A Los Angeles police officer who gained a national reputation for his anti-gang efforts in the South-Central part of the city has been found guilty of three administrative charges of insubordination and faces the possibility of being fired.
Officer Carl McGill, who has been featured by the national media for his community projects helping young gang members, was disciplined for a series of incidents last year in which he angrily confronted a police supervisor whom he suspected of searching his car while he was home on sick leave.
Worried about his police career, McGill was reluctant to discuss the situation Tuesday. He suggested that a civilian review board be created for the Police Department because he believes management does not always support rank-and-file officers who try to fight crime by becoming more involved in their community.
"I think they would see it from more of a non-biased point of view," McGill said.
Cmdr. William Booth, the Los Angeles Police Department's chief spokesman, said the case against the 31-year-old McGill has nothing to do with gang-fighting tactics. Booth said the case centered on McGill's alleged insubordination.
He noted that the five-year veteran was found guilty Monday of making improper remarks to his supervisor, failing to comply with a supervisor's order, and not having permission to work as a school security guard while he was on sick status from his police duties. He was found innocent of failing to properly notify his supervisor that he was sick.
The punishment for McGill, which is to be announced Friday, ranges from an official reprimand to termination.
Booth also dismissed McGill's recommendation that a civilian review board be established to defend officers who now must appear before Board of Rights hearings convened by police managers.
"We're staunchly opposed to it," Booth said.
"But on the other hand," he added, "we have the ultimate in civilian control in that the head of the department is a board of civilians--the Board of Police Commissioners.
"The commission is far, far superior to what is commonly thought of as a civilian review board."
McGill has received state and national accolades for his work conducting anti-gang programs at schools and community centers in South-Central.
His problems began last fall, when he learned from his stepbrother that while he was at a doctor's appointment, two police supervisors came to his home and, finding that he was gone, searched his car for evidence that he was not sick. McGill said he angrily confronted one of the supervisors the next day, which led to some of the administrative charges against him.
In lengthy Board of Rights hearings, McGill tried to persuade a panel of three police captains that he was provoked into the argument.
McGill said he fears that even if he is not fired Friday, his police career in Los Angeles is finished. "The people involved in this have basically destroyed my career," he said.