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Angeles County | Community News File / Hawaiian Gardens

Ex-Police Chief Charged With Perjury, False Report

July 25, 1998

The former chief of the defunct Hawaiian Gardens Police Department faces criminal charges that he filed a false police report and perjured himself while testifying at a preliminary hearing last year, according to court records.

Walter McKinney, 36, has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts alleging that he lied on a police report and under oath in court when he said he collected a handgun that a fleeing suspect had tossed into a backyard.

At McKinney's pretrial hearing in June, Jerald Reiber, who lived at the residence, testified that he, not McKinney, had retrieved the gun, transcripts show. McKinney faces a maximum of seven years in prison if convicted on both counts, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office said.

McKinney's trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 5. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

The charges against McKinney center on his testimony in a March 1997 preliminary hearing for Armando Ochoa, who was charged with possessing a firearm while on parole. McKinney testified he collected a gun that Ochoa threw into a backyard. Reiber, however, testified that he retrieved the gun for McKinney, who asked whether Reiber wanted his name in the police report. When Reiber said he did not, McKinney said he would report that he, not Reiber, collected the gun.

A lack of funds forced Hawaiian Gardens to disband its police department last September.

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