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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Parks Denies He Tried to Thwart Rampart Probe

October 04, 2000

LOS ANGELES — Police Chief Bernard C. Parks has denied a former detective's accusation that he tried to thwart a probe of Rampart Division officers in 1998.

Russell Poole, a former member of the LAPD's Robbery Homicide Division, made the allegation in a lawsuit filed last week in federal court.

Poole, who was assigned to investigate an excessive-force complaint against a Rampart officer, said that during a briefing in the fall of 1998 he told Parks, "You've got a group of vigilante cops at Rampart Division."

But he said Parks cut him off and told him to limit his investigation to the case he was assigned.

On Monday, Poole's attorney, Leo Terrell, appeared before the Board of Police Commissioners to demand Parks' resignation. Terrell declined repeated requests by commissioners to hand over documents backing up his claims of a cover-up.

In a statement posted on the LAPD Internet site Monday, Parks said Poole's allegations "are totally false."

He said the department's Rampart task force has been working diligently since early 1998 to investigate the Rampart scandal, pursuing thousands of clues, conducting hundreds of interviews and amassing a million pages of documents.

"It would appear that with this type of unprecedented effort, no one would jeopardize the success of this case by ignoring legitimate and factual investigative materials," Parks added.

Poole resigned from the department last year. He said in his lawsuit that he was ostracized by his superiors after he complained about the handling of the Rampart probe.

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