Three police officers with the Police Department’s Metropolitan Division were charged in a 59-count complaint where they allegedly falsified records accusing individuals they pulled over of being involved with gangs. They were charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and many counts of filing false police reports as well as putting forth fake information as evidence. Braxton Shaw, 37; Michael Coblentz, 42; and Nioclas Martinez, 36 were the police officers who were arrested.
Directors of the L.A. Police Protective League have indicated they believe that the allegations will be thoroughly investigated without bias so that the officers’ actions will be scrutinized objectively. They are urging the LAPD to ensure that the officers see the due process they deserve and that the evaluation of their actions is fair. Out of all the three officers charged, Braxton Shaw has the most at risk as he is accused of falsifying 43 field review cards. If found guilty, Shaw is looking at a jail sentence of up to 32 years.
The portion of the department that specifically is tasked with putting gang-suppression units into the community was where the issues with invalid filed review cards took place. The prosecution of the three accused officers said that the field cards had incorrect information and also misidentified many individuals as being members of gangs. That false information then put these individual’s identities into a California state gang database. An example of misleading information was when the officers wrote that an individual said they were in a gang, but when their body camera footage was reviewed, no such admission was made.
In addition to the three officers in question, the police department also indicated that 21 other officers are being actively investigated for also falsifying information on the Los Angeles Police Department field review cards. As a result, ten of the officers have been assigned to their homes, eight are off of the streets and on administrative duties, and five remain still out on the field. One of the officers retired.
The multiple instances of falsified information has lead the department to engage in re-training efforts regarding how to use the cards. Also, auditing of police body camera footage has increased substantially. Last, the LAPD reported that they are no longer adding anyone to the gang database, but instead, only using it to remove those who don’t belong in the system.
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