179Breaking the Code of Silence
- Aug 25 6:05 PM
J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles - August 25, 2000
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____________________________________________________Announcement: Ron Branson, editor of JNJ, will be away from the Internet until September 1st. He will be in attendance at the JAIL BBQ sponsored by the Washington State JAIL Chapter, where he will be speaking and meeting with dignitaries and other JAIL advocates and supporters. A full report of this JAIL event will be given upon return. J.A.I.L. T-Shirts are now available for your next court appearance or demonstration. Contact baronboy@... for details.JAIL's radio program, HotSeat4Judges (click hotlink above), will continue as usual with John Wolfgram.RETRIBUTION FOR BREAKING THECODE OF SILENCELAPD abused whistle-blowers, lawsuit claims.Daily News, August 25, 2000By Beth Barrett, Staff Writer(Excerpts)LAPD Chief Bernard C. Parks and top commanding officers routinely punished low-ranking officers who reported wrongdoing ... .The 43 plaintiffs claim they blew the whistle on captains suspected of stealing computers, of falsifying overtime records in the Devonshire and West Valley divisions, and of ordering crime-scene response times falsely enhanced, among other infractions.For breaking that "code of silence," the officers and civilian workers said they were targeted by the department as troublemakers...The class, which has yet to be certified, is anticipated to grow to up to 500 officers ... ."Police officers report misconduct and then they are retaliated against for the pettiest things," attorney Bradley C. Gage said during a press conference at his Woodland Hills office. "It comes from the top."....Gage said... it was the chief's disciplinary policies that contributed to the "pattern and practice" of retributions contributing to a climate of fear and silence in which scandals like Rampart flourish.... Gage said, "It's this code of silence that's created out of fear that can lead to corruption within a department."....This litigation culminates several years of complaints by members of the Los Angeles Police Department's rank and file... .....League President Ted Hunt said nonetheless the LAPD's disciplinary system widely is viewed as dysfunctional, with the punishment viewed as often in excess of the infraction."It's not working; it's illogical and irrational," Hunt said, adding that nearly every day, an officer contacts him out of frustration with the department and its rules.....In the Devonshire and West Valley divisions, officers who reported a captain's falsification of overtime all were forced out of the department or are currently in disciplinary proceedings, the lawsuit states.....Other officers objected when they were ordered to punch their police-car computers prematurely so it would appear they were arriving at crime scenes more quickly. The lawsuit said they, too, were forced out of the department after bogus claims were filed against them.....The 10-count complaint includes allegations of discrimination, harassment, retaliation for filing claims of discrimination and conspiracy to retaliate against police officers for reporting criminal and other serious misconduct.The retaliations the plaintiffs claim occurred had the added effect of so frightening other officers that they soon learned to "keep their mouth shut," making them less likely to report corruption, notably in the Rampart Division, where several officers are suspected of framing and physically harming suspects."Once police officers keep quiet, officers, supervisors, and managers are then able to engage in criminal conduct, harming all citizens of the City of Los Angeles," the lawsuit claims.
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