A second former Los Angeles vice officer, fired six years ago in an internal probe of policemen protecting ghetto bookmakers, was ordered reinstated with back pay Tuesday after a judge determined that the officer, like his partner, had been deprived of his rights.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John L. Cole ruled that Internal Affairs investigators erred in 1980 when they failed to inform Officer John D. Williams that his statements to them could not be used in a criminal proceeding.
Such protection is set forth under the California "policeman's bill of rights," passed by the Legislature in 1978.
Williams, 39, who works as a security officer for the Los Angeles Unified School District, said he planned to return to the Police Department as soon as possible. He had been on the force for 7 1/2 years before he was fired.
"I'm elated," Williams said after Cole's decision. "I think that justice is finally being served."
Back Pay With Interest
He will receive back pay with interest, less the salary he earned as a school guard after his dismissal from the force.
Williams was one of four vice squad officers in the 77th Street Division implicated in 1980 for allegedly allowing suspected bookmakers to operate freely if the bookies would submit to occasional arrests that made the officers look good--a so-called "arrest-by-appointment arrangement."
A Police Department Board of Rights found Williams' training officer, Michael Lybarger, guilty of insubordination for refusing to answer questions by Internal Affairs sergeants, and Lybarger was fired in May, 1980. Afterward, Lybarger maintained that he was innocent and said that he had remained quiet on advice from his attorney.
Williams agreed to talk to Internal Affairs and was fired in November, 1980, on allegations involving improper arrest, improper imprisonment and filing false police reports.
He, Lybarger and the other two vice officers--David Wallace and Brian Weld--pleaded no contest in 1982 to misdemeanor charges of filing false arrest reports in connection with the department's bookmaker investigation. Each received a $150 fine and was placed on probation.
Wallace and Weld later received stress pensions from the city; both Lybarger and Williams appealed their firings.
In December, 1985, the California Supreme Court ordered that Lybarger be reinstated. Lybarger returned to the department in July and retired in September.
Tuesday's Superior Court decision in favor of Williams essentially mirrored the high court's ruling in the Lybarger case, according to Williams' attorney, Mary Ann Healy.
A Police Department spokesman, Cmdr. William Booth, said Tuesday that it has not yet been determined whether the department will appeal the court ruling. Booth said he did not know where Williams would be assigned in the interim.