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Prosecutors: LAPD Hindering Trial

October 6, 2000

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Prosecutors who filed criminal charges against four officers on trial stemming from the largest police corruption scandal in city history are accusing the department of hindering their investigation.

Court papers released Thursday charged that the LAPD ``failed to provide vital information to the district attorney,″ even though the civilian Police Commission ordered Chief Bernard Parks to cooperate fully last March.

``LAPD has failed to provide arrest reports, witness statements and background information,″ the documents state. ``On several occasions, the LAPD has actually hindered the progress of the investigation.″

The officers’ trial began Wednesday.

Although Parks had been critical of the district attorney’s office during the investigation, he has said his department is cooperating fully, adding that police investigators first brought the scandal to light. No one was available to respond to the latest allegations Thursday night, said police spokesman Don Cox.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Schirn said in the documents that he believes detectives are being told to not hand over certain evidence. The documents also claim detectives investigating the scandal have had ″(working) relationships, even friendships with some of the individuals under investigation.″

The documents were filed to support a prosecution request for a subpoena demanding that the LAPD turn over the files of 12 current or former officers. The files are among items prosecutors say the police department has improperly withheld.

Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Connor was scheduled to hear the subpoena request Friday.

Connor is also hearing the criminal case against Sgt. Edward Ortiz, Sgt. Brian Liddy and Officers Paul Harper and Michael Buchanan. Prospective jurors are due back in court Tuesday for questioning by prosecution and defense lawyers.

The corruption scandal, in which members of the Rampart police station’s anti-gang unit are said to have beaten, robbed and framed innocent people, has resulted in more than 100 convictions being overturned.


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