two dozen officers have resigned, been fired or relieved of duty since the scandal broke last year, and more than 50 convictions have been overturned.
According to Carrillo, the officers implied that he would be prosecuted for other crimes if he didn’t cooperate.
``I told them everything they wanted me to tell them,″ he said.
Oliverria, who is awaiting trial, maintains he was in Mexico when 19-year-old Escobar was killed on Dec. 4, 1998. Oliverria was arrested last year, shortly after he was caught trying to re-enter the United States illegally.