Officers would falsify reports of innocent people. Your body cameras will be decisive in these cases.

The Los Angeles Police Department investigates at least 20 officers that allegedly they made innocent people pass by gang members, after a mother filed a complaint because her son had been incorrectly identified by the police as a gang member.

Internal police investigators suspect officers falsified reports of people who stopped during routine checks, in an effort to improve its detention statistics, the newspaper reported Thursday Los Angeles Times.

Such was the case of the mother who submitted a written complaint to the Police Department for her son, the investigators could verify when they reviewed the video of the officer's body camera that interviewed the man.

Since then, Los Angeles police have reviewed more videos of their officers' body cameras and, consequently, have discovered at least 20 cases of officers who are now accused of falsifying their reports.

The angelian police is the third largest force in the country. And it has 7,000 body cameras, and millions of recordings, to monitor the activity of its agents.

Authorities believe the cameras have revolutionized the way police officers are supervised.

“The cameras definitely allow (get) more evidence of what happened. It may not be the panacea, but it is certainly better than what we had before, ”the executive director of the Police Evaluation Center told the newspaper. “It gives you much more information than the words an officer writes on a piece of paper”.

In Los Angeles, the police have a protocol to detain people, in which they are interviewed and the information is recorded on a card. When the internal investigators reviewed the videos of the body cameras, they found inconsistencies in the cards.

The information on those cards is then poured into a controversial electronic database called CalGang.

Although the police argue that it is a useful tool for criminal investigation and that it cannot be used by employers or immigration authorities, critics say it is very difficult to unsubscribe, that the criteria for entering someone there are very lax and that it is a way of doing racial profiles

The case acquires special relevance For immigrants. According to 2017 data from the California Public Policy Institute, almost 11 million immigrants They live in California, of which 2.4 million are undocumented. In Los Angeles alone, those born outside the United States represent 34% of the population.

The Immigration and Customs Control Service (ICE) reviews the police parties to detect faults, and being designated as a gang member may suffice to lose legal status and be deported without even needing a conviction.

And although these federal agents do not have direct access to the database, they often collaborate with local and state police in operations "to identify and dismantle violent local gangs formed by foreign citizens."

In addition, the incorrect information presented by the cards is a challenge for the criminal justice system. Because frequently prosecutors depend on the authenticity and legality of this data to present a case in court against an alleged criminal.

Therefore, all report cards of the officers under investigation have been removed from the system. And so far there is no knowledge that there are ongoing criminal investigations that have been affected, according to sources consulted by Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles Police did not reveal the identity or number of people affected by these cases of falsification of data, but said they will have "zero tolerance" with the officers who commit these faults. Police chief Michel Moore said his department is considering filing criminal charges against the responsible agents.

By Luis Antonio Hernández Ojesto


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