The Los Angeles Police Department scandal continues to widen. On August 28, a federal judge ruled that the LAPD can be sued as a racketeering enterprise by those who claim their civil rights were violated by the elite “anti-gang” squad of the Rampart Division.
The scandal originally broke when officer Rafael Perez was charged with stealing cocaine from the evidence room. He confessed to a number of brutal crimes, and implicated dozens of other officers in systematically planting false evidence, stealing and reselling drugs, giving perjured testimony, assaulting and killing unarmed people, and other such activities.
Attorney Stephen Yagman, who represents 15 people who have filed Rampart-related lawsuits, told the LA Times “this makes it possible that we can demonstrate what I have always claimed: the LAPD is a criminal enterprise. I think we can prove that beyond a reasonable doubt.”
To date, five officers have been arrested and criminally charged in connection with the Rampart scandal.?More than a dozen face internal charges of misconduct.?About 70 officers remain under investigation for a variety of alleged crimes and misconduct, and about 100 convictions have been overturned. The massive costs of settling civil-rights lawsuits could possibly bankrupt the city of Los Angeles.