Judge: LAPD Must Warn People It's Illegal To File False Complaints Against Cops
Los Angeles, CA – A judge tentatively ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles police union and said the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) must advise citizens filing complaints against officers that filing a false complaint is a misdemeanor.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents LAPD’s rank and file, filed the lawsuit in September of 2017 to force the police department to put a warning about false complaints on the paperwork that must be completed by individuals alleging misconduct against the officer, the Associated Press reported.
Supporters of the lawsuit said that giving people such a warning would cut down on the number of officers taken off the streets while false complaints are investigated.
They also pointed out that unsubstantiated complaints hurt the reputations and careers of the officers they’re filed against.
Critics warned of a chilling effect from the ruling that could keep some citizens from filing legitimate complaints, KNBC reported.
The judge conducted a non-jury trial in January and heard briefs by the attorneys the next month.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Broadbelt issued a permanent injunction on Nov. 26 that prohibited LAPD from accepting a complaint against an officer unless the person complaining has read and signed an advisor warning that filing a false complaint is illegal.
Broadbelt noted in his ruling the testimony of LAPD Officer Steve Gordon who said that gang members used the complaints as a way to get rid of troublesome and effective police officers in their neighborhoods, KNBC reported.
The judge scheduled a hearing date on the temporary ruling on Jan. 30.
Lawyers for the City Attorney’s Office have argued that there as conflicting law at the state and federal level over whether the warning should be issued, and whether the warning violated constitutionally-protected free speech, KNBC reported.