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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

Residents, ACLU React to Police Scandal

September 25, 1999

LOS ANGELES — While supporters of the LAPD's Rampart station rallied there Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California called for the creation of an independent commission to look into allegations of corruption there.

In a letter to Mayor Richard Riordan, the ACLU asked that he appoint an independent body immediately, giving it broad investigative and subpoena powers.

"This newest corruption scandal has the potential to undo any progress made in restoring public confidence in the LAPD since the Rodney King beating," said Elizabeth Schroeder, associated director of the ACLU of Southern California.

Investigators are looking into allegations involving the Rampart Division, ranging from illegal shootings and drug dealing to excessive use of force and "code of silence" offenses. Twelve officers have been relieved of duty so far.

Deputy Mayor Noelia Rodriguez said the mayor has confidence that reforms implemented after the 1991 King beating have injected strong civilian oversight into the Los Angeles Police Department. She said there is no need, at this point, for a special commission.

Rodriguez said Chief Bernard C. Parks already has moved "swiftly" to investigate the corruption with a criminal probe as well as an internal review of the LAPD's management and operations.

Meanwhile, Friday evening, about 80 people from neighborhood organizations gathered briefly in front of the Rampart station to express their support for police work they said had reduced crime.

"Support the good men and women of Rampart Division," read one sign held by a member of the group. Others urged Angelenos not to condemn the entire police force because of the allegations.

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