Three LAPD Officers Convicted
J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles - November 15, 2000
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LAPD Officers Convicted in Scandal
by LINDA DEUTSCHLOS ANGELES (AP 11/15/00) -- Three officers accused of framing gang members were convicted of conspiracy and other crimes Wednesday in the first trial resulting from the biggest police corruption scandal in Los Angeles history.
After weighing testimony from a parade of gang members and police officers, the Superior Court jury found Sgts. Brian Liddy and Edward Ortiz and Officer Michael Buchanan guilty. A fourth officer, Paul Harper, was acquitted of all charges.
``There's good cops and there's bad cops,'' jury foreman Victor Flores said. ``A lot of us on the jury felt that they just didn't happen to cover themselves enough and they never thought it would come back to haunt them.''
The convicted officers, who were suspended after their arrests, face one to four years in prison at sentencing Jan. 16. ........The scandal, centered within the anti-gang unit at the LAPD's Rampart station, involves allegations that officers framed gang members, planted evidence, committed perjury and even shot innocent victims.
The scandal has led to the dismissal of about 100 criminal cases tainted by police testimony. Dozens of officers have quit or have been fired or suspended. According to some estimates, it may cost the city $125 million to settle lawsuits resulting from the scandal.
The first trial was considered an important test that could determine whether prosecutors would go forward with cases against more officers. So far, only one other officer has been charged and is awaiting trial.
....The four men were accused of wrongdoing in three cases between 1996 and 1998. In one incident, an officer was accused of planting a gun on a gang member. In another, an officer allegedly rubbed a gun on a suspect's hand to get his fingerprints and frame him. Liddy and Buchanan were accused of fabricating a story about gang members trying to run them down with a truck.
Besides conspiracy, Liddy and Ortiz were convicted of filing false police reports. Buchanan, 30, and Liddy, 39, were convicted of charges related to their claim about gang members trying to run them down.
A former partner of Perez is awaiting trial on attempted murder charges in the next Rampart case. Officer Nino Durden is accused of shooting a handcuffed suspect and leaving him paralyzed.
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