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THE RAMPART SCANDAL

The 'Rampart Way': Macho, Insubordinate and Cliquish

Misconduct: Report describes an 'us versus them' mind-set in which superiors were frequently ignored.

March 01, 2000|MATT LAIT and JIM NEWTON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

In one incident toward the end of the 1992 riots, a patrol supervisor walked into the station and found the entire CRASH unit with their uniform shirts off, playing cards and working out, when they were expected to be in the field, the report says. The supervisor complained to his superior about the situation. The supervisor was confronted about "tattling on the CRASH officers" and two days later found the tires on his personal vehicle slashed. When he replaced them, they were slashed again.

Another problem that LAPD brass believes contributed to the corruption at Rampart CRASH was the fact that the unit was housed in a building apart from the station. There, arrests and police reports made by the anti-gang officers received little scrutiny. Little oversight was exerted over their work schedules, roll call meetings, use of informants, use of undercover vehicles and many other police functions, the report says.

"The practice of officers printing or signing a sergeant's name to booking approvals and arrest reports was a particularly glaring illustration of poor CRASH supervision," the report states.

The "Rampart way" attitude was embraced by the entire division, not just the CRASH officers, the report states.

For example, when a respected instructor from the LAPD's Metro Division was giving a lecture to officers at the Rampart station one day, the officers were "unreceptive to the instruction because the instructor was not from Rampart."

"Rampart pride" also meant that probationary officers were supposed to report early to the station to wash the patrol cars for the other officers and check out equipment.

On an issue that has arisen repeatedly in the Rampart scandal, the board was almost sarcastic: "None of the employees interviewed recognized any particular trend toward a code of silence, which is certainly ironic, to say the least, given what we now know regarding events at Rampart."

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