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LAPD Chief Takes Conciliatory Tone

May 4, 2000

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The police chief says his department is no longer at odds with the district attorney’s office over the widening corruption scandal that has resulted in scores of overturned convictions.

Chief Bernard Parks had been highly critical of the city’s top prosecutor and the time it took to bring charges against officers suspected in the scandal. But Parks said Wednesday that all agencies involved in the investigation are now working together.

``I think that we’ve seen a great deal of progress,″ Parks told reporters. ``These are very difficult cases. But no one in this case is working at cross-purposes.″

The chief’s tone was a far cry from his incendiary remarks of a few months ago when he blamed Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti for taking too long to begin filing cases. Garcetti had said the department was refusing to cooperate with his investigators.

The corruption probe centers on allegations that officers from the Rampart station falsified reports, beat, framed and in some cases shot innocent people. The first criminal charges to arise from the scandal came last week when arrest warrants were issued for three officers.

More than 60 convictions have been overturned and some 30 officers have been relieved of duty, fired or suspended. A judge was to decide today whether the cases of six more people also were also tainted.

Meanwhile, a man wrongly imprisoned after being shot and framed by officers from the Rampart station is seeking an exemption from a law that could keep him from suing the city.

Javier Francisco Ovando, 22, was released in September after serving three years of a 23-year sentence for assault. He sued the city last October, but state law requires claims against a government entity be filed within six months of the offense.

Ovando’s attorneys said in a court petition filed Tuesday that their client could not comply with the statute because he was in prison and had debilitating injuries.

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