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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Deputy Pleads Not Guilty to Falsifying Reports

May 16, 2000

LOS ANGELES — A sheriff's deputy pleaded not guilty in Superior Court on Monday to felony charges alleging that he falsified reports and records while working as a training officer in the Century Station.

David Auner, 31, who surrendered to authorities 10 days ago and was released on bail, faces a maximum prison sentence of five years if convicted. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for June 12.

Auner's attorneys said the charges could be politically motivated, coming on the heels of the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart scandal. They suggested that the district attorney's office wants to show that it is being tough on officers.

Auner, who was turned in to his supervisors by a trainee, allegedly falsified reports from three cases. Some Sheriff's Department officials say that the cases are minor and that prosecutors were being heavy-handed to file the charges.

One incident included a report that stated Auner and his partner watched an 18-year-old spray-painting graffiti on a wall before arresting him with the paint can in his hand.

Another involved a report that said Auner and his partner had fully admonished witnesses of their rights when they went to identify suspects in a drive-by shooting. Auner might not have fully admonished those witnesses, the trainee told authorities.

The third incident, sheriff's sources said, involved a suspect whom Auner apparently grabbed by the throat before the man spit drugs into the deputy's hand. The arrest report apparently failed to mention the use of force, which would have triggered an internal investigation, sheriff's sources said.

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